Deluge: More than a Synth, more than a manual
Synthstrom Audible is a boutique synth developer based in New Zealand and has built a strong reputation amongst their community for continuous development and innovation. With a clear focus on ensuring the flagship product, Deluge evolves in a direction driven by its user base, Synthstrom encourages stepping away from a computer and getting creative. Deluge can be the centerpiece of connecting other gear or simply a stand-alone (and portable) music-making device in its own right. So this sounds like a perfect fit for Synthdawg and the producer guides right? Our aim of helping a community of music makers getting the very best from their gear, talking the language of the user and helping both to ramp up the learning curve and also move the needle a notch for experienced users.
The Deluge Producer Guide is, therefore, the first-ever official guide and is developed in partnership with Synthstrom. Both parties share the same vision to offer the best experience to the Deluge community. So how did this collaboration come about? Synthdawg has never proactively sought to release an official guide but we do like to keep a relationship with the gear developers where we can. However, when Ian from Synthstrom contacted us it was clear that he and Rohan shared the same passion and wanted to embrace our own philosophy rather than dictate a specification. Having the challenge to meet Synthstrom’s standards and still retain the Synthdawg focus on the user experience was of interest. The thing that swayed it was how proud Synthstrom were in their own principles and how they were developing Deluge and engaging with the community to keep making it better and better”.
So now we are here, a release that coincides with the move to Deluge OS 3.0 and the introduction of a host of new features that once again takes things to a whole new level. So how was the journey? There were some challenges but all positive and the huge amount of effort and focus on the software development, bug fixes and communicating with the community was a mammoth task on the Synthstrom side while in parallel trying to align the guide. None of us expected the content to be as big as it is but hopefully, all of it adds value for the user. Ian from Synthstrom explains, “I was blown away when discovering Synthdawg’s work and seeing the principles and community feedback on his producer's guides made clear that Neil was on the same page as us. We were overwhelmed with the resulting incredible diagrams, explanations and also sheer size of the content produced. Seeing this documented in the producer guide was a proud moment and really brought the realisation home just how powerful and feature-rich Deluge has become.”
So exactly what were Synthdawg challenges to get this new manual and guide completed. Firstly we are in different time zones so the exchange of information was tough for all of us. Couple that with Synthstrom’s Asia tour and some global travel for us, meant we were often communicating across China, USA, Finland as well as both our Homebase’s of New Zealand and the UK. Also, the transition to 3.0 meant other parallel priorities were in play. Finally, we had to balance making it right, the best it could be and also trying not to overdo things and elongate the release date.
Are we all satisfied? Well I think speaking on behalf of all of us, the real test is are the Deluge community of users satisfied. They are the audience and the real test so we hope people will find it helpful and bring more to the Deluge experience. From our own viewpoint, I think we all strive for things to be the best they can be, we are extremely happy and pleased with the final 3.0 Producer Guide, the hard work and collaboration that’s brought it to life. I guess we all share the view that we are never satisfied, Deluge will continue to develop and move forward, the Producer Guide is now part of that journey not only in the past but in the future and will develop with it.
It’s fair at this stage to leave the final word to Rohan, the man behind the ‘brains’ of the Deluge product and owner of Synthstrom Audible. Rohan states, “from the start, we intended the Deluge as a device with a unique interface. No matter how intuitive, interfaces need instructions, and Synthdawg has gone above and beyond, creating elegant diagrams to illustrate not only the Deluge's uses and capabilities, but also some fundamental concepts of synthesis and music hardware. We're thrilled that our users, new and old, will now have this resource to help them master the Deluge.”