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Why Vortex flopped...?

Some thoughts...

-- As has been commonly mentioned here before, the factory presets don't
do the unit any sort of justice.  Not only is the selection of basic
effects pretty tame, but the actual effects level is far too subtle to be
noticed in a guitar store environment.  Like I said, there was little if
anything in the factory sounds to suggest that the unit was capable of
some of the things it can actually do; most of the stock patches sounded
like a good chorus/delay unit with a lousy control interface.  The subtle
velocity-sensitive bits and stereo panning details will never come across
in Guitar Center, even under the best of circumstances.  And most of the
preset pairs are so similar that I didn't even know I was engaging
morphing most of the time. 

-- The interface is rather non-intuitive.  When I first tried it out, I 
must have spent about ten minutes putzing around hitting buttons and 
trying to figure out what was happening.  I finally asked for a user's 
manual, and still couldn't work my way through without trying to sit down 
and thoroughly read through the booklet from the start -- no chance in a 
crowded music store.

There are three reasons I sprang for a Vortex: the price was very cheap, 
there was a 30-day return policy on the box, and it came very highly 
recommended from this list and from the likes of David Torn.  If *any* of 
these three conditions hadn't have been in effect, I probably wouldn't 
have snatched the unit up.  Even after I did pick it up, there was still 
a definite period of time where I was thinking, "Hmmm, don't know if I'll 
be keeping *this* thing."  Only after I spent several hours sitting down 
with the manual and manually exploring the possibilities of each 
individual preset (a process I'm still far from done with) was I 
convinced that this was a great device.

I'd have to say that the main problems were/are failure to demonstrate the
depth of the unit's potential in the presets, and a user interface that
requires a unit-specific understanding and approach, which in the long run
is one of the truly great aspects of the box but in the short term is
something that most anyone (especially Joe on the Street consumer) is
going to be hard-pressed to do in a standard music store environment. 
(The inability of many music store employees to deal with a processor that
doesn't fall into the standard chorus/delay/reverb multi-fx routine does
little to help matters either). 

Too bad, since it's such a great box.  Ah well...