The Yudo Neuman – A Futuristic Touchscreen Synthesizer

At the 2018 NAMM Show, Yudo introduced the Neuman multi-touch synthesizer – a futuristic design that pairs a giant iPad-style touchscreen interface with a traditional musical keyboard.

We talked with Yudo’s Mieko Saruwatari, who gave us a quick introduction to the new instrument.

At this point, the Neuman synthesizer is a design prototype for a new type of flagship synth. Saruwatari says that, at this point, they expect several several more years of development before the Neuman can be released.

Because this is an early stage prototype, details are to come.

Check out the design, though, and leave a comment and let us know what you think of the idea of using the entire top of a synth as a multi-touch display that trades tactile control for flexibility.

27 thoughts on “The Yudo Neuman – A Futuristic Touchscreen Synthesizer

    1. As if it were a VST player? It could be a nice idea, but then a master keyboard + a decent notebook would be more than enough. This is something more, an attempt at revolutionise synths’ UI.

    2. I think that would miss the point. You can do exactly that with a MIDI keyboard and some monitors connected to a computer. This synth is trying to redefine the user interface for digital synthesis in a standalone keyboard.

  1. That was even worse than the Prologue demo, but she’s super adorable so it was a little less painful. I love the way she says “synthesizer”.

  2. If the display could run some sort of extended Aerial screensaver on it while playing with it, that would be cool. Dreaming and playing…

  3. This is a dumb product for a lot of reasons, but it can be proven most so by the “generation starship” example. If you spend all of your culture’s resources developing a starship that can reach another planet for colonization, by the time you arrive you will find that planet overcrowded by people who years after you left created a faster way to get there and then beat you to the planet.

    … so in this case, spend another two or three years developing a very expensive, proprietary and completely un-customizable product, only to find that Microsoft and Apple already let you run your favorite music software on multiple touch screens, which can be any size, location and price you need.

    1. Why do you think this needs to be proprietary?

      It’s still in development, obviously, but it would be fantastic if this would be a platform that supports third-party development.

      iOS synths are great – but there’s no alternative to a hardware instrument that has MIDI pre-configured, when it comes to live performance. If something like this would allow you to load up multiple synths, it could be the best of both worlds.

      Maybe that’s wishful thinking though!

      1. If it’s taking two more years to develop, it’s proprietary. And that is a bad idea when you are making the same thing others are already doing for cheaper, better, faster.

        1. The mainstream ‘cheaper, better, faster’ never delivers anything great and original.

          It brings you things like Android – cheap, but useless for music – and the Behringer D, which succeeds in making the 70’s smaller and less expensive.

          The more important trend for musicians is ‘open, open, open’, which allows excellence to spread and for instruments to work together more effectively. Things like VCV Rack and MPE are going to change the world of electronic music in much more important ways than Behringer’s cheap knockoffs ever will.

  4. A giant GUI could mean:
    less eye-strain
    less cramped feeling user experience
    ability to map samples on an almost 1:1 scaled visual map
    read a scrolling music score with no page turns
    insanely high-resolution realtime CC via screen touch
    e.g. a bunch of vertical sliders or long horizontal ribbons

    Ultimately, whether or not this ends up being a worthwhile project will depend on how they integrate existing technology and innovate. If they make a ROMpler with bad ROM, and poorly programmed patches, then you’ll likely end up with at $12,000 conversation piece– something fun for the kids.

  5. please somebody donate them those 2-3 more ears they need for completion! 😉
    I like the idea and i am curios where this will be in a couple of years

  6. Its an interesting concept whose Achilles Heel is endless change in the world of software. Most of what we use is always being updated with More, More, More. This is the ultimate extension of the musical iPad, but if it keeps being updated every 18 months, how can it be more of an instrument than a novelty? That goes triple for proprietary things. Synclavier owners got hosed hard when NED folded, many years back. Its not a bad GUI at all, though… sort of like Mainstage- pardon me- “on steroids.” Jean-Michel Jarre already uses a similar touch-screen set-up in concert. Call me in 2-3 years and we’ll see.

  7. It’s all going to come down to the UI and UX of the instrument—much like it does for softsynths now. Also, it has got to have a whole lot of “go” to justify the “show” (and the expected price point) to make it worth it.

    I would expect a synth like this to be “hyper synth”—basically, one that incorporates all of the common synth engines in use today as well as some pretty innovative new ones too. I would expect it to be fully modular so that just about anything can be connected to anything. The ultimate modular that is also polyphonic and multitimbbral. Take that even further and allow each module to have its own UI that best fits its function.

    Basically, I see a terrific platform with which to build an amazing synthesizer on. Yes, it does look kinda Star Trek: TNG-ish but, I gotta say, I always thought that that design was quite good and very functional (except the font used, that font was bordering on illegible).

  8. Looks stunning! I love it! Imagine being able to have a magnified interface to help all us ageing synth players and our bad eyesight, and even for those young with non perfect vision. You could apply different ‘skins’ depending on the mood of the music you were creating to aid inspiration!

  9. Two thoughts on this:

    * it’s going to need a good story about why one long display is better than multiple standard-sized tablets. The prototype in the video has clear sections that would each fit fine on a 10-12″ screen.

    * the project needs a UX designer with some musical knowledge ASAP. Pitch bend on a 6″ long virtual slider? WTF?

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