The future of LZX modules

Hey guy, I just ordered my first LZX gear a Vidiot and plan to expand my audio rack to video using my old modules as modulators and what not.

What is really confusing to me it the whole discontinuing wave hitting modulargrid and I don’t find the modules I planned to get. In my view (without ever playing LZX) modules like a color chord are just essential in a rack. I need layers and want colors (preferably cv controlled btw). I don’t see any successors of these modules. A Prismatic Ray oscillator seems to be such a piece as well. Sure there are DIY oscilators and a double osci in the pipeline but with less modulation possibilities.

Am I just to late now? Do I need to buy all the modules that I can find now asap otherwise I won’t have them? Or are there future batches of such modules planned just not on the schedule yet?
What is the community recommending and what is the official statement of LZX?

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There’s been a bit of discussion about this on the LZX facebook group too. I’m kind of in the same boat as you, I have some DIY modules but haven’t bought any production modules yet and was eagerly anticipating buying a lot of the ones that have been recently discontinued. There are several reasons why I’m not concerned anymore:

  • First and foremost: LZX are really good at what they do. Their products are very well designed, both on an individual module basis and how all the modules work together. Because of this, I have faith that their next range of modules will be good and will work well together as an expressive and coherent system. There may very well be new ways of thinking about your video workflow such that you don’t miss those discontinued modules that you never bought.
  • They’ve discontinued modules in the past (see the Visionary series) and eventually replaced them (IMO) with even better modules. (Some got fairly direct replacements, and others were a bit less direct.) I wasn’t into video synths when that change happened, so I can’t speak for how that transition went compared to this one, and there were a few modules in that range that never had any equivalents in the Expedition series, but I’d say what came after the Visionary series was worth it.
  • Discontinued modules continue to pop up for sale used from time to time. And at least with the listings I’ve seen on the LZX facebook group, people aren’t price gouging even though they’re discontinued.
  • Lars has stated that the Diver will be their primary oscillator module going forward, for the time being. There’s an upcoming update that will have a dedicated ‘oscillator mode’.
  • Lars has shared some sneak peeks into some planned upcoming modules, and they’re all awesome! One is a replacement for the Color Chords, though I believe Lars said it’s no more than an idea yet, so it may not come to be. (Color Chords seems pretty useful to me (and many others who voiced their concern about the discontinuation) so I suspect it, or something like it, will come to be at some point.)
  • Various retailers will likely continue to have stock for a while longer. Some places sell out quick, but others aren’t so fast to sell out. So you may yet find the modules you want brand new, even though they’ve been discontinued.
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The modules that have been discontinued, have been discontinued

New modules will arrive, when they arrive

Some may be “direct replacements”, some will not

If there’s a particular module that you want, can find it at a dealer (or in stock at lzx) and can afford it, then buy it

This has always been the case with LZX (and lots of other modular companies, for that matter)

I’m sure Lars has a plan so that there are no massive gaps in the lines for long

The third generation of LZX modules was launched with Topogram - one of the advantages of these new modules is that they are less susceptible to bad quality power - as they are internally 5v, but taken from the 12v - so the power is guaranteed to be clean

There is a firmware update in the works for Diver, which adds a vco - so there is a vco available in the factory built modules - and there is i believe still stock of prismatic rays anyway

Chromagnon features some of the Mapper (colourising) and Navigator (movement) functionality and there is still stock of the Navigator and Mapper hasn’t been discontinued (yet) as well as being a rackable sync master and i/o hub

I know what you mean about the Color Chords and Marble Index though! I just bought one of the last MIs and I already had a CC!

My advice is as much as possible, save your pennies and buy modules you find interesting as soon as you can, but don’t stress too much if you miss one that you think will be massively important to you (of course this is particularly difficult if you are a beginner and see a load of modules being discontinued, especially after the recent spate of excellent promotional/educational videos from Johnny Woods)

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Another comforting thought: people made plenty of awesome video art before a particular discontinued module even existed! Nothing is truly essential.

Also, I started building my LZX system right after the Visionary series was discontinued, and I still ended up with a few in my rack. There’s active trade in everything.

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Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the LZX Facebook group, and if you really want something, make a post in there asking for it! I just did that with Color Chords and my LZX buddies showed me multiple avenues that popped up in a short time just after I made my post.

One of those places is Reverb. There is some gouging on there, but it’s not frequent. You can set alerts for any particular search. If you have the money now, a whole rack’s worth of Expedition modules just dropped there, so check that out ASAP if you’re interested. Otherwise, patience is key. The new stuff that’s coming out in 2020 will absolutely be worth the wait.

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