ROLI's writing on the wall happened

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
KVRAF
7197 posts since 7 Mar, 2003

Post Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:24 pm

There were some additions added to the Arnold Balm repo:
https://github.com/ArnoldBalm/ROLI
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GRRRRRRR!
12567 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:31 pm

I hope so too, not because of what I already own for theirs but for the hope of what might come next. They are obviously a very innovative company, the musical world is definitely better off if they are around and doing their thing.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

KVRAF
2068 posts since 15 Apr, 2004 from Capital City, UK

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:00 am

Er, 33 million owed to the main investors whose general portfolio is not particularly tasteful. Triplepoint Venture Growth. Why on earth did having them on board seem like a good idea? It's super-depressing looking at the list of investors.. Onkyo, Sony?, Chinese Investment Alliances?, countless mystery venture capitalists.. and most of their interests will not have been to bring finely constructed musical interfaces to artists and musicians.

and from reading that report, it looks like the biggest mistake they made was making a huge first batch of products, which they couldn't sell. Doomed from the start. Shame, 'cause I really like the idea.

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KVRAF
3861 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 2:17 am

CinningBao wrote:
Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:00 am
Er, 33 million owed to the main investors whose general portfolio is not particularly tasteful. Triplepoint Venture Growth. Why on earth did having them on board seem like a good idea? It's super-depressing looking at the list of investors.. Onkyo, Sony?, Chinese Investment Alliances?, countless mystery venture capitalists.. and most of their interests will not have been to bring finely constructed musical interfaces to artists and musicians.

and from reading that report, it looks like the biggest mistake they made was making a huge first batch of products, which they couldn't sell. Doomed from the start. Shame, 'cause I really like the idea.
I think the problem is a there's a distinct split between prepackaged beats and a DJ loop style approach to music they touted with Roli Studio player and now Lumis guitar hero for keyboards, but on the other hand there's MPE, the ultimately configurable nature of Lightpad Blocks, Seaboards, the advanced MPE capable synthesizers etc. It's like they didn't really have a clue as to whom to sell to.

Hopefully they can find their way, the products are mostly good, although honestly their high end stuff is better, the loops software, keyboard hero stuff etc. is all pretty cheesy IMO, and it seems like they're convinced it's the bigger market.

Like a lot of us I think, I wish they stuck to "pro" gear, but they have their reasons I would guess.

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KVRAF
5862 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 2:54 am

To me it simply looks as if they just did/do not understand or care for customers as partners, just as cash-cows.

In the pro market, they missed every opportunity to make the seaboards really pro, with deep configurations (like not just a pre-defined curve for pressure but a completely configurable, multi-point setup that allows for thresholds and more advanced responses), a way to re-calibrate them, of course a way to replace the batteries and other parts, have better real-world-solutions to keep the blocks together than just the magnets, offer different surfaces and profiles (like I did in my DIY above).

My whole inner being as a designer myself revolts on those half baked solutions.
They have 10 screws holding the lower part, they even use brass fittings instead of just screwing them into the plastic.
This is awesome and would make the unit really good to maintain.
But they put a useless rubber tape that does not prevent the seaboard block from sliding around over the screws and even with all that care the unit bends and so has even less tracktion on the table.
I put four good rubber pads in the corners and finally it's rock solid while I can still reach all the screws...

Have the USB connection have more than one port so that the configurator can be run while the DAW is using the Midi port on Windows - or make it a VST right away where each track can have it's own configuration, independent of the used instrument capabilities.
And why stop supporting Windows 8 out of nowhere, when it's still supported until 2023 by MS and did work just fine before?
And when doing that, not even having a look at the running OS first before you offer to install an update that doesn't work...?

Basically, make it clear that you are serious, know what you are doing and that the units have an actual life expectancy instead of being basically one-off throw away things.

On the software side, they never fixed the most basic issues, like allowing to install the content on a user selectable HD or chose your VST2 path and many other missed opportunities to again, show that they care and that this is meant to work and be used for a long time - and that they simply know their jobs.

This whole shift to more and more trashy stuff won't help them with either crowd.

Am I wishing for them to go under?
No, I'd love them to do something really good with the knowledge they (should) have assembled.
Am I optimistic in that latter regard?
Not one bit.
The whole concept of the LUMI ecosystem looks ridiculous to me from what I read about it, no matter the target audience.

And there is a point where I personally prefer a stupid company that seems unwilling or unable to learn to take a dive and - hopefully - make room for a non-toxic and really innovative culture around MPE instead of it dragging the whole realm down.
Let those millions of pounds go into something worth it.

So I'll take for instance Madrona Labs, Keith McMillen, Roger Linn, Haken Audio or the Osmose and the expressivee team I met at Superbooth any day over the Lamb approach, even though I'm not 100% into every thing they do either.

Cheers,

Tom
Last edited by ThomasHelzle on Thu Oct 21, 2021 3:03 am, edited 4 times in total.
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KVRAF
2068 posts since 15 Apr, 2004 from Capital City, UK

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 2:59 am

Yeah, the reasons are: so the investors were saying "we don't want you taking the risk with these high-end musicians tools, you need to be able to sell cheap teaser products as well to make sure we aren't only relying on the high-end stuff", so they came up with all that other tripe.

But that's what happens when money controls ideas. And the most important voices in the decision-making process are only interested in profits.

The idea was good.
The implementation was questionable.
Destined to fail.

