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Shapeshifter 2?

#1

In the market and wondering if there is an iterative update to be seen here. One that perhaps permits custom wave files more intuitively and has an updated fpga?

The shapeshifter is seriously the bee’s knees. Just curious about its future.

2d

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#2

For many years we have fantasized about what a Shapeshifter II might look like and maybe one day it will happen. Jim has a bunch of ideas he is exploring at the moment (not necessarily related to this) so we will have to see where these experiments lead us. :wink:

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#3

Thanks for the the reply! You didn’t ask and I’m sure you have more than enough people willing to share their ideas with you, but I’d like to provide a little motivation (as far as I see it) for a numero duo.

Firstly, the Shapeshifter is long in the tooth in terms of processor advances, etc. Due to its digital nature, it unfortunately falls into the chip refresh frenzy that is so rampant among the smart phone and pc markets. The traditional eurorack user might not see it like this.

Secondly. with several new digital modules popping up, the relevance of this magnificent module is starting to wane in light of their newer technologies alone. (This of course may be over stating the case. What the Shapeshifter does is still very much relevant and unique to the module alone.)

Thirdly, there is a real and open gap within the eurorack market for a truly competent no holds bar digital oscillator. What I mean by this is a digital oscillator that can do anything and emulate anything. Custom waveforms, etc. There are modules on the market or coming out shortly that look to do this, but they are ALL operating on the guise of keeping cost and power down. This leads to compromises.

Proposal: As someone looking to get a digital oscillator as kind of the king of the oscillator world (anyone who understands what a truly competent digital oscillator is must reach this conclusion.) the Shapeshifter is just not a justified buy. I mean 3 or 2 years ago, heck even last year yes, most definitely. (Not that there is any shortage of other tasty Intellijel modules to buy.) Also given the condition of the third explanation above nothing on the market now or in the short term future really reaches the true potential that is there.

I mean we are talking about a oscillator that while expensive really is the most powerful oscillator available. We take the discussion of what oscillator should I buy, to how many can I afford, because it doesn’t make any sense to not get it. If done right, competitors would only reach the same end goal, but the interface and panel would be the distinguishing end. Now I’m convinced that creating this module is easy to speculate on but 10-20 times more difficult to build than a standard module more commonly found within the eurorack world. So I know this is an incredibly tall order.

I also know that even if you did it, convincing the masses that this is better than any analog or digital oscillator would prove to be pretty difficult as often those mindsets aren’t based on logical reason. So maybe the potential market doesn’t justify the R&D and manufacturing costs.

There, my two cents. I’ll go quietly back to my corner, and drool over the rest of your catalog.

2d

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#4

I think that we would be better served judging an audio module by listening to the sound that it makes, rather than by analysing the current microprocessor market.
I don’t have a Shapeshifter but I would absolutely love one. There are other digital oscillators that also appeal, but they have different character and focus.
I don’t feel worried that a new module will come out just after I get an SS because SS will always sound as good as it does right now.
I’m curious what sonic or usability features you would like to see (other than wavetable editing).

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#5

It is important to keep in mind that we are well aware that the bar has been raised in terms of what users are expecting from digital modules in Eurorack.

Some of our flagship digital modules like the Metropolis and Shapeshifter are actually quite old by Eurorack standards but at the time of their release they were considered quite fresh. Anything new that we are developing is being given very careful consideration for relevancy, innovation and market niche.

There are tons of new technologies and synthesis techniques that are yet to be fully explored in Eurorack but there are also plenty of old ideas that still warrant a fresh take.

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#6

Let’s not forget that we also just released the v2 firmware for the Shapeshifter which added a whole lot of requested features. I think synthesis-wise it’s still pretty state of the art as it’s using MHz-rate oscillators to avoid aliasing, so it has a really clean sound for a digital oscillator. In fact Novation just used a similar technique on the newly released Peak. I think if there was a Shapeshifter 2 it would be more about UI, polyphony, and user wavetables rather than sound quality. It’s hard to make wavetables any better.

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#7

Keep in mind that the Shapeshifter is actually the Cyclebox 3.
So, the next in line of the evolution of this beast will probably not be called Shapeshifter 2, but that name is OK for now as a term reference.

FPGAs are different than CPUs in terms of their refresh/update. The main new features of the newer FPGA devices (besides higher cost) are easier reconfigurability (not reprogrammability! very important distinction!) and integration of ARM processor cores with the FPGA fabric. So look for the next module to have fast reconfiguration/update from the CPU memory or removable memory (thumb drive, smart cards, etc) so that you can quickly (10’s of milliseconds) load in different sound generation models. I think the next module will go beyond the wavetable paradigm to many different approaches like FM mesh networks and cycle-GAN resynthesis (just threw that in there to make Olivier Gillet nervous) that can be quickly switched in or out, making maximum use of the FPGA hardware. This leads us back to the Cyclebox idea, which was to have a module which acted like 16 different synthesizers, switch selectable. So maybe we should call it the Cyclebox 4!

The integrated ARM cpu will let us get all the UI stuff off of the FPGA, for which it is not really suited and was always a pain to deal with. The Rainmaker was better in this regard since it has a CPU for the display. Of course, the ARM core can also be used for other stuff like FX and sequencing and writing long novels.

I don’t think the next module will satisfy the poster who was asking for the be-all and end-all of digital oscillators. But it will be a technical advance over the Shapeshifter. It will also most likely cost more!

I can hear Danjel telling me to stop talking now (and get to coding!).

Jim

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#8

what the heck are these things ?

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#9

I should have been more clear about this, but this is basically exactly what I want. The foundation is solid with the shapeshifter, and I agree the only way to improve it is what you mention above. BUT the improvements would benefit from an additional ARM processor as Jim mentions to offload those things from the actual sound generation portion of the module.

Polyphony however would also most likely necessitate a bump in processors to help with the workload of creating more than 2 voices.

The reason why I’m focusing on the shapeshifter here is because as far as I can tell you guys are already closest to what I’m looking for. Even if the hardware didn’t change other than a sd card reader on the panel, I would label the shapeshifter as the end all be all.

Just being able to work with custom wavetables easy would do that. Because being able to use custom ones removes any roadblocks the shapeshifter UI might impose.

I also think you guys are one of the few eurorack companies in a position to actually attempt this. It is once again no small thing.

Thank you all for your responses. It is refreshing to see such upfront and honest responses to a product request.

2d

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#10

Now, almost 2 years later, is there any update on a Shapeshifter II? :grimacing:

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#11

Any Intellijel (or Cylonix @Cylonix) employee willing to comment on a possible successor of the Shapeshifter?

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