Modal Electronics at Musikmesse 2015
It’s been a big first year for British synth company Modal Electronics. After pumping out the inaugural 002 (double-0 two,) in 2014, most startups would have pushed their first product into sale before spending more time and money on development. They have busted expectations, however, by releasing 2 entirely new synths, as well as rack versions of their flagship keys.
When we stopped by their booth at Musikmesse 2015 in Frankfurt, we were surprised to see that not only had they pushed the digital synth borders a bit more, but also had an analogue contender to display. We were lucky enough to get our hands on all their goodies, and we were more than impressed with what we found.
The first baby to come out of Modal’s lab was the 002. Sleek, clean, a bit old school, and very user friendly are the best ways to describe the look. The guts of the synth are 12 distinct voices, “polysweeping” characteristics, a 32-step sequencer, arpeggiator…the list goes on. The technical sheet alone for this level of synth would take an entire blog page, so we’ll leave it for the truly curious, suffice to say that they left no digi-stone unturned.
The success of this first endeavour encouraged them to get straight to work on his baby brother, the 001 dual voice synth. The 001 is a very compact, portable synth that is just the right size for, say, a travelling dj / producer. Its 37-key range is perfect for one handed synth riffs, and its effective parameter layout provides the perfect playground for the digital mind.
The real item of note at Musikmesse, though, was the unveiling of their analogue 008. A different design approach, as well as a completely new realm of synthesis makes this an item to watch.
Modal Electronics co-founder and Director Paul Maddox says in regards to the step towards analogue: “Modal Electronics is, first and foremost, a synthesiser company, and, rather than being married to any one particular synthesis technology, we understand that synthesists want access to a wide range of sounds in their sonic palette. For many, the sound of pure analogue VCOs, VCFs, and VCAs hold a special place in their musical hearts— hence us taking the decision to take a radical new design approach to creating a new breed of analogue synthesis engine, married to an astonishing level of control provided by the OS, as already ably demonstrated in 002.”
What can we expect from Modal in the future? From the looks of things, plenty. If their R&D keeps up this frantic pace, we’re bound to see more innovation this time next year at Musikmesse 2016. Until then, we’ll start knob twiddling in search of the perfect stab!
Check out this video runthrough of their booth at Musikmesse!