There are several types of synthesisers available on the market and a modular synthesiser is one of them. So, what is about the modular synthesisers and what makes them different from the above categories of synthesisers? Let’s address these questions by looking at the core of how modular synthesisers work.
Modular synthesis is a kind of sound synthesis which require you to generate sound and forge, bend the sound you desire to create by means of connecting various other loose components together. This kind of connection is done by such means as patch cables or push pins if the medium is a matrix board rather than ports. This is what commonly called a ‘Patch system’ in the synth-head zone. The components that come in are not fixated and you can change or upgrade to a new one or the one that meets your need.
This could be any kind of component that is an analog synthesiser component, digital synthesiser component or hybrid as you wish. In the modern times like now, 2022, you can virtually find a way more astounding and complex components than the ones that were available during the hay-day of modular synthesisers, for instance, during the days of Moog or Buchla modular system being the major electronic instruments on the market. With a good networking and connections, with humans that turned into a synth as well, you are able to customise your own component in a very unique way.
Flexibility of modular synthesisers
This kind of flexibility makes a modular synthesiser tremendously powerful since there is no fixed component like one of those keyboard synthesisers. Just in case, let me clear one thing here, I keep mentioning keyboard synthesisers and sound like modular synthesisers do not have keyboards. No, I did not mean that.
What I meant is, with those keyboard synthesisers, I am addressing the ones that have a built-in keyboard with built-in components. With modular synthesisers, you may be willing to buy a separate midi keyboard or the one that the company provides like of Moog Modular System keyboards. It is also worth noting that the term “modular synthesis” is nothing crazy different than the other categories. These modular synthesisers are more like form factors than the term “Modular synthesis”, just like the computer motherboard is divided into form factor.
Most often modular synthesisers come in as a desktop version or keyboard version. A desktop version is something where you have a huge rack frame. Inside the frame you stack various sound modules of your choice on top or the side of each other and make the whole empty frame all so wholesome and electric!
The modern market of modular synthesisers
Things were very random back then when modular synthesisers were just getting into the scene. Now, these modular synthesisers have some form of global standards in terms of various modules, like, power, form factor, connectivity etc. One of the most advanced and modern modular synthesisers standard is called, ‘Eurorack’. Unlike the old times when only the giants like Moog Modular, Buchla, Arp, EMS, EMU etc, the modern modular systems like Serge, Eurorack offer lot more modern feature that goes so well with the age we are living in.
You can always check out various modern modular synthesisers which offer extensive patching mechanism with extremely flexibility. With a modular synthesisers, the kind of sound you can design or come up with while playing or poking around is unimaginable. Sometimes you may get to the exact or close or way beyond the sound you expect.
These synthesisers cost somewhere from $2,000 to $5,000 to as high as $40,000. There are ALM Busy circuits, Erica synths modular synthesisers, Make Noise and tons of Eurorack manufacturers out there.