I think it’s interesting how Quadra, which was quite close to the relatively straightforward Buchla 281, has evolved into the Quadrax, which looks more like how Mutable Instruments would have designed a quad AR a few years back.
I’ve got a variety of Intellijel utilities (various 1U tiles, Shifty, Planar 1) that are perfectly fine and straightforward. I’m not so much a fan of the direction they’ve gone in their feature-rich digital designs: overloaded controls, LED color-coding, button combos and button sequences you must memorize. (Make Noise has caught some of these diseases, too.) I’ve been in no rush to swap my Planar 1 for a Planar 2, because Planar 1 is a well-designed classic, and Planar 2 is a digital gizmo I’d have to actually learn. Of course, I can tolerate a degree of this digital trickery—and I do—but if my case was packed with these multi-layered digital devices, I’d be in trouble. Everyone is going to have their own personal threshold.
I’m sure Quadrax will sell well for the same reasons that Quadra sold well. The form factor really appeals to many people, and Quadrax eliminates the need for the slightly weird Quadra Expander. Meanwhile, I haven’t any interest in Quadrax, myself, but I did recently purchase a Klavis Quadigy, which arguably goes beyond Quadrax in terms of digital splendor. Quadigy only has one button combo to learn, but the module is elaborate enough to have a screen, and menus, and worse: sliders that often don’t reflect the value of the parameter you’re looking at (normally a huge no-no for me). I can live with Quadigy because it solves a very specific, high priority problem for me: four modulatable ADSRs. If I have a personal budget for fiddly modules, that is one that made the cut.
At least they put some LEDs on there! I do find it a touch ironic how they’ve added this button-based linking feature in software that would normally be handled in a modular synthesizer with short patch cables from those EOF/EOR triggers. Is that really an improvement?