Open Labs Gets New Owners; What Do You Think They Need To Do To Save The Company?

There’s good news for owners ofย Open Labs‘ products ย – the company has emerged from foreclosure with new owners.

Here’s the text of their announcement:

A Word From the New Owners of Open Labs

Thank you for being a customer of Open Labs products. As you probably heard, there are new owners of Open Labs. The primary reason we acquired the assets was the outstanding relationship that the artists and producers had with the old company.

We want to assure you that we are committed to you and the products that allow you to create, produce and perform. We will honor the warranties, orders, and upgrades that were taken by the old company and look forward to servicing your needs in the future.

While the IP is impressive, the products are outstanding, and the customer service is world class, we know that the company is dependent upon you for success. Therefore, we would like to present you an opportunity to upgrade to RiFF 2.0 at a reduced cost. We are offering a 25% discount to all current customers that would like to upgrade the products to RiFF 2.0 in the next 45 days.

Thank you for your support in the past. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship going forward.

The Open Labs Team and Owners

While Open Labs has new owners and a chance to continue operating, their long-term success is going to depend on whether Synthtopia readers and other musicians are willing to buy Open Labs’ products.

With that in mind – what would your advice for the new owners of Open Labs be? What do you think they need to do to survive?

36 thoughts on “Open Labs Gets New Owners; What Do You Think They Need To Do To Save The Company?

  1. Set and adjust their prices for the current economic status and price competitively against other PCs. Also ,don't price outside of the budgets of those they market to.

  2. 1. sell openlabs in my country also (sweden)
    2. help stephen with karma lab
    3. lower prices
    4. d-beat next gen, with a combo of karma-native & devines granular – lemur GUI – instant DNA and bleton live ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. elbjorg: i must say i think good idea what you say. and sell in my country also (finland). Budjet products i think stuff which makes today most of money.

  4. It's all about the sounds. They really need to make some close partnerships with some major players in the game like Native-Instruments or IK Multimedia. And package some of those great instruments and effects.

    The free vsts are nice but really not a selling point. You need to drop whatever partnership they have with Guru and enter into a more affordable and fitting drum machine, like battery.

    The partnerships they can make with the hardware and software manufacturers is probably the key to the entire thing.

    Might also want to consider manufacturing a smaller more affordable entry level device.

    1. Midi controller only.
    2. Version without a screen, requires monitor.
    3. Version without controls, requires midi controller.

    Allowing for more low cost entry level devices might help support the luxury models longevity.
    I'm sure Honda sells more civics then s2000s. The civics allow for them to have other more expensive models on the showroom floor that take longer to move.

    Good luck OpenLabs… Love your broadcast on ustream! Thanks!

  5. What they should do is make a "MIDI Controller Workstation micro-ATX case" and then offer it both with and without computer parts inside it.

    So it looks like a workstation keyboard, with a keyboard, pitch/mod stick, buttons, knobs, sliders, LCD screen, etc. but the place where the computer goes is empty and will fit any standard micro ATX equipment.

    I'd buy that for about $1500.

  6. I like this idea a lot – but could they somehow do it so that it was Mac also?

    I think it would be cool if you could slide your laptop into something like the NeKo and then have it become the "brain" for your keyboard.

    The problem I have with the current Open Labs gear is that they aren't especially open and there's no way to take advantage of the fact that the keyboard is based on standard computers and update them as CPU's advance, etc.

    $1,500 would seem fair for something like that.

  7. I'm not knowledgable about how macs are sold these days, but I guess you could make another version that has a "laptop dock" area on the top, perhaps instead of the screen.

  8. I don't think open labs needs more options as much as they need one or two good ones.

    If they could come up with a fully integrated pro production studio with a workstation feel, they've done their job.

