A thought on software synths on mobile devices

I sometimes think that I’d like to travel back in time… ooh, about fifteen years or so, meet my 1998 self and tell him something like this:

In the year 2013, you’ll be able to buy polyphonic synthesisers and other electronic instruments that can use any sound-generation technique you can think of (sample-based, digital/analogue, modelling, etc.). These synths will sound as good as any of the ones you can try out at your local music store… and each one will  cost about the same as a cappuccino down at Starbucks. (Unless, you’re lucky enough to get wind of a special sale, in which case you might even be able to get it for free.)

This is mainly possible, because these instruments are not physical objects. They are computer programs, and you’ll be able to run them on computers which are basically a touchscreen. Some of these computers are small enough to fit in your pocket… in fact, I have one here [produces an iPhone] with seven synths, two drum machines, one organ, two Mellotrons and two eight-track multitrack recorders (one of which I could turn into a 16-track if I cough up another coffee’s-worth of cash). Oh, and I can make phone calls with it… er, younger-me, what are you doing lying down there…

…because I suspect my 1998 self would faint in shock. If only because he’s just seen his fifteen-years-older mirror-image.

Either that, or I’ve just bored him unconscious.

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