FAQ

STOCHASTIC INSPIRATION GENERATOR & OMSONIC //

I thought omsonic made the Stochastic Inspiration Generator?


Stochastic and its Expander are no longer being manufactured or sold by omsonic. While omsonic were the original manufacturing partner for the Stochastic Inspiration Generator they were unable to meet the demand for the module. In mid-October 2020, some concerns with omsonic's outgoing communications necessitated my personal involvement in the 'shop front' on this MufWiggler thread. Up to mid-November 2020 we were assured by omsonic that production would quickly increase, so we persevered on that basis. However, at the end of November 2020 we received an email from omsonic stating that production was on indefinite hold. At that point we made the decision to part company and take over production ourselves. It took December 2020 to accommodate the manufacturing changes, arrange the legal requirements of forming the new Stochastic Instruments company and negotiate the exit agreement with omsonic. Our complete redesign of the hardware is optimised for outsourced SMD fabrication and vastly expedites in-house completion. We are pleased the situation is now resolved amicably and are now free to manufacture and sell Stochastics exclusively under the SI name. Stochastic Instruments will not experience the issues that beset the SIG project in 2020. omsonic is still making his own-design modules and is now back to normal function following a range of issues that halted production in 2020. SI wishes omsonic well and in deference to his role in originally realising the project, we have retained with slight updates his panel artwork on our SI Stochastic units, under licence.




Do SI & omsonic Stochastic Inspiration Generators differ?


Both omsonic and SI boards are expertly designed for reliability and performance. If you are one of the few with an omsonic version it will serve you perfectly for many years: you do not have to 'upgrade'. However, while SI Stochastics are basically functionally identical in performance operation to the omsonic-made ones, our SI hardware redesign (primarily intended to optimise scalable manufacture) does also bring a few subtle upgrades. Only SI SIG/Expander units…

  • have internal Flash Storage Memory to retain their settings after power-off
  • have a TRS ClkIn jack to set an Arbitrary Barline on an external trigger
  • are 32mm Skiff Friendly
  • use an Analogue Noise Source rather than a PRNG
  • have Centre-Dented Sliders to better identify
    • 50% probability point
    • ‘home’ Individual Note Octave
  • have full 16bit TrEG Outputs
SI units ('Rev-E's) are easily differentiated from the omsonic Rev A-Ds: their finish is in shinier 'white gold', they show the Stochastic Instruments name and logo, have a dotted line connecting the Tempo and 1/16 controls (to indicate their special Control functions), and the PCBs have single rather than double expander headers on the back (see below).




Are SI & omsonic Stochastic Expanders compatable?


No. But don't worry, we have everyone covered. The Expander brings Stochastic's track count from 1 to 4 probabilistically independent tracks, increasing the capability of the system dramatically into a completely self-sufficient multitrack sequencing ecosystem for only 4hp of extra footprint. With a careful selection of sound modules this can make a fully performably probabilistic track (e.g. stochastically performable melody, chords, bass and drums). Rev E and pre-Rev E main units must match their Expander versions: Rev E SI Stochastics can only be used with Rev E SI Expanders (also clearly identifiable from their panels) and Pre-Rev E (omsonic-made) Stochastics can only be used with pre-Rev E (omsonic-made) Expanders. Omsonic boards employed two small ribbon connections and SI ones use one large one: there is no mechanical way to cross-connect thus no risk of accidental damage. If you have an omsonic board and want an Expander, don't worry: SI will build pre-Rev E omsonic-compatible Expanders to order at no additional cost to the standard price. We will handle this directly by email to avoid confusion (i.e. there is no product page listing for a pre-Rev-E Expander). We have the list of everyone (we believe) sold an omsonic model and have mailed them already. If this applies to you but have NOT heard from us, please contact us we'll sort you out. If you don't yet have a Stochastic you'll be getting a Rev E from us so just request an Expander when we email (see below) or add one to your basket when they become available on the products page of the site: because we ship them together, you’ll save £10 on P&P if you buy them together!




Where am I on the Stochastic Inspiration Generator Waiting List?


