The Humble Audio Manifesto

Hi folks,

I’ve been meaning to get to this for a while--I've wanted to describe the philosophy behind the Humble Audio brand, our approach to module design, and what to expect from our offerings in the future. I think people can probably surmise some of this from the design of the Quad Operator, but I think it's worth spelling out better for a bunch of reasons. One is so that I can understand it and apply it more explicitly. Another is so that users can understand why I might respond to some users’ feedback while not acting on others’. I don't want you to be frustrated when you don't get what you ask for! Maybe we're not the right brand for you to buy, and that's fine. We know that we can't make everyone happy all the time, please don't expect that we can make you perfectly happy either. We'll all be happier in the long run that way! Here we go...

Simplicity of USER INTERFACES

Modular synthing can be confusing enough as it is. Humble Audio does not want to make things any harder than they already are. We want the panels to be the manual as much as possible without getting in the way. Screw reaching for the manual, we hate doing that while we're patching. Of course, we must have a manual nevertheless. There are pieces of information you'll want from time to time. But hopefully that's just once when you buy the thing, or once in a while when you've forgotten some particulars. Keep it simple, stupid! In this case, "it" is the module and I'm the stupid. We'll leave features out if we think it will muddy up the design. Simplicity is a feature too, don't forget it.

Rock Solid Implementation

Modular synths can be finicky. It's just part of the game. Sometimes modules behave in unexpected ways. We try to make our modules performance and behavior ultra consistent to keep the finickiness to a minimum. This helps make the simplicity of interaction easier too--consistent behavior means your mental model can be a lot simpler. We make digital stuff mostly, so we work hard to achieve the lowest latency and jitter possible for the best audio quality we can reasonably achieve. We'll pursue firmware updates endlessly to this end, but hopefully we get it mostly right the first time. I'm a pretty good engineer, I must say. Not very humble you say? Braggadocious? That may very well be, but it’s what happens here on the Humble Brag blog. But what I'm saying is absolutely the truth. I have a lot of experience when it comes to code, engineering at the hardware/software boundary, and user interaction design. I do not mess about when it comes to well-written algorithms, efficient code optimization, good clear layout, and many more skills important to delivering you great modules.

High Level of COMMUNITY Interaction

We love and appreciate our customers, stockists, and other business partners. Special shout out to WMD and Alex4. You make this possible. We want to be there for you. Ask us for help, we'll help in whatever ways we reasonably can. We ask you to be kind and patient in the process. We will make mistakes, we're sorry. We don't try to, but we do. I'm a one man band with a lot of help from contractors, partner businesses, and friends donating their time to this project. I need your patience and respect. I'll trade you back the same for it. Fair trade, right? Cool. Also check out our community forums over at https://discourse.humble.audio/. We hope to collect a good array of helpful information there. I'll try to stay on top of your questions and issues as best as I can.

Interest in Collaboration

We're excited to meet other brands/makers and collaborate. Let's put our heads and complimentary skill sets together and do dope stuff! I'm pretty good with digital hardware and definitely software, not so much with analog design. I also can't PCB layout worth a damn. Maybe you can design beautiful panels! We're beginning to look at FPGA stuff for the performance characteristics--horsepower, latency, and whatnot. We've already got a couple skunkworks projects along those lines in the works. I’m also not opposed to doing contract work for you, definitely interested in advising relationships (me giving you advice, perhaps for cash or equity). I did the startup tech thing for 5 years at Dropbox from when it was a tiny little babe, so I have some knowledge and skills for larger organizations, hypergrowth nonsense/pain management, engineering management as well. Reach out if you have ideas about how to work together. And stay tuned! I'll always chat about any of this stuff.

That's all for now! Thanks for reading! New to Humble Audio? Check out the Quad Operator! Much love to my friends in Bernal Heights, SF, the Bay Area, and out there in the synthosphere!

Quad Operator Firmware 1.0.2

Hi folks,

We’ve got a new firmware available for the Quad Operator. The original firmware shipped on units had some issues with CV control crosstalk—certain CV inputs were affecting other inputs in unintended ways in certain cases. Then, our fix in firmware 1.0.1 created a new bug. We’ve now resolved that. You can find more information about the issues over on our community forums: https://discourse.humble.audio/t/quad-operator-1-0-2-firmware-was-shape-1-input-affecting-oscillator-3-pitch/19/10

You can find updated instructions for firmware 1.0.2 along with the update package over here: https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/Quad-Operator-1.0.2-Update-Instructions--AjT__5ldQPicG9e4XvVj2au1Ag-p0LpWygFynjDKwV777wug

There remains some room for improvement in the update instructions, so we’d appreciate your feedback. Additionally, as a Mac user I have not been able to properly test the update from Windows. It may not work 100% correctly, so we’d appreciate if you can let us know if you get a successful result from it. Just drop us a line on social media or by the contact form on the website. We already have a few updates in mind that will be coming soon.

We’ve asked shop owners to update their inventory, though we can’t guarantee that they have or they will. Units coming from our European distributor Alex4 will be updated soon, as will units coming directly from our manufacturing partner WMD to US and other non-European outlets.

Take care,

Will

Quad Operator Available Now for Distribution!

 

We’ve had a challenging year getting a handle on the manufacturing process. And we took on an extra project for the love of the craft, our custom conical knob design (more on that later). But now the day is here! We are excited to announce that the Quad Operator and its Algo expander are now available for distribution!

Pricing

The Quad Operator will retail for $500, and the Algo for an additional $85 in the United States (excluding sales tax). Pricing in other countries will become clearer as we establish dealer relationships around the world, but you can expect pricing to be roughly inline with those implied by exchange rates and local taxes.

Distribution

We will be selling exclusively through established retailers, and we are now prepared to take wholesale orders!

Interested Dealers—please contact us! European retailers may contact Alex4 directly.

Interested Users—please contact your favorite modular retailers and ask them to stock the Quad Operator!

Superbooth is coming!

For those attending Superbooth, please come see us at our booth W235 (right across from Elektron)! We’ll be doing an all-Quad Operator performance in the Cinema Thursday at 1400. In the mean time, we’re counting down to Superbooth with a new daily video showcasing the Quad Operator’s sonic potential on our instagram.

 

Media assets are available here.