The Roland PMA-5 Digital Music assistant was ahead of it's time

Back in the day PDA, or personal digital assistants were all the rage. But what if you could, instead of something to manage your calendar, you could have something that could create music on the go?

Enter the Roland PMA-5, a Digital music assistant that did exactly that. It was a thick PDA style device with the inputs and outputs that musicians would want and you could create music right on the touchscreen.

Since these were somewhat popular back then so you can still get them on ebay right now. Musicians have a love and hate relationship with it, they love the concept of what it can do but not necessarily using it with it's resistive touchscreen and tiny keyboard keys.

From a review:

The Roland PMA5 is a portable music workstation that boasts an intuitive interface and good sound quality, making it a versatile tool for musicians on the go. The LCD display is easy to navigate with a stylus, although poor readability in certain lighting conditions may be a drawback on stage. Creating backing tracks and instrumentals is straightforward for those familiar with sequencers, with the Style and Chord tracks allowing for easy composition. The PMA5 also functions as a 16-part multitimbral sound module with built-in effects, making it a valuable addition to a home studio. While the preset Styles may be tempting for some users, the hope is that musicians will use the machine as a framework for their compositions, adding their own personal touch. Overall, the PMA5 is a good value for its price and a contemporary take on the portable music notepad.