    This means:
    1. use better hardware for i/o and have at least 2 midi outs… make sure that every patch and every plug-in is already mapped to controllers (pitch n mod, faders)… people buying this don't want a faderbank.. they want a control surface.
    2. Price it competitively with other stuff out there.
    3. Don't give us more options… give us a few that work flawlessly.. the whole apple approach…
    4. ditch the freeware all together… it looks like you are trying too hard… in reality, it makes you looks cheap and not PRO at all. if people want it, they can get it the same way you did.
    5. use better instruments. MUSE RESEARCH has the KOMPLETE inside RECEPTOR… try something like that…
    6. touch-screens aren't as impressive as they used to be… and def not the ones you guys use…. if you are going to implement them…. at the very least have the UI work like hardware.

    7. my personal wish is that you create a hardware workstation with a screen the size of a roland fantom screen… that uses plugins for intruments and effects…. and DOESN'T use an off-the-rack DAW… imagine if the akai mpc series could host vst instruments and effecs… THAT WOULD BLOW MY MIND…. o and a vga output for more detailed editing.

  9. this is the kind of thinking that will put open labs right back where they were bailed out from. a more expensive apple model didn't work the first time, get a clue.

  10. this clown is mocking presonus and protools hardware. he needs to stop hanging out here writing so much, and stick to reading silently.

  11. "If they could come up with a fully integrated pro production studio with a workstation feel, they've done their job."

    What crack wagon did this moron fall off of?

  12. "3. Don't give us more options… give us a few that work flawlessly.. the whole apple approach… "

    Apple doesn't have enough customer base to warrant more options. Flawless? Who is this guy.

  13. How about a Fairlight CMI and Synclavier mode? For all those poor people out there (like me) who can't afford either let alone both. And while at it: Strike a deal with another company that has some serious experience in going bust and then getting back on their feet again for the next round: Waldorf! Something like a PPG Waveterm and Realizer mode would be awesome. It's all old technology, but maybe the old digitial stuff will get a revival like the analog and modular stuff has. And no, I'm not being entirely serious. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. rather than attack me, say something useful… about Open Labs.

    FTR I never suggested an apple model; i wanted them to take a clue from Apple's playbook and focus on the user experience.

    I'm also not mocking presonus hardware… I'll clarify… it doesn't have the greatest specs… and isn't built very well… and doesn't have the greatest drivers… which is all true. Open labs needs something more professional.

    If they can do those things, they won't have to change the price and can remain profitable… my last "dream idea" was silly from a biz point of view i know… but the heart wants what it wants, u know?

  15. This is an interesting idea – I like the idea of one synth that can take on multiple personalities.

    One challenge is that there's no one set of control that makes sense for all types of synths.

  16. I think you won't get any better than the current approximation of a univeresal digital control panel: knobs (especially encoders), faders, and a (multi-)touchscreen. Maybe some manufacturer will try out an interface with several smaller screen with some of them touch enabled and others just for showing additional information.

    On the other hand: Maybe it's this wanting to be all things to all people (the ultimate workstation, the ultimate MIDI controller, the ultimate VST host, the ultimate what have you) in addition to the steep price compared to commodity PCs plus their quite unsexy exterior that made the OpenLabs keyboards not that sought after. I feel that people who pay good money for hardware want instruments that are in some ways unique, better than the competition, something that fits in a niche that was unnervingly empty before. The gigging keyboardists probably will stick to the some Korg, Roland, Yamaha workstation plus a laptop or something like the Receptor. Maybe OpenLabs could divide their products and give us a 3U or so rack unit and a really nice, light, but sturdy "ultimate" controller master keyboard. I see them more on stage than in a studio anyway with their kind of technology.

  17. It doesn't make sense to be a PC company and not write your own OS software. You're all mentioning apple, well thats what they do. To be successful you must make your own product. Cobbling parts together in a case doesn't fit anyone's need. It actually makes it harder and heavier to transport compared to a laptop. I don't see how they can be successful without writing their own software or at least coming out with a standalone instrument.

    Open Labs is the equivalent of a built-in VHS/DVD Player Television.

  18. When I saw the first info on Open Labs products I remember thinking what a clever and timely concept it was. I still do.

