In a nutshell, Ben Fisher has been taking money upfront for his synth products (under the Chimera Synthesis banner) since November of 2007. Some people receive product but the vast majority don't get anything and have a hard time getting their money back from him.
His products are brilliant. Inspired, even. On the other hand his ability to run a business and his ethics in general pretty much stink.
His typical M.O. is this:
1) Show lots of great designs
2) Take money upfront and make promises he can't keep
3) Redesign his existing products or come up with new products, leaving standing orders unfulfilled
4) Make more promises, and sometimes issue fake shipping notices with false tracking numbers
5) Deliver a minimum number of products, usually to synth hardware bloggers and prominent musicians to make it appear that the products actually exist
6) Deliver some product to newer customers leaving longtime customers in the lurch
7) Go back to step 1) and repeat
Ben also had a bad habit of weeding out any dissenting posts from the Chimera forums, especially those from people asking for their money back. Eventually he took the entire forum down and in the process a lot of helpful posts and information was lost. The manuals for all of his products are basically incomplete. He's never been able to sit down for an afternoon or two and just finish the damn things.
Much of the money taken from people who paid upfront went to pay for various things like brand new C&C equipment and a new reflow furnace, and he's moved his factory a few times at least. A lot of this equipment is then used to make products for his other businesses. Prior to starting Chimera Synthesis Ben also used to make products for the steadicam and motion control camera industry. He also had a robotics company (in fact, any Paypal payments to Chimera all come up as 'Fisher Robotics'). He's also used the company name 'Zeitix' on a few occasions.
Chimera Synthesis was not the first time Ben has pulled this scam:
So, should this dissuade you from buying a Stylophone S2 from Dubreq? I think you'll have to decide for yourself. It's worth noting that Dubreq is also taking money upfront and offering no firm delivery dates. Sound familiar?
My role in this? I was a Chimera customer and received product (2 BC-16 patch modular and a BC-8) and also have been screwed out of product (BC-X, and SM-16 seqencer). I guess I kind of came out even-stephen in this. The last two products are basically vapourware as no one has reported recieving either.
Currenty there is no Chimera Synthesis website and Ben tried to sell revamped versions of Chimera products under the 'Ben Fisher' name but no one has reported any actual product. There have been a few announcements that Chimera will be back in 2013 and will address any outstanding orders, but if you ask anyone who has ever dealt with Chimera or Ben I'm sure they will tell you they have heard that song and dance before.
Actually I am holding a Ben Fisher (not Chimera Synthesis) labelled BC6.
#101 out of a limited series of 100 (sic), in Walnut. Basically I was after a transparent acrylic one, but Ben could not supply, as the CNC kept cracking the acrylic, so he ran off and sent a Walnut one instead. I didn't complain, the walnut ones were more expensive and all sold. I was offered the opportunity to get a Black aluminium BC-16 , which I really hankered after and still do, but it was too risky to dish up the 400 GBP in advance. (I knew the problems).
This was right at the time of death of Chimera Synthesis. I was lucky in that I had no problems dealing with Ben. I know others were not.
Yes, Ben Fisher's operation seems to rely on taking pre-orders and occasionally delivering quite innovative product to attempt to dispel claims he never delivers.
Actually I tried to have him to send a walnut BC6 when he was claiming he had them built and for sale. He had previously taken my preorder for a sequencer that was going to ship in 2 weeks and needless to say didn't. I asked to send the cheaper product instead. What he said was he had to transfer my funds from Chimera Synthesis Ltd. to Ben Fisher. He said that would be a "little complex". I pointed out in my follow up e-mail that I guess I was in luck in that I actually had paid Ben Fisher his then doing business as (as his Chimera Synthesis Ltd. accounts had been shut down) so no "cross-billing" would be needed. He never replied or sent either item.