Since starting my design diploma studies, it was always my plan to combine my two passions — music and design — in my final thesis. When I started writing it towards the end of 1988, the term ‘workstation’ was just starting to take hold in a music-making capacity... >read more
The wavetable synthesis-based Microwave was both the first product from then-newly-founded Waldorf Electronics and my first mass-produced industrial design, working within the confines of its 482.6 x 88.9 mm front panel... >read more
Atari introduced a whole new generation of computer users to music making towards the end of the Eighties with its game-changing ST line, the first to feature an integrated MIDI interface... >read more
Keyboards / Frame
In 1990, German Keyboards magazine conducted a reader survey about synthesizers of the future, with 1.600 responses arriving at the editorial office by (snail) mail! Evaluating them all took... >read more
After almost 30 years, the Wave remains one of the most important synthesizer designs for me, one which I was allowed to fully develop in terms of design. As a comparatively small manufacturer, Waldorf was brought to its financial knees... >read more
Waldorf Electronics collaborated with German company Hohner — long established as a maker of more traditional musical instruments — as a technical development partner to allow this instrument to capably compete as a solo entertainer... >read more
Waldorf MicroWave 2
It was the first fully virtual wavetable synthesizer and was made to carry the MicroWave's DNA into a new decade. The iconic display screen now stretches across a luxurious 2 x 32 character display. The control matrix and colour scheme of the original stay retained.
In 1997 I travelled to the West Coast of the USA to visit some interesting MI (Music Industry) companies with Alesis pencilled in as a first stop destination since it was a big player at that time, serving almost all areas of music electronics with its products. Alesis positively received the presentation of my previous work... >read more
The Waldorf Q was Waldorf's entry into the world of virtual analogue synthesis. The technical innovation of its sound generation is underlined by a bold, highly recognisable colour scheme. With its lush control panel, the Q
,pioneered a new generation of synthesizers with a focus on user friendliness.
In collaboration with the British console specialists of Soundcraft, a control desk was created that was specially adapted to Steinberg Cubase and Nuendo. Houston was one of the first dedicated control surfaces for contemporary audio production.
Neuron embodied a very personal journey into the world of synthesizer manufacturing — and a daring if not naive undertaking, too. The idea of creating my own, oddball synthesizer manifested itself during a visit to Munich to attend electronica, the world’s leading trade fair and conference for electronics... >read more
This was the rightful successor to the mother of all synthesizers, created by none other than the inventor of the first commercial synthesizer. Indeed, it was winter NAMM 2002, the year that Bob Moog renamed his Big Briar company Moog Music... >read more
Antares pioneered real-time vocal correction with Autotune. In the meantime, the software had matured into a studio standard, and in the early 2000s we gave it its first adequate user interface. We also designed the later transformation to a modern, clinical GUI style. We also designed all of the manufacturer's hardware products.
Moog Little Phatty
When I first became consciously aware of the synthesizer at the age of 14, most likely it was a Minimoog. Almost nothing else was available at the time. Japanese manufacturers were still mainly busying themselves trying to replicate the Hammond organ... >read more
EMU usb 0404
In addition to various keyboard controllers, we designed several generations of audio interfaces and the UI of the associated synthesis software for the sampling pioneer from Santa-Cruz/USA.
With the Numa product line, the Italian manufacturer "Fatar" relaunched its own keyboard line. As the first controller, we drew a high-quality piano variant with a weighted keyboard and a pull-out panel on the back to hold another keyboard or notebook. All product variants should be recognisable as specialised controllers of a certain instrument genre (Numa Organ, Numa Synth, etc.). Only later derivatives of the Numa line were equipped with their own sound generation.
With the help of our excellent rendering skills, many of the most successful Universal Audio plug-ins were created. The original hardware is meticulously recreated in our 3D construction software. In the later rendering process, materials and product graphics are staged. The photorealistic ("skeuomorphic") representation of the audio plug-ins conveys the magic of legendary analogue studio equipment to the user, especially in a virtual studio environment - of course also thanks to the excellent audio algorithms of the manufacturer.
