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Axel Hartmann Datos de la empresa 2 VideoFünf Fragen an ... Axel Hartmann How do you imagine taking George Reeves devices and really allowing them to feel like instruments? All the classic synthesizers. Of course we accept competition, and would absolutely understand that Behinger give their own interpretation Punisher Besetzung a small and smart controller that would also be a sequencer. Then I Gestüt Hohenstetten some handles on that, where I could just make the piano bigger. Axel Hartmann biography. Axel Hartmann serves as Member of the Supervisory Board, Employee Representative of the Company. He is a Chairman of the General Works Council of the K+S GROUP Chairman of the Works Council of the Neuhof-Ellers plant, K+S KALI GMBH, Kassel. Designbox co-founder Axel Hartmann shot down the theory that they had licensed a design to Behringer. He shared this statement via Facebook: “I do feel the need to comment on the many postings I can find here @ Facebook in several places regarding my thoughts, feelings, but also the truth about the blunt Behringer copy of the Arturia key step. Axel Hartmann has been the go-to designer in the music industry for over 30 years. He is responsible for the design and ergonomics of an unparalleled number of notable products that includes some of the most remarkable electronic musical instruments of modern times. View Axel Hartmann’s profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional community. Axel has 4 jobs listed on their profile. See the complete profile on LinkedIn and discover Axel’s connections and jobs at similar companies. The In , Axel Hartmann and I, Stephan Bernsee, set out to designing a novel synthesizer based on artificial neural networks used for sound synthesis, the synthesizer.
People always smiled when they saw the instrument because it was friendly. Still, it was very ergonomic. We had the matrix on the right side, which also made it very easy to operate even if there has not been so many real knobs.
Then, they were always nice enough to allow me to sit down and spend time with it and I did, and I started doing a little bit of programming on it.
It was kind of a match; a very unique look went with a very unique sound, right? Darwin Grosse: There seemed to be a coordination of efforts there, but also the user interface design was surprisingly adept, unlike so many boxes at the time.
It was very comfortable to work on and if you think about how synthesizers work, you spend an awful lot of time with your hands on that panel, so just the layout of it, I was quickly adept with something that looked like it should have been harder to use than it was.
The people working at Waldorf, they were all musicians. They still are, you know? This is like many in our industry, if you cannot make it as a musician, you may end up working for PC electronics or somebody else.
Axel Hartmann: Many of the people that you find there, some of them are great musicians. It was no different with Waldorf.
Besides myself, there were a lot of trained musicians. Very skilled synthesizer players, developing those instruments and we knew exactly what to do to make a good workflow, even with just one knob.
Darwin Grosse: Well, from the Microwave, with Waldorf, you were involved in what is probably what people would consider the most beautiful synth ever made, which was the Wave.
It also had lots of controls, and it looked like it was going to be real conducive to real-time programming. It was as expensive as a car at the time, right?
Axel Hartmann: laughing Exactly. That was our own memorial thing. This is why the company is called Waldorf. This company was so attached to the people living there and every now and then there was somebody from the village coming in and looking at what we were doing.
It was a much too big challenge for that small company. I think they spent all the money they could with the Microwave and put it in there, because it was a dream.
It was a dream to do something like that. But that was fun to work on. I remember that time — it was really nice teamwork.
Really nice teamwork with Claudius Brüse. There were two people, developers who were working on the sound engine. Actually, it was like two Microwave chips in there.
They had an ASIC chip, built by Waldorf…for the Microwave and they put two of those into the Wave and analog filters.
We made it big. That was one of my favorite things — to go and to just spend time with Waldorf there, because often it was quite improbable but beautiful stuff and amazing work.
I remember when I did that demo one day, there was Rick Wakeman coming in. I had like a mental block! That was the funniest thing, you know? You worked on the Alesis Andromeda , right?
Maybe this tells us a little bit about where your interests lie or what your desires are, because if I would pick those and say that these are sort of exemplars of some of your bigger works, it seems like you like a lot of controls.
