Kinotone Summer 2023 Update

Hi all,

If you’re reading this, thanks for being here! We really appreciate the forum and how more people seem to be using it these days. I wanted to share kind of a general Kinotone update and some plans that we have for the coming months.

A new thing on the horizon

Since our pre-order ended in June I’ve finally been able to work on our next device. New projects feel really exciting after working almost exclusively on Ribbons for… dang, 3.5 years. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to release it before the end of this year. We’ve dropped a few hints already so I don’t think it’s too wild to say, but this will be our first digitally controlled analog device. Same form factor as Ribbons with a simpler UI and pretty much one-knob per fuction (but with a twist :smirk:).

We may or may not also be working on something for Eurorack?! (No it’s not a modular version of Ribbons).

Ribbons manufacturing stuff

One question we get a lot is, “When is your next batch of Ribbons?”

Unfortunately the short answer is that we aren’t sure when there will be more Ribbons. Probably not for at least a few months. There is some manufacturing stuff that we need to figure out before opening orders for another big batch.

The longer more nuanced answer if you are curious is…

Our DSP platform is made up of 3 circuit boards, and assembly is a huge cost. Ribbons in its current form is basically a complicated, very time consuming, expensive object to make. I think the best possible solution will be to re-layout our DSP platform once more so that everything works on a single PCB. I didn’t used to think this was possible but I’ve recently picked up on some more advanced PCB design techniques that will allow us to consolidate things. There will be no perceivable differences for the end user but the manufacturing process will be much simpler and less demanding.

On a related note, our spring pre-order taught me that I can’t own or oversee as much of the manufacturing process as I do now. To keep things on track I had to solder, assemble, inspect, and test Ribbons pretty much all day for 4 months straight. Those months had some extreme highs but also intense and exhausting low points that burned me out. We’ve had some great conversations lately about how that’s not the best use of my time, and if we want to keep Kinotone going I need to be freed up to do more design work.

So the goal is kinda two-fold: redesign our DSP platform, and also lay the groundwork for leaning more into a US manufacturing partner that can own some of our production steps (while of course maintaining our quality standards). It’s not something that will happen overnight but it’s a big goal that feels right and I’ll be working towards over the next several months.

Next Ribbons firmware update

Some people have asked if there will be another Ribbons firmware update. The answer is yes, but we’re not exactly sure when. We’ll be rolling out some beta versions here on the forum to test certain features over the next month or two though. There are a number of improvements we’re considering based on more recent user feedback. We’ll be sure to update the Development Blog soon so it’s more clear what they are. Mostly we are adding new options via MIDI. For now V1.3.1 is still the latest. If you have a Ribbons from 2022 then you are likely on an older version and can download some fun new stuff.

Merch, boxes, and user manuals

Finally, we’ll have some shirts for sale in the next few weeks here. We also know that some users from 2022 would like to get the nice box, user manual, stickers, and quick reference guide that now ship with Ribbons. As soon as the shirts are ready we’ll have all of those things up in our webstore.

We’ll leave you with some pictures. I hope this update is helpful and gives you a better sense of what we’re up to. :slight_smile:

Happy summer !!!

:white_heart: Jaak & Hannah


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look at that cheeky lil “?” label

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srsly though, Jaak, I’m glad to hear that you’re making some quality-of-life improvements to how Kinotone operates! Ribbons is so cool I’m sure we’re all very excited for more of whatever you’ve got cooking but it has to be healthy and sustainable for you and the rest of Kinotone, otherwise it’s not worth it.

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Really looking forward to what’s next and very glad you’re taking the time for yourselves to work at a comfortable pace.

Gotta start thinking about making some space in my rack for a new module…

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If y’all made hats, I would buy one up real quick. A black one with small white flower/ small font Kinotone would be very cool

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It’s really encouraging how transparent you are explaining your ideas and what’s to come. I’m looking forward to see the new designs bloom like those lovely flowers!

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Thanks for the update. Definitely nice to hear that you are taking action on avoiding future burnout. It may seem a bit up hill now, but it will pay dividends when it comes to your overall health and wellness. Sounds like you’ve got the right idea and I hope it all goes super smooth. Also very excited to hear that you’ve got some things in the hopper! I can only imagine what’s to come. Cheers Jaak

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Superb update. You spoil us, really.

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