Your opinion seems incredibly valuable, in fact, and you definitely caught on to the spirit of my desperation and limit of knowledge. I appreciate you shining some light into a future I cannot see. You may have saved melons of time figuring things out the hard way.
My position falls in between 2 and 3. Fast and sloppy This was my deep worry with the Deluge. It might cover my bases specs wise but the core of it and how you create with it might not allow me to go certain directions I might be prompted to go in.
I want to be able to go deep in a rabbit hole and squeeze out some gold that nerdy, sensitive people will like listening to on the subway home from work, assuming I even possess a halfway deep well, but at least I want my tool to be able to go with me there, if I can. But really we do it cause it’s something to do before we die and we like it, right? So opposite of fast and sloppy. More like meticulous and meditative and very playful in a childlike way.
I am not a DAWless idealist. I am ideal only with the essence of music, but everything you can touch to make it for me is pure function and pragmatism.
I’ve only restricted myself to iPad due to budget. I can have a Moog on my iPad or an 808 or a synth that converts pictures to waveforms you can scrub with your finger.
Problem is the touchscreen gets old for all creative avenues. One needs knobs, a DAW for audio (I’m not afraid to not hire someone else), some tactile real synths or instruments one can fall in love with and sing with in lonely moments.
I always thought that, as I saved money and built my tool collection, it would come to look like in between your other options, getting a DAW (I DO want to make pro music now), and buying up little pieces of fun kit to modularly bring in or out. OP1 ø-coast whatever. A computer would definitely be there to bring the creative excursions to some final product. I listen to Aphex Twin’s Syro and there’s no fuckin way that is all sequenced live with hardware. The precise, flawless mixing, and the ten million sounds in the span of 30 seconds with 30 varying drum patterns—I have no doubt—there was a DAW bringing hours and hours of messing around into a cohesive structured thing that is profoundly complex but tied together with a digital workstation. The definition of that professional sound.
But a MacBook Pro and Ableton and Push is like a $3,500 or whatever rig. Gonna be a second before I round up those bones, but I’ll get there. Should just make a couple chart toppers on iPad and then go from there.
The cirklon looks like probably the most powerful thing outside of a daw for sequencing, especially beats (polyphonic stuff meh). The complex conditional triggering you can do is insane, if you’re willing to learn how to program the thing. I read all the manuals even though I don’t own the stuff.
Elektron boxes like Digitact and Octatrack look amazing and creative and fun but not the comprehensive hub I’m looking for, as you say.
Finally and most importantly, you’ve re-routed my thinking. Deluge is out. I’ll probably go the Pyramid==>iPad for now and then add hardware, fun boxes, computer and stuff later as I can, perhaps making the DAW acquisition and computer a priority after a couple of fun things I’m dying to have, like a real physical sampler, those Roland ones, the new OP-Z or OP-1 or ø-coast or tempest or something idfk.