Fathom Vector Release Plan

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
FathomSynth
KVRian
1317 posts since 25 Mar, 2017

Post Fri May 24, 2019 11:23 am

Carrieres, I see your point, and yes the price should be higher.

It’s been 32 for ages and I don’t plan on raising it until the CPU is fixed. It will probably go a bit higher but stay under $50. However, your input is valued and I’m marking your post for future reference.

Also, excellent points on the Mono issue, thanks!!!

I will stick by my guns and claim that an under $50 super synth is direly needed on Earth, and that occupying that market window will help Seaweed Audio in the long run, and the mistake IMHO is actually that other companies have missed the boat on this price window.

The input here on pricing is very highly valued by me. However, keep in mind I’m not as confused about pricing as I was about licensing.

In the area of pricing my goals are much more clearly defined, and part of the whole reason I created Fathom in the first place was that there was saturation in the synth plugin free market and saturation in the over $150 market, but the price point of $25 to $50 was largely untouched.

And based on my experience as a musician, when I found myself wasting way too much money buying $200 synths which I ended up not liking, then I simply stopped buying them at all !, even though there are one I wanted to try.

So it became clear to me that the plugin industry as a whole, especially in synths, were losing money over all, because, if they were to hit the $50 price point with more good products, they would get the typical (serious) musician to buy one synth for $50 every month or two, rather than one synth every two years for $150.

I’m absolutely convinced of this fact, so I’m sticking buy my guns on the price issue. With the one additional learning point on my part from you all that you would indeed buy a Fathom like synth with massive CPU speed in the $125 price range, and so I think I may also hit that price point also.

Keep in mind, also, your confidence that you would buy a Fathom Extreme for $125 is based partly on having used Fathom Pro for $32. It might not necessarily be your purchase if you had never used Fathom Pro at all.

ztrauq
KVRist
195 posts since 13 Dec, 2004 from USA

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Fri May 24, 2019 8:17 pm

Just briefly in response to the license discussion earlier (don't worry not going to bring up major points about that again), I just want to say to the developer that I'm impressed with your candor regarding the issue, and you're one of the very few devs who have actually put in place something that could make such a licensing scheme workable (having a contingency plan to make sure users would have a version they could use in perpetuity in the event of any issues with the company). Even if the "extreme" version does come with a different license scheme, I'll definitely be looking at it with interest (and you've pretty much got an insta-buy on my part if a version of Fathom ever makes its way to iOS). One of the reasons I picked up Fathom last year was its flexible license, as it's one of the synths that I can make a core part of my workflow since I can stick it on all the computers I make music on (my studio computer, my laptop, the gaming PC I co-opted to run PC-only stuff as everything else is Mac, etc.).

In terms of pricing, I can only offer my two cents, which are largely from the perspective of a hobbyist who likes picking up new musical things to play around with from time to time, and whose main ambition with it is to release personally interesting tracks under a Creative Commons license - someone doing music/sound editing professionally will obviously have a different take on value, as I do when I'm buying professional software for my non-music-related business. (Maybe, though, that's something you're looking for in the pricing: Fathom Pro as a great affordable entry point for hobbyists/students/etc., and Fathom Extreme targeted more at professional musicians).

For pricing, the things that usually come to mind are overall price, and the variety of sales prices. Especially in the US, any number of things are heavily sale-oriented, to the point that people rarely ever pay MSRP ("full" price). This is also true in the plugin space, with deals happening pretty much constantly now, and I think that's conditioned me to always be looking for a sale price. This is especially true when the price gets above a certain threshold. If something new comes along that really interests me and it hits something like Fathom Pro's $32 price, I usually don't fret about it and just get it. On the other hand, take, say, something like Arturia Pigments. I see it, it looks really cool, but... it's like two hundred bucks, and I've got some other wavetable stuff, and it'll probably be 50% off or something once Black Friday rolls around, so I stick it on a list to "buy on sale" and probably more often than not it doesn't get picked up. I think that for me personally around $70 or so is the point where I tend to slam on the brakes and go into wait-and-see mode, but that point is probably different for each individual potential purchaser.

Certainly, I do think the idea of diversification is interesting, if you can manage it, and not just for the expanded product line. One of the things I've learned being in business and working with other professionals is that it's generally a lot easier to sell an existing customer on new products or services than it is to get someone new to buy in in the first place, since you already have the line of communication open. Having different products and tiers and being able to make "insider offers" to current customers can be a great way of getting people to upgrade (heck, that's how NI somehow managed to eventually get me from an academic copy of Reaktor Player back when to owning Komplete 11). So if you have the development bandwidth for additional products, it could also create an additional and maybe easier-to-reach revenue stream.

yellowmix
KVRian
1447 posts since 11 Aug, 2012 from omfr morf form romf frmo

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Fri May 24, 2019 8:49 pm

Can we get personal licenses anyway? That way we can input it to the synth once, or drop a license file somewhere, and upgrades don't require acquiring the current zip password. And if a license leaks you know who to blame. It's no more intrusive DRM-wise than the zip password.

