We have Fenixes on the shelf! 14 Fenix IVs are fully tested, calibrated and packed away waiting for us to finish the software and the manual. 4 Fenixes need one more round of calibration and then they too can be packed away. We are already in touch with the first 18 people that are set to receive these. Hopeful shipping date is mid April.
Meanwhile our friend Sjoerd came by to do a ‘sexy photo shoot’ with the 1st of our Fenixes. Some of the pictures are attached to this post.
Stijn and Lauri had a three-day immersion into the Fenix IV software out in a wooden cabin in the dunes just as everything was covered in snow and ice. This was some amazing pressure cooker time, in which a lot of integration happened (more than 70 commits to the source code repository). And getting the Fenix to sync up beautifully to a NAVA unit, making sure it works perfectly with the outside world.
There are a lot of upgrades going on in the software. Like quantizers wherever they make sense; twice in the sequencer, in the digital oscillator, as a separate FM operator quantization option, in the lowpass and highpass of the digital filter and in our dual delay waveguide mode. We’ve added chord editing on the chord oscillator with slide or jump behaviour between the chords. You can pingpong and bounce the play order of the sequencer as well as a few options based on randomness. The arpeggiators now have an up-to 16-step rhythm editor. Our clock module now has a very proper clock multiplier and division to do polyrhythms. There is delay line tempo syncing. There are mono and stereo modes for the delay unit. You can have noise injection modes in the vocoder, the waveguide and in the vocal filter (with adjustable envelope). Realtime graphics for digital modules are running without a hitch. The UI on our little screen has much improved. There is a hypercube screensaver. Overall, all the details of interaction are being smoothed out and more features are being added every day.
Minor hardware tweak: On the octave switch we have found an edge case where some CVs might be unstable if you put too much variable load on it. We have decided to add some strategically placed capacitors to stabilize the output regardless of load. Meaning we will reopen all the Fenixes one last time before we ship them.
When the AKM chip factory in Japan burned down we quickly redesigned the same board with a new CODEC chip and have now tested this design; it works! Equal specs and equal performance. Our trusty Ellage assembly house is going to put these boards together. We feel very fortunate that we already have all the chips and other components we need in house. Lots of parts – especially chips – are suffering from a worldwide shortage at the moment.
We are working on a comprehensive manual that tells you what everything is, why it is and how you might use it. We have visiteded a printer (local sheltered workspace) to have these important pages bound into a beautiful and functional companion to the instrument – just as soon as we are done writing it.
We have also asked Making Sound Machines to make several Fenix IV introduction videos to help you get started with the instrument. They have already made some beautiful patch videos. As they are also one of our beta-testers they have been playing with this instrument and said they now “know exactly what they would like to show someone touching a Fenix IV for the first time”. So that’s going to be a video.