Portable Music Production


These concepts are for my final year project and ill be presenting these along with lots of reserach etc on Thursday to my course tutors. The product is basically a portable recording studio for computerised music production allowing the user to make beats on the move.

Any comments/questions are most welcome!

Nice renderings.

Its difficult to give any further comments without more information.

Do you envision this as a new brand or part of an existing brand?
Who do you think your typical user is?
What do these things look like closed?
How do they interact with other devices, do you upload work to your PC?

Cool idea.

Hi Yo,

I’ll try and answer your questions in order:

  1. The product could be either new brand or a new product catergory for an established company such as Yamaha or Akai but i believe im approaching this type of product in a completely different way. Currently the smallest Purpose Built portable sequncer is the Yamaha QY100 (see below) which is roughly 10.5x4.7x2". This is due to a number of reasons but largely because it is meant for live musicians to use and therefore has XLR and line inputs etc which take up lots of space.

  2. Typical user is someone who only makes computerised music and the unit will sync to a pc/mac as an external hard drive allowing the user to drop breaks, samples, whatever onto the device.

  3. No renderings of unit closed yet, ill post them shortly.

  4. The idea is that the device’s software would be compatible with industry standard sequncers such as Cubase or Logic. The user could be out and about and have an idea for a track (which i often do), they pull this thing out, put a rough mix together and then are able to upload all the information (samlpes, arrangement, FX etc.) onto their main studio system to take the track to completetion. The unit could also be used just as a stand alone piece of hardward.

Ive had some positive feedback from the Marketing Manager at Yamaha and i could have written a very lenghty response but hopefully this makes things clearer as to what the product is and who its for.

The more input/feedback the better so keeo it coming! :smiley:

I literally just picked up an MPC 500,

so I may have better feedback in a couple days, weeks, …

first thing,
seems like a touchscreen really buys you a lot in the way of eliminating all the extraneous keys allowing more focus on the keys or pads.
Now that the Iphone touch UI is out there to benchmark, it seems the sky could be getting even bluer if you really wanted to.

Renderings look nice
here are a few issues I’m having

  1. Lack of visual Hierarchy between screen and keys/pads. This may make sense due to the added importance of the display as UI as well, but it is a little bit of a concern for me right now. Particularly in the middle version, visually it looks like it would fall over if I touched the screen.

  2. This ties back to the falling over comment above, they seem very thin for products with velocity sensitive keys/pads. I mean my finger is sore from hitting my MPC last night, and I would like a product that (size and materials) looks like it can take it.

  3. What exactly i going on the bottom, I assume the “touch sensitive pad for expressive control” is like the kaos pad on a Korg product? I would put more emphasis on the pads (particularly because they are velocity sensitive). Is there a way the “touch sens…expressive pad” could be another mode for the touch screen, then you don’t lose as much real estate in the pad area.

It also seems that the touch screen makes the UI a BIG part of this design, so it might be worth showing a little in the way of menus, navigation, etc. to add even more beef to your process.

part 2

the value proposition

By the time you get all the features you are talking about at good level of performance you may be getting near laptop pricepoints. Which would make a MIDI controller like the Korg Kontrolpad, Akai MPD 24, Triggerfinger + laptop potential competition. You are already talking about using this in conjunction with a computer and using it as a portable device. With the laptop and the MIDI device you have some portability and your computer with you. With this in mind, how do you make your machine the better tool and value?

Hi Idiot,

Again, ill try and answser each question in order without waffling!

  1. I agree with your point about the the flip version falling over and thats something i need to address after my presentation depending on which concept i have to develop.

  2. Again, i agree the product should obviously be robust, alot of the detail design of which i have already considered will beome irrelavent depening on which concept im to develop. Good point though.

  3. Your right, the expressive pad is the same as on the Korg Prophecy which i used to own, could you explain a little bit further what you mean about “expressive pad being another mode for touchscreen”. I dont fully understand.

  4. The interaction design aspect (user research, flow diagrams, screen shots etc.) starts following my presentation tomorrow so im afraid i havent got that detail yet but again, your right, its a crucial part of the process for this kind of product.

  5. A laptop and a controller keyboard is not really that portable IMO. This kinda product will fit in your coat pocket, purpose built for the job, stripped of unnescary clutter such as AD convertors, XLR & line inputs etc, strictly for computerised music production and i think this is possible for much less than a decent laptop, soundcard & controller keyboard which lets face it, you can harldy use on a train etc. There will be some licensing issues which could affect cost for sure, but i’ll be looking in to that shortly.

All very good points and im sorry i cant give better responses to some just yet. I’ll know more tomorrow so check back. Also, let me know how you get on with the MPC.



hey chameleon

I didn’t realize where you were at in your process,
you’re really off to a great start.

  1. If I am not mistaken, the expressive pad basically just tracks movement on a 2 dimensional plane (have even seen it called an “x,y” pad before). So why could you not elect to designate a particular area of the screen as the expressive pad. You could even potentially use a pressure sensitive (like wacom technology) and add yet another dimension of control.

  2. I’m completely with you on this, HEY I bought the 500 right? but I have seen some discussions around this on some forums, and discussed it with some friends. But, yeah for TRUE portability, you’re dead on.

Well i has the presentation today and it went really well. Concept 1 (the top one) got the vast majority of thumbs up from both my tutors and Yamaha so thats the one ill be developing.


I like the idea of the expressive pad being part of the screen, im gonna pursue that further, cheers!

Ill post more stuff when i have it

Glad it went well, look forward to seeing more stuff!

What’s the price point, why would someone want this device over a small laptop paired with Reason ?