Christopher Laird Simmons

Christopher Simmons

Christopher Laird Simmons has been a working journalist since his first magazine sale in 1984. He has since written for wide variety of print and online publications covering lifestyle, tech and entertainment. He is an award-winning author, designer, photographer, and musician. He is a member of ASCAP and PRSA. He is the founder and CEO of Neotrope®, based in Temecula, CA, USA.


  1. Avatar photo Martin Hines
    Aug 8, 2010 @ 10:15 PM PDT

    I would assert that having a bank put up all your company’s assets for sale at a foreclosure sale is more than just “simply having some hiccups”. It’s great for the new owners but I wonder how much money the bank lost in the transaction?

    Regarding speculation during the last few weeks, what do you expect when the company provides zero information about what is going on? Even long-time fans/owners of OpenLabs products were worried due to the lack of information being provided.

    Regarding the “Windows killed Open Labs” discussion, I wouldn’t be so fast to dismiss those comments. While many hobbyists use Windows-based computers, the majority of pro musicians use Macs. OpenLabs charges premium prices for their premium products, while most Windows users are more price-sensitive.

    Only time will tell whether the new owners can make enough changes to keep OpenLabs afloat.

  2. Avatar photo Michael Corley
    Aug 9, 2010 @ 3:01 AM PDT

    Great article, Chris. Thanks for the shout-out 🙂

  3. Avatar photo Christopher Simmons
    Aug 9, 2010 @ 4:14 PM PDT

    Response from Christopher Simmons:

    Hi Martin,
    All companies have hiccups, but many don’t have them shared in the public eye. Many companies are simply purchased/acquired when in these situations, and so it’s certainly not uncommon for the company to remain silent during the process. Although, I have to admit it was a longish 7 days for the company to post ANYthing at all in the OL forum, on their site, blog, etc., and might have been wise to state something (you may note I also requested some kind of update from both the staff and on the OL forum, but they were unable to say anything concrete).

    I totally disagree with the idea that the fact that OpenLabs using Windows had anything to do with their situation. What else would they use, Linux? They cannot use Mac OSX. Their target market has generally been the same folks who would buy a Korg, Roland, or Kurzweil workstation, all of which are $3K plus products. The assertion by the Mac fanboys that Windows doomed OL is nuts. More people are making music with Windows than with Mac right this second. Both on the low end and on the high-end. Products like Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, and Pro Tools all work just fine on Windows. And, the folks who want a crap $599 laptop, a bunch of ‘warez’ and the bottom of the line M-Audio keyboard controller are not the target audience for Open Labs products.

    Granted you could buy a couple of high-end keyboard controllers, buy something like a PCaudioLabs, Carillon, or similar high-performance PC, and a touch-screen, buy some apps like Forte, and do something similar yourself, but OL make a niche product. People who try the notebook route and hate it, and who are thinking “I wish somebody would do ….” is exactly who OL products are for. Savvy musicians are more interested in making music, and not the platform. The operating system is only that, the software you run on the OS is what you make music with. So, the OS is not that critical for “most” people.

    Of course, I should disclose I just sold my Neko XXL and setup an 8-core 3ghz Mac Pro with 48GB RAM, an SSD, two velociraptors, a Euphonix control surface (doesn’t work with Windows, YET), and am enjoying using Logic 9 very much.

    My main complaint with the Gen6 OL products was more the choice of sticking with Windows 7 32-bit, over making a 64-bit offering. That is where they lost me.

    But, I’m hopeful they will “refresh” and “reboot” their focus, and look to the future to conitnue their innovation. For the workstation market, and for those who want an “all in one” product, it’s a very cool solution being offered and they do use very good components inside the boxes, whereas most “cheap” Windows PCs have crap (or in the case of Dell, who got caught knowingly putting defective stuff in their products – total crap) do not.

    Thank you for the rational discourse, however. 🙂

  4. Avatar photo Vince Gibbs
    Aug 10, 2010 @ 9:15 PM PDT

    Yep, it’s always the Mac “fanboys” who are standing at the sidelines hoping OL will fail. And they are pissed off right now because OL did not fold as a company as they wanted them to.

