Sonicstate has a First Look at the new Modulus 002 from Andy McCreeth on Vimeo.

It’s been a while since Britain produced a polysynth with analog filters. So perhaps it’s fitting that SonicState gets up close with the modulus.002, in a lavish, nearly half-hour tour of the instrument, as this luxury instrument goes head to head in a very select club (including Dave Smith’s Prophet 12, as far as the New World goes).

And the modulus.002 has some more surprises, as the creators show off their analog tradition-meets-modern design production. It looks very high-end indeed, and has a slick, modern layout to match (though they’ve still included wooden end panels). There’s a joystick for the wavetables. There are pretty text labels. And there’s a bright, crisp AMOLED display, a bit reminiscent of the Teenage Engineering OP-1 (but still something of an rarity in the cut-cost world of synths). There are “animator” features for sequencing parameters, and deep options for mucking about with all those digital oscillators.

All in all, it looks like a luxurious instrument you’d want to pin to your bedroom wall and lust after, girls and boys.

It’s a great tour with Paul Maddox, Philip Taysom, and Luca Mucci – was a pleasure to meet Liam Lacey, as well, recently, in London.

And extraordinarily, developed in just 12 months.

And about the cost – brace yourselves – £2995 +VAT / $5200 / €3750. Yes, watching this video seems a bit like seeing the synth equivalent of Top Gear. There’s a thing of absolute, total beauty that my wallet can’t quite fathom at the moment.

Which brings me to an obvious observation: I’d love to see a monosynth version, a modulus.002.mini, if you will. Sure, the layering is great, but there’s still an awful lot of fun that could be had with a single voice, the joystick, and some parameter animation, for those of us on a budget.

But it’s phenomenal to see something high-end like this in wide production, and it seems the birth of a great new maker. Can’t wait to give you folks a visit soon, and definitely will be on my agenda for any UK tour.

http://www.modulusmusic.me
Modulus.002 PolySynth Exclusive First Look

Also, some specs to summarise for you:

12 voices, 2 oscillators + 2 sub oscillators per voice
Subs with switchable waveforms (either square or the waveform of the main oscillator)
4-pole transistor ladder filter with “pole sweeping”
One LFO per voice, one global LFO
“No menu options” – everything on the front panel
16-track, 12-row, 32-step sequencer with dedicated controls
MIDI sync
Arpeggiator with sequence storage, hold mode
Animate any control parameter (like morphing that filter)
4.3″ display with wide viewing angles
Recall banks
Two audio inputs
XY joystick
Ethernet port for updates plus “cloud features” (guess we’ll see what that is – assume it’s for presets and the like)

Clarification: I should be particular in saying that there have been a number of polysynths out of England (hello, Novation!), and we can’t quite say this is unique in being an “analog” polysynth – as it isn’t. But it is an analog hybrid polysynth, and that’s unique.

Actually, maybe I shouldn’t be echoing SonicState’s exceptionalism at all. It’s not that this is a polysynth that’s extraordinary. It’s that it’s a freakin’ high-end polysynth.

  • http://fzero.ca/ Fabio Neves

    The youtube video at the top of the article has been removed. :-(

    • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

      It is now a Vimeo video, which is much better. :)

  • Bernard Perbal

    If you’re looking for a monosynth version, have a look at the MacBeth Elements: http://www.schneidersladen.de/en/macbeth-elements.html

  • Random Chance

    The price is not too bad. It’s maybe not in the range where an average hobbyist musician would buy it on an impulse but for 12 voices that apart from the oscillators are basically analog and all the interface elements, the solid enclosure, I would have expected a higher price to be sure. Congratulations to Paul Maddox and his team for pulling this one off. I remember talking to him in the Monowave days and I had some questions about the schematics. What a great guy. In my mind I have already reserved the money and I am thinking about where to best put it in the studio. The P12 was exciting to me, but this one has it beat.

  • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

    It is indeed crazy in the most positive way to see people actually building synthesizers like this. The P12 is obviously somewhere in that same area, both architecture and soundwise.

    I’ve just recently purchased the P12 module, which works really well for me. Obviously, a module version of this beast would become (slightly) more obtainable for the rest of us…

    That AMOLED display is simply great. More synths should have something like that! And then please more of those cute icons (I like that cloud in the bottom row of the display) – these small details do make a difference.

  • http://flexyvoid.com/ Yanakyl

    That’s impressive! Can’t wait to see what people do with that!

    The screen is real nice, surely helps programming to see that much. I’m not sure about the cloud addons, the ideas are nice and all but even though now I cannot afford that beast I would probably never use those things. Maybe for selling presets…

  • Charles

    One LFO (plus a global) and two ADSRs seems pretty stingy to me, and the variable-sample-rate oscillators sound nice but don’t do FM or wavescanning, two things digital is especially good at. With more modulation muscle, a 2-pole LPF option, and more flexible oscillators this would be extremely tempting for me even
    at $5K, but as it is I’m not very interested, though it’s nice to see the P12 and Ambika get some high-end competition.

  • Private member

    I like the sound of this and will be saving very hard to obtain it ASAP!!! Did he say 3k uk?

  • Sonic Nick

    Hello, thanks for linking to the video Peter – just to clarify the British polysynth thing (exceptional-ism?) – I think its the analog aspect that makes is unique, Novation (who also make fine instruments too of course) are pure DSP – at least their last polysynths were. The actual last British analog (any part of it) poly was the Cheetah MS 6 – but was definitely not high end.