Modulus.002 PolySynth Exclusive First Look

12 voices, analog ladder filter and more      10/07/14

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26:30 mins    


So here it is - the brand new British Poly Synth from Modulus Music - Modulus .002 - as you may have noticed, creators of the Modulus .002 are just down the road from us. As a result we managed to talk them into popping into Sonic Towers for an exclusive  first look at the brand new synth (12 voices no less).

Together with Paul Maddox - synth designer and Philip Taysom - his business partner, plus Luca Mucci - product specialist. It's incredible to think that this has been put together in just over 12 months.

In this presentation we look at Modulus .002 serial number 001 - literally the first off the production line. As a result, this is early in it's life and has not been voiced and tweaked, so we look at the synthesizer structure and features. We hope to get another look at it in a couple of weeks to hear it in it's full glory after the patch designers have been at it. But initial impressions are of an extremely capable and large sounding synthesizer.

This new hybrid synthesizer uses digital oscillators, as with other new polysynths, they allow more control and are stable as you like - these are NCOs (numerically controlled oscillators - which have a much higher resolution than regular DSP ones), each with Saw/Tri/Square/Sine plus over 50 additional waves - Paul is a major fan of the PPG so expect a flavour of that.  Each Oscillator has a Sub Osc that can be square or the selected wave at an octave down. After this, there's a full analog path through the VCA and discrete transistor ladder filter - 12 of them. One LFO per voice, plus a global LFO - one for each voice. Additionally it has an animator (32 steps, 12 parameters for each step) plus arpeggiator and 32 step, 12 track sequencer.

We can't pretend the modulus .002 is a cheap instrument, the attention to detail with the case, knobs  (rotary encoders throughout), buttons screen and beautifully constructed with thick metal plate case and a large, paper white LCD display.

Expected Worldwide shipping end of this month, priced £2995 +VAT / $5200 / €3750

Full Specification

  • Two oscillators per voice with two sub oscillators, however modulus.002 has a unique feature enabling the subs to be switched from being either traditional square wave to having the same waveform as the main oscillator - in effect making four oscillators per voice
  • Analogue / digital hybrid architecture uses NCOs for very high resolution, and very stable oscillators
  • modulus designed 24db per octave four pole transistor ladder filter, with some very unusual morphing characteristics or 'pole-sweeping', enabling transition from four pole through bandpass to one pole 6db per octave, or anywhere in between.
  • Two LFO's, one per voice and one global
  • Extensive modulation options, all accessed directly from the front panel - no menu options!
  • modulus.002 features a range of sequencing options, a built in 16 Track, 12 row, 32 step sequencer with 16 dedicated step time editing controls on the front panel and MIDI sync able. Sequences can be transposed dynamically while running. A very highly featured arpeggiator with a wide range of different modes, including modulus 'hold' mode, enabling mini arpeggiator sequences to be created. Arpeggios can be saved as sequences for latter recall and editing in the sequencer
  • The modulus Animator, which enables any control parameter on the modulus.002 to be sequenced, enabling very complex filter transitions, wave form changes and modulation matrix changes to be sequenced
  • Superb UI, a great departure from the norm of synthesisers, featuring a very high quality 4.3" screen with wide viewing angle, display is context sensitive (if desired, can be changed in settings) where the control parameters of any control knob that is touched by the user, is immediately displayed.
  • Twelve 'quick recall banks' are accessible directly from the front panel, enabling performing musicians to get rid of their set sheets and build set lists of presets, sequences and animations, all quickly accessible from dedicated front panel buttons. Up to ten banks of quick recalls can be created, making live performance a doddle.
  • Very high quality construction, uses a premium FATAR semi-weighted five octave key mechanism with aftertouch
  • All voice control parameters are accessible from a well designed and intuitive front panel, that follows a traditional synthesiser workflow
  • Pure analogue signal path with combined XLR/TRS sockets for balance / unbalanced outputs. Further, each of the twelve outputs can be brought out individually via a dedicated dsub socket.
  • Two audio inputs enabling audio processing from the VCF onwards
  • XY joystick for performance controls - any control parameter can be assigned to either joystick access by pressing the dedicated front panel selector button
  • Ethernet port to connect your modulus.002 to your network and enable updates via the internet (no more midi sysex dumps) and access to the Modulus cloud features



Even more news...