Also, it astounded me that Fathom Mono was getting updates. A lot of those CM freebies are frozen as-is. They may get an update for say, 32-bit to 64-bit transition (I can't think of an example that has actually done that) but not for features. Instead of stripping features out, simply stop updating it. You can't yank the old versions with all the features and it's a bad look to strip features out of a freebie to begin with.

I wouldn't mind paying to upgrade to the elite version or whatever.

mrdoghead
KVRist
46 posts since 26 Jun, 2018

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Fri May 24, 2019 10:13 pm

Please, as a Fathom "Pro" customer who wholly supports your continued development of the synth, note that not quite everyone is thrilled at the idea of needing to switch to a new product with an even worse name variant (whether "extreme" or "elite" - both are ghastly) to get a more-finished version of the product. This is especially true when we are already asked to buy every point update, for every correction and feature addition we want to use (or can find time and physical wellness, in my case, to buy and to install to the computer). I would have thought these update fees were paying for continued development, and that the relatively low upfront price was set because (a) the synth was not at all finished when we bought it and (b) we were figuring on paying for updates, bring the total to something no longer so cheap.

If this is not enough, there are other approaches available to improving income without reaching for the sell-it-again switch, which is what a new, e-word-designated version would entail.

Getting the CPU usage under control seems to me not optional. As it has stood until now, the processor-efficiency issue seriously limits use cases. That this getting done should trigger a price increase - beyond the paid-update model already in place - and that adding previously road-mapped features like a sequencer or sample manipulation should require a name change and a new installation seems to me to be misguided thinking.

If you need to raise the baseline price or feel like a particular update needs a greater fee attached or that some feature or another should be a paid, optional add-on, that would be fine. Introducing a second product that is just a somewhat built-out version of the current one that users are already paying for over time just sounds like another case of someone wanting to be paid multiple times for the same product. That is, this course would be like so many other software and service products in the modern hellscape - I mean, world - and not much like the answer to the need for the affordable instrument you say you think the world needs.

Not to say you do not mean what you say about this. I do think an "Extreme" Fathom would take the project in an unnecessary and unwelcome direction, even if there were a price reduction for current users.

The proposed new thing would just be Fathom with some long-discussed features. Better to proceed as I suggested above than to go down the new-product road, even if the user benefit were just a matter of avoiding another new installation and not also a matter of doing things in an efficient, supporter-friendly way by proceeding with the existing products and tackling adjustments as needed within the current project.

Then there is the naming issue. "Pro" is already an eyesore - a software-industry cliché - intended to distinguish Fathom from its free-trial derivative. Already an opportunity has been lost in not leaving the "Pro" version named Fathom and naming the baseline thing something else. Another was lost in not calling the paid version "Full Fathom" - with version numbers distinguishing, uh, versions.

But to compound the prior naming missteps by using another, more-awful name appendage for a more-complete Fathom - that's a no, just no. Please, no.

Thank you for your efforts.

FathomSynth
KVRian
1317 posts since 25 Mar, 2017

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 7:23 am

MrDogHead, Yes, Your point is hugely relevant, I’m very much aware that a new product level could be very thin ice with our current user base.

Rest assured there will be an easy solution to this which is extremely respectful to existing users. At the very least all costs including the original purchase and ALL software upgrades would be deducted.

It’s more than likely that existing users will simply be given a direct access to the max configuration, at no cost at all, simply because they have contributed to the project so long, including generosity with the upgrades, under the assumption that they will get the technological advances, so quite frankly I don’t see any reason existing users like you should have to pay anything extra.

Yes I agree, CPU gains will be implemented in Fathom Pro as well, at no cost, since that has always been an assumption.

Your points are all valid. There is a certain purity and honesty in a company having only one synth. I would actually prefer it myself. But what are the options? Only three:

1) Continue to add features and slowly raise the price.
2) Continue to add features and keep the price.
3) Have product levels or configurations.

I refuse to do the option of adding features and raising the price on the one product. Since as I’ve stated, the under $50 price point is badly needed in the market place and we don’t want to lose that.

The only other option is to put all the new features including Insane CPU and GPU Speed, Open GUI, Sampler, Arpeggiator, AAX Support, for under $50 which I’m sorry is not reasonable, that would be a little insane. That would put Fathom’s features far beyond anything else on the planet, including Omnisphere for $50 with the closest competitor being SynthMaster at $125 and most including Avenger around $200. While I might be that generous it’s simply not a business model.

I’m open to different solutions, but I refuse to abandon the $25 to $50 price point for reasons stated, and I also need the over $100 price point for the insane features in order to compete and someday hire a dedicated DSP developer.

Another option based on your input would be to do away with the very concept of multiple products entirely, and have one product which people configure according to their own wishes and wallet, like ordering a car or gaming system and the price paid would be calculated and charged commensurately. That would require some tweaks on the web site, but it could be done.

Keep in mind this is for new users only after the new configuration is released, and none of this impacts existing users, who will be given a secret VIP entrance in the back of the club with a direct stairway to the balcony.

To be honest I would actually enjoy this since our existing base deserves some type of reward for so faithfully marching in our ranks for so long.

Yellowmix, the license issue is resolved, If I do replace the unzip code for Fathom Pro, it will NOT be with a machine lock, and existing users will have the right to chose their license, unzip or uhe style. I was actually greatly comforted by the fact that several people confirmed that no one so far has published the unzip code, so it is not likely to change again for a long time.

_al_
KVRist
401 posts since 28 Oct, 2014

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 7:58 am

FathomSynth wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 7:23 am

Another option based on your input would be to do away with the very concept of multiple products entirely, and have one product which people configure according to their own wishes and wallet, like ordering a car or gaming system and the price paid would be calculated and charged commensurately. That would require some tweaks on the web site, but it could be done.
This actually sounds like an awesome idea.
Though I'm curious how you would integrate two different licencing systems in one plugin.

BBFG#
KVRAF
5853 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 8:45 am

All that aside...
Wondering if the browser could be configured to stay open for auditioning with a simple use of the keyboard arrows to move through them. Not a big deal really, but it would reduce the button clicks while seeing the whole field.

FathomSynth
KVRian
1317 posts since 25 Mar, 2017

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 9:48 am

I'm surprised the arrow keys don't already advanced the previewed preset in the browser page, if not, I'll make sure they do in the next release.

Advancing the preset using arrow keys in the main view could be problematic if a user accidentally hits the keyboard while working on their own preset in Fathom and it loads the next preset thus deleting all their work, so I'm not sure about doing this from the main view. Maybe give a little more info on exactly what you are asking. If that's what you had in mind, I could make it a setting, so they would have to enable it and that way would be aware to avoid the accidental case.

But, certainly in the Browser view, I'll make sure to do that.
Last edited by FathomSynth on Sat May 25, 2019 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

BBFG#
KVRAF
5853 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 10:10 am

Mainly just to keep the browser open instead of having to open it by hitting the browser button each time. Where this is helpful is in seeing the the program as lead, bass or pad for me. Advancing through with the upper preset box makes previewing feel random.

With the browser open, I can at least see what those are and choose to go through the ambient pads by mouse click or increment through the whole folder using the keyboard arrows.

SoundPorn
KVRian
952 posts since 24 Jul, 2018

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 11:15 am

Since you're planning on putting a sampler in Fathom, why not just release one as a separate vst? Could easily turn the sampler and the arp into a sampler with a pattern sequencer or drum sampler with pattern sequencer and even make it semi modular somehow. Just an idea because I love sampling and for whatever reason don't jive with any of the vsts out. Tal Sampler comes closest to what I want. Either way many people love using samplers especially with today's music industry becoming all loop based producers for better or worse, just having different samplers that you can load up and get a different workflow out of is always welcome.

FathomSynth
KVRian
1317 posts since 25 Mar, 2017

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 11:19 am

:phones: The original idea was that the browser serve this purpose exactly by providing a page that can be easily entered with one button press and then used to advance through the presets with the entire list conveniently visible and the current preset highlighted.

Pretty much like any other good synth preset browser.

The arrow buttons at the top of the main page were are there by user request so people could advance through the presets without leaving the main page.

It seems like what you are talking about is a combination of the two where you would not have to leave the main page, but when you hit the top arrow preset advance shortcut buttons, all the info of the current preset such as catagory would temporarily be displayed in just the top title bar.

That could certainly be done, but honestly it's going to be after the critical CPU stuff currently. Also, I'm a little reluctant to mess with something that already has two widely used modes with little complaint.

However, preset browsing can always be improved, maybe piece together a quick PNG graphic showing your vision.

You can take screenshots of the current interface by typing "screenshot" into the title bar, and after the first screenshot hitting the Fathom logo.

:phones: SP, I realize samplers are typically separate products. But Fathom sampler is going to be so tightly and seamlessly integrated into the current product that it will function as one product.

You will be able to drag the Sampler as an oscillator unit into the signal flow and have as many sampler's as you want while enjoying all the filter and effects options as normal. i.e., each Sampler will be part of the signal flow.

Then when you click on the Sampler unit the bottom panel will show the sample loop points, forward reverse, stretch, in place sample editing, etc. Also like the wave draw unit, the sampler lower panel will be expandable so the in place sample editing will expand to take up the entire center view and even a large mode like wave draw which expands to the entire interface, then a quick one click to get back to the signal flow view.

