I've been busy building, building, building!
Right now we have enough panels to fulfill all retailer and pre-orders as well as a bunch extra that will be available for sale by the end of the month - due to some hassles with Asian customs we will not be able to finish the remainder of the batch until we get it cleared up. Recent policies have made importing much more difficult and I've got days on the phone with the shippers and shop overseas that do the final process of routing out our panels. And because of the COVID situation, it is extremely hard to get through to people. Currently the extra panels are still in Asia with customs and we are trying to release them back to us, which is also proving to be a huge, time-consuming hassle. So! Because I don't like hassle in the way I like to work and our front panels have been a real hassle for years, I'm working on a fixture for our 2 ton CNC milling machine to mount a 3HP high-speed spindle so that when we do get them back, we can cut the remaining panels out ourselves and not be stuck in this situation again - if it ends up being an issue in the future.
To reiterate: "Right now we have enough panels to fulfill all retailer and pre-orders as well as a bunch extra that will be available for sale by the end of the month."
I also sent out an update post and email to our newsletter discussing our change in power cables to the standard ribbon several months back. This cable is still custom-made, electrical tested, and made with larger wire gauge than the typical euro power cable.
In other news, the Portal Drum is going well - we've changed the connector/cable type for the wired panel dual-concentric pots to improve manufacturability, assembly speed and reliability. We are also finishing up prototyping of our new utility module. Right now it includes all the standard goodies in a compact, yet playable/ergonomic format: S&H, T&H, Noise, two exp/lin VCAs, wave folder, and slew limiting all chained in a very useful way with macro possibilities. Each main block can be broken away from the chain and used individually. We will have this prototype finished up this week and will begin layout and the design package in the month to come. In terms of release, we will likely release both the Portal Drum and this utility around the same time since we have extremely high costs and MOQs associated with the custom-made dual-concentric pots both modules will use. We want to make sure we aren't sitting on unused inventory yet we do not want to compromise on the benefits these dual-concentric pots afford us. Besides, it's time to finally release some more RE modules, eh!?
Further down the line, we are looking at our Life VCO. The tri-core we developed for the Portal Drum is a solid block. We will then create 'life waveforms' which give this VCO quite simply: "Life." We are also toying with the idea to release a modular sequencer for the format. We have some ideas here that seem to still fit into the modular paradigm. And of course, our main goal is to get the standalone groovebox going.