28 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Mattsynth    Said...

Nice synth, I love using digital OSC. I have a Prophet 12 and my favorite part is the digital waveforms OSC. I hope these guys are successful with this synth. It is a beauty. Nice work guys.

10-Jul-14 09:41 AM


Looks great and I liked most of what I heard. I love the flexibility of a high res-great sounding digital osc. A bit pricey, but I understand that they need to make their money. Hopefully they'll consider making something a bit cheaper at some point- Something that competes (as far as price goes) with a Prophet12 or something like that. Love the look and the LCD screen looked killer! Great UI. Cheers Modulus! Best of luck!

10-Jul-14 10:09 AM

aydeebe    Said...

this'll be a classic,and no flash in the pan with mr taysom involved.(search sound on sound website)

10-Jul-14 10:18 AM

LagrangeAudio    Said...

This ticks all the boxes, architecture, sound, looks, the lot. And driven by passion which is a magic ingredient. Very well done gentlemen :)

10-Jul-14 10:23 AM

Juno    Said...

I might just have to


10-Jul-14 10:53 AM

anom    Said...


10-Jul-14 11:02 AM

Jussi Piekkala    Said...

Beautiful and brilliant -- and with tons of passion. Good luck!

10-Jul-14 11:30 AM

CR78    Said...

Great, NSA now messing with my S&H LFO rates..... no thanks. ;)

10-Jul-14 01:52 PM

Noel    Said...

Very impressed.. lovely instrument!

10-Jul-14 03:30 PM

Paul Glenn    Said...

Very cool, I want one... Any chance of a cheeky give away comp?

10-Jul-14 05:14 PM

moonbooter    Said...

thumbs up !

10-Jul-14 05:15 PM

Coz    Said...

This sounds a LOT fatter than the P12 from what was played here, and it looks stunning. It screams quality.

The cloud feature is really innovative and being multi-timbral will make it super useful in the studio. The Union Jack next to the joystick brings a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. Smashing stuff.

10-Jul-14 08:21 PM

spierlejewski    Said...


10-Jul-14 09:26 PM

Studio139    Said...

I thought the sounds were very impressive, the build quality looks good, the encoders seem as though they needed a lot of turning to change the values and I am disappointed the LFO don't go into the audio range, but that would not prevent me for picking up, but $5000 U.S. is a bit steep. It may well be worth it, but it is costly.

11-Jul-14 01:23 AM

Ben    Said...

Nice !!! I don't understand the sequencer stuff: 32 steps ok it's clear but what do you call a track and a row?

11-Jul-14 01:33 AM

Paulrivc    Said...

Wow. Seriously well thought out. A work of art in fact. Really like the cloud feature too - that took me by surprise. Unfortunately out of my price range - though it's certainly good value. I would love a (cheaper) stripped down version! Also, an other great video - thanks Nick.

11-Jul-14 04:31 AM

Rado    Said...

hacking a synth during the gig would be new great opportunity for hacking comunity.

11-Jul-14 05:24 AM

sickntwistedbeats    Said...

i bow before the new king ,,

11-Jul-14 05:45 AM

Champ    Said...

Think I'm more interested in what is coming next. Just not gonna spent massively on digital oscillators. I do love that cloud thing they were talking about.

11-Jul-14 06:36 AM

sparks    Said...

Sorry, no. I reckon the Prophet 12 is better and more useful. Gimmicks like cloud sharing of patches are just that. And the price is mental. Won't be worrying that I haven't got one.

11-Jul-14 02:59 PM

Imposter    Said...

