Since its creation in 2013, Bristol-based company Modal Electronics has gone on to take the synthesizer world by storm with their astounding instruments. From day one, Modal’s development team have captured the innovative spirit that pushed synth technology forward back in the day and gave us the classics we know and love. A key part of Modal’s ethos is their commitment to revitalising and updating old school sounds, concepts & aesthetics and elevating synthesis to new heights.
First and foremost, the Modal team’s love of music, synthesizers and technology is what informs their design philosophy and this passion is immediately apparent when you play a Modal synth.
Modal Electronics first major synthesiser, the Modal 002, was designed as a “dream synth” and established Modal as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Without a doubt, the Modal 002 had a major impact on synth history with its fresh take on the instrument. The 002 was the first polyphonic digital & analog hybrid synthesiser to boast a transistor ladder filter, 10,000 preset memories and an Ethernet connection for seamless parameter access.
The fantastic 00 series set a high benchmark for Modal’s subsequent releases and its legacy informs their current lineup of premium synths to this day.
The Argon8 is an 8-voice modern wavetable synthesizer that shares DNA with the Modal 002, including pristine digital waveforms. If you’re looking to delve into wavetable synthesis, the Argon8 is a fantastic choice as its intuitive interface and arsenal of real-time controls makes dialling in evocative, evolving timbres a breeze. Most importantly, the Argon 8 delivers in the sound department, with its beautifully organic and transparent character.
The Argon 8 represents outstanding value for money, as its wealth of features - including MPE support, 3 effects slots, a premium Fatar TP/9S keyboard with velocity-sensitivity & channel aftertouch, state-variable filtering and motion sequencing - are what you’d tend to find on a synth that’s over three times the price.
With a variety of formats to choose from, you can select the ideal version of the Argon8 for your setup. There’s the compact Argon8 (3-octave keyboard), the expressive Argon8X (5-octave keyboard) and the desktop-friendly Argon8M module.
Whilst Modal’s Cobalt8 has a similar form factor and feature-set to the Argon8, sonically it’s a different beast altogether. The Cobalt8 is an 8-voice synthesizer and features Modal’s Extended Virtual Analogue engine. The Cobalt8 goes far beyond your run-of-the-mill virtual analog, harnessing the best aspects of legendary vintage synths and enhancing them with sophisticated sound generation techniques. With up to 8 oscillators per voice, 3 LFOs, 3 envelope generators and a state-variable 24dB ladder-style filter at your disposal, the Cobalt8 is a truly inspiring synth to use.
The Cobalt 8 ticks all the boxes (and then some) with its array of tactile controls, performances features and versatile sound that excels at a wide range of genres. Once you’ve heard the Cobalt 8’s rich, juicy and warm sound, you won’t believe that it’s a digital synth under the hood.
Both the Argon8 and Cobalt8 series are housed within a robust, road-ready aluminium chassis and feature all the connectivity you need to effortlessly integrate them into a modern setup.
Modal Electronics’ Creator Series is a range of powerful and ultra-portable synths that come in at an affordable price.
First up is the SKULPTsynth SE, which is the successor to the SKULPT. Modal’s SKULPTsynth SE is a fully-featured virtual-analogue synth with 4 voices of polyphony (up to 4 oscillators per voice) and a morphable 2-pole filter. You can power the SKULPTsynth via USB (whether that’s from a computer, adaptor or power bank) or AA batteries so it’s a great choice if you need a compact polysynth that you can use on the go.
Because Modal has kitted out the SKULPT synth with full-size MIDI, MPE support, a transposable arpeggiator and a real-time sequencer, it can also perform as a top-notch synth module. Plus, if you want to expand the polyphony, you can chain up to 4 SKULPT and/or SKULPT SE synths together. How Modal Electronics have condensed a big VA poly into something this size is nothing short of astonishing.
CRAFTsynth 2.0 shares a lot of similarities with the SKULPTsynth SE, including portability, comprehensive connectivity, fun performance features & powerful modulation capabilities. At its core, the CRAFTsynth 2.0 is a monophonic wavetable synthesizer, with 2 WAVE groups (4 oscillators within each) and a state-variable 2-pole filter that can morph from low-pass to band-pass to high-pass. Deep basses, glassy leads, engulfing textures - the CRAFTsynth 2.0 can handle it with ease.
The CRAFTsynth 2.0 & SKULPTsynth SE feature two onboard effects, a waveshaping overdrive which is perfect for adding harmonic excitement and a tempo-sync-able delay. The delay’s time parameter can be modulated for chorusing and flanging effects.
Every synth in Modal Electronics’ current lineup can connect to the free MODALapp, which is available standalone and as an AU & VST3 plugin for easy DAW automation. The MODALapp can run on Windows, macOS, Android & iOS devices and is a fantastic way to organise your patches and visualise all the parameters within them.