Modulus 002 12 Voice Synthesizer (Progress Update)

This video, via Nick Batt of Sonic State, offers an update on the new high-end hybrid synthesizer from UK-based Modulus Music, the Modulus 002.

The video features designer Paul Maddox, who demonstrates updating the Modulus 002, and Ben Crossland, who’s programmed the new soundset. 

Along the way, they look at a variety of patches and how some of the unique design features of the Modulus 002 are featured in the patches. The video also covers the sequencer, animator and arpeggiator.

Features:

  • modulus.002 provides twelve discrete voices of polyphony with full multi-timbrality if desired
  • Two oscillators per voice with two sub oscillators, which can 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. Over 50 different waveforms, ranging from classic analogue sounds to more unique digital shapes
  • modulus designed 24db per octave four pole transistor ladder filter, with some very unusual morphing characteristics or ‘polesweeping’, 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 knobs on the front panel and MIDI sync capabilities. Sequences can also be transposed dynamically while running
  • A very highly featured arpeggiator with a wide range of different modes, including modulus ‘hold’ mode, enabling arpeggiator-based sequences to be created
    The modulus Animator, which enables any control parameter on the modulus.002 to be sequenced, enabling very complex filter transisitions, wave form changes and modulation matrix changes to be sequenced
  • 4.3? screen with wide viewing angle, display is context sensitive 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
  • VCF and VCA envelope generators
  • Four Key Modes – Poyphonic, Monophonic, Unison and Stack
  • FATAR semi-weighted five octave key mechanism with aftertouch
  • All voice control parameters are accessible from front panel, that follows a traditional synthesiser work flow
  • 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 plus external MIDI in and out
  • XY joystick and Sustain and Expression pedal inputs for performance controls – any control parameter can be assigned to any joystick axis (X+, X-, Y+, Y-) 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

For another look of the new synth, see Sonic State’s ‘first look’ video.

The Modulus 002 is priced at €3,795/US $5,200. See the Modulus site for details.

30 thoughts on “Modulus 002 12 Voice Synthesizer (Progress Update)

  1. Can NCOs be programmed as sample players, if there was memory for samples?

    I just want to squeeze samples through VCFs so much, and if the oscillators are digital, why not embrace the technology fully. (if the answer is yes, but we don’t want to raise the price, €3,895 instead of €3,795 wouldn’t make any difference, but samples would make difference. )

    1. seems like it would be easy to do thru a firmware update, I was thinking individual audio inputs for each filter would be really nice to have, like the Vermona Perfourmer has for its 4 voices, it can be used as 4 filters for 4 separate audio inputs

      they could probably do it as a custom mod for the customer, with a 19inch patch unit that could also house the individual synth voice outputs and filter inputs

  2. A waldorf microwave xt2 does this job admirably, if you can’t afford this…it’s quite similar, but without the fancy update OS features…that’s 2014

  3. Sounds great, very different sound to an xt really, perhaps close to the jomox sunsyn (?)
    But i don’t see a noise source and a way to load user-alternate wavetables, which especially in this price range is a must.
    The whole sequencer-animator thingy looks great as well, although perhaps too menu driven..

  4. premium synth = a premium price tag

    but im glad that they are going to be at namm………gonna wait awhile for a smaller brother of the 002 to compliment my other synths……..best of luck to you guys

  5. No this isn’t the cheapest current synthesiser but compare it to how much P5s, OBX’s and JP8s cost back in the day and this is cheap. I love a £100 AU plug in but I also understand some things cost more especially with some knobbage. If you put away a couple of hundred a month when this was announced then you could be playing one soon………..

    1. Absolutely. Adjusted for inflation a DX7 cost the equivalent of over $4,200 when new. And that was a synth that had the industrial might of a huge multinational’s buying power and R&D behind it.

