modular analog synthesizer for electronic music
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 About Synthesizers.com
 


Roger and 'Stone-Willow Lori' retired racing greyhound

My name is Roger Arrick. I own and run several small companies including Arrick Robotics, PC104.COM, Controlled.com along with Synthesizers.com. I'm located near Tyler Texas (East of Dallas) where I have 6000 sq/ft of manufacturing and office space.

My personal web site: http://www.RogerArrick.com

In spite of how all of this looks, I'm just one small business owner with a handful of hard working employees. I live in a normal house and have a family with kids and a dog, and yes, plenty of electronic toys. Basically, I love to exercise my God-given ambition to build stuff.

My Synthesizer Story
In the mid-70's I began learning electronics and building my first computers. At that same time I became interested in synthesizers after hearing to Yes, Switched-on-Bach, Genesis, and the Who. I would skip school and drive to Arnold and Morgan music in Garland Texas to play the Arp 2600 and Mellotrons. My first synthesizer kits were from Paia which still work to this day! I successfully interfaced the synthesizer to my computer and wrote music-playing software for the CP/M operating system. The first song was Bach's Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring.

Years passed and the internet came along. One day I discovered that there were a lot of people like me who loved vintage synths - big knobs, wooden cabinets, and those awesome sounds that you can't get anywhere else. Eventually I decided to build a synthesizer and make it into a product line. This would fit nicely into my existing manufacturing business at Arrick Robotics and the design would last many years. Since the best way to do business these days is over the internet, I tried to acquire the 'synthesizer.com' domain name but the owner wanted $50k. So, I settled for 'synthesizers.com' and began building the product line.

In the beginning, I met with Paul Schreiber who lives very close to me and had also decided to build a synthesizer. Paul is a smart analog designer and a great person. We got together and I was hoping we could come up with some mechanical/electrical standards so our systems would be compatible. Paul decided to do his own thing and we went in sightly different directions (we're talking power supply connectors and details like that). Paul choose the route of analog perfection, industrial grade pots, and gradual product introduction. I choose a more vintage design style, solid wood cabinets, and focused on making the products very cost-effective so many people could afford them. I also decided early on that I wasn't going to introduce the product line until I could actually ship complete systems. There had been some 'ethic' problems in this market and I wanted to buck the trend by delivering what I promised.

After a couple of years, here we are (June 2000), my product line is about 95% complete and I can ship systems and most modules. Letting people know about synthesizers.com was a strange problem. I didn't want anyone to know until I was actually able to ship products. In May 2000 I watched the access logs on the website as I submited the site to various search engines. Over the weekend of June 3rd the logs went crazy but I didn't find out that it was because of a posting on Analog heaven until I got a call from Zon. I don't have time to read these lists but I went to the archives and saw the postings. Most of them were pleasant, but some thought the whole thing was a hoax and I had to post a long letter of explaination. Here is the Analog Heaven Mail List story.

Whether all of this will result in fortune and fame or not, who knows, this market is very strange (and small) but I'm in this for the long haul and looking forward to making a bunch of cool synths and friends.

My Business Philosophy
Here's how Synthesizers.com is set up to run as a company. Much of this is designed to reduce the price of our products and to make life simplier for us and our customers. Here are the main goals/ideas:

  • Treat our customers, vendors, and employees right
  • Build great products at the best price possible
  • Offer a complete line of modules, parts, cables, cabinets, controllers
  • Keep most items in stock
  • Commitment to produce products for the long term
  • Sales effort is completely internet-based
  • Customer communication is completely internet-based
  • No release of new products until ready to ship
  • No dates given for release of new products
  • No (or few) printed brochures, catalogs, mailouts
  • Absolutely no spams or shameless promotion
  • No resellers, dealers, distributors
  • No trade shows - Fun but it just adds to the cost of products
  • Prices do not insult your intelligence by ending in ".99"
  • Rely on customer satisfaction for publicity

You can see some of my design philosophy on the technical information page.

Our Staff

 

Production

 

Pictures of our work

Reverb circuit breadboard

Wires, wires - everywhere

Prototype Cabinet

Central American Mahonany

Test bench

See, more knobs!

Panels after silkscreening

Eagerly awaiting pots and jacks

Web Server and T1 Line

That LITTLE cable on the wall is the T1 Pipe

Inventory Bins

Parts is parts

Automated Plasma Cutter

Drawing to part!

Oscillators in production

I can hear them now!

PC boards during stuffing

Just think of all that music in there!


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