More Modulus.002

Read the official press release for the new British polysynth      10/07/14
More Modulus.002


You've probably seen our First Look video of Modulus.002, but if you need any more info, here's the official press release:

BRISTOL, UK: breakthrough British electronic musical instruments manufacturer Modulus is proud to announce availability of modulus.002 -- the first analogue/digital hybrid polysynth to have been designed, developed, and manufactured in the UK for four decades -- as of July 10...

Even though the technology for mass-market synthesisers was patently pioneered in the UK in the leafy London suburb of Putney at the tail end of the Swinging Sixties, the last time that a polyphonic/multitimbral analogue synthesiser was designed, developed, and manufactured in the UK -- actually within Wales -- was way back in the late Eighties. It is with utmost pride, therefore, that Bristol-based Modulus has not only succeeded in bringing back that pioneering spirit to Blighty with the mighty modulus.002 but has admirably succeeded in doing so by creating an amazing modern-day musical instrument that truly represents one giant leap for 'synthkind' with a sizeable number of notable new features to its innovative name. No easy task in climatically cynical conditions during an era of increasingly shortened attention spans, synth-wise or otherwise. Been there, done that, bought the (Moog) T-shirt, some might cynically say!

Yet surely soothsaying is a better bet in this case? Why? Well, modulus.002 even sports some world firsts! So what makes modulus.002 tick, then, and what, exactly, is it that makes it so special in comparison to today's commercial and 'boutique' offerings from other manufacturers, both bigger and smaller? Let's look at some straightforward facts for starters...

As an analogue/digital hybrid keyboard synthesiser (using an aftertouch-enabled premium Fatar semi-weighted, five-octave key mechanism), modulus.002 provides 12 discrete voices of polyphony with full multitimbrality if so desired. As such, it features two NCOs (Numerically-Controlled Oscillators) per voice for exceedingly high resolution and stability with wide-reaching waveform selections, together with two sub-oscillators, individually (and uniquely) switchable from a traditional square wave to having the same waveform as the main NCO to effectively produce four oscillators per voice; a Modulus-designed 24dB/octave four- pole transistor ladder filter featuring some very unusual morphing or 'polesweeping' effects, enabling ear-opening transitions from 24dB/octave four-pole to 6dB/ octave one-pole filtering and anywhere in between; one LFO per voice as well as a global LFO; wide-ranging modulation options, all accessible directly via the front panel -- no navigating convoluted and confusing menus; a pure analogue signal path from the oscillators right the way through to the combined XLR/TRS balanced/unbalanced outputs (with all 12 voices individually available for external processing via a dedicated D-Sub connector); two audio inputs enabling internal audio processing from the VCF onwards... and that's only scratching the surface. Not literally, of course!

While all voice control parameters are accessible via a well-thought-through front panel that is both attractive and intuitive in use thanks to sticking to traditional synthesiser workflow, what lies beneath is really remarkable. Radically departing from the norm, modulus.002 is blessed with an unrivalled user interface based around a high-quality 4.3-inch screen with wide viewing angle. It is context sensitive, whereby the control parameter of any control knob touched by the user is immediately displayed onscreen. Synthesiser savants and audio aficionados will surely unite in their appreciation of the sonic depths that this well-specified speedy dream machine can deeply dive into!

Forget about an analogue renaissance here, however; let's talk truly revolutionary design features for a moment. modulus.002 represents a unique approach to synthesiser design, taking traditional analogue circuitry combined with modern, reliable digital developments and marrying it all to a completely new control platform. Phenomenally, modulus.002 brings cloud functionality to a synthesiser for the first time! The Ethernet port means modulus.002 can be connected to a network to enable updates via the Internet -- no more MIDI SysEx dumps to get you down in the dumps -- and access to the modulus.cloud means user profile settings, sound patches, sequences, and other content can be easily replicated to a cloud-based server platform to enable rapid resynchronisation to another modulus.002, regardless of whether it is owned by the same user or a collaborator at a remote location. Let's be honest here. We're well into the 21st Century now, so why not provide modulus.002 users with data management features that are expected as the 'norm' in modern consumer technology devices, yet have hitherto eluded the electronic musician? Makes sound sense to the Modulus team, that's for sure! And we're sure it will make sound sense to modulus.002 users, too.

So what other notable modulus.002 features are worth making a song and dance about? An inbuilt MIDI-sync-able 16-track, 12-row, 32-step sequencer with 16 front panel-positioned step-time editing controls can give any hardware rivals already out there a serious run for their money. For sequences can not only be transposed dynamically while running but sophisticated so-called 'mini arpeggiator sequences' created using the arpeggiator's Hold mode can be speedily saved as sequences for latter recall and editing using the sequencer. Moreover, modulus.002's Animator allows any control to be sequenced, enabling complex filter transitions, waveform changes, and modulation matrix changes to be sequenced. Lest we forget, 12 'quick recall banks' are accessible directly from dedicated front panel buttons. Build up set lists of presets, sequences, and animations, making modulus.002 a live performance partner par excellence.

