Black Box plea
The iStomp and Neunaber Slate threads have prompted some here to wonder about the potential for a "Black Box" digital effects solution. Hoping this thread can start some thought perhaps give us insight into what might work and how.
The idea is fairly basic: have an open-source platform where anyone can program digital effects at a building-block level, and then upload those creations the cloud for download to a 'black box' type of floor box.
* Has to be open-source; the attractiveness is in the potential for having everyone around the world contribute their imagination and coding skills to develop new sounds.
* Mfrs could sell different box configurations; you'd need certain minimums for controls, but maybe have the possibility for a few things like expression pedals, etc. to be added/subtracted.
* Has to have two levels of functionality: patch adjustment AND component-level tweakability so guys like V (and one would hope, Brian Neunaber, and ...) could create really interesting pedals, not just spin the dials to make patches. BUT I would also want to be able to just spin the dials and make patches, and exchange them with others in a way that is user-friendly.
* You'd hope to find a way to monetize those new virtual pedals. An online marketplace, so V could get $8.99 (or whatever) from me and others as he came up with cool new downloads.
* Similarly, provide for some sort of decent if minimal online community (like HCFX without the colossal screw ups).
If that kind of business model were followed, I see the opportunities as:
1. Selling inexpensive but useful software interfaces for the source code/coding.
2. A rich mine of user data. Yeah, sorry, this is $ these days.
3. The ability to sell very nice download/host boxes. The iStomp is $39; the Slate is $239. There MUST be a middle ground?
I feel like this will be 'the next big thing' in effects ... the opening up of the platforms. It's like multitrack recording - at one point a scarce and expensive tool of professional musicians. Now, basically free to all. Analog effects sound too good to go away - but digital needs to move to a different model.