Exciting news out of England today, Modal have announced their new Argon8 digital wavetable synthesiser. Modal Electronics have, up ’til now, been a company of two extremes, producing extraordinary high-end synthesisers with a price tag to match, or more recently, some tiny but immensely powerful desktop synths. The Argon8 is set to fill the hole in the middle, featuring a full size 37-key Fatar keybed with aftertouch, powerful sequencer and a knobby hands on interface – a rarity in wavetable synths.
Here’s the highlights of the feature rundown:
- 8 voices of true polyphony
- 4 x Oscillators per voice featuring 120 wavetables
- 4-axis joystick for hands-on morphing and modulation
- 8 oscillator modifier effects including FM, Ring Modulation, Amplitude Modulation, Sync
- 28 static wavetable processors including wave folders, wave shapers, phase shapers and more.
- 2-pole morphing resonant filter
- Sequencer with 512 steps and 4 tracks of automation, and programmable 32-step arpeggiator
- 3 x Envelopes
- 2 x audio rate LFOs (one polyphonic, one global)
- 3 x stereo FX banks, with distortions, delays reverbs, choruses, flanging, phasing and more.
- Sturdy steel and aluminium build
- Digital control via free VST plugin
- 37-keys with full size Fatar velocity sensitive keybed with aftertouch
- Analog sync I/O for use with Korg, Teenage Engineering and more
- US$699 price tag (AUD pricing to be confirmed)
There’s a lot to like here, being able to record a polyphonic sequence then record the joystick’s movement while it morphs the waveforms, filter and FX sounds like something I’d certainly stay up all night tinkering with. Sure, it’s not as powerful as the ASM HydraSynth wavetable beast that was also announced this week (is it wavetable week?), but at almost half the price, it’s packing a serious punch for the price point.
It’s main competitor in this price range will be the Waldorf Blofeld, now in its 10th year of production. The Blofeld has some advantages, like 60mb of sample upload memory to create your own wavetables and 2 filters. However, you don’t get anything close to the Argon’s sequencer/arp and you certainly won’t get the tactile hands-on experience the Argon8 is offering here – the vast majority of the Blofelds programming is done through 4 knobs.
Anyway, enough blabbing, check out Sonic State’s run down below, and head to the Modal website for further details.