Nicolai Thoma

März / March - 2019

Fachhochschule Potsdam


The performance sampler "ECSTASEQUENCE" is the intuitive instrument that improves the creative handling of samples in the studio, on stage or on the road.

What is the Topic?

In my bachelor thesis "Electronic musical instruments for a new generation" I pursue the goal of designing an electronic musical instrument. The main focus of the design is to meet the requirements of an agile and modern target group. The findings from user surveys form the basis for the definition of this target group and define the framework and the respective focus for the design. Due to the growing popularity of electronic music and its production, I see the necessity to critically question existing concepts and innovations and to relate them to the requirements of the target group.

Why does it look like this?

Nowadays, the appearance is decisively influenced by the various areas of application. Electronic musical instruments, which were originally mainly used in music studios, were mechanical and schematic. The appearance was reminiscent of permanently installed consoles from power plants or factories. Today, electronic musical instruments can be aesthetically integrated into both private households and public spaces. Multicoloured luminous elements should be avoided as far as possible. A monochrome and discreet appearance creates an association with the preferred classics of electronic musical instruments. Coloured touchscreens and RGB LEDs, on the other hand, are associated with digital electronic musical instruments and should therefore

What is special?

We live in the digital age. Despite all the benefits that this development brings to our way of life, the desire for physical electronic musical instruments to experience focus and limitation in a creative process is growing. The potential is to transform a concept from earlier developments and bring it closer to a generation of digital natives. Due to the small and handy form factor, the device can easily be stored in conventional bags or suitcases. In addition, the rotary knobs are protected for transport and cannot break off. Common connection options such as 3.5mm jack, MIDI, CV, GATE and USB-C enables seamless connectivity with conventional electronic musical instruments.

What is new?

In order to make the handling of knobs even more intuitive, part of this work consists of the development of an innovative knob that automatically rises from the housing and aligns itself to stored positions. In contrast to the mechanical "push lock" knob, this version of a retractable knob works through electromagnetic fields. By alternating static electromagnetic fields, the positioning of a concentrically rotating magnetic field can be determined vertically. By switching the magnetic fields on and off, the knob is pulled out of the housing. This action is triggered by the human body's own resistance. One touch of the