HS has posted excellent thoughts on the state of mobile music.
Sorry, I didn’t read the original post so I’m not directly replying to
it, more or less stating how I HOPE it goes:
At the moment, much of electronic music in handheld devices is based on the hardware+3rd party software concept. Meanwhile, so-called ‘studio-worthy’ devices are all standalone units with specialized hardware dedicated to destroying your speakers (as I like to say). The foray into handheld standalone devices has been quite…miss-miss. There’s a battery powered QY-100 which is light years behind pretty much everything, a portable mpc that’s battery powered and doesn’t do a whole lot, the Kaossilator which is gimmicky at best and that’s pretty much it. Meanwhile, PDA’s and game systems have software written on a non-specific platform that go way beyond any of these dedicated devices, even extending into the realm of ‘pro gear spec’. Now, this is all good and dandy, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a piece of hardware that fits in your pocket like a pda or psp that was designed from the ground up to be a serious music workstation? I personally would pay extra for such a device so long as it had a coherent and very usable interface, decent battery life (3 hours is just fine) and generous built in effects, neglegable sample memory and at least a 2 note polyphonic synth engine (if not more). See, the ideal design, for me, would be something that works like a pda, but with extra ‘quick buttons/knobs’ for that ‘hardware feel’ and ease of use, 16 note polyphony, 2 multieffect busses (i.e. each effect can be changed to whatever and bussed to whatever track), and a global
compressor/limiter. The 16 notes would be split it (ideally) between 10 sample parts and 6 synth parts, all monophonic (trying to be realistic here!). All this with a nice touch screen editor for sequencing and editing patches and filemanaging with a couple of nice audio jacks (maybe even work that into the bus for external effects!). This could, given the advances in technology nowdays, be EASILY conceivable. However, there’s a huge drawback: Handheld music creation is a tiny drop in a huge music-production bucket. It’s very sad, but very true. We represent a worthless piece of the corporate dollar which would ultimately, if the ‘dream unit’ was produced, make no money for the people involved and it’s their job to turn a profit. I mean, really, a GOOD handheld device specifically designed to pump out your music in the most flexible way possible…why is it always a software solution where certain items have to be sacrificed since the hardware wasn’t geared toward that use? It’s very naive to think that software on ‘general hardware’ is the best choice for the end user when I believe co-creation of hardware with the right software hand in hand is the ultimate holy grail in this arena. Again, given the advances in technology, a unit could happen down the line when it’s little risk, but right now, I think it’s just now getting to the point where a decent device could be made and thus is more of a risk to produce…assuming anyone at korg, roland, alesis, etc. is even considering such an item…
I guess I’m rambling now..haven’t slept in 30 hours or so, guess I should sleep…and dream of the Korg Handy-X or whatever it would be called…