Due to the issues with manufacturing and communications with omsonic there is a waiting list for the Stochastic Inspiration Generator. We are clearing this as quickly as possible. As soon as this is completed, the SIG will go on public sale on our Products page. SI will be contacting everyone on the original waiting list, dated up to December 30th 2020. SI have a duty to protect your information and we take that very seriously. Therefore, we will only contact these addresses in relation to SIG and obviously we will never pass these on in any form, for any reason, ever, nor assume that they should be added to any future SI mailing list unless they request to be. Please see our Policy section for more details. SIG customers therefore break down into 3 lists, as follows: 1) People who DO already have an omsonic-made Stochastic If you're in this group: well done, you got one! We have already emailed you from SI, offering you a pre-Rev-E Expander. If you want one, please reply asap to let us gauge numbers. In the very unlikely event that you... i) Have an OMSONIC Stochastic but ii) DID NOT get this SI email from me and iii) DO want an omsonic-COMPATIBLE Expander... ...then contact us and we'll sort you out. 2) People who DON’T yet have a Stochastic but are on the waiting list or contacted omsonic before Jan 1 2020 If you're in this group: you have waited so long––thank you, genuinely, for your support and interest. We are very sorry things have taken so long but the creation of SI means things are finally moving. To manage demand fairly we are emailing people in batches by the date of when they first emailed omsonic. We are manufacturing in parallel so can send out units in the order we receive the replies, pending payment arranged and confirmed by email. Some of you have already received this email from me so the sooner you reply, the sooner we can get you your unit. Please bear with us: we are fulfilling the backlog as fast as we can and we will get to you. The more time we have to get our heads down and honour the list, the quicker everyone will have their module so please only contact us with really critical questions. If you think you're on the list (i.e. registered interest with omsonic) but we haven't emailed you yet, it almost certainly means we will but we just haven't reached that date position in the list yet. We also completely appreciate you will be anxious to know where are on the list, and how fast we are progressing but again, please could we just ask that you let us work through and get to you as soon as we possibly can? We promise you will hear from us more quickly if you just let us get to you. Please only contact us you have not heard from us when we post the "Yay! We've Cleared The List!!" message in our media channels, but believe you should have been emailed. We will ask for your original email to confirm the date, check the records against that and rush you your Stochastic ahead of the public sales. Finally, to be fair to everyone, we have to limit to one unit per person for the list. If you want additional units, please wait until the public sales start. 3) Everyone else If you're in this group: hola! You are a potential buyer who's interested but has not yet registered any specific interest by email. Public sales of Stochastics / Expanders will start as soon as the historical list is cleared. We need to ask you to be patient for just a few more weeks while we clear that. Morally we have to do this to be fair to everyone who contacted omsonic while things were in limbo. As soon as this is done, everyone can buy main units and expanders direct from the SI product page, and we'll be posting here and on our media channels the minute that's possible. As such, the SI products page currently contains listings for these but with zero stock, and no pre-order/notification option. We're sorry if this is frustrating but creating a further secondary wait list would only complicate matters further. Thank you for understanding. As soon as the list is cleared, you will be able to buy immediately or, if they sell out, be added to a notification email system.




When will the Stochastic Inspiration Generator go on public sale?


Public sales of Stochastics / Expanders will start as soon as the waiting list is cleared. We need to ask you to be patient while we clear that. Morally we have to do this to be fair to everyone who contacted omsonic while things were in limbo. As soon as this is done, everyone can buy main units and expanders direct from the SI product page, and we'll be posting here and on our media channels the minute that's possible. As such, the SI products page currently contains listings for these but with zero stock, and no pre-order/notification option. We're sorry if this is frustrating but creating a further secondary wait list would only complicate matters further. Thank you for understanding. As soon as the list is cleared, you will be able to buy immediately or, if they sell out, be added to a notification email system.




Who is supporting omsonic Stochastic Inspiration Generators?


omsonic will continue to provide support to all Stochastics sold by omsonic. Obviously all SI Stochastics fall under SI's ongoing support. Please see our Policy page for more details.




Will the price increase with SI SIGs?


Prices remain frozen: we are honouring the original ‘omsonic’ rates for the Main unit and Expander. While Brexit and CoViD bring their own uncertainties, at the time of writing it does not appear that our production/parts costs will rise dramatically, and we are absorbing the small increases at our cost for you. We will only ever increase this if external factors further raise costs significantly in the future and will always be transparent about this. However, Brexit has created import issues for the EU. Like omsonic, SI is too small to be VAT registered so for both omsonic and SI, the sale price was/is the actual price: there is no VAT to remove at the point of sale. In turn, as with every other UK export following Brexit, EU customers are now charged VAT, Duty and processing fees in the same way as US customers (for example) would be. There is nothing we can do about this. It's not the way we wanted it. Please see our T&Cs for more information. It is important EU customers are aware of this.




Why doesn't the SIG have any CV ins?


