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The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer creates dazzling new sounds on the acoustic guitar through precise harmonic control of string vibration.
Our Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer enjoyed a wonderfully successful Kickstarter launch. We are working on the next Vo-96 initiative - news soon!  Our newest product, the Wond, currently has its own campaign:
Our Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer enjoyed a wonderfully successful Kickstarter launch. We are working on the next Vo-96 initiative - news soon!  Our newest product, the Wond, currently has its own campaign:
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248 backers pledged $120,824 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer

$120,824

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Hooray! We have crossed the line and are officially funded! But we are not stopping here. Please read Update #6 for some exciting news and incentives! 
 
( Click "Updates" above the video ^^ )

We continue to receive more coverage! Scroll down to find links to Gizmag, Guitar Player, & many others!  .....And our Video Gallery! ....And FAQ!

Introduction

Tyler Ramsey was kind enough to let us record while he tried out some of the different behaviors and sounds of the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Clips of the unrehearsed footage are shown just as it happened with only stereo reverberation added to the mono recordings. Audio was recorded directly into the camera with the single large-diaphragm condenser microphone visible in some of the shots. We were thrilled by Tyler’s playing and intuitive command of the Vo-96!

We wish it were possible for everyone to personally try out a Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Holding and playing a standard steel-string acoustic guitar equipped with the Vo-96 immediately conveys the truth that this is something completely new – categorically new.

The experience wakens an intense sense of entering the unknown. You hold a familiar instrument yet it sounds and feels very different. Play and you are rewarded with fascinating, idea-generating sounds. Like Tyler found, you just want to keep playing and playing. You find sounds that go with music you already perform. You start to get ideas for new music and you try those. Soon there is no question: you definitely want one!

Here is another video. In this one, a range of guitarists react to their first experience trying the Vo-96:

Every movement must have a beginning. Whoever you are and wherever you are in the world you can reach out and connect with us through this campaign. Make a pledge. Become a backer of Acoustic Synthesis. Help spread the word to other innovative guitarists by sharing our Kickstarter page, YouTube videos and website.

If you are such a guitarist we invite you to become one of the very first to experience this instrument. Join us and make history. The Vo-96 feature set and behavior is software defined. Future plans for software will be determined by guitarists’ actual experiences with these earliest Vo-96 equipped instruments – your experiences. Your ideas will be encoded!

Get on the edge. Make the pledge that rewards you with a Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer!

CAD Detail of the latest design of the Vo-96 transducer on a guitar.
CAD Detail of the latest design of the Vo-96 transducer on a guitar.

The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer - by Paul Vo:

The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer is based on a key invention that enables accurate control of acoustic vibrations. I'm the inventor. My technology was behind the well-known Moog Guitar and the Moog lap steel -- instruments based on the same key principle. Since then I've been advancing this invention towards its full potential. Now I'm going ahead with the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. It's my full 'inventor's version' product and will be produced by my design company Vo Inventions LLC.

The Vo-96 was never intended to be a retail type of product. It is a concept product that takes the technology to the max and demonstrates what's really possible with acoustic synthesis. It's the “inventor's cut” and it leaves nothing out -- which makes it impractical to sell through the standard retail channels with their customary price mark-ups. Making the Vo-96 available through Kickstarter allows us to maximize the value to you and provide the most powerful product for the price; and there is simply nothing else available at any price that does what the Vo-96 does.

Our goal is to launch Acoustic Synthesis technology with a bang.  We want to put the most powerful instrument possible into the hands of as many forward-thinking guitarists as possible and listen to the new music you all create. This is where Kickstarter really shines! I'm thrilled to have found a way to offer the Vo-96 directly to you at the fairest price possible - about half what it would cost as a retail product!

To your right, check out the pledge levels that reward you with a Vo-96. Imagine it installed in a sweet-sounding guitar in your collection, or into a new guitar purchased just for this opportunity. In either case, you’ll be exploring new sounds and cutting edge technology, driven by your two hands, six strings and a fret board. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination, and as familiar as your favorite instrument.

The inventor setting a timbre. Note: The Vo-96 shown is the previous 'LEV' revision design.
The inventor setting a timbre. Note: The Vo-96 shown is the previous 'LEV' revision design.

Tested and ready to produce:

Vo Inventions has a great relationship with the Moog Music company. Last year testing was conducted by Moog Music whose relationships with artists allowed deep experimentation with this technology concept through a BETA test phase code-named LEV-96. Learning from the results, I made some important improvements to the electronics, user interface and particularly the mechanical design.

The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer has over 1200 components, three high bandwidth digital signal processors, 12 channels of sub-microsecond analog sampling, 12 physical full bridge transducer drives and 96 virtual channels of vibration control. Wireless communication via Bluetooth lets it connect yet remain portable. There is an optional but highly recommended battery subsystem that makes it completely portable - just like an acoustic instrument is supposed to be!

The Core-96 Vibration Controller. Photo courtesy of Eric Church.
The Core-96 Vibration Controller. Photo courtesy of Eric Church.

