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#1041032 - 11/28/00 08:19 AM Modular keyboards?
synthfool@synthfool.com Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 113
Loc: Burbank,CA,UNITED STATES
Ok gents, plow through *this* field of dreams....

What if...

There were keyboards that were “modular”.
“Modular” being that you could install several different manufacturer’s offerings of features like panel, keyboard action, synthesis engine, effects sections, modulation controls, OS, enclosure, possibly even the display. Maybe even different “skins” like cel phones.

If, in this dream, there was mass support for some standardized modular keyboard, I can hear a conversation like this....

“Hey! What is that?”

That’s my keyboard. I’m using a frameworks enclosure with a Fatar V88 action, the Waldorf Q22A synthesis engine along with a Korg Kaos2100 mod section, the Eventide MK55E effects block, Apogee YZ323 D/A and Wavewrangler’s latest OS.
All wrapped up in a neon crocodile skin by Prententia. Nice, huh?

Any thoughts?

Kevin

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KC Island
#1041033 - 11/28/00 04:50 PM Re: Modular keyboards?
Jim Aikin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/00
Posts: 190
Loc: ,,UNITED STATES
I've been kicking this idea around for years, without being able to interest a manufacturer in it.

With respect to synthesis and effects, you can buy rack modules; you don't really need to plug hardware into the keyboard itself (though that would enhance the portability factor). And don't forget: Yamaha already has plug-in synth expanders for their own gear. But with respect to LH controllers, it would be *extremely* useful to be able to plug in, say, a Clavia pitchstick module or a Korg XY pad module.

Creating a removable keyboard action would be a bigger engineering challenge. Let's start by encouraging manufacturers to develop a standard size/shape and data interface for LH controllers. Once that idea becomes an industry standard, we can start talking to them about things like user-installable pop-up color LCDs.

--Jim Aikin

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#1041034 - 12/14/00 07:30 AM Re: Modular keyboards?
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
10k Club

Registered: 09/24/00
Posts: 19945
Loc: Thousand Oaks,CA,UNITED STATES
Hardware plug-ins. Too cool.

It really is too bad that such a thing will most probably never happen, due largely to the spirit of co-operation and information sharing required to realize this - the idea kinda flys in the face of capitalism a bit, doesn't it? In that respect, it's actually a minor miracle that the MIDI spec ever got approved...

The sad part is that it would probably simplify things pretty significantly in a number of areas in that size standards for certain components would eliminate a bunch of elements of conjecture in the design phase regarding physical dimensions of components, not to mention that it would probably increase the ease of repairing products due to availability of industry-standard parts.

Plus, it would potentially remove some minor objections that keep people from buying some manufacturer's products - for example, I'd be much more likely to buy a Roland or a Korg keyboard if I could drop standard mod and pitch wheels into them...Kinda where Kurzweil was going with the Expression Mate, I think.

Also, esoteric features that have dropped by the wayside might still be around...imagine if you could elect to spend a bit of extra $$$ and purchase a keybed with polyphonic aftertouch...that'd be too cool.

Oh, well...

dB
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rockit ==> David Bryce MusicFunky Young Monks <==rawk


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#1041035 - 12/17/00 10:04 AM Re: Modular keyboards?
BrianK Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/17/00
Posts: 228
Loc: Los Angeles,CA,UNITED STATES
I guess a nice MIDI controller board and a compact rack (in custom-color material)is as close as we get. I guess one could always take up metalshop and silkscreening and do it. Keyboard of the Month...?
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