  6. I have played it and it’s an absolute total piece of rubbish.
    You must be totally mad to spend that much on a synth that is that shoddy.
    The whole user interface is counter intuitive and almost every single parameter on there doesn’t work properly. De encoders are jumpy and why does one have to press three buttons to select another preset?
    It sounds alright, but I get the feeling that every sound has the same character. It’s not very versatile sounding at all. Forget punch, the envelopes are just too slow. The only reason why the poms are enthusiastic about this thing, is because it’s the first ever polysynth made in Britain. They just desperately want it to succeed, but how do you put an instrument that flaky on the market these days for that ridiculous amount of money? You should be able to get a Matrix-12 or Xpander for that money, which is real analog and has way more modulation options.

    1. Not even close to the first British polysynth. What about Novation? Cheetah? Red Sound?

      Give them a chance to get the firmware working properly before attempting to eviscerate them.

    2. Okay, Joe could be right. Most of us will never get to touch one. It would not be the first time a shiny image was tarnished by real-world conditions. Wakeman axed the Birotron for being too dodgy. The Synclavier & Fairlight were known to be walking Hail Mary plays on tour. Some synths should be studio-only. I like the Modulus sound, but its not super-distinctive. Its a “problem” for manufacturers; you can’t reinvent the Wheel. They are hampered by the clamor for New while clinging to the shape of the Known. The killer V-Synth GT is still just ‘old’ tech assembled in a musically useful new form, but its a real player’s instrument that doesn’t speak as well if you automate it. That’s part of why it ended up being little-used in a lot of trust-fund baby studios. If this one’s GUI is too different just to be different, it’ll wind up in the same pile as the Hartmann Neuron. Sure, be fascinated by the circus, but don’t waste energy loving or hating things like this too much. If you can afford a $3k-$5k synth, buy it for the right reasons, not just the space-cadet glow. I like that glow, having some studio tan of my own, but its not the boss of me.

  7. Its a great instrument overall, but for five large, it’ll be wasted if you don’t make it your centerpiece for a while. Mega-synths require focus or they’re just cat lounges. I’d need a year to really crack a Prophet-12, so I’d need a solid reason to buy it. The trick is to consider your personal balance between actual keyboard playing and sound design. Rule of thumb: if you buy an instrument that’s more than about a 30% zag from what you’ve been using, plan to play it like hell for at least three years or 20 winged monkeys should use your roof for a toilet. Thumbs-up for the downloadable updates. It feels a little scary, but hey, its sys-ex on steroids, with a good form factor. I would not buy this, but I’d love to take 2 weeks to ride it around the block.

  8. The contention with pricey synths, as you paid big money you feel you need to squeeze a chunk into every mix – so you end up making bad creative calls – I do this a lot with an very expensive vintage model I have.

    1. I recognize this. I have some expensive synths, a solaris ao, but I feel this need to use them is a welcome restriction that both makes me more creative and also makes me understand my tools better. Let alone the fulfillment of working with real world controls.
      The endless choice and flexibility of vst’s is great, but can also lead to ‘engineering’ a song instead of getting there while playing around. The combination is great.

      1. M-Prod, my man! I wish more people saw it the way you do. A mid-to-high end synth hooked to a DAW and a couple of outboard hardware synths is a home-made TARDIS. Finally figuring that out liberated my happy @$$. More than not, the studio IS our instrument now and each piece matters. You can’t worry over the frets and ignore the strings!

  9. Sounds good but not 5k good. I’m struggling to see what this brings over a Virus. In fact I think it sounds a bit Virus-like actually. And add on fx for a price? wtf.

    I would be worried about the cloud stuff if modulus went bust. How much functionality is gone if there’s no net connection or (hopefully not as I’d like to see where they go next) no server at the other end?

  10. People will gladly spend $2000 for an obsolete vintage drum machine, but then they feign shock and disbelief over the price of an extremely deep, cutting-edge synth.

    Perceived value is EVERYTHING.

  11. I was trying to figure out if the Virus TI2, Pro2, and Prophet 12 together could give me this sound, or better. I have my Prophet 12 and Pro 2. My Virus is coming this week. I could still return everything. I’m not at 30 days yet. This thing sounds good, but I don’t know if I should drop everything else for it?

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