The Destructive Nature Of Isolation

Lately I’ve really been considering why exactly the “menu” is such a bad idea.
I mean what’s wrong with having a shift/filter button and a nice little screen with some options on it?
In the very early 90’s when everything went all digital pages, it was taxing, time consuming. Everyone renamed things (TVA, Operator, etc) it was like being lost.

We didn’t yet know that we wanted knobs, but intuitively we did. Programming a DX7 was a nightmare, and so was programming a JV-1080. Even tapping though the modes of a MKS-80 was a drag. We were desperate for patch librarians so we could see all of the synth’s features at once, believing that programming on-screen would make it “easier”.
It didn’t make it easier. In fact the computer made things more opaque, adding more hassle. The need for new equipment, new software, dongles, thru boxes, cables, and it was a great distraction.

Now, years later, we’re confronted by boxes with “knobs” to make it seem immediate (we know we want knobs)
And yet to perform meaningful tasks, we have to switch modes, shift-modify to the area, and then tick down a list to find the PWM width.

They try to make “common” needs front panel operations, or button presses away, or even mode dependent, but we never forget that it’s a piece of software in a box.
What lost us all was the lack of one knob per function (because we want knobs). If not one knob per function, then an assigned legend or single shift to reveal another layer.

Why not hold shift to get to page two for the other ADSR?
Why not shift to switch between LFO1 and LFO2?

Labyrinths of pecking and tapping, reading tiny screens, losing our work, struggling with modes, pages and lists are decidedly not fun and not musical.

I feel that the engineers are capable of anything, yet they seem to lack practical experience. They’re clearly not musicians.
They want us to do things their way.

I guess if we used _____ as an “groove box”, always in pattern mode, playing a chord on little buttons, it could be endless family fun.

But that’s not a musical instrument. That’s not what we need or want at all.

Or is it?