Much of those ‘leaps and bounds’ were to catch up to hardware sonically… still needs some catching up with analog hardware. And now we have digital hardware synths or components of synths running on FPGA’s and running at sample rates like 25mhz… or the NCO’s of the Modal 002 which sound different than the usual VST plugins.
As for hardware, check out Eurorack if you want to see an explosion of development.
Then for example, check out the Arturia Polybrute. An analog synth with exceptional modulation, morphing and expression capabilities. And even with such deep possibilities, basically no menu diving.
And in general, hardware has continued to improve user interfaces, integration with computers and DAW’s with stuff like audio over USB, synchronous plugins, Elektron’s Overbridge, and so on.
And hardware has what it has always had… a unique experience. My Moog Matriarch is so different from my Analog Rytm etc. That leads to different creative pathways, exercises the brain and nervous system differently. It’s great!
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