The basic question:
What devices are there out there which compete with the OP-1?
The longer train of thought:
Sometimes I find myself on a plane, train or bus for an extended period. Sometimes I find myself under a tree, waiting for nightfall for an extended period. Sometimes I’m having trouble falling asleep, and music runs through my mind. In any case, I often would like to be able to get down musical ideas on a level from idle noodling up to sophisticated treatments.
If I have a laptop with me, that’s great. Renoise, sound libraries and all the possibilities of the world are at my fingertips. Other times, I have portable device on which I can run sunvox, and that is deeply cool.
What I really want is a dedicated, single purpose, music making machine which is rugged enough to toss in a backpack or shooting bag, has enough battery and storage to keep me supplied for a day, enough processing power to handle deep arrangements and layers of effects, and an interface well enough designed that it’s not too cramped. Charging and up/downloading through USB is nice too.
A laptop is bulky, fragile, and has limited battery life.
A tablet is less bulky, but more fragile, and is in the same battery life range as a modern laptop with less power.
A smartphone is usually not too bulky or fragile, and the battery is OK, but the interface gets cramped.
The OP-1 is well built, has great battery life, small but carefully designed interface and plenty of music making power. It’s just expensive. Too darned expensive. Seriously, for the price of an OP-1 I can buy a new laptop, a set of monitors, and re-up my Renoise licence.
Surely Korg, Yamaha, Roland, or somebody out there has also tackled this space?
The bulkiest item is the keyboard. We can save space on that without having huge and stupid touchscreens, by using a buttonboard like a chromatic button accordion. More octaves in the same space, or less bulk. Either way it’s a win.
The OP-1 shows the way with a small, clear screen. Less power consumption, and beautifully clear.
A tracker interface is easily managed in a fairly small screen with some ingenuity of design, especially if some kind of recording/noodling system allows for the capture of cool effects.
Hell, if there’s a cunning entrepreneur out there listening, let’s contribute some design ideas to make it better. You know you want it.