Forum rss-feed


General Discussion: Important Announcement from Eigenlabs

Most Recent

written by: cellular_model


Thank you very much for your response.

I guess, it's just those ten thousands hours of practice that are missing.


written by: TheTechnobear

Wed, 3 Jul 2013 18:25:54 +0100 BST

Its a tricky one, as you have also sorts of different users, casual users, enthusiasts, pro musicians. etc
they all have different expectations and also how much they are wiling to spend.

I think the idea of membership types/levels is a good one, with a minimum contribution from everyone.
of course not all will be happy, as you say some expect or believe they should not have to pay, but they will not be able to propose a model where by development can continue.

Im glad you believe in GPL, and also getting the community to help out.

Ardour ( may be interesting, basically open source, but you have to contribute for a prebuilt version, they are also very open about contributions and current funding levels see:
Ive also seen models, where 'development items' are proposed, and people contribute to the ones they like and when they get to a certain level they get done, otherwise not... like a mini kick-starter.

@bob, lets work on this, but in your other thread, geert made some suggestions, and I also asked some questions. 1.4 should work for you (albeit some plugins may not), but this thread is not about that.

written by: Bongo35

Thu, 4 Jul 2013 00:22:31 +0100 BST

It is good to see this thread starting to develop.

I have absolutely no problem paying for software, but I would like a choice about the level of the software that I buy.

I just want to play my Tau and Pico - I don't have the time to do anything else. If you provide me with software that enables me to continue - with enhancements that make the experience a good one, then I'll probably keep upgrading.

I have no real desire to understand how the software works or to get under the bonnet to develop new whizzy things - like turning the lights on or ordering a pizza. However, I can understand for some that this is a real buzz and good luck to them - they are probably the key to the future development of the Eigen world.

My suggestion

1) A survey of all the 'players only' - to identify enhancements to the core software product they desire

2) Players vote on the top 5 (or whatever)

3) Eigenlabs evaluate the cost/numbers to deliver these enhancements and offer the upgrade to us. We pre-order the new software and cough up the cash

4) The developers (including those key community members) provide us with a solid upgrade.

5) The cash is used to support the software development in whatever way the company desires.

6) Over time new ideas come forward for enhancements and those are offered to the users.

7) If enough people take the bait (and cough up again) the circle of viability continues.

Just a thought.


written by: carvingCode

Thu, 4 Jul 2013 00:36:20 +0100 BST

I'm afraid I was one who complained about software costs, but it was never about the actual money. My objection was with the subscription model, something I've never seen in any software product I've purchased (been at this since 1984).

I've always supported software by purchasing it - have never (to my knowledge) pirated anything or expected programmers, or the company, to turn out quality software for free.

My objection was simply with a model I had never seen in practice prior to Eigenabs.

The suggestion of looking at other ways, membership-based included, to support Eigenlabs in the future I hope will seriously be considered. This is something I understand and could personally get behind.

John, I apologize for any discouragement you may have suffered from me. I regret the negativity toward this remarkable instrument.

I hope that you are encouraged, though, by some of the recent interest and activities being produced by Mark Harris, Mark Powell and others to move the software forward. There's a real interest in this, even though the community may be small.

I like the survey suggestion as well. You've got everyone's emal address. Why not make use of them? (I'm surprised to have not received emails from Eigenlabs throughout the years... I own all 3 instruments!) :)


written by: MiiMCorp

Tue, 9 Jul 2013 17:10:10 +0100 BST

The idea of this is all great, there any projected date that 2.0 would be released to the Foundation ?

The lack of any kind of update from the Home Office is disconcerting..

written by: NothanUmber

Sat, 20 Jul 2013 12:03:54 +0100 BST

Hi John,

there will always be people hoping others will do the work/pay for them - sometimes even looking down on those who are not as "clever" as them. Those you can try to convince to contribute by giving contributors an advantage.
For others the "case" is just not important enough to invest time or money. They might take it if it's free but would never pay - even if it means it won't happen.

So imho it could be helpful to be really open with the funds the foundation gets, so people see what can and can not be achieved with that amount of money. Then a big incentive to pledge could be voting rights what should happen with the money. "Honor things" like forum badges might also help, yes.
I honestly can't estimate whether putting pledge money into EigenD development would be beneficial or not. Might depend on the number of people who might want to contribute to the open source effort. Those might be turned off if they see that others are payed for the same work they are supposed to do for free. So if we go the "pay for work packages" route, it might mean less non-payed contribution.

