MATRIXSYNTH: An Update on the Shear Electronics Relic - Oberheim OB-X Inspired Analog Synth

Monday, January 08, 2018

An Update on the Shear Electronics Relic - Oberheim OB-X Inspired Analog Synth

You might remember the Shear Electronics Relic, OB-X based analog hardware synth from last year's NAMM. If you were wondering what happened to it, the following is an update from Shear sent our way via swissdoc.

"Happy New Year from both of us at Shear Electronics!

2017 was an exciting year for us, and I hope you all had a wonderful year as well. With all the speculation about our radio silence since February, we figured it was about time for an update.

Most of you probably heard about our demo at NAMM 2017. Here’s how it played out for me:
I bolted together our first prototype at 2 AM on Tuesday morning. At 8 AM, I flew back to Los Angeles (I had classes all week). Wednesday at 6 PM, I was testing broken cables in our booth at the Anaheim convention center. Sunday morning, camera crews found their way to our booth. Monday morning, I was watching myself on YouTube. I felt a little behind the times... 11,000 people saw the Sonicstate interview before I did! We were getting a hundred emails a day. On YouTube, a thousand likes before our first dislike.

So I was sitting in my dorm room, and I thought this was some pretty phenomenal demand for a garage prototype. For two weeks, I read every single thing anyone said about the synthesizer. I would like to issue my deepest and most heartfelt thanks for your epic worldwide focus group.

After a few months went by, many of you began to speculate that we gave up or sold out. I understand your skepticism. But there’s a reason I’ve kept quiet. For one thing, I’ve never been the type to dwell on public relations. I spent three years on this project before announcing anything.

More importantly, I’ve been hard at work. The reality is that our design is among the most complicated and extravagant systems ever proposed in the history of analog synthesizers. We are going to succeed in this market for one reason—we put everything we’ve got into the product.

If you thought that the “essential components of great-sounding synths aren’t available anymore,” you might be right. But the “missing link” to the golden age of synthesis isn’t some elusive old- stock field-effect transistor. It’s the essence of old-school design philosophy. In today’s world, the pursuit of perfection loses to the bottom line. 2,584 components on our voice cards. 97 suppliers on speed dial. And all this in a culture that scoffs at the price of monophonic synthesizers?

We doubled down and committed to delivering a machine worthy of your love. Yes, we’re still building a discrete analog polyphonic synthesizer. And yes, we’re still building the exact same audio path as the legendary OB-X. But thanks to your input, it’s going to be a lot better than the first prototype.

Every detail was given a closer inspection. It starts with a hard anodized aircraft-grade aluminum top panel. The indicators shine through panes of chemically strengthened anti-reflective glass. We miniaturized the light bar technology to allow individual bars for every encoder. Top-shelf optical encoders will prevent mechanical wear and tear. The figured hardwood side panels are matte- finished in tiger rose black. Software upgrades can be done at home with a MIDI cable.

Sorry for the six-month silence. We haven’t focused enough on public relations or business decisions, we’ve been focused on the product. But from now on, we’re committing to regular updates.

The new Relic is amazing, but it isn’t quite ready for production. We won’t have a booth at NAMM 2018, but we will be at the Anaheim Convention Center anyway. If you’ve got any questions, or just want to say hi, come find me at the Synth Section anytime Saturday afternoon. If you want to talk, feel free to send me an email. I’d love to meet you!

Finally, I’d like to thank every single one of you for the overwhelming wave of support for the Relic.

Jacob Brashears CTO, Shear Electronics
Cheryl Brashears CEO, Shear Electronics"

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