How many of you actually care that it's a kit, or open source, etc

Loyal partiers--
As I sit here with my maps and calipers, planning the next offensive, a question plagues me:

How many of you care that the WTPA family is a kit?  If it cost the same, and had the same features, and was a finished unit, how many of you would actually prefer to do the building on your own?

Do you care that it's open source?
If so, is it a "warm fuzzy" thing, a political thing, or an actual intent to understand how electronics work, make changes to the source code or schematics, etc?

Just curious.  Please weigh in.  Thanks!



  • The kit? $240 , finished $450 that difference makes a kit worth it, my time with AC soldering iron is way cheaper than yours. Best part of the kit, all the parts are there, sourcing from mouser and ja eco for a bare board sucks.

    Preassembled surface mount sub-boards rock, I'm a thru-hole guy all the way, those SMT components are for robots not old farts with. Soldering iron and bad eyes.

    Open source? Could care less unless someone comes up with even better firmware than you, which is unlikely.

    That's my $0.02 worth
  • edited January 2015
    alright let's see,
    the difference between DIY or not is for me the difference between having it or not. A finished unit can still mean different things (as in assembled by you, mass produced in a chinese gulag, built by some other wiggler) but essentially boils down to the same. I even passed a RCD i bought on Muff's on to my band mate because it wasn't my own diy (worked 100% and was a nice build, actually worth keeping, but also making me think i want to build it too)
    A few years ago I sold all my shit and swore to myself I'd only play instruments i built myself. That is, if I can do it. I obviously haven't diy'ed my semi acoustic GDR bass, and sad but true my PA is also still DIY by someone else, stuff like that. Ah and I still have an S1000 (because the guy who bought it in 2009 didn't pay, but I took that as a sign and still keeping it)

    But new stuff, nope. Like for example Mutable Instruments. I really like what Olivier is doing and will gladly advise anyone to buy his modules. And though i certainly would like to play with some of his modules I'd first have to find a way to diy them which isn't impossible, just takes more thought than just plowing through my huge backlog which is priority at at the moment. Grids for example is one candidate to diy, just need a smt adapter board then it should be easy to do (TH version of the chip is different)

    Surface mount is really no biggie (1206 and 0805 also the SOIC) especially if you know you probably have to swap component values a few times, better than TH (never thought i would say that) especially on dense boards. I would have bought the unassembled option for the SD board too had there been one.

    Open source may be viewed as a political thing as it has an impact on businesses etc. What's more important is the benefits for further development, probably faster progress, and learning. Also in cases like this it allows for customized / personalized firmware (learning again). Overall I think guys who make their work open source are very honorable, unlike certain asshole 'companies' that can only steal IP, not even give credit (so cheap), blackmail etc etc the whole thing.

    Yo! Gimme dat Party!
  • edited January 2015
    I Prefer boards and panel/case sets over full kits. Currently i still buy programmed chips but my goal this year is to move away from that. I want to diy a Braids. I have such a stockpile of parts that diy is a savings for me. I have also learned a lot from it. I also plan to breadboard and perf board my first modules this year as well as get into panel design. Open source is cool, but I doubt I will modify any code for a long time.

    I would never have picked up this hobby if things were pre built. It also takes my mind away from the shitty weather and my day job.
  • Even ignoring the price difference between assembled and kit forms I probably wouldn't've bought one if it weren't a kit. I like being able to look through the source code to see how it works even if I doubt I'll ever change anything. I'm a tinkerer and builder by trade and inclination; I love using and customizing things I made myself and the open source philosophy is not only practical but dear to my heart.
  • for me it is very important that it is diy. i would even build myself if the price is the same. just to be able to have a specials case / frontpanel.
    i have very little non-diy gear, and most of that is "obsolete" oldschool stuff from ebay.

    beeing able to download the schematics (and sourcecode) is also very important because i try to learn from them and sometimes need them for modding stuff.

  • Interesting.
    Basically, I need to decide whether it's worth continuing to offer kits.  They are a PITA to make (harder than finished units) and they have a lot of "ideology" points, but I was sort of wondering if I was the only one that cared.

    I'd love to hear what more people have to say.

