Modal CRAFTsynth Hands-On Demo

At the 2017 NAMM Show, Modal Electronics introduced the Modal CRAFTsynth – an assemble-it-yourself monophonic synthesizer, with full MIDI support through a Class Compliant USB port.

At NAMM, we talked with CRAFTsynth creator Matt Jackson, who gave us an overview and demo of the new synth.

Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability

The Modal CRAFTsynth is now available, priced at US $99/UK £79.99 including VAT.

18 thoughts on “Modal CRAFTsynth Hands-On Demo

  1. Can someone please explain what “class compliant” means in this context?

    It sounds like verbiage that is used when you don’t want something to come across as a negative.

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    1. ‘Class Compliant’ means that the device should work plug and play on supported computer platforms, without you needing to install a proprietary driver.

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  2. Except if you intend to use it with traditional MIDI connections, you need extra hardware such as a MIDIsport 1×1.

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    1. Understand the love for traditional MIDI DIN connectivity – but it’s a separate topic.

      DIN MIDI connections aren’t “Class Compliant”.

      The specs for the CRAFTsynth just mean that it should be plug and play with USB MIDI.

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      1. Hang on. DIN MIDI is indeed class compliant. Synths with DIN MIDI jacks have a built-in device driver that can communicate with many different devices of a broadly similar type. They’re plug-and-play, which is the essence of class compliant drivers in action.

        The CRAFTsynth supports a USB class compliant host. That doesn’t mean that only USB hardware can be class compliant. 🙂

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        1. Sorry, but the term ‘Class Compliant’ has nothing to do with DIN MIDI.

          A device either supports DIN MIDI connections or it doesn’t. There has never been the need to clarify whether a DIN MIDI connection is compatible or not.

          ‘Class Compliant’ only is used to discuss USB support. Look it up on the MIDI site if you’re not clear on this – otherwise, you’re just spreading misinformation.

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      2. It’s not a separate topic, and frodo is also absolutely correct. The CraftSynth cannot be operated using a standard MIDI DIN connection. I’ve already checked this with the main suppliers in the UK for this otherwise brilliant little synth. They were the ones who recommended obtaining a MIDIsport if one wishes to connect to traditional MIDI, as not everyone wants to have to connect to a computer to make music.

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        1. You two really need to learn a little about MIDI.

          ANY DIN MIDI device should work with ANY other DIN MIDI device – there is no ‘Class Compliant’ or non-Class Compliant DIN MIDI!

          If a device doesn’t have a DIN MIDI connector, it just can’t physically connect to DIN MIDI devices without an adapter/interface.

          The term ‘Class Compliant’ tells you nothing about a devices’ DIN MIDI connectivity, and it never has in the history of MIDI.

          If you are confused about this, it is not Modal’s fault, you just don’t know your gear.

          Bottom line for you is that this doesn’t have DIN MIDI jacks, so you’d need an adapter/interface to connect it to DIN MIDI devices.

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      3. excuse my ignorance but is the term “class compliant” really ever used in the context of MIDI? i thought that refers to USB. for MIDI one usually talks of “conforming to the MIDI standard”

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        1. “Class compliant” has become a marketing buzzword for USB. That doesn’t change the technical definition of what a class device driver is.

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          1. Again, that is complete misinformation.

            The term and it’s use are clearly defined on the MIDI site. It’s not a marketing term for USB, it tells you whether a device requires proprietary drivers to connect over USB, or if it works with the default system driver.

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            1. You don’t seem to understand what the term ‘class driver’ means from a broader software perspective.

              YES, we all understand that ‘class compliant’ indicates driverless operation when referring to USB and the Human Interface Driver class.

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  3. In other words, you can’t just hook up a cord from your MIDI synth/controller and play this little synth like you can with other hardware desktop synths. Is that it?

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      1. No, what’s the difference?

        Judging by the fact that I can transmit MIDI data via a USB cable, I’m thinking that a USB cable can be a MIDI cable.

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        1. I think theres some confusion here between “class compliant” usb/midi and “host mode” usb/midi in terms of connecting a controller keyboard to this synth 🙂

          host mode means you can plug in a controller keyboard with usb… AFAIK this synth does not have host mode.. and as mentioned in a previous comment, I don’t even think a midisport 1×1 would work for connecting a controller without a computer unless the midisport itself has host mode (don’t think so).

          You’d need a Kenton midi host box to connect a keyboard directly, which is fairly expensive, and even that might not work unless your controller keyboard also has midi DIN plugs 🙂 I know you can use a USB hub with a Kenton midi/usb host but their website isn’t entirely clear if it would work with two usb devices connected in this way..?

          A laptop and/or DAW will easily transmit the midi signal though (I know, but everyone hates laptops). If you don’t want to use a DAW (sorry dirty word again) with windows you can use Midi-OX for routing, which is free…

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  4. Craft is a digital synth, they could have built the sound engine into the iOS app and we’d have a way more usable polyphonic synth (as the iPad/iPhones are way more powerful than the CPU in the Craft).

    I’ve found the hardware Craft synth incredibly fiddly to use in practice. Fun concept.

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