We are definitely due for an update!
I know people’s biggest question is when units will ship, so to get that out of the way - I think we’ll start shipping units the week of April 17th. That is seeming like the most likely timing based on how things are going. We’re gonna try our hardest to get all units out before the end of April but it’s possible it could spill into May a little bit for people who have pre-ordered more recently during the month of March.
Some local pals have asked us if we need more help, and on the one hand we would love a few extra sets of hands helping out, but we also run Kinotone out of a bedroom in our house so it’s not really ideal to have lots of people working all at once. We are moving at a pace that feels right for us as a team of about 2.5, and overall things are pretty much right on track still so that feels good.
What have we been up to?
Our last post was mostly about design stuff, new features, and parts arriving. March has been all about building up units, fine-tuning v1.3 firmware, and improving a couple things relating to user experience.
I spend several hours a day soldering connectors, pots and jacks to every board. Maybe the worst thing to happen recently is that our brand new soldering iron we purchased to have a second one broke after ~2 weeks of use. So we are down a soldering station while we wait on a replacement part.
We’ve got final assembly happening in parallel and are averaging about 25 units a day on that. Assembly includes adding light pipes, placing the electronics in an enclosure, adding nuts and screws to the jacks and pots, adding knobs, footswitches, etc. Basically making sure that everything looks and feels right.
Once we’ve got a big batch we perform end-of-line testing on each unit, which includes frequency response testing, testing the knobs, LEDs, switches, all three internal MIDI connectors, CV control, etc. Making sure that everything performs and sounds exactly how it should.
There was a pretty nasty bug in the new Disintegration Loop feature that took me about a week to figure out but I finally crushed it. v1.3 is almost done - I’m just working on improved visual feedback for stepped parameters and a couple other odds and ends.
I’ve had some local beta testers using “new” Ribbons with the Daisy Seed and new features for about a month now. So far no big issues and things feel very stable but it’s still been nice to get feedback.
v1.3 firmware will be available for current users to download… soon. I don’t want to give an exact date but within the next couple weeks and before the pre-order units start shipping.
A big project this month was our booklet user manual which has mostly been Hannah’s thing. We’ve always had a manual for Ribbons but it’s online, and I don’t blame people for not connecting with digital product documentation. We really wanted a physical manual that you can read as soon as you unbox Ribbons instead of having to pull up a website on your phone. It turned out great and we’re excited to get those delivered in a week or so. One friend called it “a technical manual that reads like a children’s book”, which felt like high some praise and kinda the vibe we were going for.
We’ve also made some big improvements to our packaging. To be honest we didn’t have the time or money to invest in a nice paper manual or fancy boxes when we released Ribbons last fall. But for the pre-order we’ve got some new stuff. I’m tempted to share pictures but I’m gonna hold back and you’ll just have to wait to see it. We bought extras of everything and will put together a process for existing users to get their hands on it if they want to.
Anyway, thanks for reading and being on the forum. Feel free to hit us with any questions you have.
Some recent pictures…
A tray of boards ready for final assembly
Final assembly in process
Kinotone HQ at night
Hannah becoming a soldering wiz
Sid just being Sid