Modal CRAFTsynth Monophonic Synthesizer Review

In the latest episode of Sonic Lab, host Nick Batt takes a look at the recently introduced Modal CRAFTsynth monophonic synthesizer.

The CRAFTsynth is an assemble-it-yourself monophonic synthesizer, with full MIDI support through a Class Compliant USB port. According to to Modal, the CRAFTsynth can be assembled in 10 minutes, with no tools, and ‘it brings real synthesizer performance to a new price point’.

Batt calls it a ‘cracking little instrument’, adding “Don’t let the funky appearance trick you into thinking it can’t make some pretty impressive sounds.” Plus – Pulse Width Modulation!

Pricing and Availability

The Modal CRAFTsynth is expected to ship in early December 2016, with an MSRP UK £79.99 including VAT. It will be available in Europe exclusively through Gear4Music. US release and pricing are TBA. Details are available at the Modal site.

14 thoughts on “Modal CRAFTsynth Monophonic Synthesizer Review

  1. Sounds great. Not sure it sounds better than several inexpensive iPad synth apps though. Without a non-USB MIDI input it needs to be hooked up to an iPad or computer anyway (if you want to play more than 5 notes, that is) so it sorta loses the ‘standalone’ factor for me.

    The audio output board is discreet from the others. Maybe they’ll release an updated I/O board with MIDI as upgrade (if it’s even feasible). Assuming the ‘hidden’ synth functions are available via CC, we could then use it with a standalone MIDI controller to get at all of the guts without the need for a screen.

    1. The description actually says it’s designed to work stand alone or with an I pad editor so no surprises there.

      Using Software alone is not the same experience as using Hands on instruments and I’m not talking about the sound, that’s a cliche point these days…. a hybrid is best of both, and I might just build one With my kid over Christmas x

      1. I’m not dissing it. Sounds great and it’s under $100—what’s to complain about?! But without using a computer or iPad (or MIDI USB host box like the iConnect or Kenton boxes) to convert a keyboard to USB MIDI, ‘standalone’ means you can trigger a maximum of 5 notes via the front panel*. It’s not a USB host. This isn’t standalone in the way Volcas are, for instance. Melodically anyway.

        * happily you can switch the scale and octave range of the 5 pads directly on the hardware but that’s not really for real time playing.

        1. I dunno, I just used a little adapter and play directly using my JV-35 as a MIDI controller. No iPad in sight.

          1. you’re the first to confirm this i’ve read anywhere. The Midi controller and Modal kit work autonomously from computer and with all midii controller keys accessible?

  2. It seems that Modal is getting into the Volca’s market, if you consider the price and the free slots into the iPad App. It is a nice shot indeed! if succeed, then they would go for a real complete budget mono synth…and a 4 voice poly….annd then…..Ok, i’ll stop drinking coffee!

    1. ….

      Or in reality …. It’s actually a stand alone mono synth kit from a high end synth designer in the uk with an added editor (these take resources too) available, on by far the most popular platform for creative applications, all for less than 100 quid …. but I guess it should be free and do more. 🙂

      not too long ago this would be the price of a plugin, and a hardware version of it a dream (unless you could design it yourself)

  3. Just got a Craft Synth for my birthday…what a great little synth. Very wide range of sound possibilities and an intuitive interface. It definitely functions as a stand alone synth so long as you are OK with one of the preset chords that can be mapped to the 5-note keyboard. I have mine plugged into a USB port on my laptop so I can play it from my main controller keyboard and/or sequencer (old version of Cakewalk).

    I have the Widows version of the editor software and it’s actually pretty neat. Since I don’t use plug-ins or a fancy DAW (I use Audacity to record down from my analogue mixing board) it’s nice to have a stand-alone editor for shaping sounds.

    I hope Modal puts out more Craft instruments. A little Craft drum machine and Sequencer with the same form factor would kick-ass.

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