Much as we love computers, who hasn’t dreamed of a dedicated hardware box for gigging that plays your plug-ins seamlessly? The Muse Receptor does this already, and it’s a very effective solution – everyone I know who’s got one loves it. But it is a full rackmount space, and prices start around US$2000 (though it does look like you can snag a refurb for less). That could be well worth it, but I’m sure for some potential customers, weighing the bulk and cost against a computer makes it tougher to bite.

That makes the V-Machine pretty impressive on paper: it’s more compact, like “throw it in a backpack” compact, and promises to list for only US$599. That’s so impressive, in fact, the “this is too good to be true” effect starts to set in – at least until we see one in person. But at least on paper, here’s what it promises:

  • VST/VSTi playback
  • External MIDI controller support for all parameters
  • Three USB connections, which you can use for sample storage, installation of plug-ins, dongles (ewww), or connecting controllers
  • MIDI-in jack (no MIDI out jack, which says to me you’d want to slave this to something else for tempo sync, not the other way around)
  • Control configuration via Windows and Mac
  • Load software via USB when connected to your computer
  • Aluminum case (so far, we only have the mock-up above, not actual product photography)

Looking closer at the specs, there are a couple of catches:

  • 1GHz CPU / 512M RAM / 1G flash disk (meaning this could be the catch; i.e., it’s likely to be a bit underpowered for some plugs)
  • 1 audio input, 1 headphone out, both minijacks (minijacks, really?)
  • 2 unbalanced TS audio outs (hmmm, no balanced? no XLR?)

Without the audio I/O and more powerful computer specs, I don’t think it’s likely to rival the Muse Receptor. But given the small size and low price, it could be ideal for someone who wants something simple and portable – it’s just a different market.

At US$599. Available at the end of this month. And it all comes from SM Pro Audio, who are something of a known quantity in the business.

Stay tuned. SM, I’d like one here, please, even if just for a few days.

V-Machine Press Release

V-Machine Product Page