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Schmidt – an Analog Eight-Voice Polyphonic Synthesizer

Schmidt is a thoroughbred analog eight-voice polyphonic synthesizer with unison and true multitimbrality mode.

Its previous built-to-order batches have been between 25 and 27 instruments each, the first of which followed from an interest in namesake hardware and software designer Stefan Schmidt’s hand-crafted prototype unit’s show-stopping debut at Musikmesse 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany, Schmidt-Synthesizer is proud to announce that it has started shipping an eagerly-anticipated fourth batch of its no-expense-spared Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer — available in classic anthracite- or cool white-colored configurations with visually improved hardware operation, courtesy of cosmetic color changes to several key knobs, and feature-enhancing firmware, currently at version 3.6.

  • eight-voice polyphonic, true analog synthesizer with digital control and preset memories
  • discrete sound generation circuitry (no integrated oscillator/filter circuits on one single chip)
  • You want Schmidt to sound like an entire orchestra? Have a go at Schmidt’s eight-part multimode. Simply select the desired preset sound, voice allocation, keyboard mapping, MIDI channel, controller-assignment, tuning, volume, panning, and output routing for each multimode part in an easy-to-survey LCD screen. Enjoy sounds as complex and dynamic as you never would have expected from one single instrument.
  • separate audio outputs for each voice, plus summing outputs and headphone out
  • 1,028 single sound presets
  • 256 multi-sound presets
  • 61 keys, semi-weighted, with velocity and aftertouch
  • sophisticated glide/portamento capabilities
  • several realtime modifiers fully programmable per preset (modwheel, stick controller, keyboard-aftertouch, four-foot switches, four expression pedals)
  • complete MIDI implementation, MIDI via USB port and DIN sockets
  • all sound programming functions with dedicated front-panel controls and switches
  • precise information on parameter names and current values via large LC-display
  • multi-color LEDs
  • control panel with adjustable angle
  • internal universal power supply
  • flightcase included

Starting shipment of the fourth (25-unit) batch of the still-sought-after Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer has taken time with time spent waiting while production partner e:m:c (electronic music components) successfully solved procurement problems relating to hard-to-source components. “Now nothing stands in the way of further construction of these unique instruments,” says Schmidt- Synthesizer Product Manager Axel Fischer.

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“From a hardware perspective, the new Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer is identical to the previous batches, save for the fact that 11 knobs have been changed to a grey colour, making for a more clearly arranged operational layout,” Axel Fischer finally notes — not before highlighting some welcomed additions: “It includes the current firmware, which adds an easy-to-use onboard polyphonic step sequencer capable of recording 40 steps with each step made up of up to six notes — designed to be used as a live performance tool, and an arpeggiator.”

Sound Generation SIGNALWEG

  • Four different oscillators with countless complementary features and outstanding modulation routings (square, sawtooth, noise, PWM, sync, ring modulation, multiple PWM, and multiple ring modulation). Even on the oscillator level, Schmidt offers amazing sonic capabilities not to be found with any other polyphonic hardware synthesizer
  • Two parallel signal paths, each with complex filter sections (24dB Moog-style ladder filter, two 12dB multimode filters), provide two different variations of a sound simultaneously – within every single sound!
  • Level and panning modulation provides dynamic mixing, crossfading, and stereo panning of both sound variations
  • Additional third VCF for even more of that lovely filter squelch
  • A wide variety of modulation sources (LFOs, envelopes, ramp generators, velocity, etc.) for oscillators, filters, and VCAs. Each section features dedicated LFOs and/or envelopes. No modulation matrix required – and still as flexible as a fully-fledged modular system!

Apart from that, the beautifully-built Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer’s specifications as an eight-voice polyphonic, true analogue dream machine with digital control and preset memories — 1,028 single sounds and 256 multi-sounds are available at any given time — are as they were before. But bearing in mind that it includes almost everything subtractive synthesis is capable of, including some truly unique features — for example, creating colder, wavetable-like sounds thanks to its chain of five ring modulators fed by six pulse-waves, each with different pulse-widths — that have never before been implemented in an analogue synthesizer let alone an analogue programmable polysynth, those impressive specifications are well worth revisiting, as highlighted here: discrete sound generation circuitry — no integrated oscillator/filter circuits on a single chip; dual and true multitimbral modes; separate audio outputs per voice, plus summing outputs and headphone output; 61 keys, semi-weighted with velocity and aftertouch; sophisticated glide/portamento capabilities; several realtime modifiers, fully programmable per preset; comprehensive MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) implementation with USB (Universal Serial Bus) port and DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) connectivity; adjustable-angle capacious control panel with dedicated knobs and buttons for all sound programming functions; precise information on parameter names and current values via a large LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) with changeable colour background; multi-colour LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes); internal power supply; and, last but not least — though there is clearly so much more besides, an included flight case.

As a case in point, the fourth batch of the no-expense-spared Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer surely epitomises the age-old adage: anything worth having is worth waiting for. Indeed, it has been well worth the wait. With e:m:c recently receiving a sizeable order from the only store it supplies, anyone interested in owning a premier league instrument that will be hand crafted in Germany to meet the highest possible production standards with a metal and wood — carefully selected with a close eye on environmental sustainability — casing that is as beautiful as it is sturdy should seriously consider placing an order directly with Schmidt-Synthesizer’s production partner. After all, the Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer is truly a subtractive synthesis world unto itself! 

About Schmidt-Synthesizer

Back in the techno music-driven Nineties, German company MAM’s MB-33 Analog Retro Bass Synthesizer — an authentic-sounding clone of Roland’s reverential TB-303 Bassline that was commanding crazy money on the second-hand market at the time — represented Stefan Schmidt’s first foray into serious (and successful) electronic musical instrument design. Its planned successor — a clone of the majestic Moog Taurus bass synthesizer, much loved by the likes of Canadian prog-rockers Rush — remains at a prototype stage only. Instead, its instigator took a radical detour, spending some serious time thinking about and developing what would become his namesake dream machine, the no-expense-spared Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer — surely one of the most ambitious analogue synthesizer projects ever undertaken. After a show-stopping showcase at The NAMM Show 2013, Stefan Schmidt’s hand-crafted first prototype unit was promptly purchased by a suitably captivated customer directly from the show floor… the rest, as they say, is history. Here today, but not gone tomorrow, Schmidt-Synthesizer sees Stefan Schmidt continuing to turn his dream machine into reality with a dream team triumvirate: Achim Jerominek (production), Axel Fischer (product management), and e:m:c (electronic music components) President Stefan Hund (manufacturing).

Schmidt-Synthesizer and production partner e:m:c (electronic music components) have had to increase pricing for the fourth batch of the no-expense-spared Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer by approximately 10%. Within the EU (European Union) it is €21,900.00 EUR (including VAT) for one in classic anthracite, while white weighs in at €22,900.00 EUR (including VAT), with shipping costs not included. Outside of the EU it is €18,500.00 EUR (excluding VAT) for one in classic anthracite, while white weighs in at €19,300.00 EUR (excluding VAT), with customs and shipping costs not included. Interested parties should contact e:m:c here.

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