There will also be a sample list editor where any single or group of samples can be easily dragged and dropped into all possible keyboard, velocity and after-touch zones, as well as ability to modulate between such profiles in real time. This will include random and round robin features for multiple samples occupying the space of a single virtual sample.

The ability to mix your sample library using Fathom as an editing and mapping tool along with combining it with Fathom's existing oscillators, filters and effects, necessitate it functioning as one VST instrument.

You will also have the ability to route the sampler into any oscillator so you can do FM with either the carrier or modulator as a sampler or oscillator or vice versa.

The sampler will also be route-able as a audio rate or low frequency modulator usable in the matrix for any other parameter dial.

There will also be a Sample Wave Table which will essentially be the Wave Table oscillator but with samples, and I will probably make it so that individual wave positions can either be drawn waves or samples.

BBFG#
KVRAF
5853 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 11:41 am

Hate to keep bringing up U-he, but it's their browser page that has been the best for me. Momentary pull downs, like the one in Harmor that also doesn't show the last selected without a browser page means you have to know the preset before hand or are just saving your own anyway. Flexibility in customizing what comes up in the browser is one of the main reasons I keep looking at your synth. Which BTW, is the same as U-he. Because then I can streamline it for personal use without being stuck by the ingrained preset bloat that so many of the other synths have.
And I totally understand that CPU usage needs to be the priority.

FathomSynth
KVRian
1317 posts since 25 Mar, 2017

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 12:38 pm

OK, you have a lot of details compressed into one paragraph.

Momentary pull down would not cover the bottom panel but only the middle area which exactly what the current browser already does. Fathom will never use any temporary right click pull down menus if that is what you mean. They make my skin crawl.

If you mean the fact that going back into Fathom's Browser page does not automatically scroll to the last selected preset, yes I agree, that needs to be fixed, I'll do that in the next release.

"Flexability in customizing the browser" Sorry, we haven't quite gotten that far. The Open GUI in Fathom X might address that.

"Same as uhe"? I hope nothing in Fathom is exactly the same as uhe since that could be a big legal problem. I have a strict policy for myself of never (intentionally) copying a feature from any competitor, at least not the industry leaders like uhe. If there is something about the uhe browser's operation which makes a lot of sense, we would need to arrive at the same point by functionally specifying the perfect operation independently, never by me ever looking at uhe's browser. But I'm sure you realized that already.

"Ingrained preset bloat". I'll have to admit that Fathom does have a huge amount of presets at this point, I think well over 1000, but we've gotten there gradually using the work of four proffesional level sound designers, Solidtrax, Scrubbing Monkeys, Amietica, and RPH. Plus the International OSC contest banks. I've tried to avoid preset redundancy, and I think Fathom's presets are fairly good in that regard. I'm currently working on my own bank of 200 Rhythmic Trance and Rave Presets, which be called "Trance Warehouse", but it has not been released yet.

BBFG#
KVRAF
5853 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 12:56 pm

Much of my last post was for context. The flexibility in customizing your preset browser is what you already have. Specifically, I can go into the drive and easily create my own folders, move and even delete presets as I want. Many synths have locked in presets that make you take all or nothing. That bloats the file system with things I'll never use.

There are the programs and then there's the browser they're in. Mainly what I'm asking for is a browser page that stays open after selecting a program. This becomes useful in first finding something close and then going back to the programming page to tweak it to taste.

Secondary would be the navigation within it.

FathomSynth
KVRian
1317 posts since 25 Mar, 2017

Re: Fathom Synth Thread

Post Sat May 25, 2019 1:07 pm

Oh, OK, you're talking about previewing in the browser page.

Hit the "Preview" button and then when you click on any preset in the list it will load the audio processor for that preset so you can hear it play your host midi, but it will not leave the browser page or lose your place in the list (it loads the audio but not the GUI for that preset).

Then when you finally settle on the one you like, you hit the load button and it will go back to the main view and also load the GUI for that preset.

There is currently a weird bug with loading a preset that is already previewed, but if you unselect the preview button and hit load then I think it behaves cleanly.

Yes, you can navigate in the browser just like in windows with the left folder list window. Also, if you need to temporarily go into your OS to find a folder, there's a button at the top left of the browser which will bring up an OS folder shell so you can change drives etc.

Yes, I agree, having locked presets is a pain, it's basically the reason that Fathom presets are all just XML files, so you can organize them any way you want outside Fathom in your OS. Why reprogram a perfectly good tool when the Windows browser or Mac finder does just fine for that.

:phones: EDIT: Hey, I just loaded up the Fathom browser, hit "Preview", select the first preset, and started hitting the down arrow button on my keyboard, and it loads the audio for each preset as I hit the down arrow!

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