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Getting a Buchla Easel
Old 17th November 2015 | Show parent
  #211
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
Dodgy Aussies...lol
First you guys push Murdoch on us, now this! What did we ever do to you guys?
Old 17th November 2015
  #212
Moderator
 
Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
what a shame, after Don Buchla pulled it back into the light with the 200e.
in this time of huge popularity for modulars, even more so.
Old 17th November 2015
  #213
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login's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Can't believ gear with those prices is done by such incompetent company.
Old 18th November 2015 | Show parent
  #214
Update:

I was given a tracking number and a package is in the mail today via UPS. Set to arrive Friday. We'll see how this goes. Hopefully it arrives undamaged and without some of the problems people have reported.

Amazing how quickly things moved once I really complained. (Or complained to the right people--the prior emails/phone calls were directed at the Oregon facility. I contacted who I understand is the owner.)

It's a real shame it has to be like this. Buchla's instruments are truly unique. Serge's have their own thing going on, and there are a number of people making 'West Coast' (whatever that means) styled instruments, but there is some sort of black magic with the Buchlas. They are the Stradivari of Weird.

Furthermore, the Easel manages to pack the soul of a Buchla into a manageable package that is vaguely affordable to the hyper-committed.

Will let everyone know on Friday what the deal is. Thanks for listening all.
Old 18th November 2015
  #215
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
This will be the first unboxing video I will look forward too..
Old 18th November 2015
  #216
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
So many versions of this instrument..??







Old 18th November 2015
  #217
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Fingers crossed dude - you sure deserve it! If I was ever planning on getting an Easel this has put an end to ever ordering one new. Goddamn disgrace.
Old 18th November 2015
  #218
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shadowfac's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I still want one.
Old 18th November 2015 | Show parent
  #219
haj
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I want one, too. But the price is in the zone that I can't help thinking about feature/penny when thinking about how I'd use it...
Old 18th November 2015 | Show parent
  #220
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
I still want one.
2-3 end up on the second hand market every year it seems. The bad part about this is you need to have a huge sum of money sitting around ready in a moment's notice.
Old 18th November 2015 | Show parent
  #221
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's nice, but it's also effectively a 1.5 osc synth, with a limited filter, a reverb tank and an interesting sequencer.
You could have something similar in a Phenol.
I'm a big fan of vintage Buchla, but I think the voodoo vibe get's a bit out of control. I'm not against people lusting after one, or enthusiastically buying one. But I hate to see people put their personal finances at risk for what in reality is a fairly basic synthesizer.
Old 18th November 2015 | Show parent
  #222
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
It's nice, but it's also effectively a 1.5 osc synth, with a limited filter, a reverb tank and an interesting sequencer.
You could have something similar in a Phenol.
I'm a big fan of vintage Buchla, but I think the voodoo vibe get's a bit out of control. I'm not against people lusting after one, or enthusiastically buying one. But I hate to see people put their personal finances at risk for what in reality is a fairly basic synthesizer.
Yeah after glancing at the specs I must say I agree...the sound is nothing special either...seriously over priced compared to what you can concoct in euro..

very showy looking though...Fischer price style..
Old 18th November 2015 | Show parent
  #223
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think it has some interesting sound capabilities (a little different to Euro), and the workflow is interesting (audio and control separated). The size format is less fiddly than Euro.
Old 19th November 2015 | Show parent
  #224
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
It's nice, but it's also effectively a 1.5 osc synth, with a limited filter, a reverb tank and an interesting sequencer.
True. However, in some cases the sum is greater than the parts. Most cookie recipes are pretty much the same--only the quality of ingredients and quantity differ. However, most cookies don't taste the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You could have something similar in a Phenol.
Similar, yes. Kind of like a Rickenbacker 330/12 is similar to a Jackson SL-1. I suppose you could use the Rick to get similar sounds to Slayer riff; the Jackson probably sounds similar to a Byrds arrangement....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
But I hate to see people put their personal finances at risk for what in reality is a fairly basic synthesizer.
People shouldn't put their personal finances at risk for any equipment. I certainly didn't! Next stop, Oberheim OB-Xa in January!
Old 19th November 2015
  #225
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Please show us when un boxing, we're all very keen to see this puppy arrive and check out the details..
Old 19th November 2015 | Show parent
  #226
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chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
True. However, in some cases the sum is greater than the parts. Most cookie recipes are pretty much the same--only the quality of ingredients and quantity differ. However, most cookies don't taste the same.
Similar, yes. Kind of like a Rickenbacker 330/12 is similar to a Jackson SL-1. I suppose you could use the Rick to get similar sounds to Slayer riff; the Jackson probably sounds similar to a Byrds arrangement....
I think the difference in sound and quality is overstated, especially now so many similar designs are in Euro. The larger form factor and workflow (audio separate from cv) are the major differences left. The other feature of the Easel is it's portable performance capability. But as I said, other pieces do that too nowadays.
Old 19th November 2015
  #227
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I won't be buying one anytime soon...



