Synthesis Technology Announces End of MOTM Modular Synth Kit Line

synth of doomSynthesis Technology has announced that it will be phasing out its line of modular synthesizer kits at the end of this year.

SynthTech’s Paul Schreiber says that he is restructuring the business and changing the products he offers to meet the realities of the market. In addition to eliminating kits, some MOTM modules that are not currently hot sellers will be discontinued as stocks are depleted. Future MOTM modules will be assembled only, and will be shipped from stock.

Schreiber also announced that future modules will be based on SMT technology, and a new platform for synth modules, the AudioEngine, that will combine CV/MIDI control with 32-bit RISC processors.

The announcements have been well-received by the MOTM community. While many are disappointed by the elimination of kits, Schreiber has built a reputation for delivering the Cadillac of modular synths, and users are excited about his new designs.

Here’s a summary of Schreiber’s announcement:

Part #1 – Phasing out of some MOTM modules (both kit and assembled)

The following modules will be discontinued when stocks are sold out:

  • MOTM-120 Suboctave Mux
  • MOTM-380 Quad LFO
  • MOTM-510 WaveWarper
  • MOTM-700 Dual 2:1 Mux
  • MOTM-820 VC Lag
  • MOTM-850 Pedal Interface
  • MOTM-890 MicroMixer

The MOTM-510 WaveWarper will be offered in Frac Rack later this year.

Part #2 – No more MOTM kits after Dec. 31, 2006

The market has shifted to assembled modules from over 12 suppliers. For the first 6 months of 2006, my kits sales are down 44% and my assembled sales are up 75%.

Therefore, at the end of this calendar year, I am discontinuing all MOTM kits. Starting Jan. 1 2007, all MOTM modules will only be available in assembled form. This is the part that will upset the most people, and cause all the speculation. Again, this does NOT mean I am quitting and shutting down! Quite the opposite: I have at least 10 more modules I want to release. But these modules will be assembled only, and they will all be SMT.

Part #3 – MOTM is moving to SMT technology for all new modules

Synthesis Technology is currently selling, through Analogue Haven, a series of SMT modules in Frac rack format. Due to the success of the technology (thanks Shawn!) and the ease of manufacture, all future MOTM modules will be SMT only, and not sold as kits. This is true even for new modules released this year.

Part #4 – Delivery times: past versus future

Future modules, being SMT, will be able to ship in volume the day I place them for sale. I will not take pre-orders or down payments. I’m going to build 75 to 100 of them all at once, place them in shipping boxes with instructions, and ship them starting the next day. This is how the Frac business is run, and this is how MOTM will be run. Over the last 8 years, the expectation of service has risen not just for me, but for everyone. Customers want their stuff now and the reality is, the market for kits is over.

Part #5 – Stocking Levels and the BIG SALE

In order to help move the modules out the door, I am going to have a sale beginning July 10th and running to Sept. 1st. All modules will be 15% off. Kits or assembled.

Part #6 – New modules

The first SMT assembled module will be the MOTM-730 VC Pulse Divider. I’m starting CAD pcb layout tomorrow. I have all the parts, I will order front panels next week. I expect to be shipping mid-September.

After that will be the MOTM-810 VC Looping ADSR EG. This is a 2U wide MOTM version of the MOTM-1800 Frac Looping ADSR with added VC inputs. This will ship in mid-October, early Nov.

I have hired an outstanding Xilinx FPGA programmer to assist in the MOTM-520 Cloud Generator. In about 6 hours of code time, he demonstrated a 4-voice Blacet Mini-Wave type module (quad VCO with programmable wavetables). And this uses 7% of the IC (the Xilinx part can easily do 256 individual wavetable VCOs at once).

What the 2 of us are developing is an AudioEngine sub-module, that can be used in all sorts of things. This credit-card sized module can be plugged into a main pcb and be programmed as needed (it has FLASH, just like the MOTM-650). The point is not to make a ‘Universal Do Everything’ MOTM module. The point is to have a common hardware platform that I can use in different modules. Stay tuned for more AudioEngine announcements.

Full details are available at the MOTM site.

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