Victor Wong and Timbaland create keyboard (2007)

In 2007 Timbaland came to visit and he and I created the Timbaland Special Edition keyboard production stations. It was first features on the VMAs in Miami when Timbaland used them on stage.

This version contained specially selected sounds that Timbaland used and became one of the most sought after…and lust worthy instruments ever.

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The Timbaland Special Edition NeKo

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The Timbaland Special Edition MiKo

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When Tim came to visit me and we decided to design the keyboards together

My time at Open Labs (2001 – 2010)

As co-founder and CEO for Open Labs, I was lucky enough to have been able to help change the face of music forever. We helped usher in the age of computer music production and performance that is the standard today. Acting as its CEO for the first 2.5 years, I was able to help guide the company as it grew at a rapid rate.

However, having had my background based in the Apple tradition, I realized I needed to create a brand and a community around my company. Because of that, we elected a new person to become CEO so I can concentrate on product development, marketing and artist relations.

Directly from my efforts we were able to turn Open Labs into a household name for music producers in just 2 short years. At one time, at least 8 of the 10 songs found on the Billboard Top Ten were produced using our products at any time.

Producers and artists using our equipment include: Timbaland, Iil Jon, Teddy Riley, Polow Da Don, Scott Spock, Maroon 5, Korn, Prince, Faith Hill, Reba Mcentire, Madonna, Sheila E., The Crystal Method, Tommy Lee and many more.

Here are just a few people I was honored enough to have worked directly with:

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On stage at the Open Labs booth at NAMM with Jesse Carmichael of Maroon 5

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Back stage with Ken and Scott from The Crystal Method

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Timbaland came to visit one day

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Hanging out with Mr. Porter (producer for Eminem)

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Delivering a MiKo keyboard production station to Jonathan Davis of Korn.

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One of my most favorite artists Sheila E along with Morris Hayes, keyboardist for Prince

207254_4179423061_9075_nShowing Scott Spock from the producing trio The Matrix our new products

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On the SNL (Saturday Night Live) set when they first started using our products

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In the studio with The Cure and Korn when they collaborated on Unplugged

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Warren G stopped by to say hi

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Producer Dark Child (Rodney Jerkins)

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Hanging out with Lil Jon in Miami when we were an official partner with Microsoft and attended the Winter Music Festival

NeKo (eKo), the world’s first keyboard production station (2003)

In January 2003, as CEO of Open Labs, we released the eKo (subsequently changed to NeKo) keyboard production station. It was the first musical keyboard to be equipped with a powerful computer processor capable of running Windows, essential for multi-track music production and performing with VSTs (virtual instruments).

It was so advanced it totally eclipsed any other keyboard workstation ever produced before.

NEKO

When we release it at winter NAMM show 2003, the press said “Open Labs, steals day one at NAMM” and “Open Labs just created an entirely new class of Super Instruments”

Here is our initial press release:

eKo, is the ultimate performance and studio instrument because it is simply the most advanced, flexible and cost effective product available today. Because it is based on our OpenSynth,Ñ¢ platform, eKo frees you from all of the frustrating limitations imposed by closed, proprietary systems, while still maintaining the virtues of an all-in-one keyboard instrument.

Open Sounds: eKo can emulate almost any instrument ever invented by hosting industry standard VSTi software synthesizers, samplers and audio processing plug ins. Open System: eKo utilizes industry standard micro-ATX motherboards and processors that allow you to run standard operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows or Linux and use standard PC-compatible hardware.

All in One: eKo’s all in one design eliminates the clutter and confusion of traditional desktop computer systems so you can focus on what really matters… The music.

User Friendly: eKo enables you to change settings and access programs through an easy to use interface that shields you from the complexities of the operating system.

Power to Rock: eKo can accommodate the fastest processors available, and more RAM and storage than any other music workstation.

Low Latency: eKo gives you near-zero latency even under high processor loads.

Instant On: Unlike traditional computers that may take minutes to start up, eKo utilizes a unique process that allows the keyboard to start up in seconds.

Interchangeable Control Modules: eKo’s interchangeable control modules provide a physical interface for easier control of software instruments and are designed to support virtually any future control options.

Non Stop, Music: eKo is the only musical instrument with integrated power management that combats power spikes and operates during power interruptions.

Modern Art: With a sleek, modern design incorporating an aluminum chassis and rubber endbells, eKo is as beautiful as it is powerful.

Surfboard: eKo’s included Ethernet port allows you to directly access the Internet, to quickly and easily download upgrades, sounds and applications.

Complete Portable Studio: eKo is a self-contained recording, editing and mastering system that’s perfect for the studio or stage.

Have it Your Way: With Open Labs’ Build-Your-Own-Keyboard (BYOK) ordering system, you can have the exact eKo that you want, when you want it, with the ability to upgrade at any time.

 

Changing the music world

In 2001 I, along with Craig Negoescu, Lary Cotten and Heinz Grether formed Open Labs. What we created changed the way music was produced and performed forever. We were the first to produce musical instruments equipped with powerful computers, which helped usher in the electronic music revolution whereby music was produced and performed using computer systems. It was through our products and others like it that computer-based music production and performance became the defacto standard today.

The first instrument we created was the OMX music production system. It was first shown to and tested by world-class music producers including Dr. Dre.

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The original OMX was based on Intel processors with a complete professional interface built-in. Later versions such as the OMX Extreme were designed and produced in conjunction with AMD and utilized Opteron processors, the most powerful processors available at the time.

AMD contributed over $250,000 in financial assistance and products to help create the OMX systems as well as the first generation NeKo keyboard production stations.