    I try not to have anything against Mac computers because they haven’t done anything to piss me off. It’s the Mac users who give Macs a bad reputation. I’ll take a PC over a Mac any day of the week, but that’s just me. I don’t need to go around proclaiming PC superiority over Macs, like Mac people do. They need to let that old false and tired myth go.

    Hooray for Open Labs is all I have to say.

  5. Avatar photo Eazy
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 10:26 AM PDT

    I follow Open Labs for some time now. The idea and the products are well thought out. Thing is when I’m buying a 7000 dollar workstation, I’m buying top of the line. I don’t want to find a budget CPU, but at least a decent i7. It may do the job for most people, but that’s not the point. Make it 7,500, but top of the line should be just that. 64 bit indeed would be needed, at least as a future upgrade.

    It was also announced over a year ago that KARMA (KarmaLabs) would be implemented in these workstations. For me that would have been a major motivation. Never heard of again.
    That does not give confidence. That might not be a problem with a 200 bucks controller, but at this price level it makes me think twice.

    I hope it will turn out ok for them, as I have the utmost respect for these pioneers. To be successful in this niche market compromises should be avoided.

  6. Avatar photo Supafleye
    Dec 15, 2010 @ 8:14 PM PST

    Eazy I agree with you totally on the price and 64 bit points. But when I saw that they were finally going to offer 64 bit, which is must for me I began checking Ebay for a good price on any of their 61-key keyboards. But upon seeing the ridiculous upgrade prices to get an i7 cpu, Windows 7, RAM, etc. I’m seriously rethinking buying one now. What’s even more bizarre than those steep upgrade prices is why does their top of the line XXL only come with a measly i5? But they only offer the i7 for upgrades? So if you buy an XXL for $7000 you still are going to have to at least buy a new cpu and vid card which really doesn’t add up? It could be me but something still isn’t right with this company. I’m going to err on the side of caution and check back in about 6 – 8 months to see if the prices have dropped any or if they are still alive and kicking as the title of this post states?

  7. Avatar photo Rodney D
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 10:48 PM PST

    I agree with Eazy too. 7k for a PC… are you serious?!i Who builds a Rolls-Royce with a Nissan engine and sells it as top of the line. The neko should have cost no than $4500. Why? BECAUSE IT’S A PC!!!!!! You could build a killer PC for about 1k and most PC users don’t spend thousands on their systems. But MAC users will drop 3k on their apples. Most pros use MAC. It’s pretty much a standard in the industry. Yet the 7k neko was on windows. This is not about MAC or PC (which I have both). It’s about good marketing. The neko is a great piece of gear but was overpriced considering that it ran on windows. If the neko was MAC based, then 7k wouldn’t be an issue. In fact we wouldn’t be having this discussion. You can whatever about MAC but its reason why most pros use them. Openlabs comprised on this unit.

  8. Avatar photo Ozem Goldwire
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 8:53 PM PDT

    I think it’s about time for Open Labs to get it going with this business and to continue strong! I do support this company and that it will never disappoint its customers. The fact that most OL haters knew nothing about the potential this company has; surely, every company, young and old, are going through the crisis these days. But that does not stop any company from continuing their progress as business innovators. I believe that the haters are overtly jealous of this company as far as the status in the computer atmosphere. In truth, I am no Mac hater for I love these computers. However, I’m a PC person and I’ve been using PCs (custom-made from scratch) since I was in Job Corps. Or, as a matter of fact, my experience goes way back as far as 1989 when I was 11 when I first use an Apple computer at school, then in 1992 and 1996-1998 using the PC while in junior and senior high school.
    I’ll stick to Open Labs no matter what anybody say. Those haters are just a bunch of senceless, arrogant, whining babies. It is time for them to GROW-UP, period!
    I will like to say to Christopher Laird Simmons concerning this report: you are the best, keep up the good work!