NAMM 2017: Modal Hands-On Demo Of 5 DIY Craftsynths

What if you could build your own synthesizer for under $100 with no need for any soldering? It's not too good to be true - it exists, and it's called the Modal Craft.  

There's never been more clamour for self-build synthesizers than there is today, but there's often the inconvenient need to do a fair amount of soldering which can put some people off. Modal makes some very high-end synthesizers but also produces Craftsynth, a small and more affordable self-assembly model that is designed to help you learn more about synths without breaking the bank and without requiring a degree in electronics. Here's Philip from Modal with 5 CRAFTsynth's connected together.

There's also a companion iOS app that connects to the synth and allows you to manage patches and even download and share patches online. As you can see from the video it's all done in just a few taps. 

Modal Craft

Modal CRAFTsynth

Modal CRAFTsynth Specifications

  • Monophonic DSP based self assembly synthesiser, requires no soldering or electronics skills, tools or knowledge
  • 2 oscillators per voice
  • Mixer stage for osc levels
  • Unison / spread mode that splits the oscillators into four separate sub oscillators per oscillator giving you a total of eight oscillators, de-tunable for a huge sound
  • LFO with six destinations (VCA amplitude, filter cutoff, FM amount, OSC mix, PWM amount, pitch/frequency)
  • Four LFO wave forms (each invertible)
  • LFO auto syncs to MIDI clock if present
  • Resonant low pass filter (if using the CRAFTapp, state variable BP & LP also possible)
  • 16 recallable EG presets for ease of use
  • 16 patch storage locations
  • Playable touch panel interface with five note keys plus controls for scale and glide time
  • Delay and distortion (wavehsaping overdrive, not bitcrushing) effects
  • Class compliant MIDI provided over USB connection to host computer or tablet
  • Headphone and line output
  • Power by USB Mini B or optional AA battery pack (Adafruit 727, 3 x AAA pack)

CRAFTsynth retails for $99 / £79 and is available now. 

Learn more about Modal here.


Hollin Jones was classically trained as a piano player but found the lure of blues and jazz too much to resist. Graduating from bands to composition then production, he relishes the chance to play anything with keys. A sometime lecturer in videographics, music production and photography post production, Hollin has been a freelance w... Read More


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