Why I quit Open Labs?

What can you get for the $6999 neKo XXL price (or why I quit Open Labs)?

Apple iMac 27″ i5 CPU 3.6 GHz, RAM 8Gb, HD 2Tb : $2249
Yamaha Motif XF6: $2199
Digidesign Eleven Rack: $799
Native Instruments Maschine: $549
Native Instruments Komplete 7: $499
Apple Logic Studio: $499
Frontier Design Alpha Track: $199

Total: $6993
(you still save $6 to grab a six pack while reading this post)


You can run both OS X and Windows… neKo doesn’t
You do have 27″ work-surface… neKo only has 15″
You do run and own ProTools…. neKo requires additional License
You do have zero-latency audio interface…. neKo doesn’t
You do have a real workstation…. neKo doesn’t
You do have a good Drum Machine… neKo doesn’t
You do have over 90 Gb of sounds from NI… neKo doesn’t
You do have over 30 Gb of sounds from Apple… neKo doesn’t
You do have real HUI controller… neKo doesn’t
You do have tons of guitar and vocal effects… neKo only have freewares
You can actually carry on the keyboard by yourself… neKo will kill your back
You do have instant access to thousands of sounds… neKo doesn’t (and requires to load vst or samples)
You can actually really find your presets already by categories… neKo doesn’t
You do have a real Sampler (to record, chop, map, etc..)… neKo doesn’t
You do have a real Sample Player… neKo doesn’t
You can directly import most of sample in Kontakt… neKo doesn’t (requires to convert samples with Translator)
You do have a motorized fader… neKo doesn’t
You do have LCD Value feedback… neKo doesn’t
You do have Arpegiators & all bells & whistles of a keyboard… neKo doesn’t
You do have FireWire 800 (for external drive)… neKo doesn’t
You do have Wifi, Webcam, Mic and speakers…. neKo doesn’t
You do have multi-touch trackpad… neKo doesn’t

And you can buy everything separately, step by step, without needing Car financing plan…

What about sounds?

You do have Reaktor, Kontakt, FM8, Massive, Battery, XPand, Structure, Sculpture, EXS24, ES2… well “real” virtual synths… neKo does have Sylenth, Truepianos, Wusik and some freewares that can also be installed on the Mac.
Even if Sylenth and Truepianos are good, Apple & NI Pianos and Synths are good too and even offer more choices.

About the All-in-one?

Well, the iMac is All-in-one system… and it only requires only 3 USB cables to plug the Eleven Rack, Maschine and the Motif XF.

What about Performance?

neKo runs on Win 32bits (which means really 3Go of memory). iMac does have 8Go, and have Core i5 (or even i7 for $200 more) 3.6 Ghz… neKo does have 3.33 GHz only. (and did I mention windows 32Bits?)

What about the keyboard by itself?

You can even choose a real 88 keys, with a Motif XF8. Or you can even choose a 76 keys if you like better… neKo simply doesn’t.

What about the customized GUI?

Logic does have MainStage that works actually exactly like RiFF Live Control (without the crash and bugs).

What about the touchscreen?

Well, touchscreen is useless if the User Interface isn’t designed for… (look how bad the smartphone were before the iPhone). If you really do want a touchscreen, you can buy the exact same 15″ touchscreen for $349, or even better, buy an iPad and use it as a control surface…

What about the SoundSlate to run Windows VST plugins?

Well, most of plugins are on Windows AND Mac today…
Anyway, if you really do want to run Windows plugin on an external rack… just save your $1999, and buy a $699 MacMini with AudioPort plug ($129) and a simple Gigabit Ethernet cable… Run Windows on it and use Microsoft Desktop Remote Control application for your iMac.
No audio interface, no tiny external useless screen, no cables, no hassle, easy access, smaller, cheaper.
Add a couple of hundred bucks and you will get a setup with more drive and memory.

What about Production/Beat Making?

Between Logic, Maschine, Komplete 7 and the Motif XF, you clearly have even more than a neKo. Maschine and Battery come with tons of drum sounds too… and I’m not counting other acoustic drum sounds.

What about Recording?

You can record vocal and guitar with the Eleven Rack Mic In (without noise or any latency), as well with the Motif XF inputs… even thought neKo does have phantom power Mic in connectors, neKo doesn’t record without noise. (Old M-Audio Delta 1010 audio interface).

NeKo Chassis & power supply fan system is awfully noisy, make the recording impossible in the same room. iMac is dead silent as well as Eleven Rack, Maschine, Motif XF and Alpha Track.

What about Mixing?

You do have ProTools… which is by far the professional studio standard. IF you really and strongly insist, you can still install the $25 Reaper sequencer. There’s a Mac version.

What about evolution?

You can still install as much instruments, sounds you want. And few years from now, you can switch your iMac without changing your Motif XF.

What about Tech Support?

Did I mention Apple name? Apple is a billionaire company… They’re not gonna disappear anytime soon. Apple support always been high profile…

Same with Yamaha, Native Instruments and Digidesign… They are high profile companies.

If you haven’t finish your beers by now… please toss me one 😉

Update March 26th 2013:

I just did a new version here: