The Modal 001 Synth ‘Sounds Quite Huge & Immense At The Bottom End’


Modal Electronics stopped by the Sonic Lab to talk with host Nick Batt about their new Modal 001 synthesizer.

In the video, Paul Maddox and Luc Mucci give Batt an overview of the new British synth. The synth is ‘proper duophonic’, featuring two of the voices of the Modal 002. 

Maddox says “bass is an obvious win for this, because of the transistor ladder filter and the big, fat sounding oscillators. It does sound quite huge and immense at the bottom end.”

Modal Electronics’ 001 features include:

  • Modal 001 is a 2 voice duo phonic and bi-timbral synthesizer, using the same voice architecture as it’s bigger brother, the Modal 002.
  • 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, andvery stable oscillators. Over 50 different waveforms, ranging from classic analogue sounds to more unique digital shapes.
  • Modal Electronics 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.
  • 001 features a range of sequencing options – a built in 2 Track, 12 row, 32 step sequencer with MIDI sync capabilities. Sequences can also be transposed dynamically while running.
  • A very highly featured arpeggiator with a wide range of different modes, including ‘hold’ mode, enabling arpeggiator-based sequences to be created.
  • The Modal Electronics Animator, which enables any control parameter on the 001 to be sequenced, enabling very complex filter transitions, wave form changes and modulation matrix changes to be sequenced.
  • Ethernet port to connect your 001 to your network and enable updates via the internet (no more midi sysex dumps) and access to the Modal Electronics cloud features
  • High quality 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.
  • 6 ‘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 – Polyphonic, Monophonic, Unison and Stack.
  • Very high quality construction, uses a FATAR semi-weighted five octave key mechanism with aftertouch.
  • Most voice control parameters are accessible from a well designed and intuitive front panel, that follows a traditional synthesizer work flow.
  • Pure analogue signal path from the oscillators onwards, no digital conversion.
  • 4 CV inputs and 4 CV outputs.
  • Optional Digital Output board providing multi voice outputs over USB (Class Compliant) with FX available Q2 2015.
  • Two audio inputs enabling audio processing from the VCF onwards plus external MIDI in and out.
  • XY joystick for performance controls – any control parameter can be assigned to any joystick axis (X+, X-, Y+, Y-).

Pricing and Availability

The Modal 001 synthesizer has a suggested retail price of £1350 (EU €1,850, US $1,995). For additional information, check out the Modal Electronics website.

19 thoughts on “The Modal 001 Synth ‘Sounds Quite Huge & Immense At The Bottom End’

    1. AnalOg: You have actually become the “Kraptashian” of this site and comments.

      I own the 001, and having worked for more than a dozen synth makers as an Engineer and Programmer, not including consultation work, this in my opinion is one of the truly inspiring instruments I have seen. I understand that you may be threatened by developing and progressing technology, yet that is life.

        1. I apologise if that was indeed the reference…..whether it be a compliment or criticism, I generally have a viscerally bad reaction when anything I care for is mentioned in the same breath as that vacuously vapid family is mentioned.

          My op oldies to you once more Anolog and my gratitude to you Xmas for making me look foolish.

          1. DeepOrb6

            It sounds like, as a Modal owner, you may.also have a healthy appreciation of a fat bottom.

            Sorry if my comments sounded more ‘base’ than ‘bass’.

            Either way – let’s hear it for the deep bass action!

  1. -Great synth.
    -Pricey, but that’s what you get when you want quality
    -Sounds digital (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I love my Z1, and it doesn’t sound analog)

  2. Gorgeous synth! It’s really not that pricey when you compare it to DSI’s Pro 2, which also sells for $1999. I already own a Pro 2, but am very intrigued by the sounds and capabilities of the Modal 001.

  3. Great video, this thing sounds fantastic, I really want one. Reminds me of the Access line of synthesizers (besides the voice count) in terms of top of the line technology. That said, I wonder what Access is cooking these days they seem to have gone quiet for a bit now.

  4. Hi , i was wondering what type of synthesis this synthesizer actually do , i can’t find any information on the website or maybe it is something i don’t understand.From the specs i can only say it is substractive synthesis , …

    1. It’s subtractive, yes, Oscillators are digital and lacks of FM, but compensates greatly with lots of waveforms. Highlights are the transistor ladder filter, which is continuous 4p > bp > 2p controlled from the slope pot, which is also accessed from the mod-matrix. The drive in the mixer section adds tons of character. And most important features in my opinion are the sequencer and animator.
      A not very known fact is that (eventually) they will sell hardware effect boards, to be added inside the unit. Pots to control that are already in the front panel but still not usable. I own a 002 and i’m very happy with it.

      1. Thank you for all the precisions !!!, lack of FM kind of kill the deal for me :/ but it seems like a great synth anyway for that price range.

  5. Nice device,
    Shame that Paul Maddox went to make these one-timer synths and didn’t go forward with his open-source synth/device called “soundart chameleon”. <- My opinion.

Leave a Reply