Musikmesse 2015: Modal Electronics unveils 008 8-voice analogue polysynth

008: License to make analogue sounds.
008: License to make analogue sounds.

MUSIKMESSE 2015: British manufacturer Modal Electronics has made a big statement of intent by launching the 008, an eight-voice, 16-VCO and 16-sub oscillator pure analogue polysynth.

This is powered by an entirely new analogue engine. Each of the eight voices features two VCOs (offering sawtooth, triangle, and square waveforms with PWM and noise) and two sub oscillators. The waveforms can be blended to create complex new wave shapes.

The filter, meanwhile, offers 16 types and additional filter overdrive, while the filter envelope is said to be ultra-fast and can be assigned to any parameter. There are also two LFOs with multiple wave shapes.

Other features include oscillator and filter FM and a modulation matrix, while there's also a 4.3-inch, full-colour, context-sensitive display. A sequencer and arpeggiator are in place, too, as is the option to control and edit the 008's functions from any HTML5-compatible browser. The synth has a solid steel chassis and comes with a five-octave Fatar keyboard.

Full specs are below, and you can also find out more on the Modal Electronics website. The 008 is scheduled for released in the summer.

  • 008 provides eight discrete voices of polyphony with an uncompromising analogue architecture utilising the highest grade components throughout
  • Two 100% analogue VCOs per voice with two sub oscillators, providing sawtooth, triangle, square with PWM and noise. Each of the waveforms can be blended together to provide completely new complex wave shapes
  • Innovative and extremely flexible 16 multi-mode filter, consisting of traditional modes such as low-pass, band-pass and high-pass as well as more unusual notch, phase and combination modes.
  • Filter overdrive enables the sound to be driven to sonic extremes
  • A range of classic analogue polysynth features such as oscillator and filter FM bringing amazing sonic power
  • Two LFOs, both capable of reaching audio rates with multiple wave shapes and midi sync
  • 11 modulation sources with unlimited destinations. Each destination can be set it's own unique depth, a super smooth sample rate of 10kHz and all accessible from the front panel - no menu diving
  • 008 features a range of sequencing options - a built in 2 Track, 12 row, 32 step sequencer with 16 dedicated step time editing knobs on the front panel and MIDI sync capabilities. Sequences can also be transposed dynamically while running
  • A very highly featured arpeggiator with a wide range of different modes, including 'hold' mode, enabling arpeggiator-based sequences to be created
  • The Modal Electronics Animator, which enables any control parameter on the 008 to be sequenced, enabling very complex filter transisitions, wave form changes and modulation matrix changes to be sequenced
  • Ethernet port to connect your 008 to your network and enable updates via the internet (no more midi sysex dumps) and access to the Modal Electronics cloud features
  • Two part multi-timbral (bi timbral) allowing splits across the keyboard or stacks to create amazingly complex sounds
  • Superb UI, a great departure from the norm of synthesisers, featuring a very high quality 4.3″ screen with wide viewing angle, display is context sensitive where the control parameters of any control knob that is touched by the user, is immediately displayed
  • Eight 'quick recall banks' are accessible directly from the front panel, enabling performing musicians to get rid of their set sheets and build set lists of presets, sequences and animations, all quickly accessible from dedicated front panel buttons. Up to ten banks of quick recalls can be created, making live performance a doddle
  • Ultra fast (1ms) VCF and VCA envelope generators. VCF-EG is one of the 11 modulation sources that can be freely assigned to any parameter by it's own unique amount
  • Four Key Modes - Polyphonic, Monophonic, Unison and Stack
  • Very high quality construction, uses a premium FATAR semi-weighted five octave key mechanism with aftertouch
  • All voice control parameters are accessible from a well designed and intuitive front panel, that follows a traditional synthesiser work flow
  • Combined XLR/TRS sockets for balanced / unbalanced outputs. Further, each of the eight outputs can be brought out individually via a dedicated d-sub socket.
  • Optional Digital Output board providing multi voice outputs over USB (Class Compliant) with FX available Q2 2015.
  • Two audio inputs enabling audio processing from the VCF onwards plus external MIDI in and out
  • XY joystick and Sustain and Expression pedal inputs for performance controls - any control parameter can be assigned to any joystick axis (X+, X-, Y+, Y-) by pressing the dedicated front panel selector button
Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.