PWM Mantis Synthesizer A Spiritual Successor To The EDP Wasp

PWM has introduced the Mantis synthesizer, a duophonic synthesizer that’s the spiritual successor to the EDP Wasp synthesizer.

The Mantis is a collaboration between the late Chris Hugget (Gnat, Wasp, Oscar) and Paul Whittington of PWM. Here, Whittington tells the story of the synth’s origin:


  • 200 Patches
    • All patches in RAM so can be overwritten
    • Bank A: 100 Factory presets
    • Bank B: 100 User presets (all set to initial patch)
    • Compare function
    • Initialize patch function
  • Duophonic with 2 analog signal paths
    • Mathematically generated oscillators designed by Chris Huggett
    • Analogue signal path designed by Chris Huggett
  • 2 Oscillators plus sub-oscillator per voice
    • Sine / Triangle / Saw / Pulse plus additional wave types
    • Shape control and shape modulation input
    • Will create pulse width modulation on the pulse waveform with perfect square
      at the center
    • Pitch modulation control
    • Octave selects per oscillator
    • OSC 1 SUB follows oscillator 1 parameters
  • Oscillator Drift
    • Creates random pitch variations between oscillators
  • Multi-mode state variable VCA filters with overdrive
    • 2 Analogue filters – 1 per signal path
    • Low Pass / Band Pass / High Pass in 12dB and 24dB configurations
    • Additional WBAND (series) and WSTOP (parallel) types
    • Filter Cutoff
    • Filter Cutoff Modulation
    • Filter Resonance
    • Filter Width
    • Filter Width Modulation
    • Filter Keytrack
  • LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator)
    • 2 LFOs
    • 4 waveshapes per oscillator
    • Fade In / Fade Out parameter
    • SYNCable
  • Rate control
  • Envelopes
  • 2 Independent envelopes
  • ENV 1 normalised to amplitude
    • ADSR
      * + Sustain Fall parameter for shaping during key-down
      * + Repeat which can be used to create looping envelopes
      * Velocity positive and negative control
  • Ring modulation
  • Mixer
    • First mix: OSC1 and OSC2
    • Second mix: OSCillators and noise
    • Third mix: OSCillators + noise and Ring modulator
  • VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier)
    • All amplification is done in the analogue domain in multi-stage VCAs
  • Modulation Routes
    • Control – 6 choices of modulation parameters
    • Source – 6 choices of effectors from envelopes and LFOs
    • Scale – choices of controls used to scale the effect of the modulation
  • Glide
    • Glide amount
    • Auto-glide mode
  • Indicator LEDs
    • Two LEDs for Voice
    • LED for Keyboard activity
  • Master tune
  • Master volume
  • Triggering
    • ENV 1 Legato
    • ENV 2 Legato
    • LFO Keytrig
      LFO Keytrig
    • Master power switch
    • DC 9V input
    • USBC
    • MIDI IN / OUT / THRU
    • Sustain pedal input (switch)
    • Pedal input (continuous)
    • Stereo 1/4” line Outs: L/Mono and R
    • Stereo 1/4” headphone out
  • ?Multi-function Joystick control
    • Left / right for pitch bend
    • Performable vibrato
    • Latching hold mode
  • Arpeggiator
    • 6 arpeggiator types – Up, Down, Up/Down 1, Up/Down 2, Played & Random
    • Sync rates control from 2nds to 32nds
    • Tap tempo button
    • Swing including positive and negative swing
    • Auto clock sync – Detects MIDI or USB-MIDI clock and synchronises the arpeggiator
    • Latch via joystick HOLD
    • 6 Octave range
  • Dedicated tempo control
  • Duophonic mode control
    • Duo mode
    • Duo mode with simple filter
    • Pan control for duophonic voicing
  • Digital Effects
    • Reverb time
    • Reverb level
    • Reverb High Pass Filter
    • Reverb Low Pass Filter
    • Chorus level
    • Chorus type
  • Keyboard Control
    • 37 Full-size semi-weighted velocity-sensitive keys
    • Channel aftertouch
    • Octave shift


The PWM Mantis is priced at $1,499 USD, with a street price around $1,349. See the PWM site for more information.

17 thoughts on “PWM Mantis Synthesizer A Spiritual Successor To The EDP Wasp

    1. Yes, they say so in the video I watched (I think it was Starsky Carr). The filter is like the oscar in that it allows dual resonant peaks.

      IDK much about the Oscar and I never heard of dual resonant peaks on the oscar filter, but that’s the gist of what they said.

  1. That’s an impressive send-off instrument for Hugget. Its a good team effort and it shows. Its the perfect partner for a similar monosynth that features jacks for outboard modulars. I’ll always have GAS for the Supernova, though. Its such a beast, its Hugget’s pinnacle.

  2. This is a very moving tribute to a very talented and underrated synth designer and pioneer but I find this headline really strange. How can a synth at this price point be the successor to the ultra cheap WASP? I bought one of the very first WASPs (which arrived late and not in working order) …. but I was just so grateful Adrian Wagner one of the founders of EDP was trying to at least get a synth in the hands of ordinary people. BTW they duly swapped mine for one that worked and I was launched into the synth world at a time when even the cheapest Roland or Korg was beyond us mere mortals.

    I’m not saying the sound or Paul’s desire to make something that sounded unquie isn’t embodied in this new synth but that the ethos of the WASP was an “Everyman” synth .. which this clearly isn’t. If I was to suggest a synth that is the 2023 successor to the WASP my nomination would go to the new Roland £200 J1. £200 I think that’s what I paid for for WASP back in the day.

    1. According to the inflation calculator of Bank of England, £200 in 1978 would be like £1020 today, about $1270, so that seems comparable.

      1. Yeh … i take your point. In terms of inflation you’re probably right. Which shows you how expensive even the cheapest synth were. Although to be honest it didn’t seem THAT expensive back then. But I still feel the WASP was the “people’s synth” – it was as cheap as they could make it at the time. This isn’t true of the Mantis. It is thought maybe the synth Chris would have loved to make back then. And to be honest I didn’t know he had a hand in the Ultranova before I saw this video. And that is my current favourite synth. I love it.

  3. the headline should be OSCar successor…

    since tons of people LOVE it, and its a legendary synth with amazing sounds

    whereas very few people give a shit about the Wasp, because it’s mediocre at best

  4. Andy, I’ve never known anyone who got into this just a little bit! Everyman synths (good term) are plentiful, usually around $200-400 US. Three or four of them will loosely run the same as the $1349 street price for the Mantis. I’d bet good money that a lot of non-wealthy people will still gather several modules and a Mantis with a necklace of AIRAs & Volcas.

    1. Aye you’re right. The WASP was my first but certainly not my last synth. To me the WASP was about 1) having access to a synth for the first time and then 2) portability. I was a student living 500 mile from home so being portable was so important. Later, after I’d sold the WASP I bought a Yamaha CS 01 because it was battery powered and small and like the WASP I thought it sounded amazing. So you’re right Volcas and Roland boutiques are more like the WASP … they are small and run on batteries but still Ofer a lot. In some ways a Microfreak would also fit the bill. But I think the new Roland S1 is the one I’ll go for.

  5. reading carefully the specs, am i right is saying this has digital oscillators? its fairly vague …i see lots of references to “analog signal paths”…and analog filter…but osc?

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