First Look: Modal Electronics SKULPT 4 Voice Polysynth

Sub $300 portable poly synth      11/07/18
    MP4 18:22 mins    

Modal came to our offices a few days back to show us their brand new SKULPT synth. It's a four voice DSP based portable poly synth based on the Craft synth but with a lot more features.

Developer Luke Saxton came by to show us the pre-production prototype. This represents a pretty complete unit cosmetically, with a few minor OS tweaks pending. The final voicing of presets is yet to be done.

SKULPT can be battery powered or USB (micro) powered, it has full size MIDI din I/O plus MIDI over USB too.

Basic architecture is 2 oscillators, but each of those has four stacked for a total of 8 per voice - that's 32 in total.

As with the Craft, oscillators can be unison stacked or de-tuned and set to harmonic intervals via a spread knob, waves are:

The filter is a morphable 2 pole resonant filter (one per voice) - resonance does appear to roll off the low end, three  ADSR envelopes, two LFOs (syncable) - one LFO 1 global and LFO2 - one per voice. Both have morphable waveforms, with LFO going up into audio rates, relative to the root note.

Additionally, there’s an FM mode with selectable FM depth and ratio between the 2 OCSs as well as Ring Mod.

Distortion and delay effects finish off the voice, with delay time available as a mod destination.

There’s also a 128 step sequencer (short patterns=higher resolution) with four lanes of parameter sequencing, plus arpeggiator.

The keyboard is a touch style keyboard with each key having an indicator LED to show modulation slot depth (8 slots) various values and also mod slot usage and activity.

There’s a lot of features in this little guy, sounds were impressive for such a small machine, with plenty of low end in the waves and some really nice complex pad sounds available when using OSC spread and blending them.

In addition to the synth operation all of the 13 rotary encoders output MIDI in two banks of 13 (with shift mode) so can be used as a box of knobs controller too.

Connections:

  • 1/8th line out
  • 1/8th Headphone out
  • Sync in/out
  • USB micro - MIDI/power
  • 8xAA battery operation

Speaking of which, SKULPT is being launched on exclusively on Kickstarter Friday 13th July, with units shipping somewhere in the region of 12 weeks. We're told the price is to be under $300 USD.

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