From a more general perspective:
People like advantages. But they hate perceived or real disadvantages they consider "unfair" even more with a passion. There are enough studies that show that most people definitely prefer nobody getting a certain perk to just them not getting it - or even more extreme - most would gladly turn down a perk or even worsen their situation if they can prevent others getting a bigger advantage that way. All perceived wealth and standing is relative - so for most it doesn't matter whether the delta is achieved by pushing themselves or keeping down the others or even make their situation worse.
This downwards directed understanding of "advantage, increasing the delta at all costs" is imho the source for many of our current and - even more extreme - future problems. But being "king of the hill" was too important in the past to survive and it's hard to overcome your "programming". Perhaps something drastic will happen that will force us to rethink. Or we can't - I really don't want to extrapolate our perspective in that case...
So probably we shouldn't be too harsh on people being like they are, it's hard to overcome your heritage, but encourage them to realize what they are doing where possible and helpful. Perhaps we still make it in time! And in the mean time we have to continue to take people's behaviour into consideration as it is.

P.S.: with "rethink" I mostly meant "acting responsible when taking opportunities, not exploiting the system where possible" and thus not driving people into performing potentially self-hurting "anti-outsmarting" counter measures they developed out of necessity as deterrence, hurting everybody including themselves just to bring "justice to the exploiters". (in our example the exploit wwould be not pledging under the assumption that others will do it for you and the countermeasure being not pledging, so the project fails, thus those who wanted to "exploit" the potential pledger also don't get anything. Or not providing open source contributions for free unless nobody gets paid for it.) Probably a two sided disarmament would be most beneficial, everybody who is interested and able to do so should pledge what it is worth to him, without "tactical considerations". Then we will see how much we get and what we can do with it.

written by: NothanUmber

Sat, 10 Aug 2013 22:27:17 +0100 BST

Hi John,

my EigenD subscription expires in a week. I will gladly extend it for another year in good faith. Eigenharps and EigenD are good ideas, they deserve a future!
The group might be small but there definitely are "followers".

All the best,

written by: TheTechnobear

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:27:04 +0100 BST

I wasn't going to renew due to lack of information on the foundation, and the doubt around likelihood of major updates in the future. BUT, I think Ferdinand you are absolutely correct!

I want to support Eigenlabs and keep its ideas alive and moving forwards- so Ive renewed now.

Im also willing to help in other ways too e.g programming effort.

Im sure Im not alone, as Ferdinand said you, have a small but enthusiastic set of followers who would be willing help under the flag of the foundation or whatever.

John, How could the community help?

All the best,
Mark Harris.

written by: keyman

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 16:09:29 +0100 BST

I'm on the same boat, same seat! same spirit and passion!

What's the next "chapter" any news?I can renew subscription, or contribution...

All the best,
António Machado

written by: BobThDog

Mon, 9 Dec 2013 07:46:33 +0000 GMT

Is this dead in the water now?

written by: stuwyatt

Tue, 17 Dec 2013 12:47:51 +0000 GMT

Sorry for my long absence from the forums, but my health took a nosedive this year, culminating in a lot of changes in my life - most notably having 25 hours of homecare a week... but things are on the up, and I can now have more time and spend more of what energy I have into getting back into the Tau.... as it's one of the only instruments I am still able to play.

I want to quote John:

"... there are also a significant number who are not and will just, if its possible, take advantage of everyone else. They always have excellent reasons for behaving as they do (I am poor, I am a student, I already gave you some money two years ago etc, even as they buy another beer at the bar) I suspect that in reality there is little that can be done about such people and it's just a horrible thing that we have to live with, but the little Hitler in me would like to make them contribute somehow."

I guess that John was in part talking about me. Back then, due to CFS fatigue/confusion, I had stupidly lost my backup of EigenD. I wrote to Eigenlabs asking if there was a way to download it again as my subscription had just ended - but I was told that I had to pay full price for EigenD - despite it not being updated since I had purchased it. Words were said (some in the heat of the moment), and thankfully I was able to persuade John to extend my subscription for a month so that I could get back the software that I needed. But I had to fight to get it. I personally find that genius inventors are often incredibly arrogant and selfish people with poor interpersonal skills, but we are all entitled to our jaded opinions, as is John.