  • Well about the kit thing i have to say I don't really care (for myself). You could as well just offer blank PCB's (and maybe a panel if you do modular stuff), sell it at a price so it makes sense for you without doing kits, if kits is too annoying to handle.
    As long as it's DIY i be happy to buy!
  • +1 for what rosch said
  • I really enjoy building the kit and get a lot of pride from having made something; and it gives the gear a stronger sense of 'meaning' to me; and it builds a stronger connection to the community. I mainly have non-kit gear. If it was the PCB plus a Mouser BOM I could cope OK with that. If it was a non-kit at double the price then I'd think twice or three times about buying it.
  • Depends, if I can afford it. Mostly price is just a matter of when to buy. For example the TR9090 boards were not so cheap, but if you look at how big they are can't call that expensive. It's just that and the other material needed add up so it's probably nothing you buy by pure intuition as soon as you see it. However what other possibilites were there when it came out?
    So if I want a WTPA2 or some Todd Bailey Eurorack module I probably won't get something similar from Behringer (just to do the cheapass comparison)

    However one thing is sure. Kits do also attract beginners who are not used to parts sourcing yet, who wouldn't decide for it if there was no kit option. My first WTPA was a kit also, and the next ones I learned how to order the rail to rail opamps or SRAM madness from here (or have a nice soul from overseas buy them for me and send them)
  • I'd love a finished product at the same cost of a kit. It kills me to have to use my scarce free time to build something instead of just playing with it. There's a ton of really useful stuff I've learned from the DIY world of building kits, but I'm still more of a musician who actually writes songs, releases them and performs them live, which seems to be kind of a minority in these parts. 

    That being said, I highly doubt I'd ever take some open source code and fork it even though I have tons of ideas for Narrat1ve/Mutable stuff, I'm not a coder! Hell, I have a half-functioning WTPA2 sitting in my studio cuz I don't know how to compile the source code! But I've seen lots of good come from source being available. WTPA2 got the DMC code because of the open source (not that Andrew wouldn't have been able to get it otherwise) and I've def seen some cool hacks done with Mutable stuff and even brand new things created with pieces of Olivier's code. 

    So the tally is: yes to finished product at kit price and yes to keep the source open. DIY junkies can still build their own and poor musician dummies can play that funky music.
  • You mean assembled product as cheap as a kit, or kits for the price of an assembled unit?
  • I don't think you're alone; in fact I suspect you are speaking for the majority of musicians.
    Most people I know who play music love weird instruments, but they don't all necessarily love reading resistor color codes.  It's a rare bird who likes both.

    Re: kit vs. assembled being equal in price -- yes, that's pretty much what I mean.  At least for the sake of argument, let's say a kit and a finished unit cost the same amount.

    Would any of you pay _any_ more for a finished unit?  Or buy a kit anyway even if it cost the same as the complete unit?
    Some of you would really want bare boards and a BOM?

    This is all very helpful to hear.  Thank you all.  Anybody else, I'd be curious to hear your opinion.

  • So, say, if the kit has a reasonable price for a kit, and the assembled module cost just as little as a kit, I would still get the kit. Especially since I could imagine under which circumstances the assembly line operates.

    However if the price for a kit is raised to that of an assembled module, hehe, you can keep them both honestly.
  • But if i have a choice i would go for boards in most cases, since apart from MCU and some more exotic ICs i should have most of the parts in stock anyway.
  • I think in modular-diy-land it is quite commen to just offer Board (+programmes microprocessor) a bom or mouser cart ,Most of the Time assembly instructions and a build thread on the diy section on the muffwiggler Forum for troubleshooting and help with sourcing parts.
    In a lot of cases when there are Full kits, bare boards are at least an Option. And otherwise you have at least people asking about bare boards.
  • I only like complete kits myself. I dig the soldering and the little bits of electronics knowledge I glean here and there, but I totally hate sourcing components. And trying to do your own enclosure (without a workshop full of tools) can also be a serious pain in the ass. Also, as said above, like to use some of my scant free time to actually make music with the junk I've amassed.

