Imagine if Boeing or Airbus, in the midst of releasing airliners, suddenly unveiled a paper airplane kit for kids. The Modal Craft Synth isn’t that extreme – but maybe it’s close.

Unlike their flagship synth, a monster luxury instrument that will set you back about five grand (USD), the Craft Synth is kit priced. £79.00 (about US$100 at the moment) buys you a complete monosynth.

It’s labeled a “kit,” but you snap together pre-made circuit boards – think IKEA lay-flat cleverness. Of course, at that price, you don’t get a case or any particularly high-quality or rugged components. But if you’re willing to treat this thing gingerly, it sounds pretty terrific.

The other big surprise: you get MIDI over USB.

The synth itself is pretty simple in terms of controls, but you have two oscillators per voice, plus sub oscillators, for a total of eight oscillators detunable in unison or spread modes. The other great selling point, I think is modulation – there are four LFO waveforms, you can invert each one, and you get six destinations. Plus you get delay and distortion.

That’d all be too much to control, but for a companion iOS app (still in development).

So the workflow is, you program on iOS, then recall patch memories.

Features:

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 or optional AA battery pack (Adafruit 727, 3 x AAA pack)

Check Sonic State’s hands-on video review:

And some audio:

It’s a cute little box. It looks a little fragile for taking out and about, but around a home or studio, it seems fantastic.

Indeed, the only real challenge will be getting one. It’s a preorder in Europe, with USA availability still to be announced. So Europe, you’ll have this for Christmas if you like, but everyone else will have to wait.

http://www.modalelectronics.com/craft/

preview

preview2

preview3

  • Freeks

    I’m looking forward to see how easy it would be to put it to proper case. Then add dozen knobs more and use ‘duino to control it via USB.

  • Chrisleb

    I considered one but actually I don’t think you have usb host (nor legacy midi), so I think there is no way to plug a midi keyboard.So you need to use a computer or an iOS device (touch keyboard). At the end I’m not sure it’s any better than a soft synth…

    • Will

      Sadly, very much this. Sounds great. Does it sound better than Sunrizer or Nave or Animoog or whatever you have up on the screen you’ll need to have this connected to in order to play more than 5 notes…? I’m not convinced.

    • You might be able to control it via a bome box.

    • Polite Society

      You can quickly build a compact usb midi host on an arduino for about $60-90 (host shield + arduino) it’s fairly compact, and you can put din ports on it if you prefer.
      Also there are a few interfaces (iconnects range, for example) and even eurorack modules that can act as usb hosts.
      Not idea, but just saying, if that’s what’s holding you back. Not always restricted to a pc these days.

  • yunginter.net/

    what is the red one in the back of the cover picture? analog?

  • Foosnark

    “So the workflow is, you program on iOS, then recall patch memories.”

    That almost killed my interest in this thing. However, what it actually says is “Optional CRAFT Software Editor and Controller for iOS, OSX, Windows and Android.”

  • FS

    haha this is awesome, something to tide you over while you’re saving for your 002. i dig it!

  • Tom @ KMI

    made quick video using an iPad as MIDI host to connect a K-Board to the Craft Synth- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_ebeZtMR-Q