Modal promoting polysynth powerhouse at German music show.
Breakthrough British electronic musical instruments manufacturer Modal Electronics is proud to present 008, an eight-voice, 16-VCO (Voltage-Controlled Oscillator), and 16-sub-oscillator pure analogue polysynth powerhouse par excellence, representing the third of three new ‘numerical’ products that it is simultaneously showcasing at Musikmesse 2015, April 15-18 in Frankfurt, Germany.
All three of these new synthesisers share the OS (Operating System) common to 002, so speed of development is now rapidly accelerating. Amazingly, within mere months of 002 taking the synth world by storm at the time of its July 2014 launch, then turning heads and opening ears at The NAMM Show 2015, January 22-15, in Anaheim, California, today’s amazing announcement — after all, no other synthesiser manufacturer has delivered such a diverse range of cutting-edge instruments in less than a year — coincides with Modal Electronics experiencing rapid growth, establishing a growing global network of authorised dealers while expanding its home-grown talented team by hiring some of the most brilliant (synth design) minds in the UK.
Who better to formally introduce 008, then, than one of the most brilliant synth design minds in the UK — Modal Electronics co-founder and Director Paul Maddox: “Modal Electronics is, first and foremost, a synthesiser company, and, rather than being married to any one particular synthesis technology, we understand that synthesists want access to a wide range of sounds in their sonic palette. For many, the sound of pure analogue VCOs, VCFs, and VCAs hold a special place in their musical hearts — hence us taking the decision to take a radical new design approach to creating a new breed of analogue synthesis engine, married to an astonishing level of control provided by the OS, as already ably demonstrated in 002.”
As an equally attractive alternative to the amazing analogue/digital hybrid voice architecture beating at the musical heart of Modal Electronics’ breakthrough British-built 002 super-synth, 008 employs an entirely new and incredibly innovative pure analogue voice engine employing components of the highest order throughout to create an uncompromising analogue voice architecture. As such, 008 should not be viewed as an 002 replacement, but rather provides discerning musicians with wide-ranging, replacement sources of top-notch timbres to die for — digital purity (002) or analogue grace (008), clearly choices are to be had here. However, 008 duly demonstrates that Modal Electronics is not simply a ‘one-hit wonder’, but rather remains clearly committed to continuing to bring the best synthesiser products in the world to market. Moreover, 002 will continue to be developed for many years to come, keeping digital denizens of Modal Electronics’ ever-expanding synthesiser world as happy as their alternative analogue well-wishers. Why don’t we take a closer look at 008’s amazing analogue attractions residing within its graphite-finished good looks?
Let’s start at its musical core, then. The two-part multi-timbral (bi-timbral) design supports splits across the same FATAR TP/9 five-octave, velocity-sensitive key mechanism with aftertouch as used on 002 and also ‘stacks’ to create complex sounds. Saying that, 008 comes complete with eight voices with 16 VCOs and 16 sub-oscillators of pure analogue awesomeness. As such, each voice provides two VCOs with two sub-oscillators. Each VCO is 100% analogue, providing sawtooth, triangle, and square waveforms with PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) and noise. Each can be blended to provide completely new, complex wave shapes. Additionally, a range of classic analogue polysynth features, such as oscillator and filter FM (Frequency Modulation), make for amazing-sounding sonic firepower. Furthermore, an exclusive, extensive modulation matrix system provides an almost unlimited supply of modulation possibilities. Its innovative, impressively flexible filter design combines various traditional modes, such as lowpass, bandpass, and high-pass, with additional modes of notch filters, phase filters, and combinations thereof — 16 different filter types in all, actually. An additional filter overdrive — first implemented in 002 — enables the sound to be driven to sonic extremes! Ultra-fast (1ms) filter envelopes enable snappy-sounding sounds to be quickly created with the greatest of ease while the filter envelope is assignable to any parameter. Pushing the design envelope further still, two LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) with multiple wave shapes are both capable of reaching audio rate and also sync-able to MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
Indeed, just like its 001, 002, and 002R brethren, by being based around Modal Electronics’ extraordinary OS, 008 also makes much use of a 4.3-inch, full-colour, context-sensitive display — first shown on 002, bringing all of 002’s OS-based fanciful features to bear on its younger synth sibling, such as Modal Electronics’ proprietary Animator, allowing for monumental modulation flexibility by bringing 12 animated ‘rows’ of parameter sequencing into productive play. Speaking of sequencing, the onboard Sequencer supplies two tracks of 32 steps, each with up to 12 notes/parameters, providing polyphonic part playback. Performance- wise, an advanced Arpeggiator abounds with multiple modes and features to musically die for. Furthermore — just like its 001, 002, and 002R brethren before it, 008 is Internet-connectable for straightforward software updates, as well as additional features from Modal Cloud — coming later this summer. Similarly, 008 fully supports the Modal Web interface… use any HTML5-compatible web browser — Chrome, Firefox, Safari, et al — on any platform that supports a browser — desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet — for full control and editing of 008’s functions via its Ethernet connection… no need for a pesky plug-in!
Returning, briefly, back to its impressive hardware, 008’s solid steel chassis shares the same high-quality construction attributes as 002 before it — albeit sporting stealthy graphic good looks that are as easy on the eye as they are to the human touch, while still beautifully complimenting its instrument family members’ matching colour scheme. Similarly, two — Left and Right — Audio In(puts), permitting processing of external audio using 008’s amazing-sounding analogue filter stage are rearward residing. There, too, resides an internal, worldwide — 60 Watts | 100 – 240V | 50 – 60Hz — auto- sensing Power supply with IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) mains inlet — no wobbly ‘wall wart’ hiding here! — alongside an expansion slot — for forthcoming fanciful digital expansion card accommodation, providing eight channels of 24-bit/192kHz Audio Out(put) over USB into its user’s favourite DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Well, that surely says a lot about Modal Electronics’ daring, dazzling design, doesn’t it?
Indeed, Modal Electronics’ one and only 008 will be being showcased as a technology demonstrator in Hall 5.1, Stand A76 at Musikmesse 2015, April 15-18 in Frankfurt, Germany. Get down there today and come check it out! We would welcome making your analogue acquaintance, albeit it true or otherwise! 008 is scheduled for full release this summer when it will become available through Modal Electronics’ growing global network of authorised dealers.