Update July 2020 (part 2)
Despite the problems that I described in my previous post, the prototype is nearing completion. The controller responds to Ableton and is usable. There still are some bugs here and there and at the moment, it only supports MIDI 1.
The LEDs acquire the correct color already so it’s already visible which Ableton track belongs to which channel.
Some parts don’t fit perfectly yet, I damaged the panel when trying to fix the problem described above and I made some mistakes while glueing the wooden frame, but all in all, I’m quite satisfied by how the first prototype turned out:
I will record a small set soon to show off what it can do :)
My girlfriend got herself a really nice new camera and she made some amazing photos of the KNTRL9. I posted some of them on Facebook and Instagram! More to come!
New demo prototypes
In order to be able to test the KNTRL9, I will make 5 prototypes that I will hand out to some lucky alpha testers. This is the next step.
Unfortunately (but good for them), my go-to CNC-guys launched a very successful crowdfunding campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hoepner/disinfectionball) so now I have to find someone else to do the CNC work for the wooden frames. Not only will this cost more (offers I have now are around €80 per controller(!)), it will also delay the process even further.
I hope to get this arranged ASAP!
I had loads of people ask me a very important question: How much will the KNTRL9 cost?
Well, I already have a price idea in my head but I will talk to some more people about this to make sure it’s right. “Why is it so difficult to just name the price, I mean, I already know how much it will cost to produce one MIDI controller”, you may ask, and I’ve asked myself the same question.
Well, apart from the fact that I only know how much a MIDI controller costs to produce when I know how many I can sell, there are more factors that come into play. First of all, I already spent a lot of time in the development of the KNTRL9. Now usually, you could say I need to earn all this time back in the form of money. However, this company is not only my new source of income, it’s also my re-education program from software engineer to hardware and product developer. So I am willing to invest some of my own money in it as well.
Having said that, if I want to make this into a success, I need to have enough income to be able to design new controllers and keep the company going. So if the price is too low, I might run out of business soon.
Also, keep in mind that because I want to produce a quality high-end product, I have not skimped on the parts that I’m using, which will make the product end up in the higher segment.
But the hardest part is knowing how many I will sell. Of course, I did some market research to find out that there actually is a demand for robust and quality MIDI controllers in which haptics are important, but it’s nonetheless hard to figure out the sales numbers. I calculated that the minimum I would need to sell would be 100 (anything underneath would result in a net loss).
I will be honest: I am terrible at marketing. I’m trying to learn some of the principles but since I consider myself immune to marketing techniques (I mean, I really did need a new Novation Launchpad recently, that ad just happened to be there, I already had decided I would buy one), I have no clue how to approach all this.
So, I really need some help from my Clan (a word I learned recently ;)). If you like my product, you would really help me to spread the word: mention it here and there. If you know anyone that works for a music magazine, let me know!
Also: Did I mention that I have FREE STICKERS!! Drop me a message (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send some off to you. Free of charge.
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