Originally posted by abacus:
Hi RobertG
I have a couple of questions.

1. Define Professional.

2. What can the Tyros/E80 etc do, that OMB canít.


Bill: Fair questions. Let me take some time to elaborate/pontificate.

These are of course my opinions. But I base them on my experience of over 25 years of working with electronic music and computer programming both as a profession and an advocation. So I while I may not have the familarity with every feature of every product I do know what effort it takes to get a type of end result.

1. Professional = A fit and finish of interface, documentation, presentation, and integration. An ability to be a comprehensive stand-alone product or established relationships with companion products to provide a comprehensive solution.

OMB as example looks like a vb app written several years ago. I don't see the quality of programming or new ideas you see in other places. Page though any recent issue of Keyboard Magazine to see what I mean. I know that the argument can be made of function over form. However, it's an indicator of the level of the product. Compare web sites of www.1manband.nl/omb.htm to http://www.motu.com/products/software/dp/features50/.
On the business front show me how I can go to OMB and say show me a comprehensive solution that equals or betters my T2. Listing out-of-production yamaha styles doesn't cut it, compared to the latest styles available on the latest Yamaha, Roland, Korg products. Sure, there is an active shareware/freeware community of styles. But it is not a comprehensive integrated approach that I can implement without 100s of hours of searching and configuring.

Now look at the screen shots of Jammer Pro http://www.soundtrek.com/content/_extras/images/screenshots/pro6/
Tell me which one of the screens shows me that it can do real-time performance changes like my T2 can, switch between 8 registrations and a potential of four variation within each registration.

I know an app is more than the marketing around it, but it is an indication of R&D investment of it. I don't mean to knock the effort of OMB, Jammer, or other similar apps. I am just making the statement that they are not in the same league as other music apps in other categories. Perhaps the arranger category will never garner that kind of investment dollar. Perhaps in the future Yamaha/Roland/Korg will look to unbundle arranger functionality to allow for a software-based solution. I doubt if they will see the economics of it. It will take a disruptive technology from a third-party to come along and force them to adapt. Who knows maybe Apple will come up with Gargage Arranger?

2. As a < two month owner of a T2 I do not consider myself an expert on it to tell you what is missing in OMB. And I am not very familar with OMB other than reading it's web site. What I see missing is a comprehensive solution. Maybe OMB doesn't get its message across clearly to me. But that's part of a professional solution.

If I could do with OMB, a laptop and a midi controller what I can do with my T2 and have access to all of the VST sounds and third party loops I would consider it. I just don't see it yet. If OMB/Jammer really had something they should get some venture money to take the product to the next level in ways of presentation of the product, marketing, and consumer education.

It's a problem of economics. If all the people who wanted a pc-based arranger bought one. How big would that market be? Let's say 100,000 units (I think that is generous) What is a reasonable market-share to get? Let say with little competition you could get 20% (again very generous) So we are talking about 20,000 units at best. Sell them for $200/ea and make $4 million. How do you compete against the marketing effort of Yamaha/Roland/Korg/Casio that wants consumers to believe in their proprietary hardware-based solutions? Now subtract out development costs, marketing, support, etc and you are not left with a hugh opportunity. Don't get me wrong you can build a small company around it, and sell to the education market as well, but you don't break out to the next level. These are the economic realities of today's consumer or in this case prosumer software development. Another direction is to find new ways to take your existing customer's money. Band-in-a-box is an example of that. They have created a pretty diverse product line. However, is BIAB a great real-time arranger/performer? No, but it does what it does pretty well.

For me, I'll keep watching the software options develop, maybe even fool around with some of them, but keep making music with my T2.