Here’s What The $5,200 Modal Electronics Modulus 002 Synth Sounds Like


This pair of videos, via Perfect Circuit Audio, demonstrates the factory patches of the new Modal Electronics Modulus 002.

Modal describes the Modulus 002 as ‘the first analogue/digital hybrid polysynth to have been designed, developed, and manufactured in the UK for four decades’.

The 002 has a US price of $5,200. For details on the Modulus 002, see the Modal site.

63 thoughts on “Here’s What The $5,200 Modal Electronics Modulus 002 Synth Sounds Like

    1. To compare this to a Roland, moreover one based on a review that is less than 9 minutes in totality and more critically based on sound patches is premature at best and unwittingly thoughtless on many facets at worst. Firstly, Modal is well funded, and it is not a company that is a ‘going concern’ thus any inclination to speculate as to their longevity is unfounded.

      They have done remarkably well thus far and are only getting started. As a startup, much like Roli, they will began their offering with a flagship model, and only then were they able to scale their product line to suit various price points to appeal to a broader customer base.

      That said, as Paul Maddox has indicated on numerous publications and interviews, their designs are engineered to last “at least 10” trouble free years and quality like that is not inexpensive. They have military grade specifications to ensure these instruments not only age gracefully, yet progress with software upgrades ensuring their longevity.

      Now, can it sound like a Roland….yes, it can. Yet I assure in capable hands, Roland could never sound like a Modal. I own two Modals thus far, and I can tell you that even the venerable DS does not come close to what this is capable of producing.

    1. If it sounds like omnisphere to you, buy omnisphere then. It dosent marets since no one is listening, isnt it?

    2. is there an animator feature in omnisphere like in the modal synths? I hate to bring this hard/soft debate, but can omnisphere, or even Massive, approximate the sounds and animation capacities of the Modal 002 or 008? for a $5000 machine it is worth asking I believe.

  1. I don’t care if it is “the first analogue/digital hybrid polysynth to have been designed, developed, and manufactured in the UK for four decades”. My Virus TI2 desktop sounds better and costs 2000 USD.

      1. i have both virus ti2 and 002 and the 008 by modal….. not even in the same category. its a shame that people that dont have the instruments feel like they can comment on them.

    1. How do you make virus ti to sound like analog filter resonance, what is your trick? I had virus and it was dead like techno trance supersaw “lead” all the time.

  2. Wow. Perfect City Audio?
    Is that somehow related to the Perfect Circuit audio synthesizer store in Burbank that I frequently visit?

  3. I started liking it at 1:07 in the first clip.

    Pricey when compared to the Prophet 12 (my dream machine), but a real beauty.

    When I win the Powerball jackpot this week, I’ll get both.

    1. Um, yeah. Probably. That’s not an unreasonable or prohibitive price for a top-of-the-line instrument. With synths in particular, I’d personally rather have one really nice one than a wide range of lower-end ones.

      1. Agreed, I own a 002, Virus TI2 Module and a few modular pieces and that’s it. No need to buy a ton of cheap synths as far as I’m concerned.

    1. The OB-12 is built nicely, but sounds like a typical 90’s VA, stair stepping and all.

      Also – did Oberheim have anything to do with it? I thought it was really a Viscount synth, or something like that.

      1. Correct, Viscount designed and manufactured the OB-12 having been granted the Oberheim name by Gibson, who owned it at the time. Oberheim was not involved at all!

  4. these demos make me cry inside. I have an 002 and they absolutely do not do it justice. he doesn’t even play with the filter, which is my favorite aspect of the synth. keep in mind there are no on-board fx.

    1. It’s a “Factory Patches” demo… they always do multiple demos of different types – for all the different complainers out there. There will most likely be some in-depth synthesis videos coming soon.