I've believed in the Eigenharp since day one as an instrument, and I still do... I am one of those 'poor' people that John spoke of, but I still managed to raise the funds to buy a Pico, then a Tau, then the strap... then the £200 spike, followed by EigenD. I've maxed out my borrowing limits (I'm on disability benefits)... and I'll still be paying it off a year from now. I have nothing left that I can give to Eigenlabs, and any spare money is being put towards the sound libraries that I so desperately need.

My personal view is that Eigenlabs are shooting themselves in the foot by not making the code public. They make great instruments, but the EigenD interface is, in my opinion, ridiculous, confusing and totally unlike anything else out there. Most musicians simply want something that they can seamlessly integrate into Logic/Cubase/Live/etc... and not have to learn a new language, or have to pay extra money as a subscription so that they can just configure the instrument so that it works how they need it to.

The fact remains that after 3 years, the Eigenharps have failed to make any kind of huge impact on the music scene. This in my opinion is down to the arse-about way that EigenD has been designed. I know many musicians who have given up/sold their instruments due to the software and the unnecessarily steep learning curves needed. Even this forum is arse-about... and is the only forum I've seen where the OP or last post is permanently stickied at the top. Why Eigenlabs didn't use a free off-the-shelf solution is beyond me... but I digress...

My main point:

If you open-source the software and drivers, then you will get people designing solutions to make the integration and usability of the instruments simpler. Eigenlabs would benefit by the renewed increase in hardware sales as a result... its a win-win all around in my eyes.

So it saddens me to see that there has been no progress on the setting up of the foundation, and it saddens me to read the inventor slate a large subsection of his customer base. As a disabled person who is seeing the effects of the cuts in front-line services and NHS due to 'tax dodgers', It also saddens me to realise that one of John's motivations for setting up the foundation is simply so that the company pays less tax.

written by: BobThDog

Tue, 17 Dec 2013 12:23:10 +0000 GMT

I have to agree, good hardware let down by amazingly bad software.

written by: stuwyatt

Tue, 17 Dec 2013 12:45:39 +0000 GMT

And also let down by amazingly bad customer service.

The last comment in this thread from anyone at Eigenlabs was at the beginning of July. Nobody from the company has had even the basic courtesy to respond to any posts since then.

written by: cellular_model

Tue, 17 Dec 2013 15:54:26 +0000 GMT

I would like to voice my opinion on the matter.

The software is mostly ok and thanks to its modularity can be pruned to a simple midi driver with benefits. I did it with the help of G+ community and I have yet to see a player not receiving some help from there.

The problem with "something that they can seamlessly integrate into.." approach is that one always ends up wanting a little extra. Here you have all you could want from the start, just carve it to your liking.

What I do miss is attention to playing techniques. There is not a piece of official material on the subject. Event a small reference could have started a crystallization process for the technique.

Now, not only a person should figure out the software part ( it's not such a big problem considering the background of the most of us), but to devise his own technique and the ways to learn it.

Consider this, it takes about three years to receive a first academic degree in computer science which is more than enough to deal with the sources of eigend, but it takes about ten years to learn playing a musical instrument both under tutelage and at a much younger age.

So if a foundation will be formed it better be about the music and not the software.


written by: dhjdhj

Tue, 17 Dec 2013 16:10:27 +0000 GMT

Uh, yeah, but that you had to do that essentially contradicts the claim that the software is mostly ok. The hardware is indeed superb.

It was clear to me over 3 years ago (soon after I bought my eigenharp) that EigenD was not going to be a good solution for those who just want to play. I was very disappointed that my opinions were met with essentially polite hostility. Support for Max (or even PD) in the early days would have opened the eigenharp up to a much larger community.

