Modal Electronics’ Argon8 Factory Patch Bank Demo

Today, British synth-makers Modal Electronics released a video of sound demos of some of the presets available in the factory patch banks of their upcoming Modal Argon8 synth:

Modal Argon8 is an 8 voice polyphonic wavetable synthesiser.  It features 120 crafted wavetables, split into 24 banks x 5 morphable waveform sets, 32 oscillators in total (4 per voice) and a large range of wavetable and oscillator modifiers.

Beyond the oscillators there is a multi-mode filter, 3 envelope generators, 2 audio-rate LFOs, 3 powerful independent and user configurable stereo FX engines, a real-time sequencer, a programmable arpeggiator and an extensive modulation matrix.

Modal Electronics introduced the Argon8 earlier this fall at Knobcon 2019. The wavetable synthesizer builds on the legacy of their earlier $4,495 Modal 002.

While we were at Knobcon,  we talked with Jackson from Modal, who gave us this early, in-depth look at the new Argon8 synthesizer:

The Argon8 offers much of the sound design capability and functionality of the Modal 002 – offering deep synthesis capabilities, a sturdy metal case, a full-size keyboard with velocity and aftertouch and more for an expected price of $699.

For more information, or to sign up for product updates, go to the Modal Electronics website.

25 thoughts on “Modal Electronics’ Argon8 Factory Patch Bank Demo

  1. Looks nicely positioned to compete with the Korg Minilogue. Gimme one of each. I still like the aroma of workstations, but it’d be fun to play these with a controller that does zoning. Its more organic than sitting in front of a battleship.

    1. Ha. Yeah. If this thing were a plug-in, I wouldn’t be very impressed. In fact, you could say it IS a plugin that runs on itself instead of on your laptop and has nice controls mapped to its parameters. It sounds pretty good, but there are a bunch of plugins that sound just as good or better and offer more interesting features. The only reason there’s a market for something like this or the Hydrasynth is the fact that no one has yet figured out how to offer a truly “hardware-like” hands-on experience for controlling synth plugins. But it’s coming. I predict that about 2 years after the MIDI 2.0 protocol is released into the wild, possibly sooner, a product will exist that will give you that elusive “real synth” experience when playing a plugin. Shortly after that, a synth like this will no longer have much of a market. So I’m pretty sure this thing has a shelf-life of three years or so. If I’m wrong and this thing becomes a classic that people pay good money for second-hand in five or ten years, I’ll drink a glass of dog urine. But I get to choose the dog. And the glass.

      1. I understand what you mean. But there is a lot to be said for a well organized hardware package. People are still raving about the Microwave XT after all these years.

          1. I’d say the Hydrasynth layout cracks it pretty damn well. For a synth that wasn’t necessarily designed to control plugins I think their “button per segment attached to knobs with displays” editing scheme would work wonderfully for controlling most plugins. For now, controllers like Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol MK2 keyboards are the best we’ve got for automatic hardware control of plugins but there’s still a great deal of improvement to be made in that area. I believe that the next generation of controllers that attempt automatic mapping of soft synth parameters will do so by grouping synthesis sections to dedicated areas of the interface, a la the Hydrasynth. Even a more generalized layout consisting of 16 knobs/screens with shortcut buttons for oscillators, envelopes. LFO’s, filters, effects, etc. would be preferable to the 8 knobs, 8 buttons, 2 screens layout of the NI Komplete Kontrol MK2.

            1. You forget some people don’t use computers to produce, also damn near every plugin would need modification to allow midi mapping of all parameters. On/Off, wave/table, filter type, effect type, mod source/destination, etc.. It’s such a pita not being able to map a control to wavetable select. Totally kills any workflow when trying to quickly shape the basis of a patch or even just alter one.

    1. Odd if you consider the vast majority of the best selling modern poly synths to be weird choices, from the microKorg to the JD-XI, and from the Minilogue to the soon to be Argon8. If you want the real next step up it’ll be the Summit. Otherwise you’re not getting a better wavetable synth under $1,000 unless it’s a stolen design and made in China.

    2. I get really frustrated by 3 octave keyboards, even 4 is limiting! I’m really glad Roland are bringing back 5-octave keyboards and sound modules. IMO that’s the best combination.

  2. One of the best sounding digital synths i have heard – EVER!
    Full size keys and midi ports so noone can complain.
    Complex modulations possible.
    Eight voices.

    All for the price of a minilogue xd!

    Too good to be true!

  3. wow sounds really insane. if this is going to be 699 it could be my first Modal. so glad they are making things in a more accessible price range.

  4. Sounds great, well spec’d (apart from timbrality) and British made.
    3 octaves with full size keys is fine for an accompanying synth, ie, one used with other gear. Who needs back-breaking 5 octave monsters anyway, especially when gigging.

  5. More people than not probably have at least one five-octave controller and there is usually one method or another for creating splits with them. If the Argon8 had five octaves, it would cost closer to $1000. I’d rather use it as a module with keys than make it my main synth, but it clearly has a great voice. Wavetable synths have begun to horn in on other methods, ’cause they’re emulating FM, additive and higher-frequency semi-analog really well.

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