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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Jun-16 > STUDIO ELECTRONICS SENSEI


The beauty of modular synths is, of course, that you build your own to your very personal specification. Well, how’s about one that is built for you, from the best parts available, and based on the best synths ever made? Andy Jones takes delivery of what you could argue is the best synth(s) ever made…

Hardware ◼ Software ◼ Mobile tech ◼ Accessories

The current popularity of modular synths has taken everyone by surprise, even (very probably) the people who have been quietly championing them at trade shows over the last few years. The fact that the modular industry has even garnered its own high-profile trade show in the form of the brilliant Berlin event, Superbooth, means the format has come of age. And because the big companies were clamouring to attend said show means it’s also one that is probably here to stay.

Possibly the most beautiful object that we’ve ever reviewed at MusicTech but also the biggest sounding

I could, and probably will, go on about why the modular synth is so popular: it’s a reaction against software; it’s make-your-own; it’s grown-up electronic LEGO; it’s stats; it’s plugging in; it’s great sounds; it’s different; it’s exclusive; it’s a little high brow… It’s all of the above. But more than all of that, the fact is: using and building modular synths is scarily addictive.

The main point, though, is that you build what you want and it’s yours and, very possibly, only yours. Indeed, talking to many of the companies at Superbooth, many very politely declined any extra exposure, as they were selling as many modules as they were making. It’s still a small enough industry where the lower the volume means the higher the exclusivity. In short, if you have a filter that not many other people have, then you could have a synth that no one else has. And there’s very much a feel of ‘let’s keep it that way, eh?’

Details Price £4,500 to £5,500 Contact MSL Pro T 0207 118 0133

◾ Key Modules

• Two analogue oscillators: discrete, DC coupled, output buffered, based on second-gen Minimoog Model D

• Grainy Clampit: granular/phase distortion additive oscillator

• Sci Fi: ring mod, white and pink noise, S&H with LFO l SEM Filter:

• 12dB VC state-variable, based on Oberheim SEM and OBX

• 4075: VC 24/dB/ oct-cascaded LP ARP filter l SE88: dual mode: HP/BR, LP/BP dual resonant, 12dB CS-80 filter

• 5089: Minimoogflavoured VC 24 dB/oct transistor ladder, LP filter. This is what SE describes as “the roundest, slickest tone of all the Boomstar filters”

• Quadnic: a quite crazy four digital oscillators, each with a selection of 64 waveforms, seven different processing modes including phase distortion and wave sequencing

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech magazine is on sale Thursday May 19th, and this month we bring you a glimpse of a dynamic new touchy-feely music making future in our whopping cover feature looking at getting literally hands-on with your music. Also we bring you 6 ways to create a cool studio, 6 of the best mixers, the latest reviews, tutorials for every major DAW and a sad farewell to the Moog Voyager…