LZX 3rd Generation: 2020 and beyond

Howdy!

I’ve been meaning to make this post in the wake of our Halloween announcement, in which I explain our direction moving forward into 2020 with current, past and future development. Please feel free to ask any questions in this thread.

  • LZX is entering a third era of development. In each generation we have experimented a lot: Visionary, Expedition and Orion series are all documentations of journeys through a lot of analogue processing territory and instrumentation concepts. This generation is less about experiments and more about encapsulating our work in a way that is designed for continuous production and focused on the community’s needs. The best LZX yet.
  • Instruments are getting bigger and EuroRackable with Automata series! Any of them can be perfect entry points or system cores, or an expanding modular system all their own. New EuroRack Modules are getting simpler and more affordable, through a rebirth of our Visionary series.
  • We’re not leaving any work behind! Where products have been discontinued, it is because direct functional replacements are planned or revisions to existing modules are planned.
  • The projects we’ve outlined to take us into 2020 and beyond are a direct result of listening to you all, and trying to take all voices into account.
  • In general, we’re narrowing down our product list. We can’t keep up with demand with our cashflow spit across so many production projects. That does not mean we don’t want to offer our full catalog or an expansive catalog, just that we need to focus on matching demand for the core products for a while and continue to stabilize our production flow.
  • We’re trying not to jump too far ahead. This is the direction, but we’d like to take it in phases. We’ll be listening to you actively at each phase.

So here’s the shape of things! Two new series we’re going to focus on: one for modules, one for instruments. Automata series is where most of our more advanced analogue work will evolve, as full instruments and voice modules. Visionary Series Mk2 will be core EuroRack modules with DIY options: basic and classic. Both series will be short lists, we plan to cover a lot of territory in a few products.

LZX Automata Series (Gen3)

  • Chromagnon, XY Video Instrument, March 20th 2020.
  • RGB Video Instrument.*
  • Texture Video Instrument.*

LZX Visionary Series II (Gen3)

  • DC Distro, 4HP EuroRack Module, Q1 2020

  • Sync Distro, 8HP EuroRack Module, Q1 2020 (converts to and from RCA/14 pin sync, active buffered mults to solve interfacing issues with various systems or standards)

  • Dual Video Waveform Generator, EuroRack Module, Q3 2020.

  • Triple Fader/Key Generator Mk3, EuroRack Module, Q3 2020.

  • Video Blending Matrix Mk3, EuroRack Module, Q3 2020.

  • This list may expand by 2-3 more and include some kind of utility encoder/syncgen for complete DIY systems.
    All Mk2 Visionary modules are planned for DIY and and production assembled variants.

  • There will also be a Sampler/Video Mixer Instrument. It’s unclear whether it will be an Automata series or Orion series device (probably the Orion capstone.)

DISCONTINUED
Vidiot (replaced by Chromagnon)
Polar Fringe (replaced by Chromagnon)
Visual Cortex (replaced by Chromagnon, and other future Automata instruments)
Navigator (replaced by Chromagnon)
Shapechanger (replaced by Chromagnon, and other future Automata instruments)
Cyclops (replaced by Chromagnon)
Marble Index (replaced by future Automata RGB instrument)
Prismatic Ray (replaced by Diver, Visionary Mk2 Dual Osc and Chromagnon)
Color Chords (replaced by future Automata RGB instrument, Visionary Mk2 Blending Matrix)
War of the Ants (replaced by future Automata Texture instrument)
Cadet series (we’ll keep selling until the end of the year, but these will be replaced entirely by diy variants of Visionary Mk2. edit: We’ll continue to offer Cadets 5 thru 8.)
Liquid TV (no direct replacement planned)

ACTIVE/RETAINER STATUS (we’ll keep making these)
All Orion modules
Topogram
Curtain
Mapper
Castle series PCBs
Arch
Bridge
Passage
Doorway
Staircase
Sensory Translator
Pendulum

Hopefully this overall road map will give everyone some context and answers. Looking forward to the discussion.

FYI: I have edited this OP to keep the info as clear as possible as your questions come up.

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Curtain? Or maybe a triple filter v2? :slight_smile:

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I’m going to have so many F’ing TVFKGS!!!

ALSO WELCOME TO TVFKG LATECOMERS

Hexx yea

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Is “RGB video instrument” the sampler module or something different?

Also, when can we expect to see Hourglass?

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Also DIY visionary series is such a gift to the community. Massive ups because that rules.

@creatorlars - Care to elaborate on TVFKGmk2? I have both the old variants, but I’m assuming MK2 denotes some new more better extra functionality?

We need a fat matrix multiplying mixer thing

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@northerntao Curtain’s not discontinued – but we’re going to make the call after this next production batch. There are likely to be our most exciting VCFs yet present in the texture and RGB instruments for Automata series.

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TVFKG mk2 will be something different, borrowing lineage both from the original TVFKG and work we’ve done in Expedition series. We’ll be excited to announce it officially around the time Chromagnon ships next Spring.

