[Harp-L] TurboHarp develpment bench - ELX


This is not meant to be a shameless plug for my website, www.turboharp.com,
and definitely not any promotion or endorsement of our innovative line of
TurboHarp products....  

I need your advice. You might be aware that we have been developing an
"electric" harmonica for quite a long time. To date, there are 6 prototypes
in existence, which I have been circulating to players, like Madcat, Randy
Singer, Harmonica John, Dennis Cooper, and others for their feedback. 

Truthfully, the response has been mixed. Some absolutely LOVE it, and want
to buy one at (virtually) any price. On the other extreme, some offer a
shopping list of features they dislike about it. Being a perfectionist, this
has been stifled me from proceding with releasing it for sale.  But now it
has occured to me that there might be six people "out there" that can accept
a little imperfection, and would enjoy owning and playing one of the ELX's.
After all, *I* myself really think its alot of fun.

At this juncture, the ELX can do the following:
1) Provides feedback-free amplification of any Special-20, or equally sized
acoustic harp. Hence providing the "touch and feel of an acoustic harp."
2) Provides a wide range of effects, offered by the Digitech RP-70, to which
it is coupled
3) Offers monaural line-level output.
and (4) amaze your friends, and make you the life of the party :-)

The Limitations fo the current generation (Gen-3) are:
1) Does not provide easy swap-out of harp bodies, but requires two screws to
be removed to separate the halves of the covers.
2) Requires a wire from the harp to an effects box.
2a) Some people do not like the mini-phone jack that connects to the rear of
the harp body.
3) Without the effects box, there is a low level "hiss" that can be
annoying. (But with the box, the hiss is gated out.)
4) Does NOT provide midi output.
5) Does not run on batteries.
6) Does NOT allow any hand cupping effects. (Think of it as analagous to the
electric guitar.)
7) Is rather expensive to produce, hence expensive to buy. We're talkin
about $400-range. (Digitech RP70 and gig case included.)

The NEXT generation (Gen 5) version that we're now working on will solve
problem (1) above, by incorporating a hinge and snap closure to the lids.  

Item (2) will have to wait until the Generation-5.  Item (2a) could be
addressed by providing a micro-usb-type connector that should be less
suceptible to motion. Item (4) (midi output) is something we've determined
is do-able, but with will require a Major investment. On the other hand, the
output of the acoustic version is readily midi-fy-able offline (not real
time) with appropriate software.  Item (5) power, will be addressed in Gen-5
by use of phantom power. Item (6) is something that is intrinsic to the
product, like the electric guitar or any other electrified instrument. Item
(7), cost, can be reduced slightly by eliminating the RP-70 from the
package, and allowing the player to use his/her own effects box. And of
course, economy of scale would also bring the price down if there was
sufficient demand.

My Questions for you are...
1) Do you know anyone who might be willing/able to pay $400 for one of the
Gen-3 prototypes. (Featured on youtube, and our website.)
2) In your opinion, how low would the price need to be to make it appealing?
3) Which of the above limitations do you think is the most critical? (I.e.
where should I focus my attention?)

(sorry for the length of this message... you can tell I've been thinking
about this for quite a while)



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