Axel Hartmann’s ’20’ Synthesizer Is Expensive & Gorgeous

Industrial designer Axel Hartmann and his company Designbox have handled the industrial design for dozens of synthesizers – including the Waldorf Wave, the Alesis Andromeda, the Moog Voyager XL, the Arturia Minibrute and the Schmidt synthesizer.

At Superbooth 17, Hartmann was showing a personal project, the ’20’ synthesizer – a high-end synthesizer, created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his company.

The limited-edition (20 silver/20 black), 20.000 EURO keyboard is based on the Waldorf/Sledge synth engine – but represents what the designers would create if pricing and marketing/branding concerns did not drive their design decisions.

In this video, Hartmann explains the background of the project, some of the design ideas that he wanted to explore with the ’20’ and gives a demo of what it can do.

For more info, see the 20 site.

25 thoughts on “Axel Hartmann’s ’20’ Synthesizer Is Expensive & Gorgeous

  1. Thats a really weird placement of the pitch and mod wheels, would drive me nuts playing my Chic Corea covers lol. Otherwise I wouldn’t turn it down if somebody wanted to give me one 😀

  2. Cant wait to see what happens for their 50th birthday. I could definitely see myself paying 50k for a Waldorf.

  3. I think it’s only a marketing attempt.
    The way he was looking for the right keys, because they are hard to see as they are all black and meanwhile mentioning that the design must be all clear and readable Bauhaus style. It makes no sense.

  4. You’d think for his own project he’d want to break out of the mould a little more. Of the synths listed (Waldorf Wave, Alesis Andromeda, Moog Voyager XL, Arturia Minibrute, and the Schmidt) only the minibrute isn’t a mega-synth with a propped-up front panel just like this one. Like, maybe for your design tour-de-force, don’t just repeat the same thing over but this time out of aluminium?

  5. I’d really like to see a lot more synths built like this, especially in modular. Using the best possible components to make a high quality reliable product. It may be out of my league, but there’s a lot of professional musicians out there looking for hardy high quality gear designed to go on the road, to last got years, to stand the test of time.

    1. Except this isn’t that. You don’t take a 20,000 Euro synth on the road with you regardless of what the case is made of. This was designed to be someone’s fancy centerpiece in their studio.

      Even well paid professional musicians would not justify paying that much for a synth that’s already available for 1/20th of the price.

  6. Buy a sledge and get a custom built case just like this(gold plated if you like) and save €10000. The price on this is rediculous.

  7. “High-end synthesiszer”? What is high-end about it, besides the price? It took 6 and a half minutes before we heard a sound.

  8. I don’t understand how he can justify the price or why anyone would buy one other than as a collector’s item. It’s really nice but not $20K nice. But if you have the cash and want to buy one, have at it.

  9. It’s almost as if he deliberately went out of his way to see how harshly he could get the synthtopia community to slate him. Who would drop 20k on a Sledge in a nice case? If he would’ve done a slick analog poly, he could’ve charged whatever he wanted. People of means will pay anything for an awesome looking instrument that also sounds/functions incredibly. This should’ve been something far more exclusive for that kind of cash. Imagine if he made a few pimped out Andromedas?

  10. “People of means will pay anything for an awesome looking instrument that also sounds/functions incredibly. ”

    That’s exactly what this is!

    Just out of our league, brother!

    FWIW – he also designed the Schmidt, which is the knobby analog you were hoping for.

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