San Francisco visual artist and musician Scott Hansen shared some interesting comments recently on the design of Access Virus TI synthesizers:
Of all the musical equipment manufacturers out there, I’d have to say that the Recklinghausen, Germany based outfit are making some of the most innovative and powerful sound synthesis tools available today. But aside from that, they’re incredibly beautiful and well-crafted machines.
I’ve owned several and have to say I’ve always been amazed at the build quality and attention to detail they put into their equipment. I love how they take subtle cues from the past — the perfectly measured application of wood is a perfect example — while still pushing the design forward. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t get any better than stainless steel and wood, and the TI2 KB features a stainless steel/wood sandwich on the endcaps.
But none of this comes cheap, these are also some of the most expensive synthesizers out there (probably the most expensive VA’s). I’d have to say they’re well worth the money though, the sound is unmatched and they’re built to last.
What I really admire about what Access is doing is that they’re doing it all from within the festering pit of mediocrity that is the music technology industry, an industry dominated by bad taste and terrible interface design.
I don’t know what it is that drives industrial design in music technology, but you’d swear every new keyboard was designed by the backup drummer from Ratt.
Access’s synths are gorgeous and intelligently designed – and this is too rare within the music industry. While synths have come a long way, in terms of usability, from the dark days of the 80s and 90s, few are as beautifully designed as the Virus line.
And while the sound of a keyboard ultimately makes or breaks it, instruments that are also gorgeous inspire.
What do you think of Hansens’ thoughts? Is the music industry a “festering pit of mediocrity”? And do manufacturers need to raise the bar on synth design?