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Mega Synth Hartmann 20 Is Late But Who Cares When It's So Great?

Mega Synth Hartmann 20 Is Late But Who Cares When It's So Great?

Axel Hartmann announced the date when his long-awaited virtual analog synth Hartmann 20 comes into production. The release of this mega synthesizer was planned to hit June 2016 but was postponed due to some bug “hunt”. Eventually the creators let us know that the development process is going to the finish line and that now it sounds the way a €20 000 instrument should (taxes not included ;). All who want (or all who can) may pre-order it right now.

Hartmann 20

Meet the real work of art among music instruments – a virtual analog synthesizer Hartmann 20 which started to rise in price even before it was about to be launched. Long-expected Axel Hartmann’s synth which was put off and left us holding on and waiting will surely make its creator proud. Axel Hartmann designed it and developed the components of this magnificent machine together with his colleagues from Design Box, Waldorf, SPL and Fatar.

Hartmann 20 system ingested every good thing production may offer: people’s toil (2000 hours were spent only to work out the interface and concept), money (even all the knobs are aluminum), innovative technologies. It took the best Exel Hartmann, Design Box and Waldorf have achieved for the last 20 years plus included PPG wavetables and a custom version of Waldorf virtual analog sound engine as well as implementation of some cosmic Hartmann Neuron engineering features (sound samples) and signal path based on SPL (German company) elements of the highest quality which give a splendid sound, perfect signal/noise proportion and channel differentiation.

Hartmann 20 will be released as a limited series. All 40 units will be encased in startling panels shaped with the help of precision machines with solid aluminum ingots which weigh 80kg. 20 of the synths will be grey colored and other 20 will be black. All the devices are only available for pre-order and with a 50% prepay – full cost is €20 000. All 40 synthesizers will have their components made in Germany and then are going to be carefully assembled in Italy at Studiologic Fatar facilities so Hartmann 20 will get their top keyboard Fatar TP-8 (which surpasses TP9S – the one Studiologic has recently alloted to its newly “coated” Sledge Black).

Now let’s examine the technical capabilities of Hartman 20. Such famous specialists as Dr. Peter Jung, Dr. Guido H. Bruck, Peter Gorges, Wolfram Franke, Erik Heirmann took part in the sound engine creation. The engine offers a 24-voice polyphony giving each voice up to 3 digital oscillators (reconstituting and modeling sine, triangle, square, square + PWM and sawtooth waveforms) and up to 2 LFOs of all basic types including S&H and Ramp. There is also FM for sine and triangle waveforms available as well as a noise generator (white, pink). 2 fast envelopes are enabled per each voice (for filter and attenuator). As for the filters – the lucky one who’ll get Hartmann 20 we’ll buy it together with standard filter features: LPF, HPF, BPF 12dB и 24dB, resonance, self-oscillation. There is an arpeggiator with classic Up/ Down/ UP+Down modes and 2 additional active filter sets one of which can offer chorus, flanger, phaser, and the second one – reverb, delay or reverb+delay simultaneously.

The creators admit that they didn’t play too much with the interface concept – they just rethought the control panels of Studiologic Sledge improving touch sensitivity with new controllers (all the buttons are top class now, all the knobs and encoders are made of aluminum, the keyboard again is elaborate Fatar TP-8 instead of Fatar TP-9 inserted into Sledge construction). Sledge and Hartmann 20 use the same approach to functionality and use - one knob per function – Hartmann 20 is also a great performance instrument. It’s hard to tell whether someone is brave enough to take this beauty onto the stage anyway that’s the part of Axel Hartmann’s concept. The standards of German industrial design as “not less than 40mm between the control elements” will not let you get tangled in your own fingers and occasionally touch the wrong knob. Concerning pitch/mod wheels: they are also made of aluminum and are a bit wider than wheels of Nord synths but a bit narrower than those of other synths. Their layout is quite amusing – they’re not put in a row as usual, they’re put one above another. It’s unique even in such triffles!

Integration features balanced 1/4”, headphones jack, a couple of XLR outputs, 2 output for sustain and expression pedals, MIDI DIN JN/OUT, USB for computer, and of course MIDI support.

We can remember only one ambitious and bumptious creature (with a corresponding price of course) - Kurzweil K2500 Audio Elite System. It costed $20 000. But it happened 20 years ago in the end of the 1990s and we should note that K2500 AES is a digital synthesizer based on V.A.S.T. engine which operates with samples. Hartmann 20 is also a digital synthesizer but it’s core is virtual analog so it’s more of a John Bowen Synth Design Solaris kind of competitor. Nevertheless Hartmann 20 is a completely unique work of art having no alternatives and proving that Germans make the best technology in the world.

And we’re waiting for other wonders from Axel Hartmann and not talking about prices anymore.

Published: 23:26 25.11.2016
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