Plain and simple? Far from it, it seems! So who better qualified, then, to explain the whys and wherefores of taking a truly thrilling synthesiser design from the drawing board to an equally enthralling production-ready product launch like this in under a year than company co-founder and principal designer Paul Maddox, a top-tier talent with proven production pedigree, best known within the synthesiser industry for his well-received MonoWave, a limited-run, 19-inch rack-mountable, MIDI- controllable monosynth inspired by Germany's legendary PPG Wave series -- arguably amongst the most coveted high-end synthesisers of the early Eighties -- featuring two digital oscillators with 256 samples per waveshape and an analogue 24dB transistor ladder filter, as well as his more recently-released VacoLoco range of 'pocket synth' designs. Do tell. Why now? Why the big step up to the brave new world of modulus.002? Muses Maddox: "This came about because I've had a long-held dream to build a polysynth since I was knee high. I've nearly got there several times, but it was a golden opportunity in July last year when my business partner, Philip Taysom, and myself sat together and said, 'Now is a good time to do it.' Both Philip and myself are passionate about synthesisers, and we feel that the synthesiser market has been neglected for a long time in terms of high-end, pro -- in quality and feel -- instruments. I quite often equate this to a PRS guitar. There is nowhere in the synthesiser industry that I'm aware of where you can go and buy the equivalent of a PRS. That's what we're aiming at -- top quality, top to bottom."

So there you have it, folks. With top-quality components sourced and designed throughout its robust, road-ready construction coupled with upmarket design flourishes like leather-bound end cheeks -- quite possibly another world first, modulus.002 is a fighting force to be musically reckoned with. British synth power is alive and kicking, and Modulus has just fired its impressive opening synth salvo that more than lives up to its Machines for Musicians tagline. It's aim is true, so watch this space...


Pricing and Availability:
modulus.002 is available to purchase for £2,995.00 GBP (plus VAT). EU pricing -- correct at time of writing -- is €3,795.00 EUR (plus VAT). US pricing -- correct at time of writing -- is $5,200.00 USD (plus local sales tax). Contact California-based agent Geoff Farr (geoff@modulusmusic.co.uk) for all United States sales enquiries. All other enquiries relating to the rest of the world should contact info@modulusmusic.co.uk.

More information:



 

More From: MODULUS MUSIC
Even more news...

14 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Poy_olly    Said...

OK -so at least we now know - this is in the unrealistic realm of the Hartmann Neuron, the Schmidt and the the Solaris.

At that price, few will be made and sold, so the company will be gone in 5 years with no spare parts available, as with the Neuron.

So we can read with interest about this intriguing prototype, and then forget about it. Glad I don't need to spend any more time thinking about this; but it's unfortunate it's not a realistic instrument with a realistic price and a realistic future.

10-Jul-14 11:49 AM


Chris    Said...

Why should i buy this? 1LFO per voice... haha...are they kidding? For this price better buy a

ACCESS VIRUS!

It sounds also very "hybrid-analogy" but with up to 90 Voices!

10-Jul-14 01:54 PM


Cyborg    Said...

This is a modern classic. Glad it's not a sad boxed up plugin...do the maths. Lot less then buying a real PPG and sounds better than a P12.

10-Jul-14 03:43 PM


KDub    Said...

I would take my $5000, buy a Prophet 12 and a Pro 2 and save about $200. It's going to take a lot of convincing that there is $5k of quality and capability there. The handful of people who can afford the plane ticket to go and play with it in person will probably buy one so good for them. I leave the sound quality comparisons where they belong, on the internet but my first ticket would be to California.

10-Jul-14 04:16 PM


E03    Said...

This year is turning into the year of the poly i think. System1 , Pro 2 & now this - golden. I must admit the 002 is an amazing machine & a very fresh, modern take on the hybrid idea. I like the networkable cloud concept & i-pad integration is inspiring. I think i'll still save for a Pro-2, fits my studio needs better & i can't justify spending $5k+ on a new synth - if i win the lottery perhaps but this synth lives in the dream zone for now. Love to have a go still & yay for something different - keep it up Modulus. Btw this reminds somewhat of a keyboard version of Jomox Sunsyn for some reason...

10-Jul-14 06:27 PM


lowjk    Said...

To put the Modulus.002 price in perspective, don't forget a Roland Jupiter 8 was GBP 4,000 in 1982.

And that had "only 8 voices."

10-Jul-14 08:53 PM


Kevin Nolan    Said...

An intriguing synth - but the boasting of features does not impress for this price.

They talk about 'Cloud' capabilities for backing up - my OASYS has a USB port and I back up to a multi-gigabit HD in the OASYS's excellent operating system.

