Percussa micro super signal processor

Would we love synthesizers if they were a little, well, nuts?

And, by extension, don’t we love them even more if they’re a lot crazy instead of a little?

If that’s how you feel, you’ll love the 20. Everything about it screams sex appeal. Apart from luxe materials, this is finally a synth that looks like someone kidnapped Dieter Rams to do the panel design. And the “20” is a reference to how limited it’ll be – twenty black, twenty silver. But if you’re Darth Vader, you really do need those black keys with black body. I mean… why did you work so hard to get to where you are otherwise?

Yeah, that's actually a serial number at the top.

Yeah, that’s actually a serial number at the top.

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The 20 is the creation of esoteric synth genius Axel Hartmann. This is the designer who gave us one of the craziest synths of all time – the neural network-powered Hartmann Neuron, which is still beloved by a handful of devotees. But if BT, Peter Gabriel, and Hans Zimmer were finding their Neuron was getting a bit lonely, you can bet they’re on the preorder list for the 20. (Hmmm.. um, make that “17/20.”)

Some of the legacy of the Neuron is here – in an instrument that I think is genuinely more practical and more desirable. You do get a sample set pulled from the Neuron, for one (minus the interface, though that may be a feature, not a bug).

And the rest sounds nice, too:

Waldorf / Sledge synth engine
SPL “Supra Op-Amp” audio technology (maybe someone can enlighten me here – not sure what makes these supra Op-Amps, but I’ll bite)
Aluminum shell, milled from a single block – oh, sure, easy for Apple, but not something you generally get in boutique synths
“Collapsable, milled ultra thin aluminum panel” – this bit is especially nice, keeping a low profile
Acrylic-glass switches — yes, you read that right, switches
Pure aluminum knobs and wheels

Custom wooden case.

Custom wooden case.

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And there’s that monochrome keybed, all black Fatar.

It’s luxury, in other words, but there’s still a rational reason to use it.

And it sounds lovely. Here are some videos posted this week. I don’t know why they didn’t do a proper record, either. Tell you what, if you’re a potential customer, just go visit them. I’m sure they’re up for it.

All that, and it comes in a custom, wooden case that doubles as a flight case – no cardboard packaging here.

Made in Germany – down to the case. Of course.

All of this can be yours for the low, low price of … 20,000€, or if you’re Hans Zimmer, “a few Euros.” Then again, if Europe falls apart, that may be price competitive with a Korg minilogue soon (he gulps, nervously in Berlin).

Actually, that sounds absurd, but if you actually calculated the real worth of a prototype synth, it’d be astronomical. Scale is what gets price down to what you can afford.

Anyway, assuming I have more than forty readers, this isn’t a synth you’re going to buy anyway. It’s one you’re going to imagine on your own personal Death Star in your dreams. I know that’s my plan. Don’t change a thing, Axel – we love you just the way you are.

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