Beautiful build and I love many aspects of the hybrid approach but still think that 5K USD is way too much. It will end up costing close on 6K Canadian. Whilst I understand it is a no compromise design, they stated emphatically that this was a ready for production (read not limited edition boutique run) and as such it should have a price tag reflecting that. I'd be more inclined to track down a used Andromeda, Oberheim Expander and/or a Waldorf Q Keyboard (Phoenix Edition) before looking at something in this price bracket. Just for the record I own 2 x Elektron MnM SFX60 MkII's an A4, MD and an Integra-7 so I'm not opposed to shelling out for great kit. It just would have been a whole lot more tempting at the 3 to 3.5k mark. I'd hate to see something like this go the way of the Neuron, K5000S and other synths that deserved a much longer shelf life.

11-Jul-14 04:31 PM

abc47    Said...

lot to like about this synth. almost enough to consider selling my P12 but the M.002 price is 1.5k(usd) to high. but then again this may help with support & feature updates that DSI are slow with.

11-Jul-14 07:29 PM

baward    Said...

All looks and sounds lovely, but those feint graphics would put me off buying. It surely wouldn't be that tweakable live, unless you had Stevie Wonder';s sense of where controls are...

Philip Taysom used to be (is?) a mega synth collector and thoroughly nice guy:

12-Jul-14 04:34 AM

FortyNine    Said...

I am expecting more to be fair. The synth's id is a bit questionable. Is it a modern form of analog synth or a new genre of synth? I am not so sure. I general think it got the bits and pieces of features from different great synths, esp. the endless rotorary encoder. The lack of effects section could be the down side too. I just feel like the analog/ digital appraoch could be utilised in a better way. Last but not least, is it a studio tool or stage instrument? It is beautifully looking no doubt. But I do expect more.

12-Jul-14 12:19 PM

Nanners    Said...

Two hard wired envelopes, A single lowpass filter, lfo's don't go to audio rate and no ability to import user waves into digital osc. with cloud connectivity for a measly $5000. I think I would go DSI, but holy Moses this thing does sound beautiful! Hope they are successful, but fear they priced themselves right out of anybody but the professional who gets his/her instruments bought for them.

12-Jul-14 08:15 PM

Mark    Said...

I'm very impressed with the new MODULUS 002! It's wonderful to see Great Britain taking it's place among the professional Synthesizer market. Considering most of history's greatest synth pop came from Britain! I have my name on the list for the US roll-out! It did seem arrogant for him to say there has been a lack of real professional synths likened to the "PRS"guitar. I certainly see MOOG AND DAVE SMITH IN THIS upscale high quality high build segment of the Market. The Voyager XL is $ so that bothered me but otherwise I'm looking forward to drinking the kool-aid!

13-Jul-14 12:30 PM

Mantrak    Said...

I think they have serious problem with P12 being much cheaper. P12 is nothing less than this, actually it even looks better unless you are into ghetto hip hop gangsta stuff. More seriously, this is good news for everyone, more choice, more competition, the better.

27-Jul-14 03:20 PM

EMwhite    Said...

Obsession comes at a prices. The enthusiasm shows deeply in the end product. But drop the Cloud silliness as others have said and knock a grand off the cost and sell 2x as many.

It's gotta cost something to develop all of the remote/cloud bits. Midi SysEx dump over USB works just fine for other synths. Just be smart about having yours listen for incoming patches and no remote user interaction required.

Having said this, I hope they continue to manufacture in England. Don't go as Allen & Heath did and end up in China.

Nick, is the case Metal? Who makes the numeric buttons, seem very high end. And the magic question, Midi resolution? Are all parameter really bound to 0..127 values or is there fine/analog control which is merely digitized for patch storage? Midi sync'd LFOs? Hope so.

Could use a bit more detail about how they manage to get that shelf/band pass effect. Very convincing. Good show overall.

10-Sep-14 10:57 AM

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