I have a neat idea for a hardware device, where should i start?

Woke up with a pretty cool idea for a hardware box (not a synth) that could be really useful for us samplers-users. However i have no experience with programming or building electronics. Should i simply pitch my idea to a company ? Could someone with a little experience in this give me some pointers ? Thaaanks

Not sure if it help, but on a separate thread I was reading that the Digitone early concept was made in MaxForLive, so that’s where I would start from. Might be a learning curve though…


Just PM me all your ideas and I’ll sort you out.



PM me.

I will sign non-disclosure and non-compete for your product idea. I’ve developed many hardware / software products in the past ( non music ones ). I’d be happy to give some guidance for free.

Before you make anything real you need to do a lot of work refining your ideas. What is it exactly … in detail.

Decide if this is something you want to develop and sell, or do you just want one for you ? Then decide if this is something you really, really want to do.

Then and only then you can plan for and begin work on a proof of concept prototype, or if the idea is easy enough a full prototype. Break the idea down into separate pieces and see if you can cobble together something from things you can buy and fit together. Usually you can. If not look for open source hardware and/or software that can do something close and adapt that. You never want to start creating everything from scratch.

If you expect your final product to work seamlessly in real-time, a useful thing to discard for a proof of concept, is the real-timeness, and the smoothness of operation. It’s OK for the first one to be rough, and require tinkering to get it to work.

The suggestion for Max For Live is a good one, but it depends what you are trying to do. There are lots of good places to begin, and you need to be aware of these and research other options too.

Finding good people to work with is very important.

I am not pitching my services here because i absolutely don’t want to do this sort of thing for others any more. But I’d be happy to give casual advice for free.


You should talk to Stimming.


Without knowing the type of thing you have in mind (I’m not try to get you to disclose it) it is difficult to say, but often when an idea for a hardware device pops into my mind I design on paper, then prototype it using an appropriate method, which might be hardware or software, there are ways you can try concepts out before shelling out money, like Axoloti, arduino, teensy, pure data, processing, max etc. Or there might be a product which already does what you want or can be adapted.


Really useful information in there, thank you very much. I’ll think about it over the weekend to see if it’s just a pipe dream or something that others could be into as well.


Good advice here, I’d second the need for some kind of prototyping. Make a cardboard panel and pretend to use it, that sort of thing. Imagining yourself in the driver seat in detail will give you the feedback to iterate those first steps. Revise a lot!


Is there anything close to your idea out there?
My own experience is that it’s very rare to totally innovate, especially on a matter that has been there for more than a decade.

@Jukka’s advices are good.
Don’t overlook UX: these days it’s not uncommon to start with the interface, and design the software side from there.


Yeah ! I did that with a “to scale” paper drawing and already had to rethink the placement of everything lol


Kind of ? What i have in mind is something that all samplers do but often negligate to do well because of HW limitations or lack of good enough interface/real estate. I haven’t heard of a dedicated box for that function and i’d really love to have one. It’s not innovative in that sense, more like it’s a niche device for those frustrated with some aspect of their gear.

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And yes a laptop could do it Harder, better, Faster, Stronger… but who cares about laptops right ? :sweat_smile:

This has happened to me many times too. This isn’t necessarily the reason you abandon an idea, but you need to think hard about what you’ve got that improves and stands apart.

The abandoning part is also something any innovator is familiar with too. But don’t throw it out completely, file it away 'cuz there is often some part, or seed, that will fit in with another idea. Reuse and repurpose those ideas.


The idea is less about form or manifestation, it is about functions. Multiple functions. Form may follow function, but that is an open question.

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