Modulus 002 Uber Synth Sneak Preview

The new British synth from Modulus Music, the Modulus 002, is featured in this sneak preview video, via Nick Batt at sonicstate.

The video features Modulus.002 serial number 001 – the very first one built – so some features, patches, etc are still in development.

modulus_2Key Features:

  • Hybrid Analog / digital architecture
  • Two oscillators per voice with two sub oscillators
  • 24db per octave four pole transistor ladder filter, with morphing slope
  • Two LFO’s, one per voice and one global
  • Extensive voice control & modulation options, accessed directly from the front panel
  • Wide range of sequencing options + arpeggiator
  • 4.3″ screen with wide viewing angle
  • Twelve ‘quick recall banks’ are accessible directly from the front panel. Up to ten banks of quick recalls can be created.
  • FATAR semi-weighted five octave key mechanism with aftertouch
  • Each of the twelve outputs can be brought out individually via a dedicated dsub socket.
  • Two audio inputs
  • XY joystick for performance controls
  • Ethernet port to connect your modulus.002 to your network and enable updates via the internet

The Modulus 002 is expected to ship at the end of this month, priced at £2995 +VAT / $5200 / €3750. See Batt’s post at Sonic State for more info and the Modulus Music site for more audio demos.

Check out the video and let us know what you think of the new Modulus 002 keyboard synthesizer!

Update, 7/10/14: revised post with updated Sonic State video and a link to the new Modulus Music website.

39 thoughts on “Modulus 002 Uber Synth Sneak Preview

  1. Very interesting design! This looks like it’s built way better than 95% of the new synths out there and makes me feel a little less bad about missing out on the Andromeda.

  2. It sounds just too bright and buzzy… I’m missing some warm here. For a synth at this price, this thing is also pretty limited on the digital osc section (they could’ve explored many more ways of osc modulations), which to me is kind of strange.

    Anyway, it seems to be build like a tank and has a very interesting filter section with the slope thing, making it able to do different filter flavours. I just think that for a synth at this price, certain things like no audio range LFOs and no 12 multi-part synth is weird.


  3. I’d like to know a little more about the digital oscillator section. Are they wavetables, and if so how many are available? Can they be interpolated between one another to create more? Can they do FM, or any other form of modulation? So many questions for a synth at this price… but I disagree with AnalOG. At $5k this is a lot more appealing that the Moog Voyager XL.

  4. Judging purely from this video I’m not totally sold on the sound (and I don’t care whether the oscillators are analogue or digital) but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and say that it could be down to the audio chain used to record this – it sounded like it was coming through a speaker in the room. And, of course, I realize that it’s early days yet. BUT! Holy moley… the functionality is nuts! 🙂 I think they’ve really worked hard to include functions that both home-based musos and professional studios would find extremely useful. Yeah, sure, it’s a lot of money to most people, but I think it’s worth it. Now where can I find $5K2…? 😉

  5. The price is way out of my league. At least I can imagine being able to buy a P12 at 3K. I will never drop over 5K on something like this. Not saying it isn’t a nice synth, but it is priced out of my range for sure.

  6. Addendum: this is more in the range of the Solaris, which has a lot more features. Of course, the Solaris is not a hybrid digital-analog.

  7. I think it may well have great potential. The web server idea is interesting – a producer can utilize a remote sound designer; that has some significant possibilities as a piece of studio gear.

    I understand why they used digital VCOs given the number of voices, and I know it’s early days on any sound samples yet, but it sounds to my ear lacking a little warmth that one would get with analog VCOs.

    I’m not sure how much I like the continuous pots though – and the screen seems a *tad* hard to navigate with so many options. Maybe that’s just me 🙂

  8. Outstanding features, looks genuinely futuristic, sounds are wildly varied (beefy analog to tinkly digital and back again.)

    If these cats want to generate a lot of excitement, they will design a secondary device based on this technology. Make a desktop wedge, make it a 4-voice, a few less options. Then they’ll have a flagship product for professionals and wealthy musicians, and something a little more attainable.

    $5k USD puts this on a pretty high shelf. Don’t let a puritanical belief in the premium poly exclude the possibility of an affordable hotcake. Smart companies recoup development costs for the flagship with more accessible devices.

  9. To be honest I’m getting a little tired by these presentations. I wish Nick Batt would return to the old virtue of making fully blown Reviews, because I trust his opinion way more than any paid professional presenter. And I’m not going to spend 25 minutes of my spare time listening to lenghty explanations.
    As far as the DCOs are concerned: is this a SEM chip (like in the Prophet 12)?

