The Schmidt Analog Synthesizer – The $20K Monster Synth Keyboard

At the 2014 NAMM Show, Keyboard magazine’s Stephen Fortner got an update on the Schmidt Analog Synthesizer – the $20K boutique monster synth:

This is the ultimate analog polysynth. Eight voices, four oscillators per voice, all discrete point-to-point circuitry. It costs the price of a new economy car (literally, it’s $20,000), and you know what? We’ll walk to work.

via keyboardmag1

56 thoughts on “The Schmidt Analog Synthesizer – The $20K Monster Synth Keyboard

  1. Ignoring the poor presentational aspects of the video (poor mic’ing, the presenter evading eye contact with the camera, his dress sense and annoyingly gravelly voice and delivery… OK, I couldn’t ignore them!) the synth comes across really well.

    For 20 grand I’ll have 3.

  2. Well, this is what everyone’s after right now. Can you afford it or not? And when you’re doing the math, are you considering what you’ll get on eBay for all the synth gear that’s currently in your studio? 😉

    1. I want to read the personal attacks! That’s part of why I read Synthtopia. I guess you don’t believe in freedom of speech or opinion.

  3. File under: lame ass sounds that’s people make to completely underutilize a synthesizers capabilities. A 20k synth. Great job Schmitt, recession?! Economic hardship world wide? Kiss my ass with your 20k synth. The journalist sounds so much like Alex Jones, it’s annoyingly ridiculous.

    1. DearSpellcheck: thank you for making words plural for me that are not supposed to be “…sounds that’s…” Common. But you people get it…

  4. Even if I cannot (get my wife to) buy it, it at least makes all the “what’s the best synth, if money is not an obstacle” -threads obsolete.

  5. Neat. First decent demo I’d seen of this very rich and *warm* sounding.

    Hope that when anyone saves up enough to buy one we’ll see a lot more demos on youtube 😉 😉

    Seriously – it’s a very nice beast – but – for a very few methinks.

    OTOH – walking to work might not be so bad…. 😎

    Derek.

  6. Recession or not, there are plenty of rockstars out there who can and would just buy one tomorrow over coffee. Hard economic times dont hurt the clients for this thing. I think he can sell plenty of these.

  7. The cost of design is huge. The costs of parts & manufacturing, probably also is quite large. People don’t think twice about spending 20K on a grand piano– which is entirely different beast, requiring very different resources. A 20K synth is an expensive, big investment, but it is not an unreasonable price for a monster synth like this that brings together digital control on analog circuits.

  8. if I want it to sound digital I will buy a vst.
    It’s a one of a kind synth but yeah.
    I’ll wait for the rack version so I can save a couple of K’s

  9. I was at the show and played this synthesizer, Hands-down it was the best sounding synthesizer at the whole show! I thought it would cost about $8000 but when I asked and he told me it was $20,000 I knew that this was a synthesizer that only a few would be able to afford. People like Hans Zimmer. In fact, Hans bought one last year after the show. They brought it to his studio and apparently after 10 minutes of playing it he said just leave it here!

  10. If I were spending $20,000, think I would rather get a Moog Voyager XL, Dave Smith Tempest and Prophet 12, fully loaded Mac Pro, Universal Audio Apollo quad core and a new pair of Genelec monitor speakers. With tax might be more than 20k, but you get the idea. No single synth is worth that much, in my opinion.

    1. I like how you would buy everything I would buy if I had that much money 😀

      I would just add Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K and a decent TV, since I do a lot of video editing and color grading too…

      1. I actually am in the film world too where money can disappear in equipment real fast. I pre-ordered the Black Magic Production 4K Camera last April at NAB which is about $4,000. I have a 2006-era MacPro 8 core that I badly need to upgrade. But I don’t want to lose my UAD-2 Quad card and Apogee Ensemble functionality. So that’s why I would be needing the Apollo. If I had a budget of 20k for film purposes, I would probably get a nice anamorphic adapter, lenses, 4K monitor, some SSD drives and a RAID array with the MacPro. Too many important things to be spending it all on one monster polyphonic analog synth. I already have a Studio Electronics Omega 8 and DSI PolyEvolver so I am not exactly in the market for another.

  11. This looks SO nice! I’d love to hear direct audio on this beast.

    The Dave Smith Prophet 12, though, is in many ways a more powerful synth, and is $17,000 less.

      1. What does that even mean?

        The Prophet sounds fantastic and can be as tight or organic as you want, depending on how you program it.

      2. Usually when people talk about analog synths sounding warm, they’re keying in on random variations in the tuning of oscillators, which is controllable on the Prophet.

  12. if one of big companies would recreate an juniper/andromedia/polymug/prophatt/krog747 etc …. they will sell tons of kbd but they shit in pants and make thousand of toys for serious edm dj …

    1. The Andromeda only sold a couple of thousand units, which is not ‘tons of kbd’ to big companies.

      Also, Alesis had to cheap out on the Andromeda’s build quality to keep the price down. Tons of plastic on it, not like solid metal synths of the old days or even current Moog or DSI synths.

      The Prophet 12 offers a good balance of price, power and build quality, that is going to be hard for other companies to duplicate.

  13. 1) I had thought it was $30,000, not a mere $20k. I’m so relieved.

    2) It has a ‘nice sound,’ but is it worth $20k to anyone not rich enough to use it as a tax write-off? IMO, its insane to struggle to buy something way out of your price range when a fraction of that money could give you 95% of what it does with a focused hybrid rig.