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The sampler isn’t on here yet – it will likely be announced after Chromagnon ships and we reach some bigger milestones with TBC2/Memory Palace.

Hourglass will be integrated into Automata series instrument designs (each will have its own animation subsystem.)

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I really appreciate your commitment to keeping the DIY vibe alive in future production. Thanks, Lars.

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And I saw Shapechanger made a surprising reappearance in the LZZ shop today, so I snapped one up along with a Navigator. The Chromagnon sounds intriguing, but I think I’m more drawn to the modular stuff. I’d hemmed and hawed on the the XY stuff, but I’m all in now. Especially with an XYZ scope on the way

Kudos to the Visionary rebirth! A VBM is on my wish list, especially with the CC being out of production and the desire to have more Matrix. That Solarium thing looked pretty cool too . Looking forward to the new stuff too.

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Yeah! We had a few Shapechangers on our QA recovery rack and Jason made them breathe again today.
In the modular context, Chromagnon is a complete voice (standalone image generator), but still very expandable. Like how you want Navigator+Shapechanger in pairs, this would give the full voice. I’m excited to show a bigger picture of the instrument.

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Not sure if you’re aware, but Chromagnon can be used standalone or racked as a module

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Yeah, it’s more of a EuroRack voice module that comes with its own mini case.

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Yes, I saw that. The Chromagnon looks amazing, but it already seems to have overlap with pieces I already have in modular form - VC, Mapper, Polar Fringe, etc. I have an Escher Sketch, which quite honestly has seen little use so far, as well as a Memory Palace but I’ve wanted more XY control with input. And as modules, I will probably have more flexibility as to the order of things compared to the mostly normaled path of an instrument. We’ll see.

Are the DIY visionary all through hole? Are the preassembled also through hole. Or smt variants with different depths/board designs?

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So, I take it the expedition series will be no more? I really like the way expedition looks aesthetically, with the one color and the knob choice, much more than the visionary series, but just my two cents. So will any of the expedition modules be DIY? Are expedition and visionary series compatible?

Thanks for the updates.

@brownshoesonly Ask me again around April 2020. All still to be determined! Production modules will definitely be SMT. DIY modules will either be all thruhole or will be with SMT pre-assembled, there are a lot of factors hinging on that and we also want time to get everyone’s feedback during the process. The goal will be to make them thruhole so that we can sell bare PCB/Panel sets. But if the thruhole parts are gonna cost you 80 bucks and i can sell you the pre-assembled SMT for 40 bucks instead, then do you really want to pay $40 more to be able to solder all the ICs yourself? So we’ll just have to see, as we research new op-amp series to consider.

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A little curious why discontinuing all Cadets? I get that some will be somewhat redundant with Visionary DIY, and some would need to be updated if you wanted them to be RCA sync. But, unless I am mistaken, that still leaves several that could be useful to keep around as is.

Not really a matter of self-interest here, but just curious. I would think (from an armchair perspective; don’t actually know) keeping PCBs/panels in stock wouldn’t be too hard. Is it more a matter of all-or-nothing? Like keeping three or four around doesn’t seem worth the trouble? Having some single-function DIY options still available seems kinda nice.

Expedition Series isn’t going anywhere – it is a design language with a specific focus on complex, integrated functions and series ramp processing. Some module concepts are always going to fit best into the Expedition mindset, so we might make more modules in the series. Topogram, which we’re shipping this month, is an example of a very Expedition concept. If we find the community is attached to specific discontinued module concepts, we can revise them to a v2 and put them back into active production. We just have to wait until we have the resources to do that, right now we’re spread too thin to keep everything active. My guess? Once you see the full vision of the Automata instruments, it will all make a lot more sense.

Visionary Mk2 releases won’t look like the old modules, they’ll have a new design language. We’ll get some feedback before settling on anything. These new “core set” modules may even have a different name by the time we get there. The intention now is to communicate the intentions of the roadmap we’re planning to follow, and the reasons for it.

Expedition series will not have DIY options.

All LZX video synths follow the 1V patchable video format since day 1, and will continue to do so, so all the series are compatible. Our promise has always been that we’re going to stick to that and provide a core foundation for the format. You may run into some differences in sync formats, but the “Sync Distro” planned can convert between any of them.

The new Automata instruments and Visionary Mk2 reboot are products we’re specifically designing to be made continuously for many long years to come.

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Yeah we could still stock some of the Cadets. One of my goals going into 2020 is to only have products with RCA sync in/out in active stock or supported. So it’s only the sync/encoder modules that need to be discontinued. We could also just revise them as they are, if that’s what you want. We just can’t do it all at once, so we are just looking for the most useful next step right now. Our goal is that we’d love to have DIY and production versions of a “core set” of module designs.

Having multiple sync formats on active products has caused us (and some of you) loads of headaches. We’re being very cautious about having products competing with each other, but with DIY it’s a different consideration, we can afford to have the variations.

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