20 Synthesizer Now Shipping

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The 20 synthesizer – the limited-edition (20 silver/20 black), 20.000 EURO keyboard – is now shipping, and designer Axel Hartmann shared these images of the first production model.

The keyboard is based on the Waldorf/Sledge synth engine – but is what the designers would create if pricing and marketing/branding concerns did not drive their design decisions.

“No matter, what you think about this project, the synth itself, or me doing something like this as a designer in this – our niche of the music-market; – I am really proud of how this machine is sitting in front of my camera lens right in this moment.”

Unique to the 20:

  • SPL Supra Op-Amp audio technology
  • Wavetables
  • Hartmann Neuron Synthesizer Sampleset
  • Pure aluminum shell, milled from a massive block
  • Collapsable, milled ultra thin aluminum panel
  • Custom-built pure aluminum knobs and wheels
  • Custom-built acrylic-glass switches
  • Highest quality, custom-built, all black Fatar TP 8 Keybed
  • Sound design by Kurt Ader (E-Mu, Korg); Peter Gorges (Nord, Kawai, Steinberg); Wolfram Franke (PPG, Waldorf)

Oscillator 1 includes the classic PPG Wavetables for the creation of digital textures and soundscapes, as well as all kinds of bellish / metallic sounds. The included sample memory is filled with samples from the rare Neuron synthesizer.

German audio manufacturer SPL added a specially designed version of their SUPRA op-amps. With 120V operating voltage, this technology provides exceptional performance throughout the whole signal processing path for the 20, adding balanced stereo and high-end headphones outputs.

The instrument body is milled from a massive aluminum block:

Here’s sound designer Kurt Ader demonstrating his sounds on a prototype:

See the 20 site for more info.

33 thoughts on “20 Synthesizer Now Shipping

    1. It’s called the Studiologic Sledge – it’s a great synth, it’s already cheap and it’s been out for a couple of years!

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      1. Envy? This synth? Not at all… I wouldn’t even keep it if I’d get it for free! It’s nothing about envy, it’s all about having common sense! It’s a glorified Sledge… not worth the money.

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      2. HAHAHAH, envy indeed, you cant bring something like this out after we’ve had the likes of the excellent value Korgs and Behringer offerings without just laughing at it, You’d have to be a few keys short of a keyboard to buy this.

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        1. No, you just have to have the desire and the money. If you can’t afford it and still have to bash on it, that says something about your psychological issue of which envy is probably a component. Your use of “apple” as some derogatory term in your OP adds to the envy diagnosis. Apples products are generally more expensive than similarly marketed products which leads me believe you can’t afford those either, so you have to make use of the term as a tool for critique of an item you subconsciously possibly want but can’t afford. As I said previously, envy can be a bitch.

          I’m sure the “common sense” defence on your lips, as it often is in cases like this. Common sense would dictate trying to get a good ROI in any transaction. I look at it this way. I have gotten a much higher ROI in buying my Apple computers than when I bought my PC computers. When I upgrade every few years, the resale value is considerably higher allowing me to update for a much lower cost than a PC and cost me less in the long run which has been proven in my case.

          The same could be said for synths. Certain synths I have initially cost me much higher than similar ones on the market at the time, but I factor in the probable value in 5, 10 or 15 years in the decision. Your Volca is great if it does the job you want it to do, just don’t expect it to hold any value. There are 40 of these being made, so simply by a limited supply there is a stronger possibility of there being a better ROI.

          There is no objective truth in your belief. We all have needs and decide what we need to meet them. Some would argue that your choice or Korg or Behringer means you are not really serious about music. I would argue, if they work for you, then that is what you should have. The issue here is your criticism of someone else’s possible choice when you don’t know their circumstances or needs. Envy seems to be the logical conclusion – possibly not even of the item itself but the ability to buy the item.

          Envy really is a bitch

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  1. methinks it must do quite a bit more to justify a $20K pricetag. like maybe do you taxes or take out the garbage.

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  2. Underwhelming. Why not include the Neuron engine? I do despair when I see the waste of a block of metal being machined. Custom made aluminium control knobs, no mention if they are touch sensitive and there doesn’t appear to be any innovation or other type of differentiation with these knobs over others (think Modal). Only one mod wheel, even Casio knew better in the 80s. No polyphonic after touch. The original PPG wavetables were 8 bit, what benefit are the SPL op-amps for that original signal?

    Outside these and a few others, good luck to whoever wants one

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  3. Yes, really don’t get the point of this, the Sledge has a crippled version of the Blofeld engine. This doesn’t appear to have as many knobs & hands-on editing as the huge old Orange Waldorf XT. But it does look cool in black.

    I do wish they’d remake the Neuron 🙂

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  4. Had a Blofeld, hated the UI so I sold it. Tried the new black Sledge 2.0 and was immediately much more satisfied with that decision.

    I’m not really seeing how this justified 20 x’s the price of the Sledge. Yeah, it’s pretty but WTF?

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    1. No the article says 20.000 which is like $21. If it was 20,000 that would be $21489 and no one would price something like that. I mean thats just silly.

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  5. Suzanne ciani lamented the cheapknock offs of buchla. She is looking for a no-holds-barred quality modular that does everything, does it reliably, and damn the cost.

    I hope someone realises her dream. There’s enough rich synth nerds out there to support a market for it.

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  6. They could have come up with an updated/improved iteration of the Waldorf Wave, complete with 3 wheels and analog filters (something like the Q+, tho…., both digital and analog filters), but with polyphonic aftertouch. Maybe a weighted keyboard, a la CS80…..Then I’d get in line to get one. Otherwise, I’ll just wait for my Solaris.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  7. I wonder if they’ll sell? Maybe he should have just made one for himself, because that’s what it sounds like?
    “I am really proud of how this machine is sitting in front of my camera lens right in this moment.”….. for most musicians how a synth “looks” through a camera lense is a little bit down on the list of priorities.

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    1. If this was true then, as an example, you wouldn’t have all the scorn aimed at, say, Roland for their AIRA line and the green LED’s.

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      1. kind of proves the point though… everyone and I mean e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e bought the TR-8 even though it’s ugly, including myself. It’s super cool though that he made these I just wonder if anyone will buy them. I guess I hope so so he can continue working and designing more stuff.

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  8. It’s just a sledge, nice looking, but still just a Sledge. For that money I could hire someone to build it for me, and still afford to go on a cruise.

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  9. Once I get a Sledge Black, I can load sounds from my Neuron VS and I, too, shall have a 20, as long as people listen with their eyes closed.

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