Modal Electronics Announces COBALT5S Compact Synthesizer

Modal Electronics has introduced a new addition to their COBALT Series, the COBALT5S.

The COBALT5S features MPE support, 16 quick-access smooth rotary switch encoders, a 37-note compact-key keybed with aftertouch, and an X/Y/Z Touchpad for pitch bend, mod wheel and/or modulation assignments. Other features include a realtime/step sequencer with four animation lanes and a programmable arpeggiator.


  • The Engine – Featuring five true polyphonic voices, two independent algorithm groups, up to 8 oscillators per voice, 40 complex algorithms, including Sync, Ring Modulation, Waveform Morphng and many more.
  • ‘Next-Generation’ Filter – The COBALT5S features the same self-oscillating 4-Pole Morphable Ladder Filter from the COBALT8. Four separate filter modes fuse with mainstay controls for Cutoff and Resonance, alongside a Morph parameter to musically manipulate the frequency response of the filter.
  • Modulation Control – Three envelopes, complete with selectable types, take command of the filter, amp or modulation destinations. One Polyphonic LFO and one Global LFO let you control a wide range of modulation sources, selected via an 8-slot modulation matrix.
  • Performance Control – The COBALT5S offers a 512-note realtime/step-sequencer, complete with 4 animation lanes, with a built-in programmable 32-step advanced arpeggiator. It also supports MPE, for users with a compatible MPE controller.
  • MODALapp – Available as a standalone app for macOS, Windows, iOS, iPadOS or Android systems and in VST3 and AU plug-in formats, it lets you do deep editing of sound and performance parameters, manage your sound library and manage patches and sequences.

Pricing and Availablity

COBALT5S can is available now for pre-order with an MSRP of $449 /€449/£379, with estimated shipping within the next 2 weeks.

22 thoughts on “Modal Electronics Announces COBALT5S Compact Synthesizer

    1. Mostly for marketing reasons I assume (make it less performant than more expensive synths in their line up). Even the cheapest ARM chip on the market should be able to comfortably power more than that. Now they might be using atmega 8bit chips for some reason…
      Or maybe their model is very very expensive to run or not very well optimised.

  1. Processor limitations. More voices would probably require a more powerful DSP or FPGA and therefor a higher price.

  2. No velocity, either.

    I thought it was funny in the little vignette “Notice how it doesn’t fit in this bag.” Good thing it wasn’t raining.

    The XY pad seems cool and the controls seem nice.

    It’s a tough one because it is kind of partially cool as a keyboard and partial cool as a synth.

    1. This is from Modal website:
      “ Taking the legendary build quality synonymous with Modal Electronics’ synthesiser roster, and outfitting this with a 37-note compact keybed with aftertouch”
      So, not only velocity, but aftertouch as well 😉

  3. I must admit when I saw it I thought yes that is a good move on their part a mini keyboard……it looks very nice. £379……interesting……..
    It’s hitting a Boutique price point…….hmmmm………

  4. The story of Cobalt seems more and more similar to that of Ultranova: virtual analog, first model in blue color and 3 octaves, then the down scaled version…

  5. Somehow the video is a case where i think that the capabilities of the synth were not exactly highlighted. A repeating chord progression in a static manner , some bleep bleep arps and some beatbox, a pretty girl and a studio with expensive speakers. I am pretty sure the synth will be awesome and at least as good as the boutique`s but the video itself did not “sell it to me” 🙂

    1. I feel similar…this advertising-video reminds me too much of a tv-commercial. it is technically and advertisingwise well done, but people who will buy this (probably not bad) synth will not get sold on these kind of “traditional”-advertising films…
      in fact i don´t care if this dude drives with a car to the studio or if they send each other messages…
      Also that you don´t hear the “real”-sond from the video, like as the guy speaks into the mic irritates me…i want to know what he is doing there.

      Sorry for the critics… 🙁

    2. Agreed, the video doesn’t help. Fortunately there’s a bunch of Youtube content demonstrating that it’s a very decent synth for the price.

  6. Looks like a worthy contender for Good Synth To Put Above Your Controller. No one will use the editor during a show, but it’ll help you prepare to make the most of the instrument if you go there.

    4 animation lanes (*cough* Wavestate), up to 8 osc. per voice and MPE make it even more appealing. There’s a lot under the hood. Its like a clever cross between a Critter & Guitari Organelle and a Modal 001. Makes a superior stocking stuffer.

  7. I’m worried that’s the same keybed as the keystep pro. If it is, it does have aftertouch, but you have too push so hard on the keys it’s worthless. No finesse at all.

  8. Terrible ad.

    PLEASE just stop with the endless head-nodding videos. And we don’t a hipster story either, not unless it’s funny, like if it HAD actually rained on the way back to the car, and the guy got so pissed he smashes the shit out of the synth and leaves it in the gutter, but… the synth is waitng for him, in bed, when he gets home, slogan: co-exist, co-habit… cobalt. Something like that.

  9. I thought hmmm.. it can’t be that bad. But yea the ad was pretty cheesy lol

    Seems like a cool board but not sure about that price. I dont really like the quality of their lower end devices like the kraft synth and sculpt. I’ll wait for a review to see if they used the same knobs as those and quality of the keybed. Also, no battery option is a missed opportunity imo. I would like to see how this compares to the hydra explorer.

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