  5. I agree with Goat Monster. These videos don’t do it justice. The 002 videos on SonicState give one a much better feel for its capabilities and warmth. The 002 is a monster synth. In the studio, I have had the opportunity to play some of the greatest synths ever made (Moog Voyager, Oberheim OB-Xa and Two Voice, Alesis Andromeda, Moog Taurus, Waldorf Q, etc.) and I think that the 002 is AMAZING. It puts a smile on my face every time I play it.

    1. I love PCA and buy gear from them often, but a lot of their demos aren’t that great. check out their prophecy demo as an example.

  6. So basically no support at all for tuning systems other than white western european 12 equal.

    Hope people enjoy their $5200 vanilla synth.

    1. “White western european 12 equal”? Oh my.

      Twelve-tone equal temperament was initially developed in China. And Western Europe did not widely or readily adopt the twelve-tone equal temperament system until the early 1900s. Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Haydn and many other Western European composers created their music for the Meantone temperament, Werckmeister temperament, and Young temperament systems, although several other systems were commonly employed as well.

      And you would suggest that an instrument using the twelve-tone equal temperament is “vanilla”? I’ve got news for you: unique and worthwhile music isn’t made by the tuning system itself, but by the notation within that tuning system.

      Besides, while the Modal 002 (apparently) doesn’t support Scala tuning files, it does support the full range of MIDI pitch and detune messages. In other words, the Modal 002 can easily be set up to use any tuning system.

      1. Don’t feed the RabidBat! Calling 12-TET “white western european 12 equal” manages to be europhobic and eurocentric at the same time.

        The thing we should be complaining about is that none of the big Japanese synth companies seem to be able to make a keyboard with the construction quality of a synth like this anymore. Their synths of the 80s could stand up to anything – now they make synths built like Casio home keyboards.

    2. do you know how small of a company Modal is? that said, there are frequent OS updates and feature additions. I’ve only had my 002 for 2 months, and I’ve already received 2 updates. Give them time.

  7. sounds great, but so much $ for a new synth from a company they may or may not be successful. don’t forget to buy backup parts for repairs just in case the company fails.

  8. Expensive fags, rail tickets, rents and synths…that’s the UK. My Kurzweil, Virus and JP-8080 together cost half and sound just as good (if not better)…and neither one of them is ‘analog’ (boo hiss!).

  9. Its rather strange as I have an OB12 and was just playing it before listening to this video. Others have stated it above and although Im sure this synth has a few more bells & whistles (forgive the pun), it does sound amazingly similar to the OB12. Im not saying its a bad synth. It looks and sounds great, just that it hasn’t moved synthesis forward much and the price is just a show stopper for the vast majority of musicians.

  10. Everyone can’t afford everything. Just because you can’t afford something or find no value/utility in it does not mean the item is trash. I have no desire or ability to buy a Porsche but that does not mean a Porsche is “too expensive” or I should say “my (insert car name here) does the same thing”. Most of you have never even played any of the Modal instruments. I have played the 002 and own the 001, they are great instruments in my opinion with great depth. The 002 sounds great but is too big for my set up and I also can not justify spending that much for a synth at this point in my life and career. I’m sure if most of you had the money to buy a 002 or 008, you would. Stop complaining about the price, play one and make a fair and honest assessment of its value.

  11. Can you automate the 002 inside the DAW like the Virus?

    Also, they said something about Audio through USB. Still no news about that optional card.

    1. I own a Virus TI2 desktop and a Modal 001 and the 001 does not have a ‘VST’ that runs inside of your DAW like the Virus series does. I believe the Modal desktop modules have an online editor since the modules do not have enough knobs to do detailed editing. I spoke with Lucca Mucci from Modal via email a few months ago and the FX card is not yet ready for release.