The Origin is, quite literally, the origin of a longstanding joint journey with French manufacturer Arturia, a company that first came to prominence at the turn of the new millennium with its widely-acclaimed software synthesizer plug-ins thanks to the ‘photorealistic’ nature of their user interfaces... >read more
Access Virus Pølar
With the "Pølar" version, we designed a worthy successor to the very successful Virus "Indigo" for Access. Even today, the design of this synthesiser is still regarded as a style-defining reinterpretation of the genre "synthesiser" par excellence. The colourfulness and mix of materials result in an extremely high-quality appearance. The instrument is completely handcrafted in Germany.
Novation's Impulse product line is a counter-design to the extremely successful controller keyboards of the US manufacturer M-Audio. The dimensions of the controls and their touch quality are designed for stage use, as is the overall striking appearance. The user interface nestles above a red base body. The side view appears technical, the ribbing of the inlays provides grip for mounting and dismounting the controller.
This is the Italian manufacturer's first synthesiser. In cooperation with Waldorf, a hands-on synthesiser in a class of its own was created on the basis of an existing basic plastic housing. The combination of shape, colour and typography, together with the extensive user interface and large switching and control elements, results in a comic-like, futuristic overall appearance.
Moog’s German distributor, Stefan Hund, contacted me with an unexpected request. He had been supporting a certain Mr Schmidt in developing a large-scale synthesizer project for several years. I was already aware of Stefan Schmidt... >read more
This instrument is "the return of the cool" for keyboard players. Formally based on the legendary electromechanical pianos of the 60s and 70s, the Zarenbourg is technically a modern instrument. Its control panel offers the player exactly the clear simplicity of the originals, with controls made of Bakelite, genuine materials all around and a high-quality integrated sound system. Switch on and start playing, without any loading times.
As Waldorf Music's first iOS synthesizer, Nave has received many coveted awards for its sound engine - and its successful user interface. Its sonic qualities are still considered the benchmark for iOS synthesizers by many users today. The Nave user interface was designed with great dedication and months of meticulous detail work, and its programming was carefully implemented by Rolf Wöhrmann.
KRK Rokit G3
We drew two generations of the iconic speakers with the yellow diaphragm (G3 and G4). Designing a studio monitor is a demanding task, as all design details are subordinated to strict acoustic specifications. Ideally, we translate these restrictions into style-defining elements, such as modulated bevels on cabinet edges, or the precisely calculated, three-dimensional shaping of a tweeter insert.
Tascam US Interfaces
The audio interface segment is confusing and highly fluctuating. For this sensitive niche, we drew an iconic design for the Tascam US series that clearly stands out visually from the competition. The actual interface housing floats, facing the user, between two lateral support elements made of die-cast aluminium, whose structures are derived from bio-mechanics.
The little sister of the Moog Theremin is technically the contemporary interpretation of this instrument genre. The housing made of high-quality ABS/plastic could be taken from the American future cartoon series "the Jetsons". The high-gloss, elliptical body stands on pointed feet with rubber ends. The antenna rod for the pitch protrudes cheekily from the top, while the antenna for controlling the volume (or other parameters) protrudes like a Saturn ring to one side of the Theremini.
Sennheiser MKE 440
The MKE 440 adapts to the flash adapter of a standard camera. We draw a design that directly reveals the stereo structure of the microphone. The microphone basket encloses the two diaphragm fingers as a structural cloud. This sits on a formally strict base body that forms a neutral connection to the camera body and houses functional elements of the microphone.
