I remember the HotzBox (in magazines)

It was the MIDI early days, and with my ATARI and the polyphonic aftertouch of my Ensoniq keyboard I was waiting for such a thing to be affordable:

I had to wait 30 years for the Sensel Morph and the Erae Touch, the first one fantastic in every aspects but so small :wink: and the second one, well, not so bad…

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yeah I saw this popup on Synthtopia … definitely an interesting piece of history.

one bit that surprised me, is it was endorsed by Atari… since it appears to have been created by a Jimmy Hotz … so quite a small entity, though perhaps there is some connection there. I wonder how many units were manufactured/sold?

whilst, the hardware looks ‘ok’, what I like about it, is its a really interesting blend of hardware and software. I think this is the forward looking part.

its nothing we cannot do today, but the fact it was sold as an ‘out of the box’ solution.
sure, today, you would tend to cobble things together, and this does allow more flexibility,
its not as cohesive, and needs some vision.

Its kind of a pity that Hotz has not open sourced the software… could be an interesting project with modern controllers.

anyway, history is always interesting… a lot of advanced stuff… never gets spotted.
e.g. I got a bit obsessed with the Music 500 system for the BBC micro at some point, as I knew someone that had one when I was young, and show some very unique composing techniques on it…

it was like a fore-runner to what we would call ‘live coding’ today, but where you could blend live playing (on a music keyboard) , with live coding…

again, a bit like Hotz, and interesting blend of hardware/software, that provided a complete solution.
and again, you could kind of replicate today with bits n’ pieces, but its not as coherent, and a lot of effort.

I guess, in some ways ‘back then’ , they were not so focused on mix n’ match… rather creating particular instruments…

anyway, alway good to try to learn from the past!

Hotz still seems to sell a Windows version of his “Translator”. The web page perhaps isn’t the best advertizing for the software (one has to select text to read it, otherwise it’s black on black…)
And the manual is the only indication that helps to understand what the software actually does :slight_smile:

But looks interesting! It looks a little like what e.g. Synfire does - applying a rule set to transform some “intentions” of the player (e.g. notes on a scale and rhythmic patterns to actual absolute notes depending on various parameters). But the Hotz software seems to do this live.
Would be interesting how this copes with today’s MPE MIDI controllers. (No demo available, a little steep to just buy to try…).

I get the impression that the Theoryboard is a kind of modern descendant.

There’s also the Soundwell Dek.

I’m holding out for the wearable version.