When the Freaks sold-out
Last week we finished assembling and shipping the first batch of Freak filters. It was a long and laborious task but fortunately I received a lot of help. The reception of the module went far beyond my expectations. All the filters were pre-ordered in a few days. I'm really grateful to all the people that got one. This has been my passion project for the last years and I'm happy for being able to share it with everyone.
I have been asked a few times why didn't I use Kickstarter or Indiegogo to fund the project. In this first part of the post I want to address that.
I have supported a few projects in those platforms during the last years. One of the things that strike me first is that for all those projects I have had to wait more than six months to get the product. That long waiting time makes me think very carefully on what things I want to support, specially with technology, where a novel product can easily feel obsolete two years later when delivered. I didn't want to provide that experience. That's why we started taking orders when we knew that we could deliver all the units in a term of a few weeks.
Crowdfunding could have been very good for marketing. Just image, the Freak filter becoming the first eurorack module to collect millions of dollars in funding... then having to manufacture and deliver hundreds of thousands of units. More than a dream, that sounds like a nightmare to me.
Maybe it is just the control freak inside me that really wants to assemble and verify every unit, but I really would like to keep Vult as a boutique electronics place where every module is fed with love before being sent to its new home. For the people who want cheap mass-produced music gear there are already other companies providing enough of those.
The first batch
Assembling all the modules, as I mentioned before, was a very time consuming task. I have assembled many DIY projects before, but nothing compares to having to solder the same module over and over. I have been doing this work during the weekends and there was point where I thought I was not gonna be able of assembling all and stay sane. Fortunately my wife, who is very dexterous, learned to solder and helped me finish the modules.
Once assembled, we had to test each one. This is, again, a lot of work. I listened hours and hours of filter sweeps. I even got an ear infection due to all the filtered sounds I listened. I'm kidding. I got an ear infection but it was not because of the filters. During testing (fortunately) only a couple of modules had problems. One had a defective jack, other a potentiometer and other a defective screen. Even when those problems are easy to fix, it took me about an hour to replace the defective parts. Still, one bad jack out of a thousand feels like a lot when you have to desolder it.
The Freaks are coming back
Right now we are waiting for all the parts so we can start assembling the second batch. If everything goes fine, by the beginning of September we will be ready to take pre-orders. The new modules will have small changes. All those changes are tiny improvements that will make a bit easier for us to assemble them. The boards will be easier as well for the people who decide to get the filter as a partially assembled kit. Yes, we are gonna have a semi-DIY version in the future, where you will have to make only the easy bits of the assembly.
In a few weeks the history is repeating. I will prepare a big mug of coffee on a Saturday morning and turn the music on. We are going to start assembling modules, we are going to open the pre-orders and we are going to make people happy when receiving their Freak filter.