It’s an uncertain world out there for music gear as in other industries – but isolate engineers, and you’ll at least get some code that helps musicians play.

Maybe that sounds obvious. But as our societies and economies and supply chains and shipping all shut down in phases around us, well – there’s always stuff like sending out firmware downloads!

Firmware updates are terrific because they keep your customers busy and you can ship them now over the Internet without running into weird new shipping problems. So it’s really important that the Mother-32 semi-modular synth gets all this good stuff in a free download this week:

Multiple sequencer directions

Improved and expanded clocking options

CV-addressed sequencer control

Selectable swing intervals

New pattern change behaviors.

Ability to ignore MIDI clock or start/stop messages

Improved LED visual feedback

Options to auto-save and write-protect patterns

Selectable analog clock input and output resolutions

Completely rewritten sync and timing engine

Note completely rewritten. This means both having the engineering forethought to make something that can be updated, and the kind of skill and employee retention that lets someone do this work.

I’ve tended to ignore some of the variety of gear to talk about particular instruments that get this kind of update, and obviously not just from Moog. It’s not going to make sense for every product, but it does give you an indication of a manufacturer’s commitment.

This is part of what has kept electronic musical instruments from becoming commodities in the way a lot of other tech has. We’ve seen a wide range of ups and downs in the industry in terms of who can attract and retain talent. Music really requires engineers who understand or at least can communicate with musicians – and we have to woo them away from companies like defense contractors who can pay a lot more.

I know making payroll and paying budgets is going to be tough for our industry like so many others. But let’s hear it for all the people in our business who do everything from pack and test our instruments to try to describe complicated music gear in press releases to designing and building it. There are small Eurorack and kit makers where all of those people are one person. There are bigger employers.

If anything gets us through this wild ride, it will be those people. So I hope you all both stay safe and stay supported – and stay in touch.

Oh, and mess around with step sequencers and make grooves in good health, of course!

Hat tip to Synthtopia for being on this news and a lot of news, generally – speaking of people-powered operations!