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8-voice polysynth from Modal

Powerful virtual analogue instrument unveiled

Modal Electronics Cobalt8

In just a few short years, Bristol, UK-based synth makers Modal Electronics have become a 'one to watch' brand, with almost all of their instruments — from dinky DIY machines like the Craftsynth to their five-octave wavetable powerhouse Argon 8X — receiving high praise.

Their latest release is the Cobalt8, an eight-voice polyphonic virtual analogue synth that sports 37 full-size velocity- and aftertouch-sensitive keys, no fewer than 29 rotary encoders, and an extensively assignable four-axis joystick.

In terms of its architecture, the Cobalt8 offers 64 different oscillator models, of which you can use up to eight per voice. Quite aside from the huge number of wave shapes on offer, you can also morph waves, and cross-modulate them to achieve sync and PWM effects.

After the oscillators comes the filter, which here is a 4-pole design resonant design that can be switched between low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-reject modes.

Modulation options are provided for by amp, mod and filter envelopes, and three LFOs, each of which can be tempo-sync'ed, and turned all the way up to audio frequencies. There are eight assignable modulation slots and four additional fixed modulation routings, with 12 modulation sources and 55 modulation destinations available in total.

Also present are a 32-note arpeggiator and a sequencer capable of recording and playing back a massive 512 steps, with polophony.

There's a built-in effects engine too, of course, which offers a range of choruses, delays, phasers, flangers and reverbs, and Modal tell us that you can even animate delay parameters within the sequencer.

Finally, an accompanying piece of software called ModalApp will offer direct access to all the synth's parameters, and can run on pretty much any Mac or PC, Apple or Android tablet, and even directly within your DAW as a plug-in.

The Modal Cobalt8 is available now, and carries an enticing price of £579.99 including VAT.

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