Now this is dark and mysterious, not to mention unexpected, from Italian keyboard manufacturers StudioLogic. The awesomely named Sledge was originally released in 2012 with striking livery that could be described as Lamborghini yellow, or Tonka yellow, depending on your point of view. It combines the quality of a StudioLogic keyboard with the virtual analog synthesis engine from German synth masters Waldorf. Version 2 arrived last year bringing user samples, layering and much more polyphony amongst other things but was still very, very yellow. Well, some photos have just turned up on their Facebook page announcing the arrival of “Sledge – Black Edition” and it looks fabulous.
The Black Edition somehow manages to give a whole different impression. It looks serious, intentional, dangerous. I love how the two most important knobs – wavetable selection and filter cutoff – are both honouring its yellow heritage (ok, it’s a bit orange but I thought it was a nice sentiment). The reversed grey and black keys make it instantly stand out in a stack of keyboards and this time they are semi-weighted.
The Sledge Specs
A quick round up of the specs sees a virtual analog engine mixed with wavetable synthesis and sampling. There are 3 oscillators giving 24 voices of polyphony, with OSC1 housing the 66 original PPG Wavetables from Waldorf plus 60MB of sample space. Frequency modulation, a noise generator and a split or layer mode round off the sound generation features. Modulation comes in the form of 2 LFOs and there’s a per voice multi mode filter with ADSR. There’s a fully featured arpeggiator and 2 effects busses. All of it, every parameter is laid out in a very pleasingly analog controllable fashion for instant hands-on action.
Along with the new looks and the key-bed improvements there are a few other adjustments. They’ve beefed up the outputs and synchronised the second LFO to keep the same modulation phase on all notes. They’ve got that bunch of “top musicians” to dial up some “signature” sound sets for you. All good stuff.
The price is reported to be about the same at £829 inc VAT and should shipping any time now.
More information on the StudioLogic Sledge – The Black Edition product page.
Here’s a video of it being played at Musikmesse 2016 and judging by his trousers was probably disappointed at the colour change: