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Polyverse Supermodal

Dual Filter Plug-in By John Walden
Published May 2023

Supermodal combines innovative twin filters with powerful modulation options.Supermodal combines innovative twin filters with powerful modulation options.

Do you really need another filter plug‑in? We didn’t think so either — until we tried this one!

If you’re into electronic music styles or involved with sound design, can you ever own enough filter plug‑ins? Well, I’ll leave that question for you to debate with your bank account, but Polyverse would undoubtedly like you to consider Supermodal as a contender for the ‘N+1’ slot in your filter collection. The company, formed in 2015 with a ‘by musicians, for musicians’ strategy, have a select plug‑in catalogue that’s clearly aimed at the more creatively minded music‑maker — and as one of the co‑founders of the company is Erez Eisen, of Infected Mushroom fame, they can credibly tick both the ‘musicians’ and ‘creatively minded’ boxes!

Non‑identical Twins

Supermodal, the latest addition to the Polyverse line‑up, is a dedicated filter plug‑in based around a twin filter engine. The two filters, which operate in parallel (there’s a Blend control to crossfade between them), are very different in design. At the top left of the GUI is what might be best described as a well specified ‘standard’ filter, with cutoff and resonance, though there’s the additional twist of it being ‘state‑variable’, which means that you can morph between high‑pass, band‑pass and low‑pass modes of operation. Also worth noting is that this SVF can be pushed into self‑oscillation.

Opposite (top right) you’ll find the second filter, and this is a more unusual ‘modal’ filter. Each of the multiple mode types actually provides a collection of filters, each built on the characteristic resonant frequencies (partials) of a particular type of object (or waveform) when struck or vibrated. Your source audio is therefore filtered through these modal resonances, and it takes on some of the characteristics of the object. Nine modal types are included, each offering three further variations — an excellent diagram on the Polyverse website illustrates the range of modal sources — and, again, you can morph between these options using the trackball‑style X/Y display and its associated sliders. By the way, the website also includes a useful video exploring the modal frequencies of specific objects when struck, how synthesis recreates this, and the underlying algorithms within the modal filter section of Supermodal, and this is well worth a watch! The decay slider controls how long the modal filter’s resonances ring out. The damping control gradually damps the higher frequencies, while the partials slider can be used to shift the tonal balance of the filter between the lower and higher resonant frequencies.

The filters aside, the other key elements contained within the upper portion of the stylish UI are the input/output controls/meters, a global dry/wet slider and a global drive control, which drives the input level going into both filters. All these controls have small padlock icons, with which you can lock the settings to avoid changes in level when switching between presets. A conventional but well‑organised preset browser is accessible in the topmost strip. The supplied preset collection is well stocked, with multiple categories of preset types suggesting their most likely use scenarios. While you can’t edit the factory presets, you can copy them to user preset folders and edit those copies, and the option to create your own list of presets provides the basis for a further neat trick that I’ll described shortly.

The GUI makes it easy to configure modulation targets, including options for stereo operation.The GUI makes it easy to configure modulation targets, including options for stereo operation.

Super Mod

The other key element of the plug‑in is the modulation system, and the main elements of this occupy the lower half of the GUI. Pretty much every parameter of both filter engines can be automated and/or modulated. To facilitate this, you get four modulation slots, each offering a choice from a number of modulation sources. Wonderfully, both filters can operate in stereo: with left/right modulation options available, there’s the potential to create some very cool stereo‑based effects.

There are six modulation sources (Meta Knob, ADSR, Sequencer, Envelope Follower, MIDI/CV and Random) and you can assign any of them, or multiples of a single type, to any of the four colour‑coded slots. A small icon with four vertical lines appears beneath every parameter that’s available for modulation, and clicking on this pops open a window where you can link any of the active slots to that parameter. Note that you can assign multiple modulation sources to a target parameter, and multiple target parameters to each modulation source. So, for example, you could assign several filter parameters to a Meta Knob modulation in one of the four slots, and then use the MIDI Learn option to link the Meta Knob to a hardware encoder on your MIDI control surface for hands‑on control.

The four modulation slots can be populated with any combination of the six modulation sources/types.The four modulation slots can be populated with any combination of the six modulation sources/types.

Space precludes a detailed description of all the options provided by these different modulation sources, but each has something both useful and creative to offer. For example, the sequencer option, which in practice can also be thought of as an LFO‑style source, has 100 preset patterns to explore, and offers the ability to draw your own shape across the 16 steps, adjust the shape of the curve between steps, randomise the pattern, tempo‑sync it, and adjust the retriggering type (including the option to trigger from incoming MIDI notes). The envelope follower lets the incoming audio signal level control the modulation (great, for example, to control the drive level), while the Random source, with its intriguing pitch range and scale controls, can do all sorts of weird and wonderful things (particularly in stereo) to almost any audio source when you’ve set up suitable parameter targets.

With suitable MIDI configuration in your DAW (Cubase’s MIDI plug‑in Transformer is shown here), Supermodal’s preset switching can be triggered by a combination of MIDI CC and MIDI notes.With suitable MIDI configuration in your DAW (Cubase’s MIDI plug‑in Transformer is shown here), Supermodal’s preset switching can be triggered by a combination of MIDI CC and MIDI notes.

No Hitch Switch

There are lots of other impressive technical details to explore in the Supermodal design, but one particularly nice touch is the ability to switch between user presets on the fly. This can be done by using MIDI CC 119 (you can also change user banks using MIDI CC 118), and preset changes seem to work instantly, with no obvious audio glitching. This real‑time switching lets you ‘play’ Polymodal’s different presets as part of your performance.

Of course, while a rotary CC controller works for this, your selection of presets will likely be more accurate if you configure your DAW to translate MIDI note number into MIDI CC data. For example, Logic’s Modifier and Cubase’s Transformer both let you do this (many thanks to Cubase super‑brain Greg Ondo for his guidance on configuring the latter!). You can then essentially assign each preset in your list to a specific MIDI note number. Either way, it’s a very cool option, allowing you to trigger any of your Supermodal presets in a DJ‑style effects‑fest. It’s particularly effective on a drum loops, but can be just as much fun when applied to a synth part or three.

Super Supermodal?

So, on a purely technical level, Supermodal is already very impressive. I like the approach to the controls too: while there’s plenty of sound‑design flexibility the GUI is both smart and mercifully easy to navigate. The options can get deep but, stick an instance on a suitable drum loop or synth sound and, with just a short amount of experimental knob and slider twiddling, you’ll soon have command of Supermodal’s core controls.

You will be quickly and very satisfyingly rewarded with some very cool sonic results, because both filters sound fabulous.

But what of the sound? You will be quickly and very satisfyingly rewarded with some very cool sonic results, because both filters sound fabulous, individually and used in combination. The SVF covers all the bases in terms of more conventional filter treatments so, whether it is to liven up a somewhat static audio recording, or to spice up a virtual synth with a less‑than‑stellar internal filter, it will get the job done in a straightforward fashion and with a good dollop of sonic style. In low‑pass mode, it’s smooth and beautifully warm, while if you slide up towards high‑pass operation, it can add plenty of top‑end aggression allowing any sound to pop out of a mix.

The modal filter lets you take the level of sonic transformation up a considerable number of notches. Indeed, sound designers could easily take things to the point where the original source is unrecognisable if they wanted to. The various filter modes all bring something interesting — I particularly liked the vowel modes and the ‘laser/spring’ options — but whatever mode or mode variant you apply, the decay control is a very effective means of shaping just how far the resonances impose themselves. Even used statically, both filters are impressive but, of course, the automation options let you take things much further.

Over recent months, we’ve reviewed a number of excellent multi‑effects plug‑ins, and all offer interesting creative options for electronic music‑makers and sound‑design junkies, but this stand‑alone filter plug‑in is right up there in terms of creative potential. With Supermodal, you can add a cutting‑edge element of sonic magic to almost any sound within your mix. What’s more, it does it without being at all difficult to use — and that’s an impressive combination! There is a time‑limited demo, of course, but be warned: trying it will probably tempt you to buy it, given its fairly accessible price. Supermodal is most certainly super!  


  • Two excellent filter designs in one plug‑in.
  • Powerful modulation options.
  • Stylish GUI is a pleasure to use.


  • Only the temptation to stick it on everything!


With twin filters and powerful modulation, Supermodal sounds great. Electronic music‑makers and sound designers will love it.

Test Spec

Polyverse Supermodal, Cubase Pro 12.0.52. iMac running Mac OS 10.15.4, 3.5GHz Intel Quad Core i7, 32GB RAM.