    It is a very tricky niche. Trying to package an integrated system with an ideal controller, processor, display, i/o, etc. — it's tricky. I like the idea of the "rack" version– so a person could attach the controller of their choice. And Domi is right about Presonus hardware being mediocre. The audio i/o is not a good place for compromise. Still, wrestling the price-point — again, tricky biz.

    There are plenty of ways this technology could be made smaller, lighter, and better. But maintaining a viable price point makes all improvements more challenging.

    The other main challenge is adding value from this integration of components so that it goes beyond stealthyg's brilliant VHS/DVD/TV combo analogy.

    Is it possible for Open Labs to come to market with a new generation product before Kurzweil's next big sampling DAW?

  19. Apple has massive market share in the mobile phone sector, and they offer two phones (the present and its' predecessor). Most other companies sell a million different varieties and don't hold anywhere near the same share.

    If they offered the D-Beat and a customizable Neko (so one could choose CPU, RAM, Keyboard size) and priced it appropriately (baseline $1500-2000) they might have a chance.

  20. Reasontofail, perhaps you should read a little yourself before posting. No OpenLabs product includes any ProTools audio hardware. The Miko and Neko QX6 use a Presonus Firebox. There is nothing wrong with the Firebox except its small number of inputs, and the fact it is not manufactured any more (replaced at retail with the FireStudio).

    I am not sure what the Neko XXL uses; older Nekos had an M-Audio audio card.

  21. From what I gather from the kurz forums, Kurzweil Music Systems is doing ok now. I'm hearing about new developments with the PC3 series and it seems like there are other undisclosed projects in the works.

  22. If an OL system had this, you would want that. If it had that you would want this. Same ole same ole. Sometimes a product just isnt for you. But it is for someone else. Price is definitely key and should have been redesigned to accommodate that.

  23. Sweden is with Open labs, under the Danich Kms Musik, but you are right about the prices.
    They are hard to sell in europa in general.

  24. To me OL is a great company, with some great products. If someone wanna listen then lower the prices by some 25% that will help people to affort the products. Also more support to the resellers are an issue. That is if OL is gonna make it in europa.

  25. What do they need to do to keep the company alive? Well, they could start by ensuring that their revenue exceeds their costs on a timescale that satisfies their bank manager… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. This is about the biggest group of ass clowns I’ve seen on the internet thus far.

    “I’d wish they’d make a rackmount”


    “I’d wish they make their keyboards more affordable/competitive.”

    THEY HAVE 4 MODELS of gear ranging from 1999-3999. . . THAT FALLS UNDER THE SAME PRICE RANGE AS A BRAND NEW MOTIF, FANTOM, and UNDER the price of some KURTZWELLS.

    Most of the people complaining about the price. . . Can’t afford one, OR THEY ARE TO LAZY to save up for one.

    These Instruments are made for those who can afford them. It’s like a BMW.

  27. Is there anything else even like an Open labs product? In other words, a keyboard workstation capable of loading and playing large, studio quality samples and software?

  28. and your just mad you cant afford one. i have an lx5 that when equipped, is better than any hardware board. also i bet my dicks bigger and you'd probly like to suck it, asshole.

  29. you are correct. a rear 4 ch. grace designs would be appropriate along with better sounds, howevever this can be done AND be the professional center of any studio with some add ons (of about $50k lol)…

  30. I kind of agree with Smokey and others about just having an opinion,just because,and yes,it's easy and convenient to trash,complain,and be the naysayer.Often times,folks with all that opinion dont make a living making music,because they are too busy flapping their gums.OL does not make what everyone else does,and yes,i have seen a product,in person,at work,and the person who has one uses it and creates some awesome music.Considering folks around the world use Atari,G3s,G4s.P3s,P4s,and Linux boxes,it's really the musician,maximizing his gear and knowing how to manipulate,create,and signal flow.Music just happens to be a hobby or career where we spend a LOT of money,so if you want everything to be 'affordable',maybe tailored just for you,whomever you are,go make the gear YOU want,and stop moaning about it….jeez

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