    But I can see where kits (especially complete ones) would be incredibly time consuming to put together. And I'd rather have someone like you stay in the game and make cool stuff, even if it makes more sense for you to sell finished units instead. I'd probably be content to buy something like WTPA assembled (especially a Euro version...wink, nudge!) and get my DIY fix on something quick and simple like effects pedals.
  • edited January 2015
    Truth be told - WTPA is a pretty quick and simple build, in case you are concerned. I haven't built the new one yet (on the way) but the construction aspect is the same as WTPA1, i would say even easier, as there is a case available this time. No terrible complicated tuning procedures etc etc. WTPA1 was my first finished diy build back then and worked right away (despite assembling it sitting on a carpet that was throwing sparks all the time and a cheap mains power soldering gun from the hardware store). There's very good build documentation, if you follow it you may be done in 2-3 hours. Definitely more fun than a small effect pedal!
  • For me, it's the first time to build a piece of electronic music hardware. Curious if it will feel different to make music on my own self built instrument. I remember it was kind of a magic moment to build a radio and hear sound come from it for the first time. (happened to be the English language broadcast of Radio Moscow, which made it all the more exotic)

    So yeah, I do care that it's a kit, but I'm not your typical kit builder. Maybe I'll do it once for the experience and that'll be it. I don't know yet.

    I do like that it's open source and I would enjoy altering the code for my own purposes, were it not that I hardly know C and really really can't find the time for everything I want to do.
  • I personally care a lot that it is DIY, but i wouldn't need a complete kit. After having sourced components for a couple of projects you get the hang of it. BOM-work is never fun but helps reducing the overall cost which is still a big factor for me. So PCBs and perhaps a mouser-BOM would be enough.

    For me, sitting down and building the unit, firing it up for the first time and maybe even troubleshooting is a big part of the whole experience and i wouldn't want to miss that. But i was also the guy who never played with legos. As soon as something was finished i built the next.

  • inhale, exhale
    I just got a WTPA2 in the mail :)

    I'm a very happy camper at the moment, and a huge part of the reason for that is that I'm looking forward to the build.
    For me it's essential that the sound device is built by myself.
    It doesn't have to be a kit, a PCB + BOM is fine, but I would not buy a pre-built unit.
    About open source, it's not essential, but I like that it's possible to look through it to understand what is happening.

    I am very grateful to you Todd, and people like you that have the interest and skills to make these kind of things, and make them available.
    I do understand that it's a lot of work, and probably not a lot of money to be made, but I hope that you will continue to make "weird pieces of electronics" for us solder-fume addicts.    
  • edited January 2015
    I just received two kits this week: WTPA2 and the Midibox Seq4.  I still need to order the darn stm32f4discovery board!  

    I got into electronics kits partly because I alsways loved building things, electronics as much or more.  If the kit is cheaper then I'll take the kit and enjoy the knowledge I've built something and saved money by using my time and skill.  If a solid quality product was available I really wanted but complete I actually might be less likely, partly as rosch mentioned above.  Something about a kit build makes me more interested in the final product.  I think it is just the builder in me.

    Open Source: I'd love to claim that I'd learn from and change things but I probably wont.  It DOES matter though.  I've bought and built lots of MI stuff from Olivier (and it's what got me back into electronics DIY a couple years back) and have sold most because I didn't have the dough for all the bills I racked up buying that stuff :^O and because I wasn't using it.  I still have a CEM board and control pcb waiting to be populated and an MKII and XT kit from Frank (fcd72 there) because I want to build a dedicated keyboard for it.  I like Open Source because I could feasibly do what schrab (check the MI forums for his crazy over-the-top DIY builds of MI stuff) does in my spare time even if I don't have the board.  I've been talking to a couple forum hangers at MI about OSHPark-ing a set of Braids boards to get me into modular (not too far, just enough for one device).  


    Kit over finished product unless the price is just too close and even then likely kit wins out (if a case can be had - I wish I owned a laser cutter as I have lots of projects with NO case and that sucks).
    Open Source just because it does open the possibility of hacking.  I've gotten more knowledgeable about electronics from building and my newest hobby - pinball machines - has led me to learn even more.  I've been doing board fixes and troubleshooting I wouldn't have thought possible just six months ago.  Open Source has helped out with a lot of that stuff.  To me, open source is about opening up education so I'm for it.  

