Our coverage of the new Creamware Moog/Prophecy-5 hardware continues with a look at the previous Creamware offering . . .

You thought all hardware was going to be transitioning to software
plug-in? Think again. By using hardware DSP chips, Creamware has been
able to create perfect emulations of original Minimoog and Prophet-5
hardware. The original Minimax and Profit-5 plug-ins (check the plug-in sites for full details) got rave reviews from the likes of Craig Anderton at EQ,
because they (supposedly) recreate the original Moog and Sequential
hardware circuit-for-circuit. Most software emulations use samples and
other trickery. Even other hardware is unlikely to recreate these
original instruments entirely. By using DSP, Creamware was able to
lavishly emulate the physical circuitry of the instruments and keep
processor requirements extremely low (think 400 MHz G3/PC).

Releasing this as standalone hardware is a no-brainer. The Creamware
plugs are great, but they have two major problems. First, there are no
physical knobs for controlling the instruments, and part of the appeal
of things like the original Moog instruments is their physical
interface, not just their sound. Second, when was the last time you
wanted to drag your PCI-based Mac or PC to a gig just to run the
required Creamware SCOPE PCI system?

In other words, just try to beat the US$900/1000 price of the
Minimax/Profit-5 hardware. This is the cheapest Minimoog and Prophecy-5
sound will get. And hardware is the best way to release this beast.

  • Guest

    those minimax and prfit thingys are said to have audio inputs.. that sounds like fun.

  • Guest

    This people at Creamware made a great move. I've heard the Minimax and Profit 5 plugins for Scope, they are fantastic sounding. With this idea they are going to cause severa headaches to competitors.

  • Guest

    :eek Noooooooooooooooo! If I was a Creamware shareholder I'd be pulling out now. Have they learnt NOTHING from the Noah fiasco? I just can't see these retro-bandwagon things generating sufficient funds to both cover the costs of R&D + production AND fund future scope development as Creamware somehow seem to be hoping, for these reasons:

    1. There's too much competition from both soft-and hardware markets, especially at these price points. And why, exactly, is hardware the "best way to release this beast"? I doubt Native Instruments, G-Media etc would agree about that, otherwise they'd have already done it (well, with their own stuff anyway). Sorry, but I think releasing these ASB's is anything but a "no-brainer" at this time, both in respect of the "need-for- physical-knobs" argument – there are plenty of decent MIDI controllers out there that can provide those – and in respect of the live-computer argument – lots of virtual instruments will run happily on a laptop these days (OK, you can't run a scope card on one – now THERE'S a missed development opportunity:roll), but they're not too arduous to drag to a gig, I would say -and many obviously agree, since loads of people now do exactly that.

    2. It didn't work with NOah, which was a far more flexible and forward- thinking piece of kit (if maybe slightly less pretty, and with that infernal cooling fan, which ruled it out for studio use), so why would this? (did they actually DO any research?)

    3. I actually like the aesthetics of these instruments in some respects but wouldn't buy either one – they take up too much space in the studio, they're too limited in scope(pun intended)and they don't have the integral keyboards I'd want for live work (however good they may sound).

    Don't get me wrong, I generally love Creamware's stuff, especially their Scope series DSP cards and software, and I'd love to be able to feel positive about this move – but that just wouldn't be honest, coz I don't. Alas (and I'd like nothing better than to be proven wrong here), my feeling is that we may soon be bidding the company a fond adieu… :sigh

  • Guest

    To the poster above, I think you're missing the point a bit. Creamware has already said that there's slightly newer dsps in these products and that in the long run they'll scale up more to even faster parts. If this *is* successful enough for them then you can bet that the newer tech will find its way right back into Scope itself. I really doubt they're going to abandon scope entirely, its embedded in a large portion of the broadcast industry in Germany, Fairlight consoles, and has a medium-small but stable userbase for the actual PCI cards.

    To be sure NOAH was a failure but it was a rather different beast altogether. An attempt to keep the flexibility of scope without having decent access to it (the lcd), or requiring software still (why not run Scope?). A great device and interesting for the laptop musician but gear that is difficult to understand is also hard to sell. Often devices like that become sought after later when people finally learn to exploit the strengths and a few high profile people speak drop the name of the device when talking about their music. Honestly I think Noah's biggest weaknesses were the lack of real dsp power (use the parts that run 4x as fast as Scope cards already) and the fact that Creamware's modular is too complicated to port easily.

    BUT, and this is a big but, a single failure doesn't doom you forever. And I have a little suspicion that if these tabletops sell well at all that there might be some really interesting devices ahead for both scope and the desktop. Remember, you said that these have inputs…

  • Guest

    Hi, me again.
    Interesting post (I didn't know that Creamware's technology was embedded in much of the German broadcast industry).

    However, you say I'm missing the point, but you don't really explain how. Let's look at the points in your reply:
    1. "Creamware has already said that there's slightly newer dsps in these products and that in the long run they'll scale up more to even faster parts." – Newer DSP's mean little or nothing to the target market of musicians – as I see it the number of sales rests on:
    i. How good they sound, and
    ii. How convenient and easy they are to use and (if used live) transport.

    It MAY WELL be that they sound great (and if past experience with Scope instruments is anything to go by, then they probably do), which, if so, is good BUT one has to bear in mind that they're up against VERY stiff competition (e.g. Native Instruments Pro 53 already sounds pretty amazing, at least to my ears), so being as good as or even marginally better sounding than the competition is not necessarily going to be enough.

    2.I didn't say that Creamware had intentions of abandoning Scope – In fact I'm sure they intend profits from the sales of these things to help fund its further development. I just don't think it's gonna happen that way.

    3. "To be sure NOAH was a failure but it was a rather different beast altogether". – I'm sure you're right about many of the reasons for Noah's failure, but as I say, DSP power is not much of an issue for these ASB instruments. For goodness sake, they only have to run one instance of a single instument with 6-note polyphony – hardly comparable with the flexibility of Noah or Scope!

    4."And I have a little suspicion that if these tabletops sell well at all that there might be some really interesting devices ahead for both scope and the desktop" – And there's the rub! My point (which you seem to have missed entirely) is that I just don't see them selling well at all for the reasons I gave earlier!

    5. "Remember, you said that these have inputs…", errm, no I didn't (even if they do)! I suggest you read my post again. Sorry, I don't understand the point you're trying to make here…