First and foremost, our design ethos comes from a playing tradition, alloyed to a love of process within the modular ecosystem. Setting a process into motion and letting it run only holds so much interest so the SIG is about making something that exists in the hinterland between instrument, sequencer and dueting partner. It should respond to you, rather than either doing exactly what you trigger or entirely its own thing. Obviously there's a practical aspect to adding CVs: it would increase price, footprint and decrease ease of use (there are something like 73 separate parameters the SIG can control, and clearly 73 CV ins is not feasible). But much more important is the underlying concept: we want you to be able to play (or rather influence) these, in real time with your fingers. We aim to encourage muscular interaction with SIG rather than 'outsource' control to an LFO or secondary sequencer so all its controls and design is geared towards that: even its playable Loop manipulation where you can beat-repeat, reverse, and otherwise mangle it.




Do I have to menu-dive to play SIG?


No! Even without reading the manual SIG's controls are completely intuative to both brain and fingers: everything is where it feels like it should be. But SIG is also deep. With 73 controllable parameters, a 1 knob 1 function approach would be counterproductive: the footprint would be huge and interface less (not more) intelligible. We follow a design philosophy of "intuitive intelligibility": everything you need, pitch, duration, octave, Loop, is under immediate primary control, and everything else is only a button hold away. You're neither compelled to use 2ry/3ry functions nor hunt for them with a screen, and SIG's note-specific functions are bound to each note so in performance the connection between finger and function remains absolutely obvious.





GENERAL //

Who are dBs Music?


You will see the dBs Music logo on our modules. dBs is an highly innovative and long established teaching and research institute in music, audio and sound engineering based in Plymouth UK and with sites in Bristol and an afiliate institution in Berlin. SI company director Phin Head has been a staff member there for nearly 20 years and, lectures there in Electronic Music Composition and Performance and also heads up their ground-breaking Modular Research Group. The MRG is an open research forum open to any staff or student member with a good idea related to Eurorack and/or music software that they want to develop into a product. It aims to help integrate accademia with industry (a key dBs ethos!) both through the generation of new ideas and through connections with our friends in the Eurorack community (see below) where we collaborate on beta-testing. The Stochastic Inspiration Generator grew out of support from dBs, and both Phin and Stuart see their industry work as a fully integrated aspect of their academic teaching, allowing their respective students in music and electronic to see innovation in the flesh and the marketplace, not just the classroom. SI maintains extremely close ties with dBs Music (as the teaching institution) and also its sister companies dbs-i (where Phin is a research collaborator) and dBs' commercial wing dBsPro. To recognise this, and the essential link between innovation and education, we proudly put dBs' logo on our modules to thank them, our colleagues, and our wonderful students for their continued support.




Our freinds in Eurorack


The Eurorack community is mostly small (often single operator) companies doing amazing things. Along the way, we've met many extraordinarily talented people making incredible modules. Best of all, because it's people making things that interest them as individuals, there is much less sense of direct competition between makers than with the big music tech giants. In no particular order, we'd like to shout out to our modular manufacturer friends, from whom you will find many wonderful things.
Tubbutec - Tobi makes the best multifunction MIDI & tuning system in Eurorack, period (and much else besides). Phin was lucky enough to get to beta-test it and deliver a microtonality lecture/gig on the µTune at Superbooth '18. ThisIsNotRocketScience - Stijn & Pricilla, working out of Amsterdam have somehow found a way to reinvent the building blocks of modular with incredible combinations of familiar concepts with innovative twists. And, the new Fenix will be a history book classic. WMD - from Denver Colorado, Will, Alex and friends build modules that combine the grit of urban techno with the intellectual refinement of process-driven composition: truly modules for players, by players. The Performance Mixer, MSCL and Overseer redefined output staging in Eurorack, and Metron is simply untouchable for trigger sequenceing. We would also like to personally thank Will for his kind technical advice during the manufacture of SIG! Kinesotronic - Our great friends, colleagues and collaborators Matt Ward & Chris Pratt created the incredible Refractor multidimensional gestural morphing application initially for use in Ableton (bridged to Eurorack via a DC-coupled soundcard) but are already planning to take this much further. Winter Modular - Eloi's 8 track powerhouse has fast become the centre of many people's racks and with good reason. There's little to touch it in terms of compact immediacy and functional depth and it's saved Phin's life a few times an hour into an improv set! We would also like to personally thank Eloi for his kind technical advice during the manufacture of SIG! Superbooth - Where else combines an international academic conference, a music festival, a trade show, the best vegan food in the vegan capital of Europe, and Jean Michel Jarre on a shopping trip? Herr Schneider's carnival of wonders is our annual pilgrimage.




What the hell is a milliWard?


