Long long ago i was carrying something heavy up the stairs of a venue and I said out loud wouldn't it be great if you could put all your keyboards in one suitcase! You just open the lid and it's all there. The concept of a laptop was beyond me - it was still going on a keyboard stand.


In a time when everyone is so hyped up about hardware, it's hard to recall just how exciting the software was. The first edition of Cubase VST had a couple of examples. I seem to remember it was Koblo soon after that. The early ones weren't good, but having been shat out the other end of the music industry without my gear, it was a minor miracle for me. I was all software for a long time.


In the 21st century the software is very good. If you want KORG, there's the Legacy Collection, Arturia has a wide range of oldies, Native Instruments a range of newbies and over 1000 other titles are there for free, many care of SynthEdit. In retrospect I wish I'd been there buying up all the old hardware, but actual music was well taken care of.


Because, let's be honest, the hardware isn't much about music in most cases. You could be hearing a MonoPoly or a MonoPoly, and not be able to tell. Music made on hardware can be different due to the methods involved, but it's not assuredly better any more than surface noise is required to ensure good music. The more time somebody is spending on arguing about it, the less music they're making.


Which is why a site like Create Digital Music is really about control, not music at all. It's a parade of controllers - arrays of buttons, sliders, iPads, every variation on how to control something.


Sensibly the question is: I want to achieve something, without the process obscuring the flow. Is a box like the JP8080 the best way? Or do I need something like Alchemy to get there? The destination is the key, and the argument about which way is 'authentic' is only for people with no destination.

The PPG Realizer was one of the very first attempts at a universal machine. Only two got out of prototype.


Allegedly, NIN uses one. Given it wasn't completed and has less power than an iPad app I think that illustrates the reasons why people collect hardware. It's chunky jewellery for nerds.


You can see an echo of it in the Arturia Origin.


It was either this or a red car and I think I chose wisely.