    1. Sorry about that Mr Anon, but I csnt really review everything, just not enough hours in the day, I still do of course, but in this case we couldnt really turn down an exclusive first look. I hiope you can forgive me 🙂

    2. Nick does loads of journalistically ethical reviews. He digs deep, getting beyond flashy effects-heavy demo patches into the raw building blocks. He often busts out an oscilloscope.
      Once and a while we are treated to an exclusive 1st look. Even during those manufacturer-friendly demonstrations, Nick will often request to hear a raw oscillator or bring up a limitation. (Can we step through the wavetables, Waldorf or UltraNova-style, in the 002? No, it turns out.)
      I don’t mind these demos at all. They’re often great showcases and help me decide if I need to rob a bank this fiscal quarter.

  10. If sound synthesis is about making sounds froms scratch, this is something like accoustic theory turned into an interface. i don’t care if the tip of the magic wand is a digital pixel, if it is that flexiblly smart and the rest is so real and it still isn’t a computer. you’re reading this digitally, after all. me wants one very much and i’ll start saving right now. even before going back to watching the rest of this video. (just dropped two €, so its only another five years. easy as i’ll be dreaming very nicely every night). thanks a lot for this nice machine, i just love the modulation sequencer and the display and the knobs and the size and the noise iwe will make once united.

  11. I am slightly, but positively surprised about the warmth of the sound, but I’m also slightly disappointed of the price\feature ratio.

    But it’s an only multi timbral poly with a step seq, so fuck you DSI for making this my only option.

  12. This looks an awesome instrument and based on first glance, I’d certainly buy one… But the price is way up there with the Solaris and the Moog Voyager XL. So I’ll have to be content to dream instead and content myself with a Prophet 12 instead.

  13. 5K?!! Sounds ok, Extremely elegant looking, and great screens etc… Would be nice to afford one, but actually sounds a little “plasticky” to me… but will dig deeper…
    seems really well thought out, and gorgeous… but again, the price!!! ug. 2k, i’d be in….

  14. Interesting sounding synth with lots of innovative features but the price threatens to be its demise. However, Paul and company are smart cats so they probably have figured a strategy to help them compensate their efforts because there is obviously a lot of time invested in this product. This is a synth for the “elite” so it’s guaranteed to make the modulus team established enough so they’ll attract a wider market when they’ll come up with more realistic priced products in the future. Love the open source thing but who’s going to develop for a product that only a handful of people will use?

  15. Some pretty amazing technology in a very attractive package. Unfortunately, the OSC section knobs, etc., have the appearance of a (comical) face a la Wallace & Grommit. That’ll take a little getting used to…
    I wonder who’s gonna service them in the States, like when your on-board cloud goes down…

  16. I thought the P12 was going to get some stiff competition there, until its price was revealed.
    Couple of things that are somewhat disappointing about this synth:
    The infinite knobs is a pain.
    Something they should have learned from Dave Smith’s P’08.
    Nobody like that, so DS made a version with normal knobs.
    Now you’d have to stare at the screen all the time to see where you are.
    Not very intuitive, which is what analog style synths are all about.
    The other issue is the sluggish attack of the envelopes, something the P12 suffers from a little bit too.
    They just somehow can’t get that right on digital oscillators.
    For percussive sounds you need that snap that the Prophet-5 and Juno-60 have.
    That step sequencer could have been omitted.
    For 99-euros you can get the Arturia Beatstep.
    That would have made the price a bit more attractive.
    On the other hand, the arpeggiator is very cool.
    The sound and looks are reminiscent of the Matrix-12, which BTW had exactly the same buttons.
    Other than that, a brilliantly designed machine that sounds top notch, but for that price has a few too many issues for me. I’d go for the P12 anytime. Now the P12 suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.

    1. Otherwise I agee, but not with the sequencer.

      You can get ONE track for 99€ from Arturia and I so very much want a giggable polysynth that can neatly save sequences.

      Component wise a sequencer costs nothing in a hybrid synth, and DSI has had a step sequencer in everything except the P12. That measely $1 omission left me waiting for a polytimbral and knobby synth that has a sequencer. I am very angry for Dave Smith for making that one lazy omission in their ‘best’ synthesizer, which makes my otherwise most wanted synth unusable for me. Stupid mistake.

  17. Completely lost me at the continuous knobs. In my experience, they’re just not satisfying to use. I don’t want to have to look at a screen to see the value of a knob. It also means I can’t just glance over the panel and get any sense of what the patch settings are. Add that to lack of audio rate LFOs and the sound of static DCOs and suddenly this synth becomes much less desirable than I hoped. I’ve got to believe not everyone wants perfectly stable oscillators. The unpredictability and imperfection is where much of the analog actual character comes from!

  18. I don’t get it… 5k is a lot of money for a synth with so little features… why would anyone buy this when for the same price they could buy a Moog Voyager XL… or an Access Virus TI2 AND a Nord Lead 4?

    Go home Modulus… you’re drunk.

  19. “other products” i would love to see a 6 voice version of this with the same feature set maybe minus the sequencer and with less keys for more portability…..lovely sound……great synth

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