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Wish Wish List: New Amps

kennyg75

New here
I finally dived into Fractal with the Axe Fx III. There's a few classic amps that I think are necessary:

  • Mesa Boogie Mark I or SOB
  • Marshall Super Bass (60s era)
  • Orange OR-120 (early 70s)
  • Park 50
 

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
Seems like there ought to be a thread which asks for proposals for new amps (like this one), but, with a time-limit.

Everybody chimes in. The post at the top of the thread is continuously updated with people's latest suggestions, in alphabetical order, to prevent duplicates.

Then, when the time-limit is reached, a POLL is added, with all those amps in the list, taking votes for highest-priority, second-highest, etc.

Seems like a good way to get a more-focused, more-organized sense of what to add.
 

Rex

Legend!
Seems like there ought to be a thread which asks for proposals for new amps (like this one), but, with a time-limit.

Everybody chimes in. The post at the top of the thread is continuously updated with people's latest suggestions, in alphabetical order, to prevent duplicates.

Then, when the time-limit is reached, a POLL is added, with all those amps in the list, taking votes for highest-priority, second-highest, etc.

Seems like a good way to get a more-focused, more-organized sense of what to add.
In the end, wishes for new amps are just requests. Fractal decides what amp to add by considering lots of other factors: "How easy is it to get a working example of this amp without spending too much money and time?" "What does this amp bring to the table that's unique and can't already be covered by an existing amp model?" "Can we get a schematic?" "What else are we developing that we should spend our time on instead?"... lots of stuff besides "How many people have voted for this amp?".

The truth is, driving new amp additions based on a popularity contest isn't likely to get the best candidates in the door.
 

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
In the end, wishes for new amps are just requests. Fractal decides what amp to add by considering lots of other factors: "How easy is it to get a working example of this amp without spending too much money and time?" "What does this amp bring to the table that's unique and can't already be covered by an existing amp model?" "Can we get a schematic?" "What else are we developing that we should spend our time on instead?"... lots of stuff besides "How many people have voted for this amp?".

The truth is, driving new amp additions based on a popularity contest isn't likely to get the best candidates in the door.
Good to know.

Truth is, other than maybe the ADA, I personally don't have any interest in any new amps (or 2/3rds of the ones in there now). But it seems important to a lot of folks, so I was trying to put myself in their shoes and think through how to prioritize all these hundreds of obscure models.

But yeah, if the real limiting factor is, "Can we even get a schematic and a working example?" then I can see that a prioritized wish-list might be an exercise in futility.
 

kennyg75

New here
In the end, wishes for new amps are just requests. Fractal decides what amp to add by considering lots of other factors: "How easy is it to get a working example of this amp without spending too much money and time?" "What does this amp bring to the table that's unique and can't already be covered by an existing amp model?" "Can we get a schematic?" "What else are we developing that we should spend our time on instead?"... lots of stuff besides "How many people have voted for this amp?".

The truth is, driving new amp additions based on a popularity contest isn't likely to get the best candidates in the door.
My overall impression from the Fractal users (especially as a new one) is that disregarding the polls is not appropriate. Considering everything is technically possible and pretty well defined in amplifiers it's just prioritization and resources. If the largest request would drive more revenue and units sold which would fuel more R&D for more niche amps I'm pretty sure it would happen. Unless that market and user research isn't taking place. If a large percentage of your active users are requesting a specific amp or pedal (Klon?) then you could come to a few potential thought experiments:

  1. Our users really want this and would provide a positive experience for current users
    1. Positive experience could drive more vocal supports (higher NPS score). "Users beget more users, who beget more users."
    2. It's not going to push more sales but would just make current customers happy so we may prioritize other amps, pedals, etc to drive more unit sales
  2. It's just too expensive right now but we know that customers want it. This could also mean reverse engineering for a schematic you don't have.
    1. Would this model drive more unit sales? If so then maybe budget for modelling in the future. Example: Dumble String Singer
    2. It's only going to satisfy a small number of current users or the market is too small to prioritize for development
  3. I know what's good for our customers
    1. Test your preconceptions against user interviews, market research, competitors, etc.
These are my thoughts as a technical product manager.
 