On the other hand, as I get ready to go on tour again with Security Project where management now features me playing my Alpha in the main photo (, I have to admit it's kind of nice that essentially nobody has seen one of these things ---- gets me a lot of attention :-)

thanks to its modularity can be pruned to a simple midi driver

written by: cellular_model

Tue, 17 Dec 2013 16:23:01 +0000 GMT

The "mostly" part stood for two of my personal gripes, loading times and the inability to run forever. Now it's almost perfect, on account of it still not being able to run forever;)

written by: TheTechnobear

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 20:42:56 +0000 GMT

er, I don't want to defend, as Eigenlabs are more than capable of replying if they choose...

BUT... lets be clear... the source code is already open sourced (and has been for a long time) , there are only 2 things missing:

1) The pico hardware layer, but even this , the underlying library and headers are supplied to compile against.
(the reason for its not being released are very valid intellectual copyright issues - basically the code is the same as in the hardware of alpha/tau) ... this will NOT stop people writing software for the Pico, or adapting EigenD.
2) The audio agent from 2.x, but Ive already adapted and compiled the 1.x audio agent for 2.0.74, so this is a non-issue.

as a developer, I have had no issue accessing the source code, compiling it, modifying it and writing agents for it.... Im not saying its easy, but its also not that hard - IF you have the will (and necessary technical skills).

As some of you know, Ive already written eigend agents and also have a working max external that talks to Eigenharps without EigenD - no hacks, and all done with what has been made available for a long time by Eigenlabs - so it is possible.

So, why have I been asking about the foundation?

I would like some clarity....
e.g. if I fix a bug in an Eigenlabs agent, how can i distribute it? can I release my own complete version of EigenD?
also... what is the future of EigenD? ... am I wise to invest time into developing agents? who is using etc?

Also, as Oleg has raised, I'm interested in the non-technica/software part of the foundation e.g. the education element mentioned in the announcement.

But at the end (of each) day Im still loving playing and practicing with my eigenharp, and hope to for many years to come... and thank eigenlabs for a great instrument.


written by: BobThDog

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 06:12:03 +0000 GMT

Hi Mark,

You seem to know your way around the software. Is there a way of not having to use EigenD, so just having a driver or whatever that outputs OSC or Midi?



written by: john

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 09:47:45 +0000 GMT

Dear All

I'll try and clear up a few issues that seem to have emerged in this thread, although Mark has already done so for several of them (thanks Mark).

Firstly, to Andy, if you want a setup that just outputs MIDI or OSC your best bet is probably to build a really lightweight EigenD setup with just the minimal agents needed - an instrument agent, one Keygroup to organise the key layout into however you want your MIDI to come out and a MIDI out (or OSC out) agent. This setup will be very small and with such a minimal amount to do EigenD will start and load in just a few seconds and use little in the way of resources. From the point of view of software it won't be much different from a 'driver' with the exception of needing you to run it first, before you run your DAW. From a software point of view it has advantages for developers - actual drivers are awkward and error prone as they are intimately connected to the OS, need to be signed with a developer certificate (which is an increasingly onerous and expensive hassle) for every release and are generally much more trouble to look after they they seem. In short, if you set up EigenD in a minimal state, it''s lightweight, fast to load and will provide you with what you want. This, I believe, is how David and several others who just want MIDI or OSC use their Eigenharps to drive DAW's or MAX. There is nothing wrong with this approach, it just means that you're locked right into MIDI and can't do some of the fancy kludges that we (and others) use to try and get the best out of existing sound engines. Works fine though, for lots of things.

Alternatively, if you really, really want a pure driver, all the code is right there in the public domain for you to write one. I suspect it would end up doing exactly the same thing as a minimal EigenD setup when you got done, but if that lights your fire, go for it.

Secondly, on the foundation front, this is stalled simply because I have had not had the time to pursue it coupled with being monumentally lazy about actually knuckling down and doing all the crappy paperwork I have to do for it. As many of you know, Eigenlabs is not my living, it is something I do as a passion, and this year has been difficult for me in other areas, areas in which I've had to devote a lot of my time and effort for a while. What limited time I have had to deal with Eigenlabs has been spent helping to get the Tau build done and working with Wayne to prepare to get a new batch of Alpha's made, which has proved to be more difficult that we anticipated for reasons I won't bore you with. I hate paperwork very much and the administrative hassle of getting the foundation established is large and as yet incomplete. Hopefully I will have more time from February 2014 onwards and when I do it will move forward. There has been no change in intent, just very slow progress towards the goal. If anyone who is legally qualified in the UK wants to volunteer to help please do, it would be appreciated by all I am sure.

