Of all the crazy/cool ideas we come across at Gearnews this is probably the chunkiest. It’s a synthesizer in the shape of a very thick watch that you would drag about on your wrist. You can tell it’s a synth because of the Synthwatch name and also because of the huge/weeny 1-octave keyboard that takes up over half the real estate.
What it should have above the keyboard are tiny filter cut-off and resonance knobs. But instead we have what looks like an LCD display from 1982.
The idea for Synthwatchwas born from that frustrating situation where you are out and about and suddenly a melody comes into your head – we’ve all been there right? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have some kind of device where you could stop and capture that melody? Something small and portable, that didn’t have wires and other things attached to it? Something like a phone perhaps? A phone that has a thousand musical apps, sequencing, sampling, recording, virtual keyboards and drum pads? Nah, I want something on my wrist with a mechanical keyboard and looks like a comedy accessory to go along with my very cool keyboard tie and musical note waistcoat.
So what can this chunk of musical apparel do? Well, it’s a synthesizer, the first ever wristwatch synthesizer (although I’m pretty sure my Casio calculator watch made musical beeping noises). It has more than 200 sounds and you can just live in the moment of your creativity and play it as an instrument. It then connects to an app, on your phone, where you can record and sequence and edit the music and sounds. So there’s a parkour guy in the video holding his phone to sequence while playing the keys on the watch – that doesn’t look that comfortable or convenient. Apparently, it’s not made from cheap plastic as it appears in the video, it’s actually made from titanium – gosh that sounds expensive. The keys are designed to be able to be pressed by every kind of finger size. I guess that’s why they are raised and bevelled.
Does it do anything else?
Audioweld stress that this is a musical watch – it makes music and it tells the time. So if you are looking for a SmartWatch or something to count your steps or heartbeat then this isn’t it.
What do we think?
At Gearnews we like expressing opinions and I am struggling to find a good idea in this project. I mean, it just looks awful. I love the effort they’ve put into the glossy promotional videos but there’s no amount of vaseline you can put on the lens to make the Synthwatch look cool. I can’t see any advantage over a simple phone app. Perhaps the raised keys make it more natural to play, but check out the demo video and that idea soon erodes. You even need a phone to do any recording. They’ve put two years of development into this thing and I feel bad for not appreciating it, but I can only say what I see.
They are looking for just over £67,000 with an Early Bird price of £398 going up to £487 if you are customer 3501. That’s about the price of the iWatch 4 or iPhone 7. And then there are the stretch goals. If they reach €100k they will implement the App – why presumably means there isn’t an app by default, just the watch without an ability to sequence or add effects? At €200k they’ll add polyphony. At €500k they’ll add an export mode to the app. At 1 million Euros they’ll let you add your own sounds through the app and at 2 million they might even make a piece of desktop software to go with it. As app development goes this has got to be the most expensive mobile app ever built.
Ok, enough of this nonsense. I’m feeling that this is bewilderingly wide of the mark. At the time of writing they have 2 backers who are opted for t-shirts – that’s probably the Audioweld bloke and his mum. I feel really sorry for the team and all your hard work but I don’t think this is going to fly. But if it does, if there’s an audience out there for a slab of a musical watch, then that would be amazing.
- Audioweld Synthwatch Kickstarter page.