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Fare thee well, sweet Basimilus

Today, we say goodbye to four of our popular modules: Basimilus Iteritas Alter, Manis Iteritas, Cursus Iteritas, and Ataraxic Iteritas. 

A little Iteritas backstory: history of the making of the Basimilus

Way back in the early days of Noise Engineering, Stephen needed to choose a CPU for our oscillators. The landscape at that time was quite different and Stephen, being both new to the world of embedded CPUs and opinionated about what he needed in a processor, opted for a model made by a company called XMOS. It was powerful enough to do what he wanted to do with Sinc Iter (our long defunct 4hp oscillator) and the original Basimilus Iteritas. 

One of the other perks of the CPU was that it was on the more affordable side of the options that fit the bill. In this case, affordability went hand in hand with being an older product in the XMOS lineup. This is what is known as foreshadowing.

XMOS had drawbacks too

As time went on, we saw drawbacks to using the XMOS. It’s not a user-friendly CPU. It’s not able to be updated in the field. To use the XMOS, we designed a special daughterboard (that small board that lives on the back of your Iteritas). It requires a special programmer that then has to connect to a custom PCB that we designed. It also requires special software and knowledge of the command line. 

While there were times that we would have liked it to be field updateable, this limitation was really brought into bright relief when we designed the Versio line. With Versio (and now Legio), customers can swap firmwares through a simple USB connection. This has been wildly popular and lots of you have written in to tell us how much you enjoy this ability.

The core Iteritas modules have two different hardwares: Cursus and Basimilus Iteritas Alter share one version and Manis and Ataraxic Iteritas share another. Over the years, we’ve had a handful of people ask if it is possible to swap them out, and we have had to explain that it’s not possible. 

But the thing is that we didn’t have a good alternative, and we could get XMOS, so we lived with the tradeoffs. 

So what changed?

We spent years living in fear that XMOS would one day end-of-life (EOL) our chip. Over the course of the pandemic, we got them in fits and starts and with zero predictability, despite lead-time buys of over a year. We managed to make it work (and a giant shout out to our manufacturer for making it so), but we were starting to see the writing on the wall.

And then one day, the letter came. 

XMOS has officially EOL’d our part. They are gone. Not being able to get the CPU is, to us, a reasonably compelling reason to reassess a product.

What does this mean for the product line?

We have seven Eurorack products that run on XMOS:

XMOS let us know about the EOL at a time when we had a reasonable stock of CPUs, which allowed us to make some spreadsheets (one of our favorite things, as many of you know) and think through options.

The sales velocity of the core Iteritas is high enough that we are concerned about the stock of CPUs. The other Iteritas sell a bit slower. This informed a very difficult decision in a frankly bleak year to cull some of our most popular products. 

The bottom line/TL:DR: We are discontinuing the four core Iteritas, but Loquelic Iteritas, Loquelic Iteritas Percido, and Cursus Iteritas Percido will remain in production for the foreseeable future. 5U (the four core Iteritas) will remain in production as well for the moment. And if you're still in the market for one of the discontinued Iteritas, many retailers still have them in stock, so you've still got time to pick one up.

This option allows us to set aside extra CPUs for warranty repairs. If your module malfunctions, we want to be able to help, and if we don’t have any spare parts, we won’t be able to get them in the future.

Are you going to replace the modules you EOL’d?

Oscillators are one of our favorite types of module in Eurorack, and we have lots of ideas we want to explore in the sound-generator space. We still have plenty of oscillators and voices in our lineup (in additional to the Loquelic Iteritas/Percido and Cursus Iteritas Percido, we also have the Tymp Legio for percussion and Virt Iter Legio for stereo sound design). We hope to eventually have some more direct replacements for you, but for now, we’re working on some other grand things.

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