The initial "LEV" beta test version of the Vo-96, (12 units), have been out there and working for some months now, which gives us a lot of confidence about the integrity of the electronic design, the current revision of firmware and the overall instrument.

When you become a backer of the Vo-96, you make it possible for me to incorporate important final mechanical design improvements that will make the synth interface even easier to attach to a guitar - one of the main things we learned in field testing. I'll make a 3D model to verify the new assembly and then officially advance the design. This will be the product we ship to you.

Wes Lambe's beautiful Jumbo-000. Courtesy of Wes Lambe.
Wes Lambe's beautiful Jumbo-000. Courtesy of Wes Lambe.

The power of your pledge:

As an inventor I'm fascinated by the invention of Kickstarter and crowd funding in general. One of the hardest things to achieve is to create something that has never before existed and successfully have it manufactured and sold to customers. The more innovative a project is the harder it can be to find backers. Kickstarter makes it possible to reach the best kind of backer, that special person who will fuel the manufacture of my invention with a treasured combination of goodwill and the desire to own one of the first Acoustic Synthesizers ever made.

Each pledge you make here on Kickstarter creates a strong commitment and ongoing relationship between us that goes well beyond merely buying and selling something. It's not unlike the relationship involved in commissioning a work of art, but it's actually something completely new and I commend Kickstarter for leading the way forward.

Your pledge has power: Pledging at any level is very meaningful and significant to us. I think you'll enjoy owning the artistic rewards we offer! As an original backer you'll always be remembered. You'll be able to watch, listen and share ideas on the Acoustic Synthesis Forum, and you'll always be among the first to hear of new developments.

We have sub-assembly manufacturers all lined up and ready to begin production. All we need is the funding to turn all this on. Final assembly will be done under my direct supervision and I will personally test and sign each and every Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer we ship to you.

Wes Lambe Dreadnought Guitar - pics courtisy of Wes Lambe
Wes Lambe Dreadnought Guitar - pics courtisy of Wes Lambe

Funding targets:

With your backing, clearing the $50,000 hurdle will enable us to complete this final revision to the Vo-96 hardware and get the minimal quantity manufactured - at that level it is possible to go forward. If this campaign raises more than $200,000 we'll be able to fund faster software development and speed up the rate of updates for the owners of Vo-96 acoustic synthesis instruments. It comes down to this: the more you pledge, the more creativity will flow into acoustic synthesis and more incredible music and new invention will emerge.

Vo Inventions is offering up to 350 Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizers here on Kickstarter. It would be so great to see them all in the hands of guitarists!

The Wes Lambe OM model guitar - pics courtesy of Wes Lambe
The Wes Lambe OM model guitar - pics courtesy of Wes Lambe

My Pledge of Quality:

Today if you don't cut corners it's possible to design electronic equipment that will last for decades. That philosophy has guided my design choices with the Vo-96. There are no moving parts to wear out and no quickly degrading components such as electrolytic capacitors. Your Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer should keep working as long as your acoustic guitar remains playable.

I've used the best available battery technology - a newer and reportedly safer battery than what you find in most laptop computers today. With the battery comes a sophisticated charger subsystem. The battery technology is called lithium iron phosphate - please look it up on Wikipedia where there is an excellent in-depth article.

Software and the future:

Vo-96 behavior is software defined and still evolving. New features can be installed wirelessly. The current software, (it's actually called firmware), already defines an instrument that is great fun to play, but there is so much more to come. I mean it when I say we're on a journey of discovery together. Your Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer will be expanded and refined via updates. It will become even more amazing and rewarding to play. Your own ideas may about it may even become part of its future identity.

More information about the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer:

Every owner of a Vo-96 is invited to be a member of a community of explorers. We are exploring acoustic synthesis and sharing impressions and ideas. You will help define the future of this instrument because we will be listening to you. Over the next weeks, we'll launch our forum and get ready for what I'm sure will be some lively discussions!

Much more information about the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer is available online. Please visit our web site, voinventions.com and also our affiliated site experimentalsynth.com – and watch for articles.

And here are some of the articles...

Gizmag | Guitar Player | Gizmodo | Synthtopia | Moog Music

ExperimentalSynth | Gearhungry | Ashevegas | Huffington Post

Press Inquiries:

Kickstarter Press Release | Video Gallery

Download the Artist's User Manual for the Vo-96 > HERE.

Credits:

Thank you to Tyler Ramsey for giving us his endorsement and permission for video footage.

Thank you to Kickstarter for being here.

Thank you to the people of Moog Music for believing in my work.

Chris Stack has worked tirelessly creating and distributing our promotional materials as Marketing Director at VoInventions LLC.

Several friends reviewed and gave guidance about the campaign – an ongoing process!

I also want to thank all the people I know in the city of Asheville North Carolina for making me feel like this is exactly and naturally what I ought to be doing!