Old 19th November 2015
  #228
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schmuck's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Easel certainly has some magic that is hard to get elsewhere if you want THAT specific one. It has become a firm fav of mine, both because of tone and workflow. If you want one and have the cash...no hesitatiob its a fantastic INSTRUMENT
Old 19th November 2015
  #229
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Lumin One's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
glad to hear you got one on the way.
no big revelation, but the easel is definitely an interesting synth. you will dig exploring with it. the tonal, modulation, and control possibilities are pretty incredible for its size and portability. true you can probably put together a small modular that does what this does, but most likely wont sound the same.
Old 20th November 2015
  #230
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Today should be the big day. Hope to see some excited unboxing and cool sounds
Old 20th November 2015 | Show parent
  #231
So the Buchla arrived midday yesterday. Sorry there's no unboxing video... it's not of my generation and perhaps a little too commodity fetishistic.

Receiving the Easel
Anyways, true to their word, Buchla included an iProgram card. Score. Everything else I ordered was pretty much there (extra cabling). It was packed professionally--everything good here. Plus: ROGAN KNOBS! I was really hoping those would become standard on the new Easels. Lo and behold, this Easel has the more attractive knobs. Bonus.

However, there were two minor 'issues' with it. Shortly after powering up the Easel it became apparent the pressure was not being output from a few of the keys (18, 24, 27). They would trigger--but not in rapid succession. I opened the Easel up, lo and behold, the power bus cable was loose--probably from shipping. Once tightened up the touchplate worked fine. Whew! Note to Buchla: use more robust power distribution cables in the future.

The second issue was the Pulser Mode switch. It did not want to lock in the 'up' position (triggered mode). After a little fiddling it partially snapped into place. Then it operated as normal. Seems it partially slipped? A little tightening on the screw mount and it seemed fine.

Playing the Easel
In the many, many months since ordering the Buchla I've had time to read the manual. Watch all the instructional and performance videos. Study up on the principles of 'west coast' synthesis, and so forth. I was pretty well prepared for the experience and it went well... but the possibilities and nuances of this instrument are staggering.

Sound programming-wise, sometimes things don't go as planned. Yes, conjuring up the Buchla bongo sound is pretty simple--the Easel likes to go in that direction. It does the 'sequenced/pulsed' background with a lead line thing very well. It certainly manages to create the 'what we thought in the 1960's that computers sounded like inside' or 'this is a brawl between the id, ego and superego of a Martian sentient device' and the like. There is a lot of interesting garbage to be found--sounds that, while cool, are probably not musically useful. A lot of good sounds too. You need to have your wits about you. Plus, yesterday was day one. I didn't expect to master the synth in a single day.

Overall
I did crack it open this morning. Reverb tank was secured. No roly poly screws, no weird rattles. No obvious defects. It appears that most or all of the criticisms raised earlier this year were addressed in one fashion or another. Sonically--it sounds like a Buchla... precisely what I expected. To be honest, it sounds a little better than I expected. Very full, clean and clear response. Capable of massive low end. Great!

But.... there are a few suggestions I'd offer:

(1) the 218e touchplate could use additional support on the corners facing the musician. I want my playing surface to be solidly moored and unmoving. There is a bit of a wiggle when you 'dig in' to play. Since receiving my Easel yesterday I double checked some of the better Buchla videos and, sure enough, you can see those move the slightest bit. (2) The access port on the side is totally open. While you wouldn't want to drag your Easel across town in the rain, but it would be great if there was something to close or protect the ports. The Easel is, after all, supposed to be in a case. Small complaint that doesn't affect me much.(3) Setting up wi-fi for the iProgram Card is a little annoying. Why does it have to springboard off your local wi-fi? Why can't it just have its own little network? However, it works like a charm and does precisely what it is supposed to. It is weird to have a semi-modular/modular synth like the Easel have presets. Due to the sheer bozosity of the options presented, this is a good thing.

Conclusion
Overall pretty happy, but I'm going to forward my concerns about the two issues to Buchla so they are aware of them. I believe the touchplate issue occurred during shipping--more secure buss ports would solve this issue. In the grand scheme of things, this was worrying and frustrating for a bit until I tightened things down. Still, for the kind of money they are asking for the Buchla (4499!) nowadays things ought to be done right the first time. End users don't like having to pry their new toys open. Or, at least not this end user.

The switch issue? I dunno. Part of me thinks it needed a little bit of 'play' in it. The Pulser switch is odd--the top position locks, but the middle position can toggle downwards (spring loaded) to pulse once. So it is a spring loaded toggle switch. I believe it being new, combined with perhaps the slightest slipping on its mount, probably caused the issue. It fixed itself pretty quickly and I tightened it down a tad. Works great now. Still--was frustrating for a moment.

Bottom line: reasonably happy. Was annoyed it took *that* long to receive. Furthermore, I had to essentially threaten potential legal action (although THAT seemed to have worked well--they pulled an Easel out of someone's arse pretty quick). I am not convinced the iProgram card is worth 900 dollars. Ridiculous sum of money. It works, but there is a certain point when there is no way you are paying for 'use value' or 'production cost' or even 'labor cost.' I would recommend getting it as part of the new Easel/iProgram deal they are offering.

I felt the Easel was about 1000 dollars overpriced when it was 3999, which was the purchase cost for the Easel itself (not including 120 USD they charge for shipping... UPS no less... major price gouge even factoring in insurance cost). Now that they have raised the prices to 4499 I don't know. I am not sure I would have purchased the Easel if it cost that much money. At that point it would be (at least) 1500 dollars overpriced. Sometimes I'll play ball and pay extra for 'sign value' of an object if it is something I really, really want and a surcharge happy manufacturer happens to make it. But there are a lot of other times I would consider getting a substitute. When considering the total investment, including shipping and the obligatory extra cabling, a Music Easel is probably going to cost in the vicinity of 4700-4800 dollars.

At that point you are veering towards Modal Electronics cost..... Or a good start to a pretty well-specified modular synth. Not sure if the little Easel is worth that. Glad I didn't pay it. To be honest, their inability to deliver a product in time snagged me a free iProgram card, the cost of which mitigates the Easel to a 'reasonable' cost all things considered. I feel lucky. However, most of you wouldn't be that lucky.

I would think long and hard on this decision, because it was a pain in the ass. Buying something like this should be a pleasant experience (aside from spending the money or catching hell from one's significant other). After the point of sale it should breeze along to a state of absolute consumerist joy. This experience, although having turned out for the better, was fairly bittersweet. Given the current state of the company, which I imagine veers from one mini-crisis to another to manage on top of the lawsuit, it also seems risky. Honestly, I believe Buchla is probably a 'bozo' company. Or at least ran by bozos. Their entire operation just reeks of shortsightedness, puffery and awful business management.

Last edited by James Meeker; 20th November 2015 at 08:11 PM..
Old 20th November 2015
  #232
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
yea i was underwhelmed with the demos i heard so far
seems overpriced and with the same amount of cash one could put a nice modular setup together thatis just as powerful if not more in different ways
when you drop that kind of cash it really should be a fun experience as opposed to bozo
since don is long gone and out of the picture it’s a travesty this stuff has his name onit
i wonder how they are treating someone like aphex or Ms.Cianni
Old 21st November 2015 | Show parent
  #233
I'm glad to hear you finally got your Easel after so many hassles you had to go through.

Now, show us pics your new Easel sitting pretty in your studio!
Old 21st November 2015
  #234
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schmuck's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years

Last edited by schmuck; 21st November 2015 at 01:00 PM..
Old 21st November 2015 | Show parent
  #235
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Guru View Post
I'm glad to hear you finally got your Easel after so many hassles you had to go through.

Now, show us pics your new Easel sitting pretty in your studio!
Ahh gear porn. Hark, the sound of fapping
Old 21st November 2015
  #236
Moderator
 
Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
good to hear perseverence paid off
Old 22nd November 2015 | Show parent
  #237
Gear Head
 
MProd's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for your elaborate report. This has cured me from buying one myself. Although my experience with first contact (Alex) seemed fine, your experience says enough. When I asked their opinion on this thread (yes I was in contact and refered to this thread so they were informed) they told me they choose to ignore stories on the web (and are just trying their best). I would advise to take (customer!) stories like this serious. There are other boutique manufacturers that show you how to make a good product, have great service and honest communication with a small staff. John Bowen (Solaris) and Colin Fraser (cirklon) to name a few. John had his share of setbacks and delays too but has always remained responsive and open. Even most (small) modular manufacturers that are also dealing with delicate products are running their businesses better.
I can only imagine how great the opportunity must be to revive a strong Brand like Buchla. How can they fail in something as crucial as basic communication. I'm not talking about legal or technical challenges. Everyone has their share of challenges now and then, it's how you handle them that makes the difference.
Old 22nd November 2015
  #238
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
well just think it will only go up in value over time...so there is that.
Old 22nd November 2015
  #239
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shadowfac's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey, at least you didn't want a VCS3. You'd be waiting for years.
Old 22nd November 2015 | Show parent
  #240
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plaid_emu's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
Hey, at least you didn't want a VCS3. You'd be waiting for years.
I still can't believe nobody is making an affordable clone of that gear. I want the Synthi AKS.
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