    3) I say THAT because I’ve heard zip from any Schmidt demo that I could not largely recreate easily with “lesser” gear for far less money.

    4) I say THAT because most demos are a damned embarrassment. Either its goofy urban video over dubstep or a demonstrator who mumbles and seemingly can’t play very well. Shut up, PLAY the thing first and THEN chirp enthusiastically over the specs. Will someone please release a brief video tutorial on how the hell to present a new instrument???

    1. I just put down $7500. EU and expect delivery in August to Cleveland, Ohio.

      It will be in a studio which plans to make the Schmidt accessible to all.

      Will have an online sign up calendar to reserve time in the studio and the unique architecture of the Schmidt.

      Synthopia members will receive a discount. Will have quick tutorials to you can tweak a few custom patches to work with tracks you may want to utilize with the Schmidt. We can save the parameters for any time you need to use it again. Would like a library of patches from the enthusiasts and musicians who can make this thing show its true potential.

      Plan on releasing compilation albums with tracks from all that engage with the instrument.

      Is $50 an hour too much to ask? I everything else will be Studio “A” quality. I even have a Roli on order.
      Would like to see what is possible in the right hands.

  14. When a synth is marketed at a $20K price tag, it is reasonable to expect the maker to shell out a few bucks for a professionally done demo.
    He should hire a decent camera crew, record it direct and have a pro player and speaker do the demo.
    Proper editing and titles done for a pro job.
    The player and speaker need not be the same person either.
    Not everyone does everything well themselves.

    Simply put, he should invest in a demo that convinces people why his synth is worth the money and can’t be replicated via existing and cheaper instruments.
    In my opinion, he has failed at this.

    As for Zimmer, he often buys one of a kind boutique synths.
    He can afford them as toys and for the most part, that’s how he uses them.
    You hear very little synths on his film scores.
    So while he has walls of synths (literally), his scores are usually 99% orchestral.
    They’re mostly toys to him.

    1. Listen closely to Zimmer’s work and there’s all sorts of software and hardware synths in it. Also – a lot of the ‘orchestra’ you hear is software, too.

      1. I’ve listened… from the control booth.
        Where he can, he’s uses a real orchestra.
        Agreed that there’s more synth than in his past stuff.
        I just don’t think he uses but .01% of his synth capability.
        Having a Lamborghini and driving it 5kph doesn’t impress me.

    1. I for one would love Synthtopia to stop deleting peoples posted opinions. Its not your job to police the opinions around here … just deliver the Synth news. If someone has a personal attack to hand out … I want to read it.

      1. Lamothon

        We appreciate your feedback.

        It’s our job to make a site that readers will want to come back to. It’s not our job to provide a platform for personal attacks, misogyny, hate speech, spam, etc.

        We encourage intelligent, passionate, constructive discussion on the site. This approach has proven to be extremely effective, with news items regularly getting 100+ comments.

          1. Exactly. Since when does some random get to tell synthtopia what their “job” is?

            I humbly submit that mr lame-o-thon has chosen an apt nom de plume. There’s a personal attack for you sir

  15. Virtual Digital!!!…that is something you don’t hear often nowadays from a hardware synth. thumbs up for that

  16. Ok, I’ll just head on down now to my local music shop and get the Schimdt synth and the ROLI 88 controller for ideal expressivity.
    A bargain combo; the spare cash in my trousers should just be about enough!

    1. My thoughts exactly, except its exactly what I did. $300 down payment was expected for the Roli, $7500. EU deposit for the Schmidt.
      Updates when they arrive sometime in August or September.

  17. We have only seen and heard a tiny fraction of what this keyboard can do, until Keyboard or other people can dig in and give us a detailed review I will withhold judgement. From what Schmidt himself says about the design any comprehensive review of this would take at least a dozen pages!

  18. In order to “fully utilize” a Schmidt, you’d have to spend enough time with it to learn its subtleties. THEN you’d have to figure out a way to make them meaningful to an audience that generally doesn’t know a synth from a food processor, nor should they have to do so. I like to ooh and aah over new gear, but none of it makes its own gravy. You have to sweat over it to get that.

  19. I love the idea of this synth, but I am willing to bet that I could get VERY similar results with my Prophet 12. Contrary to what was said in some posts above, it can sound very warm and definitely analog.

  20. I’m willing to bet that you can make sounds just as good as this, and better, with Sylenth, Omnisphere, Blue 2, Loom, Massive, Spire, etc.etc.
    Show us some double blind tests, where people successfully pick out the Schmidt versus the above VSTs, and I’ll believe it’s better. But it still isn’t worth that money.

  21. The Schimdt Analog Synthesizer seems to me a little German company with an exclusive small market view in mind.

    PPG was that other German firm with splendid hybrid analog-digital wavetable synthesizers.

    This days, Wolfgang Palmer is making wonderfull apps in a totaly different marketing-philosophy and his apps are realy great.

    For a good and well-balanced critic (based on an indephs analysis), Synthopia or SOS needs to make a good review about this synth.

    Indeed, for 20K you can buy other good synth-stuff (analog/digital, hardware and software) but all depends what your personal motivation and your personal goals will be once you are the owner of such an expensive synth-beast.

    Can the sonic results be done by other machines? That’s the whole and real objective question here.

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