    For the hard work you do in designing though you definitely deserve some financial reward for your efforts.

    Meant to add that I am also fine sourcing my own parts.  Getting the darn pcbs made is a hassle for bigger size things unless you have a large order of them so I'm grateful that you've done that part and can't wait to get this kit built and start playing with it!
  • I found the smd caps on the ttsh a real serious pain to do. programming the atmels also a bit of an issue though I've done a bunch of kit soldering.  For you Todd your time is better spent dreaming up new.  I'd look at models like thonk, muffwiggler store and
    I find user sourced with a mouser bom the easiest.  Cases could be a buy your own case license off you on ponoko.  
  • Thanks for all the opinions.  Keep 'em coming.  Looks like I can't get rid of kits entirely, is what I'm hearing.
  • Price being equal (which it never is...?) kit over finished device. I like to build things, and/or put myself in the chain of production. Challenge myself to work for the (glorious!) result. Would also definitely buy PCB + BOM.
    I like that it is open source for idealistic/political reasons... Will probably never do anything with it, but like that it is available to those who can/want to.

  • The kit definitely ups the romance factor. Everyone loves looking at something they made with pride, even in the toilet. The open source part is more important to me. Heck, beyond the political reasons for OSS, it's already come up that people have mod ideas that would require source code changes to pull off.
  • edited January 2015
    This has all been a great sequence of events/timing for me. The only choice I see available is DIY kit even though I'd prefer the prefab. After treading water in the nerd camp pool since its announcement in 2010 (even when it got pretty grim, prognosis-wise) but life dealt circumstances of my hands and one leg tied behind my back thru most of 2014 and now the first two months of 2015 and I can't flip over the $600 Loonies -no way no how. Par for the course -I'm getting totally used to it. No victims - sh*t happens. 
    The cap on the # of prefabs happened within weeks? Hopefully... (unless I'm in a different karma vortex) I'm keeping toes on the one foot available - crossed for that sliver of a chance that there'll still be kits left in March, or I'll I dunno anymore.. or...or something. Yeah boohoo. 
    On the bright side... 
    Glad it's made it to the selling block -congrats due for focus/determination to get 'er done Todd!
    The 0-5V CV mod also will be a necessity as all my analog is too.
    Post some vids - prefab owners? Thanks. 
  • @ tofino_waves: i would happily built it for you if that makes any sense shipping wise (i am in germany)
  • I'm pretty new to the kits and diying all this, but I've caught the bug pretty bad... I gave it a go with a LushOne Base and Countour, then built a couple of simple pedals and modded a monotron, then did my first self-source; a Novatron 2 and now I've got an Anushri, a Shruthi (and a bunch of Shruthi PCBs...), Living VCOs on the way, Turing Machine and expanders, a case and PSU, too and enough parts to build a couple more modules at some point... And of course, the WTPA2

    DIY vs ready-assembled was/is mostly financial - minimal pennies here, but lots of time and I've progressively gotten better with an iron from doing some repairs to camera lenses. Another big part is I just enjoy making things.

    The problem getting started was knowing I could get an awesome synth/whatever as a PCB and save money ordering the parts myself, but it's a pretty daunting thing to do, and quite a few people just don't do kits. I guess because it's a right PITA to baggie them all up and what not... so uh... I dunno. Hard one.

    Now, though, PCB, BOM + Case/panel or case/panel file and I'm a happy bunny, oh, and maybe a pre-programmed chip, though I might be able to sort that out myself soon, too. I HATE cutting/drilling panels - I just don't really have the setup for it and cases are right out unless I get really lucky and found something like a perfectly sized magic wooden box... But really, when there's friggin NEON GREEN cases to be had... I'll go for that any day!

  • I like kits, and for the same money would prefer to build my own. I also like PCB+BOM, and am happy to dig around in Mouser etc. I especially like PCB+panel or enclosure -- enclosure or panel is one of the hardest things to DIY, I think.

    I care very much that it's open source, partly philosophically, and partly with actual intent to mod.

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