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MESSE 2015: Honey, We Shrunk The Synth...
First pictures of the compact Modal Electronics 001 analogue/digital hybrid synthesiser 14/04/15
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If you've taken a look at our Messe Day 1 Live blog you will have seen an empty rack at the Modal Electronics stand. Now, we will be back there with our video cameras soon, but in the meantime the company has sent us an official press release and some nice pictures of their new 001. Here's the press release:
Modal Electronics is proud to present 001, an analogue/digital hybrid synthesiser that the (synth) world has been waiting and asking for, featuring two discrete voices from its high-flying, highly-specified 002 super-synth in a more cost-effective, compact form factor, and representing the first 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 001, then, than one of the most brilliant synth design minds in the UK -- Modal Electronics co-founder and Director Paul Maddox: "While we were elated by the worldwide reaction to 002, we were also aware that, for some, 002 was out of their reach. Also, in many modern music styles, a full 12 notes of polyphony isn't always required. We've had a passion for monosynths for years -- ever since creating the Monowave, but with 001 we wanted to create an outstanding performance instrument with sonic abilities to keep its users creative for many years to come. Through some innovative design work, we have managed to squeeze not one, but two discrete voices from 002, making it a truly duophonic -- not a paraphonic -- instrument."
It is that... and much more besides, more like. Unlike other instrument designs that claim to be two-voice affairs, 001 is, indeed, a true two-part multitimbral, duophonic synthesiser. Simply speaking, it takes the power and flexibility of 002 to deliver two, fully-featured 002 voices in a compact casing that feels as good to the touch as the good looks that it inherits from its bigger-sized sibling. Speaking of which, its FATAR TP/9 three-octave, velocity-sensitive key mechanism with aftertouch is a joy to play -- just like the five-octave version found on 002. Many modern music styles may not necessarily need 12-note polyphony, but make no mistake: 001 is a synth soloist's dream machine... and a sound designer's dream come true!
Taking a technical trip beneath its beautifully-designed bonnet, each of those two voices has two 002 NCOs (Numerically-Controlled Oscillators) -- Osc1 and Osc2, combining to enable exceptionally high resolution and stability with wide-ranging waveform selections -- with two 002 sub-oscillators, each capable of following those primary NCOs to effectively enable four oscillators per voice. Thereafter, the true pure analogue ladder VCF (Voltage-Controlled Filter) features Modal Electronics' unique filter Slope mode, making hardware morphing of the filter through a range of modes a breeze to work with and delight to listen to. Thanks to Modal Electronics' impressively innovative OS with the same 4.3-inch full-colour, context-sensitive display to die for found on the 002, Modal Electronics' proprietary Animator allows for monumental modulation flexibility, 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.
Moreover, like its 002 bigger brother, 001 is Internet-connectable for straightforward software updates, as well as additional features from Modal Cloud -- coming later this summer. Similarly, 001 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 001's functions via its Ethernet connection... no need for a pesky plug-in!
Focusing, briefly, back on hardware, 001 features the same solid steel chassis construction as 002, sharing the same stunningly-finished colour scheme to compliment a perfect pairing -- polysynth and 'solo' synth, perform together in perfect harmony! Here can be found four fully-assignable CV (Control Voltage) In(puts) and four CV Out(puts) that can capably control any 001 destination while two -- Left and Right -- Audio In(puts) permit processing of external audio using 001's amazing-sounding analogue filter stage. Meanwhile, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) In, Out, and Thru connections are all present and, of course, correct, as is 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, thanks very much! An expansion slot -- for forthcoming fanciful digital expansion card accommodation, providing two channels of 24-bit/192kHz Audio Out(put) over USB into its user's favourite DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) -- also resides here.
Modal Electronics' one and only 001 will be being demoed and displayed 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 musical acquaintance, whatever your stylistic leanings might well be.
Pricing and Availability: 001 is scheduled to ship in late-May 2015. Available through Modal Electronics' growing global network of authorised dealers, its retail price will be £1,350.00 GBP (plus VAT)/£1,620.00 GBP (including VAT); €1,850.00 EUR (plus VAT -- varying rates throughout Europe); and $1,995.00 USD (plus sales taxes where applicable).