The bigger the rack, and the more experience you have, the more you can do, for longer: but how do you measure that? SI's Phin Head and his great friend and colleague, modular DJ, composer and lecturer Matt Ward derived a unit of "Eurorack skill". The 'Ward' is defined in min/hp where 1Wd = 1 minute of decent music per 1hp of rack space. That is, the more skilled the player, the longer the set they can get out of a given rig size. 1 Ward is a big value (like a Farad!). WMD's Will and Alex (drinking with us at the time...) reckoned a maximum set length of about 40mins was possible with two rows of 104hp, so thats 40/208 = 192 milliWards of 'skill' –– and those guys are world experts, playing live several times a week, week in week out. Matt and Phin managed a 2 hour set with two 65% full 4 row 126hp rigs = 120 / (65%*(2x4x126)) = 183mWd which they were actually pretty pleased with. So there it is, the milliWard––get practicing people! :-)




What is your company information?


Stochastic Instruments Ltd. is a 'Micro-Entity' non-VAT registered UK-based Limited Company (Company Number 13111638) incorporated 4th January 2021. Our UK Export EORI Numbers are GB079397159000 (to confirm, follow this link and copy/paste the number) and XI079397159000 for exports N.Ireland, exported using HS Comodity Code 8542311100 All our products are fully tested and RoHS complient. Our contact point is on the contact page, and our official company address is Antares, Haldon Avenue, Teignmouth, Devon, England, TQ14 8LA




I've heard going vegan can save the world?


Well, funny you should ask, but, yes, that's right!
Animal Agriculture––meat, fish, dairy & eggs––kills 3 trillion animals every year, 95,000 every second of every day. The multidisciplinary science is clear: the animals feel and suffer, the environmental effects are devastating (it's the leading driver of the 4 main non-warfare existential threats to organised human survival, Climate Change, Antibiotic Resistance (AMR), Pandemic Zoonoses (like COVID19) and Pandemic Obesity), and its direct effects on human health are serious too. But the really great news is that the dietary science is also really clear and really positive: vegans thrive and enjoy significant health gains from birth, reduced heart disease, cancer, diabetes, infections and obesity...and the growth in delicious, cheap and healthy vegan options is sky-rocketing. So, here are a bunch of really amazing recipes for you! Save the world, be kind, love food and play modular. :-)




What is your Modular Grid page?


Stochastic Instruments has the coverted Official Manufacturer Status on Modular Grid (thank you Knut!) and is found here... https://www.modulargrid.net/e/modules/browser?SearchVendor=906




How do you Calculate Shipping Charges?


We have worked hard to secure the best balance between cost and security for your valuable package––particularly in the current climate of uncertainty with Brexit and CoViD. We also never profit from our P&P: everything is done at cost. Please see the Shipping section of our Policy page.




What are your Company Ethics?


Stochastic Instruments believes companies should be inclusive of everyone, transparent, pay taxes, ecologically responsible, supportive of education and above all, ethically brave. Every big ethical step forward a society takes was once unpopular, born from the fortitude of individuals striving for a better future and a better world. We believe this applies to all its sentient inhabitants, irrespective of race, colour, creed, belief system, gender, sexuality or species. We bank ethically, use biodegradable materials wherever possible, try to minimise energy use, and ensure that we and, whenever it's possible to control, the services we use, do not invest in military, tobacco, gambling, tax-avoidance or animal agriculture products/services.




What about custom panel colours?


Company panel colour is black but we recognise that Eurorack is also all about individuality. If you really wanted a particular alternative colour it is something we can explore, but is limmited by the options available with the PCB fabricators we use and will cost more as it will be a special order. If you still want to pursue this, please contact us. Finally, please see our Support page for details of how to make your own panels if you really want to show off!




What about Brexit?


Music transcends all barriers: including those artificially forced upon us by politicians. SI hopes this is au revoir e auf wiedersehen––it's EuroRack, not BorisRack––but until then, our EU friends should expect a similar situation to ordering from a US company. We are too small to be VAT registered so our sale price is the actual price: there is no VAT to remove at the point of sale. As with every other UK export to the EU, EU customers are now charged their local sales tax, Duty (typically 0-3% on electronic goods) and processing fees. There is simply nothing we can do about this. We can only provide the cheapest reliable shipping options available (and a range of pricing/insurance options within that), as well as the appropriate customs paperwork stating the full value of the items. As a brand new start up already facing potentially increased production costs through Brexit, sadly we cannot absorb the additional costs for EU customers that these politicians have created. Thank you for understanding. Please see our Policy Page for more information. It is important EU customers are aware of these details.




I'm a fashionista and would like both panel colours. Can do?


Company panel colour is black, but in honour of the original omsonic SIG, we also offer blue. If you wanted the option to buy both to swap between them, no problem! We charge an extra £5 for the SIG Main Unit and £2.50 for the Expander panels so please contact us before placing your order and we can ship with both colour panels included (one fitted, one loose). In addition, due to customer demand we now also offer Stealth Edition panels which retain omsonic's graphics but in a more muted profile which can also be added to your order.