And the talk about the step sequencer as if it's amazing. But consider even the Kronos61 - it's voice structure - in all of its 7 Virtual Synths and the HD S&S engine, offers a step sequencer - per voice !

So - in the Kronos AL1 Virtual Analogue synth with 80 note polyphony - that's 80 step sequencers ! It puts this device to shame.

Similarly, the Kronos MOD7 synthesiser offers VPM/FM synthesis and beyond - catering for anything proposed by this device. And - in its most basic format, MOD7 is a VA with ultra low aliasing filters and 6 oscillators per voice (and 6 oscillator types) and 52 note polyphony - meaning 312 oscillators available in a single instance of the engine.

I'm only saying all of this because although this is an exciting instrument, its specs are not particularly exciting or more capable than even one synth engine inside a Kronos (10 year old technology at this stage) costing less than half the price.

Apart from the physical control aspect of it (and there aren't even mod wheel and pitch bend!) there are plugins out there costing next to nothing that are equal to, if not superior to this instrument's capabilities.

I just do not get the price - it's hugely excessive and surely kills the instrument off before it even gets going? I understand the economies of scale and so on; but I am confident that the likes of MOD7 in Kronos will cater for anything this instrument can propose to do (as just one example - and - that being a small fraction of the capabilities of Kronos); and at this stage Kronos is very cheap by comparison.

11-Jul-14 05:21 AM


Patch Boy    Said...

It's sad, but the critics have a point.

It's beautiful look, the Web interface, and the great display etc. don't make any noise.

Under the hood, there is a subtractive synth architecture, which seems to be quite traditional. Not too much of extra Oscillatros, LFOs or ADSRs, not too much of a generous modulation matrix to be spotted. From the video I had the impression that the modulation capabilites are quite limited, compared to instruments already on the market, or in my studio. May be that I missed something.

It may be silly to compare it to a Virus TI, a Kronos, or a Prophet 12 - but where is that new sound supposed to be created from that explaines that price tag? May be built with too much quality and too expensive?

This flexible filter is a very interesting feature, really. I would like to have two of them to be used in serial or parallel. That would open for a wide world of sounds and I would say yes to the price. On many digital synths I have had much fun to use two filters. Why is this so rare on hardware instruments?

11-Jul-14 05:48 AM


Juno    Said...

Multiple filters?…

Look at the Schmidt...

11-Jul-14 09:46 AM


Bill Fairbanks    Said...

Definitely an interesting sounding synth, but far too expensive for what you get .. and lets face it, the background of this company is a little spooky! Its common knowledge in the synth-diy community that Maddox made/makes spy devices for GCHQ .. and now he wants us to put his cloud-enabled synth in our studios? Uh oh.

11-Jul-14 02:00 PM


raphus    Said...

I hope it does well, because having more synth designers benefits everyone, but I'm not interested at all. Too many limitations (LFOs, mod matrix, no mod wheel), and too many features replicated or bettered by cheaper alternatives.

And I'm opposed to anything "cloud." It's really not hard to load, save, and share sounds via sysex, USB, and email. I don't want my basic tasks dependent on an internet connection, and I don't want my property on some company's hard drive.

11-Jul-14 02:50 PM


Peter K.    Said...

I think it's always a great thing when a company makes a high end, no compromise instrument instead of a cheap plasticky thing. It also sounds really great. I think it's primary competition is the Prophet-12, which I own and love. I'm not sure I would rush out and say it sounds better just yet. I would like to try to program some similar sounds to what was in the video release Nick put up the other day and see where I get first. The P12 is no slouch and I have no difficulty recreating classic sounds with it. The points about the Kronos Mod-7 engine are valid too... that instrument is probably the most well specified VA on the planet, as well as all the crazy FM stuff. People might be quick to overlook it because it's a workstation with pianos and stuff, but that would be a mistake. I also get the reference to the Solaris and Neuron... this feels a bit like that to me. I hope it comes to fruition, and I would love to see it in stores. High end polys are a beautiful thing, and I applaud them for going this route. I just hope it's done right and they offer good support and service after the fact. It had better be amazing because the price works out to $5581.00 Cdn. That's almost two P12's which have audio rate modulation and all kinds of cool things happening.

11-Jul-14 07:14 PM


Peter K.    Said...

Sorry folks, I don't know why my paragraphs didn't work.

11-Jul-14 07:15 PM


The_Bro    Said...

Seems ridiculously overpriced! I'm sure Korg will be creating a poly for a quarter of the price sooner or later.

16-Jul-14 07:46 AM


Post a comment 
 


More Videos

Modular Review: STG Sound Labs .MIX Module 

3 channels with bi-polar output


Sonic LAB: DSM01 Curtis Filter Eurorack Module 

Dave Smith Instruments first module


Cubase Focus: Tempo Detection 

Free yourself from the grid


Sonic TOUCH ep 34: Korg Gadget Update and iConnect MIDI 4+ 

Two major updates to previous Gold Award winners