I got the idea for my project from a few of pre-existing products that are a bit outside of my price-range: namely, the Korg Wavedrum,  Roland HandSonic, and Nord Pad.  Each of these are electronic drum pads used for music production/performance.  The price is mainly the result of internal sound-engines (much like a synthesizer) which provide the user with sounds that the manufacturer has designed (the Nord actually connects to a synth rack).  These companies are actually pretty well known for the characteristic sound design on a lot of their respective products, so these internal sound engines can often justify the cost.

The Nord Pad connected to the Nord Drum 2

However, nowadays it’s pretty easy to generate sound externally through a computer.  Abandoning the internal sound engine, and switching to a system which just has midi-outs would allow a user to have a similar musical experience without having to dish out all the dough.  This is what I hope to accomplish with my project.

Aesthetically, I’m pretty inspired by the Monome Arc synthesizers.  These limited edition synths have a very minimal design, which I think ends up having a big impact on the way musicians approach using them.

If I could create a midi-controller which looks half as nice as these, I would be ecstatic.  Hopefully with some prototyping in the near future, I can nail down a design to be iterated upon over the next few weeks.

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  • This is a really cool idea! I think the cost of this design might be expensive either. But, if you can really make this cool design, it must be one of the most interesting products in this class.

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