What would happen if the design of a synthesizer was not determined by budget restrictions or branding criteria? What if its designer could do exactly what they wanted — use any material or choose a manufacturing process that simply allows for fantastic design results... >read more
BluGuitar Amp 1
The miniaturised high-performance tube amplifier by exceptional guitarist Thomas Blug is nothing less than a revolution in the guitar market. The amp is so light and compact that it finds its place on a so-called pile board, next to typical guitar floor effects. The bottom shell of the Amp 1 is made of a soft-textured plastic housing with large radii, thus emphasising the handiness of the unit. The control panel quotes elements of classic guitar amplifiers. The top shell is made of solid die-cast aluminium and is ergonomically designed at a perfect angle for operation with the foot.
The design and choice of materials for the panel and the basic housing play on the theme of the "folding panel" in a new way - in keeping with the design DNA of the company: dark base colour for analogue instruments, 3-dimensional milled real wood applications. Aluminium side panels for the stand-up control panel and the panel support. Discreet graphic separation of the synthesiser components. Use of different control elements for better orientation during sound creation.
Many see the Quantum as the rightful successor to the Waldorf Wave. Working with the ingenious Rolf Wöhrmann, we envisioned a synthesizer that combines the advantage of software with hardware. That one would have to step back in time — before the former flagship Wave, even — to the (unreleased) PPG Realizer... >read more
In late autumn 2016 Troy Sheers, a young Silicon Valley developer, sent me an e-mail saying that he wanted to build a synthesizer for young children — externally a toy, but internally a high-quality sound generator, topped with controls that are fun for two- to six-year-olds to use... >read more
‘L.A.S.’ (Long Awaited Synth) was the working title for this, the ultimate Moog synthesizer. Saying that, the synth nerds of this world had to wait many decades for another polyphonic Moog. After all, Dr. Robert Moog had always warned his team that a polyphonic synthesizer meant polyphonic problems... >read more
Spire is a revolutionary new recording device that allows music to be recorded in studio quality and shared and manipulated via modern communication channels. The basic housing is a tube that is intended to be placed in the centre of the recording room. It is operated from the top of the tube, which contains a display and function keys designed to our specifications. The housing consists of a black anodised aluminium jacket.
For many years I had tried to fulfil my hopes and dreams of designing an instrument for one of the large Japanese manufacturers. When the Japanese KeyboardMagazine published an in-depth feature about my workin 2000, I took this as an opportunity to travel to Japan... >read more
U.D.O. Super 6
When company founder George Hearn — who had previously worked as a developer for British synthesizer manufacturer Modal Electronics — contacted me in the winter of 2018, he sent me a meticulously-prepared line drawing of a synthesizer... >read more
We first drew the MatrixBrute in 2015, and Arturia first showed the instrument at The NAMM Show 2016 in Anaheim, California, USA. The MatrixBrute is an impressive instrument, both because of its sheer abundance of functions and tonal possibilities, so plays in a higher league than previous members of the ’Brute family. We recognised this fact by combining wooden elements with well-known ’Brute design touches for the first time... >read more
U.D.O. Super 6 Desktop
The desktop version of the Super 6 synthesizer contains the same sound generation as the keyboard version. U.D.O. Mastermind George Hearn nevertheless wanted an extremely independent design for the desktop; similar to the successful.. >read more
For the guitarist, it's the Fender Stratocaster. For the keyboard player, it's the Rhodes piano. Even today, a Rhodes can only be inadequately simulated in detail. A good Rhodes is therefore a real investmentand well-maintained instruments are rare.. >read more
Waldorf Iridium Keyboard
Iridium Keyboard offers an equivalent product philosophy on a compact footprint, with a 4 octave / poly-aftertouch keyboard from the Italian manufacturer Fatar. The design language appears mature and serious. >read more
Our design journey started in September 2020, when Arturia's project manager Sebastian Rochard approached us with the basic concept of the Minifreak.>read more
U.D.O. Super Gemini
With the Super Gemini, we created the design for a top class polyphonic synthesizer over the past year 2022. George Hearn, owner and U.D.O. Mastermind.>read more