Modal Electronics have done it again. They’ve followed up their snap-together, affordable, simple synth with a drum machine in the same form factor.
Now, this UK company are a little puzzling. Modal make either very expensive flagship synths or very affordable, fun snap-together kits. It’d be like if Gulfstream also sold balsa wood toy planes. Well, sort of – it’s all good.
But whatever the larger brand strategy here, the Craft Rhythm looks very cool. You can load in your own samples, control filter and pitch, and mix together parts by track. There’s a 16-step sequencer and pattern chaining for assembling your grooves. And there’s decent I/O.
The “kit” part of this means the actual physical body is a little fiddly. As before, it’s a delicate little piece of hardware, now adding tiny buttons to the touch controls and knobs.
There’s an innovation, though: a companion app (iOS only?) gives you editing capabilities. That’s an idea that seems to be catching on. We’ve seen it in the Novation Circuit’s Web-based editor/library and sample loading and companion desktop synth editor. And we’ve even seen in KORG’s volca sample, though that was painfully slow loading samples.
Then again, by the time you use an app, you could just use a great drum machine app like Elastic Drums. No complaints here, though, as this looks like a good time.
The nearest competition had some companion software, too – Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator Tonic, which works with the awesome Sonic Charge Microtonic.
Awaiting word on pricing and availability.
If you’re in Chicago for Knobcon, do pay them a visit.