Lastly I have a plea for you. Eigenlabs is not a profit making venture, and has never been so, it has always been heavily subsidised by both myself and several others. It would be nice if it did ever make a profit, but given the size of the market I think this unlikely. This is OK, but please bear in mind when moaning at me/us as if we are Apple or Microsoft and making billions of pounds that this is not so, the very reverse is true. Most months I have to put my hand in my pocket and chip in. To have such wholly ignorant posts appear in these forums that suggest 'tax dodging' and 'incredible arrogance' on my part is a sign of very poor manners at the very least, never mind the factual inaccuracies. I have never deleted a post on these forums in the entire history of Eigenlabs, however rude, ill-considered or plain stupid they have been but please, gentlemen, ladies, let us attempt to keep our discourse both factually correct and at least minimally courteous.


written by: NothanUmber

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 10:09:32 +0000 GMT

Hi everybody,

to those unsatisfied with EigenD: How should the Eigenharp software look like and work in your opinion, which options should it offer and how should these options be accessible?
Likely it would be a possibilities vs ease of use consideration. Imho EigenD is not bad, they just chose the "all options" approach - which can be intimidating if the default config is not what you want. But if it were not so configurable then there wouldn't even be the question whether the default config is your preferrance - it would be hardcoded.
Max is surerly capable. I'm not sure whether it's easier though. Perhaps more people already invested the time to learn it - at least more people interested in music.

So, let's collect ideas - in which direction would you like the EigenD - or more general Eigenharp software to go? Please try to be constructive here, not reducing your comment to what you don't like, more explaining how something you *would* like should look like. If we find a viable path then perhaps we can convince Eigenlabs that the foundation would make sense and enhance the current situation for Eigenharps.

Edit: John posted while I wrote this response. Thanks for your continued dedication to the Eigenharps! It might not be a business case anymore - perhaps it never were, but it certainly reserves a precious spot in the hearts of those who care a lot about our Eigenharps.
Have nice holidays everybody!

written by: TheTechnobear

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 09:57:00 +0000 GMT

EDIT: just a quick note, to say I posted this without seeing Johns reply… we overlapped whilst typing :o)

Yes, you could write a midi driver or a OSC based driver that talked directly to the eigenharp - no question, and I've considered it.

Midi - has the issue of what to do with yaw/roll data to make it 'per note', you could output as a CC per key, but then use loose a lot of resolution (10bits form the harp, to 7 bit midi). then you'd have to rely on you DAW to map this … which basically is not going to be possible on most DAWS, and not possible for non techies.

OSC - the main issue here, is there is no 'standard' for OSC mapping, so you have to map from your own naming scheme. most musicians are going to have trouble doing this. also, its not the most efficient implementation, so introduces latency.

you then have to ask yourself what do you gain? not a lot really, just the fact you don't have to run eigenD…. as EigenD can already to the midi and OSC mapping, and in a small setup is very lightweight.
This is why Ive not pursued this route - I just don't see the need, and think it would really compromise the eigenharp hardware.

Also, as an 'educated' guess, Id say it would take 40 hours to develop - probably another 50% to make work on Windows - Thats 40+ hours I could spend playing the eigenharp… which is why I bought it!

This brings us back full circle, not enough developers to break down the work… and users who probably aren't willing to fund the development…
lets say the above would cost around 5000 GBP/8000$, you would struggle to raise this - unfortunately these days people (unrealistically) expect things for free/very low cost and even then have really high expectations… this just does not work for software development.
(This is in micro scale the same issue Eigenlabs face)

I therefore develop what I want, at the pace I want, and then decide if I want to share or not (some people have unrealistic expectation of support even on free stuff!)

So, I chose to do the interfacing with Max, is it has the ability to deal at a low level with all the data, and map from there to OSC or Midi, and I can also run directly within Ableton Live.
( i also only do Mac, because although Im also a windows programmer, I prefer the Mac development environment, and only use a Mac with my Eigenharp)

Im not saying I will never develop a midi driver… just its not a priority for me at the moment.
of course if you can prove me wrong, and raise the funds for development I might reconsider ;o)

Please log in to join the discussions