      1. you can open in html so it will be like opening a vst. can automate that way if you wanna do it with the screen. your daw does pick it up as midi cc and you can draw in automation in daw software not a problem

  12. It sounds divine and I’m sure there’s crossover with many poly synths when it comes to playing sounds you can usually get almost any synth to sound close to another one.. Sure some have more color or old sounding oscillators but who cares, if you love the layout and design, and can afford it, then support the people who put their hearts and souls into this thing, Roland is a mega Giant company this is a small boutique In comparison it’s a big deal and not necessarily the most lucrative industry to be pouring yourself into, be thankful things like this exist so you can throw out criticisms, haters gonna hate no matter what, if it’s a volca keys people complain , if it’s a mega poly people complain.. It’s the Internet so let’s all complain about the Internet.. Or we can appreciate that we live in such great times, come to think of it I do really hate my tiny iPhone, and I hate autocorrect too!!

  13. Hook up the 002 to a live stage amplifier and you will be awestruck by the massive sound this synth can is capable of. It’s worth every penny. Most synths have an Arpeggiator and some have a Sequencer. The 002 not only has both but also an Animator capable of some serious timbrality. It also has 55 waveforms to create some astonishing sounds.

    1. So why does it sound so boring in all demos ? There’s not one unique signature sound in the presets … ? A synth that sounds great in HiFi and on 3000 grand speakers is rubbish for music production

  14. Nice post.! Very informative 🙂

    $5K is just the right price for a quality piece of hardware that should last a decade in a professional studio.

  15. What makes the Modal great is that it uses high resolution NCOs as it’s oscillators and is aliasing free because of it. Synths lke the OB12 and other VAs can alias easily because they are simply not operating at a high enough sample rate.

  16. >What makes the Modal great is that it uses high resolution NCOs as it’s oscillators and is aliasing free because of it.
    FYI NCO is buzzword, they are usual accumulator Digital OSCs and they are aliasing as hell.

    So what’s exactly in this MKS-70/MKS-80 sounds worth 5k?
    I think there are cheaper synths on market that sound simple better.

    1. Agreed, this thing aliases like crazy. It has a very odd texture… something that may be enjoyable to some types – particularly the IDM type crew (Aphex, Autechre, etc would probably do some cool stuff with it). But, yeah, it makes it sound bad compared to most synths.

      1. Or maybe it’s the lack of aliasing or just the NCOs.. but my point is that this thing sounds odd in person. The video doesn’t even show how weird it can sound.

  17. This synth is in the top-5 of worst synths I’ve ever played.
    Operation is also extremely tedious.
    It sounds like the oscillators are phasing like mad.
    With that type of dosh one can get some pretty amazing gear that goes far beyond.

    1. Oscilators are phasing realy. You know that you need symetrical audio waves to make it out of phase? I belive you are talking bout osciltors being slitly out of tune? People actualy like it. Ask someone if you will be in the studio your first time lol what phasing is.

  18. As an owner of the 002, I think the fairest criticism has come from Something. I am an unapologetic member of the Autechre crowd the poster references. Further, if you are a fan of Download, COIL, etc, you will like this synth. I constantly have to remind myself there are no fx involved when I generate crazy and unique aural details with this synth. It stays in my studio, because it is unique.

    To be honest, I find some of these very self assured comments that are based upon YouTube compression video very amusing. I will also admit that when I first played the 002, I was somewhat turned off by it, but I think it had more to do with the very pushy shop owner that knew I buy a lot of synths.

    A lot of these comments remind me of the criticisms the p12 received, and yet it is probably my favorite instrument in my studio. I certainly find it more useful than the p6 I own. It will find a home amongst the 30 + other synths I own that include everything from a Shared System to a Blofeld to an Andromeda to a DX7 to a Poly Evolver to an sh101 to the f-ing volcas. I would like to add that I derive the same amount of pleasure from the volcas as I do from the 002 or the sub37.

    I’m really sick of the knee jerk cynicism. They are synths. They are supposed to be fun. Stop blaming the tools for your insufficiency…and yes my z1 is one of my most useful instruments. Suck it. 😛 If your tools differ, that’s awesome, and it should be celebrated.

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