Rex

Legend!
My overall impression from the Fractal users (especially as a new one) is that disregarding the polls is not appropriate. Considering everything is technically possible and pretty well defined in amplifiers it's just prioritization and resources. If the largest request would drive more revenue and units sold which would fuel more R&D for more niche amps I'm pretty sure it would happen. Unless that market and user research isn't taking place. If a large percentage of your active users are requesting a specific amp or pedal (Klon?) then you could come to a few potential thought experiments:

  1. Our users really want this and would provide a positive experience for current users
    1. Positive experience could drive more vocal supports (higher NPS score). "Users beget more users, who beget more users."
    2. It's not going to push more sales but would just make current customers happy so we may prioritize other amps, pedals, etc to drive more unit sales
  2. It's just too expensive right now but we know that customers want it. This could also mean reverse engineering for a schematic you don't have.
    1. Would this model drive more unit sales? If so then maybe budget for modelling in the future. Example: Dumble String Singer
    2. It's only going to satisfy a small number of current users or the market is too small to prioritize for development
  3. I know what's good for our customers
    1. Test your preconceptions against user interviews, market research, competitors, etc.
These are my thoughts as a technical product manager.
I didn’t say anything about disregarding user requests. Fractal has established itself as giving more weight to user feedback than pretty much any other company in its field.

My point was that user opinion is just one of many factors involved. And polls can give skewed results that are based on what a majority have access to and have tried. Example: a while back, we got the Hook amps added. These are wonderful amps with a unique gain structure that works really well in a band context. There’s nothing else in the box that’s quite like them. If the decision was left to user polls, the Hooks would never have made it in. They wouldn’t have won any popularity contests because most people had never heard of them.
 

kennyg75

New here
I didn’t say anything about disregarding user requests. Fractal has established itself as giving more weight to user feedback than pretty much any other company in its field.

My point was that user opinion is just one of many factors involved. And polls can give skewed results that are based on what a majority have access to and have tried. Example: a while back, we got the Hook amps added. These are wonderful amps with a unique gain structure that works really well in a band context. There’s nothing else in the box that’s quite like them. If the decision was left to user polls, the Hooks would never have made it in. They wouldn’t have won any popularity contests because most people had never heard of them.
That's fair; however, has there been an evaluation of their usage vs other amps already in the system? What is the feedback on those amps vs potential other amps? What are the opportunity costs against the market and user needs? I'm not actually looking for specific answers just a thought exercise. It's perfectly reasonable for develop something that hasn't been on the request list (UAD has been known to do this) but what was the impact of the choice? I'd be surprised if overall usage of unrequested amps was higher than past highly requested and implemented amps. Obviously I have absolutely no data to go on so please don't take this as I am absolutely certain.
 

Rex

Legend!
Your search for usage numbers and desire to mine those numbers for maximum profit impact is the heart and soul of product-design-by-marketing-department. Fractal cares about profits, too. But the model here is product-design-by-designer's-vision. That vision is a product that gives maximum performance, maximum functionality and maximum options to professional guitarists. Adherence to that model is one of the chief reasons that they've risen to be the recognized leader in their field in a very short time, with waiting lists for their often-sold-out products.

I'm glad that they included an obscure amp model that offers unique possibilities, instead of one that got the most votes. The appeal to users is the fact that they can reach into the box and find whatever tone they want, even when that tone isn't on anyone's top-ten list.
 

kennyg75

New here
our search for usage numbers and desire to mine those numbers for maximum profit impact is the heart and soul of product-design-by-marketing-department. Fractal cares about profits, too. But the model here is product-design-by-designer's-vision. That vision is a product that gives maximum performance, maximum functionality and maximum options to professional guitarists.
That's an interesting take on it and pretty much mirrors the classic musician response. I have another take on it: Maximum options for Fractal guitarist could actually mean the most highly requested amps. Until someone evaluates the usage and compares then the maximum options may not be met. It's in everyone's best interest that Fractal is profitable as it's in the end a software and the hardware requires updates and maintenance. I'll also quite certain that most of the Fractal users aren't professionals but enthusiasts or at best semi-professionals. There is no ideal world for product development and the more you know about how your users are using the product is crucial to understanding success. That isn't just a product design by marketing which honestly no companies have ever done successfully. Product Management's job is to understand user's goals and requirements and use actual usage patterns or user journeys to make decisions and gather feedback based on those decisions. In the end there are always choices that the company makes over user requests. They hold the vision and they own the choices. These development patterns are followed by governments, universities, non-profits, for profits. It's not just about making a fat wad of cash it's about long term stability and actively listening to users. It sounds like Fractal does this. My point is that I don't think we should be deterring people from making suggestions and trying as a group to prioritize them. This is a forum of engaged users and will provide great suggestions.

And yes I want obscure amps too - I love them.
 

Rex

Legend!
That's an interesting take on it and pretty much mirrors the classic musician response.
Im not sure what “classic musician response” means, but given the fact that we’re all musicians here, that would imply a near-universal consensus on the position I put forth. :)
 
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