You like a lot of real time control on this stuff but you like a classy design as well. It makes me wonder, what are the instruments that influenced you?
You said that you were a synth player before you were a designer. What were the instruments that made you think about the design of instruments and kind of drove you towards wanting to build things that look like the Andromeda or the Neuron or some of these things?
If you look at the instruments I designed, they are not always exactly always my language because my clients, the people I work for, many of them have a very specific wish list and they have their own ideas of how they want their instrument to look.
I bring in my taste, and my talent of organizing things. What you can see in my portfolio is not always exactly what I would do, but I would do inside that team for that company.
My personal favorite synthesizers are the ones that are probably yours as well. I start to lose interest as soon as an instrument starts playing by itself.
I want to play it. I like what people do there, but the synthesizers I was playing with were like the Matrix I love that design and I love the Prophet 5.
All the classic synthesizers. They all had their special taste and their special direction, so this is where I come from.
I still like when I play for myself, I like to have a synthesizer with an easy-to-understand interface, not too much double functions, things where you can capture with one look where which function is.
You recognize the functional groups instantly and it feels right. These are things I also want to bring into the designs I offer my clients. They keep asking, they want their corporate design, but on the other hand I bring in the order and I try to do the best with their assets, if I can say so.
Darwin Grosse: Well, its interesting because if I compared on the surface something like the design of the Andromeda and the design of say the MatrixBrute, would seem to be very different, except as you discussed this idea of having functional groups of controls.
Also, one of the things I noticed about your designs is that you find ways of drawing people to the most important parts of each control group. In the filter set, the filter cutoff, will often have some kind of distinctive thing, either color or size or something that will draw you to use it.
Or in each case of functional groups you have a tendency to help draw people into the most used functionality. Now, what is the process you go through to iterate through designs until you get to that point?
To the point where you feel like the function is right, and what is it that your designs actually look like? Do you work with modeling software on the computer?
Do you take a cardboard box and put knobs on it and see what they feel like? What is the process of you going through the development of the feel of a synth?
I have two people here that do just modeling, just 3D modeling, and they help me with three dimensional work out of an instrument or any kind of product.
You place your different functions and everything. This is something that can be done easily in 2D.
This is something that of the engineered synthesizers that you see on the market, they forget that the labeling is as important as the element itself.
There needs to be space for that, so I start working in the 2D. I do scribbles and when I got a good set of scribbles, I start working with Adobe Illustrator and start to really work on the computer and place the different modules and functions and put them here and there and move that a little here, and move that a little there.
Always working in kind of a grid. If you ever designed user interface, you always know if you place one function, more functions come together and then you start rearranging and a lot of functions they go with it.
You have to move a lot. This is a process that is very important — I love that process. We talk and I tell him what I want to have and what I want to see and he starts to implement all that into the 3D.
This is then when we would place the boards. We know a lot about how synthesizers are made up electronically, so we get all of the physical, virtual elements that make up the inside of an instrument as well.
The connectors, everything that matters when you design something that really needs to be built later on.
This comes all together in the 3D system. From there, we create 2, 3 or 4 different versions of the design.
The client will get photo-realistic pictures from the very start. He has a few versions that we show him, and he can then decide which one he likes best or thinks is best for him or his purpose.
This is the way we start working. Darwin Grosse: How often do you get specific design goals and how often will the manufacturer bend their designs to fit your physical dimensions.
Many of them have already set up the basic boards. We have the freedom then to maybe place the outputs and do the UI totally free.
In some places, some clients are happy to receive our input even functionality-wise. We know a lot and we can also add our creative input to how a synthesizer could work.
Also, you know the Neuron story where we made the entire thing, so the entire sound generation system was our idea; my idea.
This is something that the client sometimes also want when they call us and that kind of input. Not only the aesthetic design but also the real product design.
What do you want to bring to the surface? What kind of element could we bring to the surface that makes the user interested in the instrument?
Things like that. What are the things that make them want to go to a music store and buy a piece of gear? And, what are the things that you think drive people away?
