If there were an awards ceremony for synth manufacturers, Modal Electronics would surely stake a strong claim to the title of best newcomer. Having burst onto the scene back in the summer of 2014 (then known as Modulus Music), the British outfit has quickly developed a full stable of keyboards and modules, from their original 12-voice polyphonic 002 keyboard through to the two-voice 001, the 002R rack modules and the flagship 008 “analogue powerhouse”.
Your first experience with the 008 can be overwhelming. It’s such a big old brute of a synth that there are a lot of options to get your head around. Just look at the multi-mode filter section, with that large central knob allowing you to select from 15 modes. There’s nothing much particularly unusual about the synth architecture, just a lot of it: two oscillators per voice, that hugely flexible filter, two LFOs and loads of modulation options.
The only downside is the price. At £3,495, the 008 is one of the most expensive synths currently on the market, but you have to take into account the fact that this is the flagship model from a small, boutique company. Is it worth the money? Have a listen and decide for yourself.