This paper reports the development of a prototype of smart musical instrument that uses a virtual analog audio plugin in conjunction with a dedicated tangible interface and a platform for embedded audio. The adopted design approach started from an analog synthesizer, passed from its digital emulation, and returned to the analog domain via the real-time, physical control of the digital synthesizer. The prototype can be considered as an instance of a class of musical devices that allow one to give physical form to the control of virtual analog software. We present an analysis of online sources that were retrieved following the release of the prototype at an international music trade show. Overall, results preliminary validate the concept underlying the development of the prototype and reveal its potential for both digital musical instruments development and use. Benefits of the proposed class of musical devices include a higher degree of control intimacy of a plugin compared to its use with conventional interfaces such as mice and screens of desktop computers, as well as the use of audio plugins in ubiquitous musical activities.
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