I think you know the guy Dirk Matten from SynthesizerStudio Bonn. It was one of the first synthesizer shops in Germany. Something that works differently that kind of tickles their nerves.
They want to get into something new. On the other hand, I think with a clever design, you can fulfill a lot of things that make a product attractive.
But industrial design is also solving the problems of the manufacturer. It makes the product easy to produce, easy to ship, safe to ship.
These are all things that come together in a perfect design. Besides that, big sound engine needs to be great and needs to be appealing.
All the people want price breakers. Everybody wants a MiniBrute or a MicroBrute because they are so cheap. If this all comes together, if you have a reasonable price, a nice package, good ergonomics, and a well sounding instrument; something that feels like an instrument you have a good product.
People like this kind of product and they buy it. Darwin Grosse: What about things that you think would drive people away?
What are the things that you tend to stay away from? There are synthesizers out there or musical instruments that simply do not have the right user interface, wrong colors, the colors are strange.
Why is a violin or a nice guitar so beautiful? It would be so easy to make it right. It costs the same in the production, but you need somebody to look at the different things.
Musicians have a different attitude. I was once working with a guy in Australia, Peter Vogel , who invented the Fairlight. They are kind of designed by need.
What the engineer would do. Everybody loves it. Understand what I mean? Darwin Grosse: I would say all of those, without being slavish, all kind of harken back to the Minimoog look.
Was that something that they came to you with or did you say this is the natural execution? Axel Hartmann: This is something that is a co-operation.
Moog, they have such a strong corporate design. They always have this quirkiness, and their perfectly balanced user interface is always clean and easy to dive into, easy to understand.
They have a natural talent to grab those parameters that you want on the panel, and the others they just leave them out.
When I did design for Moog, I started with the Voyager. We had a booth with the Neuron side by side with Moog back then and Bob was still alive back then, and could use his name again.
He was showing the Voyager; I saw this instrument and I saw the user interface was not right. It simply was not right and I asked him if he would give me the chance that I re-work that.
That was my step into Moog. I know exactly what to do if I work for Moog. They also have a very, very good marketing department. She knows exactly where she wants to go with a brand.
They have very clear vision of how a Moog instrument must look like. We need to link into that. We tried to bring in a new vibe, like we did with the Little Phatty with the swing back, the aluminum back.
This was something that came from our side. This is something that carried their legacy in a beautiful way to support that legacy. We always try to find something like that keeps the momentum of their brand visuals but adds something that compliments the basic idea in a very good way.
That was a case where you got to make all the decisions. Axel Hartmann: That was me in , when I had the idea of a new synthesizing concept.
I was on the search for somebody who could write the code for it. The basic idea was to use a given sound and treat this like modeling in the 3D world: I wanted to model a sound.
Then I wanted some handles on that, where I could just make the piano bigger. The violin, I could change the body from wood to metal — things like that.
I was searching for somebody who was able to do the software and I found Stephan Sprenger — Stephan Bernsee , now. He told me that he was able to detect these things that I wanted to put handles on in the sound.
He said his software was able to detect these points musically. We started this corporation then in , and we developed together this synthesizer.
He was writing the code and we had a few people who worked on the user interface. We had some sound designers, people who gave us the samples like Ray Legnini.
You may know him, he worked for Ensoniq back then. We had the Yellow Tools people that gave us their samples, so those were the basic material we started to work on.
During the process, we found out that the recognition of the sound attributes was very difficult to write and we ran into some obstacles there, but in the end we came up with this instrument that was a synthesizer.
For me, it was like working with sound by deconstructing the sound, by giving it a different attitude. The hard disk is a PC standard 20GB IDE unit.
The PSU is a non- ATX design, although the exhaust fan is a standard PC part. The exhaust fan, however, is noisy in operation  and may not be acceptable in the confines of a soundproofed mixing room.
Externally, the casing is extremely solid, heavy-duty aluminium chassis with a wooden end panel. The one drawback are the four delicate plastic joysticks.
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