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KVRist
229 posts since 9 Sep, 2019

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:25 pm

It was a marketing game for rich guys from the start. So, money came money went. Not saying it is money laundry, but...
Regarding the grid of the Seaboard, there were YouTube videos of some chinese or korean gyus who had this in 2009 as a cheap prototype, multi-touch pressure sensitive grid surface, flexible. Certainly the expensive part must have been the software both for calibration, design and user experience. But as a typical grid based instrument (that is the Seaboard), it could have been managed much more wisely and with small steps.
Crazy amount of money went to marketing and related legal procedures and who know what else.
By the way the new "trend" in money laundry happens to be UI\UX, besides the crypto-currency never-ending saga.

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GRRRRRRR!
12567 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 5:10 pm

machinesworking wrote:
Thu Oct 21, 2021 2:17 am
I think the problem is a there's a distinct split between prepackaged beats and a DJ loop style approach to music they touted with Roli Studio player and now Lumis guitar hero for keyboards, but on the other hand there's MPE, the ultimately configurable nature of Lightpad Blocks, Seaboards, the advanced MPE capable synthesizers etc. It's like they didn't really have a clue as to whom to sell to.
I don't see the logic in that conclusion. Seaboards appeal to musicians, Blocks appeal to DJs and Lumi appeals to aspiring musicians and/or DJs, all with plenty of overlap. I already have products from two of those categories and would have one from the third, too, if they'd bloody well well me one. Just because you're narrow-minded doesn't mean they have to be.
Hopefully they can find their way, the products are mostly good, although honestly their high end stuff is better, the loops software, keyboard hero stuff etc. is all pretty cheesy IMO, and it seems like they're convinced it's the bigger market.
It all cones down to how you use it. You don't have to use all the coloured lights on Lumi, you can use it like any other MIDI controller. Best of all, you can integrate it seamlessly into a Blocks set-up, which is why I want one.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

KVRian
550 posts since 11 Nov, 2010 from ny

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 7:45 pm

after reading their administrator proposal on github I dont know how any of you could still have any sort of faith they will get anything right smh

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KVRAF
2276 posts since 8 Dec, 2008 from Global Cowboy

Post Thu Oct 21, 2021 8:36 pm

It was the company chef who did it...

It's all his fault :wink:
No auto tune and iLok free...

KVRian
550 posts since 11 Nov, 2010 from ny

Post Fri Oct 22, 2021 5:04 am

CinningBao wrote:
Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:36 am
vertibration wrote:
Thu Oct 21, 2021 7:45 pm
after reading their administrator proposal on github I dont know how any of you could still have any sort of faith they will get anything right smh
I did, and I don't. Another, currently unknown, company will hopefully do a better job.
Yea it was quite the interesting read. Im currently getting my MBA in HR and Business management, so reading it was enlightening to see how a company could make so many poor decisions. Too much is reliant that they can recover their losses with sales of current goods. Thats a big gamble NGL

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KVRist
229 posts since 9 Sep, 2019

Post Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:10 pm

Between March 2012 and June 2017 the Company raised £45M of funds to develop and
launch the Seaboard GRAND, Seaboard RISE and BLOCKS products. However, demand for the ROLI products available at the time did not meet expectations.
That is £9M per year roughly + another £17M after a venture debt. Makes me wonder who "invests" every year in a company, which has never been profitable (ok by 2018 they had £11M in revenue, but that is not the profit)? Not saying it is money laundry, since those are rookie numbers.


ROLI produced 90,000 units of consignment stock (for BLOCK, LUMI), but the customer demand did not materialise. This created significant cashflow issues for ROLI, as it now had a significant debt of more than £10M due to its contract manufacturer.
We have to acknowledge the unpredictable Covid-19 lockdowns (chips shortage that followed), but still it was obvious by the autumn of 2019 (before Covid-19 eruption worldwide) that the company had to organise a Kickstarter campaign to make LUMI product on per demand basis. And that was a faulty design, leading to consumer dissatisfaction (as it is stated in the document\proposal by the CEO Roland Lamb). Inevitably the business shrunk to become less than 50% of its size around 2018.

My guess would be as in the old proverb "Too many chiefs, but quite a few indians.". Not to forget the acquisitions made along the way in order "to be perceived as a big player\shark".
One, maximum two products in production would have been enough (Seaboard + some software\standalone\plugin\API). Acquisitions can be made when you have at least doubled the investment made as a profit!

Too bad BLOCK and LUMI with all those fancy flashing and colourful rainbow-like LEDs could not help. Apparently the Chinese philosophy could not help either.
Well, Chinese philosophy in general is quite distant from the modern "entrepreneurs and successful individualists" a.k.a CEOs and all those abbreviation for people with a copycat, self-entitled behaviour a.k.a. wannabes.

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GRRRRRRR!
12567 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:59 pm

For all the naysayers, Equator got an update this week so it's business as usual for Roli/Lumi. Nothing to see here.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

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KVRAF
6361 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Fri Nov 05, 2021 4:48 am

Upgrade from Equator 1 unavailable. It was even with 30% discount much too expensive anyway… I am quite happy with version 1…

KVRAF
9339 posts since 12 May, 2008

Post Fri Nov 05, 2021 5:56 am

Tj Shredder wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 4:48 am
Upgrade from Equator 1 unavailable. It was even with 30% discount much too expensive anyway… I am quite happy with version 1…
It is a very significant update though. The granular mode for samples, plus the 6 oscillators which can now be any type of osc - this allows for some DX7 type of FM.
System: Windows 10, Dell XPS 2-in-1, Bitwig 3, Steinberg UR44.

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