Chris Stack, Director of Marketing - Paul Vo, Inventor, Vo Inventions Owner
Chris Stack, Director of Marketing - Paul Vo, Inventor, Vo Inventions Owner

Risks and challenges

I've been a professional inventor since 2004 and a product developer and senior executive with two major audio industry companies, Yorkville Sound and QSC Audio Products from 1984 to 2004. With all that experience I can simply say this: I do know how to turn an idea into a finished, polished and professional product. I have a deep and strong track record for designing and producing reliable and successful products for the music industry.

Things can always go wrong. I've had that kind of experience too. The biggest benefit of experience is knowing how to overcome such problems. In the case of the Vo-96, we are ordering several subsystems from several suppliers and there is always a chance of a lead time being extended. I won't really know when the Vo-96 is can be delivered until we activate the orders we have waiting with our suppliers and get their updated delivery estimates. There could be parts shortages -- such things happen from time to time in the electronics industry. It would take a long time to detail everything that could possibly go wrong, but that's what I'm here for at this stage. Whatever happens I will deal with it.

These kinds of problems could cause a delay but they will not derail the project and they will not prevent me from delivering the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizers I have promised our backers. This is a complex project, but the funding we are seeking here on Kickstarter comes in towards the end of it. Most of the really difficult things have already been sorted out. Nothing is completely certain when it comes to product development but this project is pretty darn solid!

You can help! The more backing we have, the more power to overcome obstacles and to speed things along. Spread the word because every pledge helps, not just the pledges that have a Vo-96 as the reward. The smaller pledges show that people are interested and have goodwill towards this project and our work. That weighs positively with our investors and ripples outward to raise us upward! Spread the word!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You are interested in the ideas around Acoustic Synthesis. We will make sure you have access to observe, listen and comment. You will be memorialized on our web site as an original backer. Bonus: An MP3 of a musical duet that captures a lifetime of innovation: Panned left hear Paul Vo's first invention, his soon to be restored 1972 era "Machine", and panned right hear the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Thank you!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A CD, (USA Only) or MP3 download (world) consisting of 7 pieces of music I have composed over the years, one performed on my 1972 Machine, one never-before-heard recording made in 1981 on my original proof-of-invention test device, one piece performed on each pre-Moog prototype and Moog guitar shown on my website, and one performed on today's Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Performers - TBD and me.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    An artistically rendered giclée print of the actual
    multilayer Core-96 Vibration Controller circuit board artwork.
    18" x 12" on archival media.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    An artistically rendered giclée print of the actual
    multilayer Core-96 Vibration Controller circuit board artwork.
    24" x 16" on archival media.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,050 or more About $1,050

    The Vo-96 Raw Guts Solid Starter - only for luthiers! This is a special deal only for the qualified luthier who wants to build an electric guitar or other instrument based on the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. This kit consists of only the essential circuit boards and wiring. The idea here is you design and build a custom instrument where the body of your instrument will provide the necessary enclosures and structures for the Vo-96 circuits. You also get direct phone consultation with Paul Vo, a video detailing important points you will need to know, and access to how-to information via our luthier's forum. Once you successfully complete one such instrument, you become one of our qualified luthiers - imagine the possibilities!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,250 or more About $1,250

    One of the first 200 Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizers, numbered and signed by Paul Vo and ready to be installed in a suitable acoustic guitar. This version is powered by an external supply and can be installed and removed without any modification of your guitar. Please see the guitar compatibility requirements - the first Kickstarter update I published. (Update tab at the top of this page.)

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    Pledge $1,450 or more About $1,450

    The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer Professional Installation Kit. Everything to install one of the first 200 Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizers, numbered and signed by Paul Vo, into your acoustic guitar. This package includes the full battery subsystem and the pro tail power jack. (Installation by a luthier or experienced guitar tech is strongly recommended! ) Please see the guitar compatibility requirements - the first Kickstarter update I published. (Update tab at the top of this page.)

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,595 or more About $1,595

    NEW! We will install the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer – the full pro package with the battery - into a brand-new guitar of your choice! Choose from a selection of over 300 production guitars made by well-known makers such as Gibson, Fender, Breedlove, Martin, Takamine, Taylor, Yamaha and others. We’ll install the Vo-96, re-string and set up the guitar for you, and ship your complete and amazing instrument with Vo-96 installed and ready to play! Please see Update #5 for more information and explanation! When you pledge at this level, you are also committing to separately purchasing your selected guitar and having it shipped to us brand new directly from the online store. We will do the rest!
    By the way - you pledge using the green pledge button directly above here - just right of the main video. Click that - then it lets you choose which pledge. And you can find the "tab" to Update #5 just above the main video.

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    Pledge $4,800 or more About $4,800

    Through a special arrangement with renowned luthier Wes Lambe, (who helped create the incredible Moog Lap Steel), this reward offers the full Vo-96 professional system lovingly installed into one of Wes Lambe's beautiful hand-made acoustics. These absolutely unique instruments will be numbered and signed by both Paul Vo and Wes Lambe, and will commemorate the launch of the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Please see the Custom Instruments page at voinventions.com!

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Funding period

- (33 days)