So I have been using a number of VSTs in my productions - and I'm wondering, real instruments and synths and things are getting pretty good these days - do you think there will be and 'real' versions of VSTs ever ?
I believe (although i prepare to stand to be corrected) that the POD XT was previously available as a software program. It transitioned into a hardware guitar module so yes, there is a precedent and something that should be perhaps be explored in more detail.
A Lounge Lizard hardware version would be especially ideal for those doing small gigs in pubs and suchlike.
I don't think you could put VSTs in a box just by adding some knobs. Even if you used a Mac Mini it would be hard to do and if you used something like a Mac Pro (which you'd need for a lot of polyphony or instances of FX) your keyboard would be far too heavy and bulky.
So I think the added knob theory of VSTs in a box doesn't really become a starter from square one getting off the ground even.
Certainly the circuity would have to be completely re-engineered. The problem would be ensuring continuity through redesign. For example, if I have a Honda Civic and put that engine in a Sierra body, what then have I? You could argue it is neither a Civic OR a Sierra.