Bristol start-up retunes music synthesiser for the cloud

Bristol-based musical instrument manufacturer Modulus has taken a new approach to synthesiser design using both analogue and digital sound synthesis techniques.



The result said the company is the creation of the rich analogue sounds used by the likes of Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk of the 1960s and 1970s in a digital system of today, which is more robust and has an internet interface.

Philip Taysom, Modulus co-founder explains:

“Analogue synthesisers from the last century are collectors’ items and highly sought after because of the amazing sounds but the electronics are now getting old and increasingly frail. It’s tough to use them for live performances or recording sessions as they are difficult to keep working.
Most modern designs of polyphonic synthesisers are pure digital and just don’t have the same iconic sound qualities, in our opinion.
What we have created in the Modulus.002 is a fusion of these iconic analogue and hybrid sounds of the 70s and 80s synthesisers with the reliability of the latest electronics plus internet connectivity to share sounds, settings and work collaboratively on music without relying on painfully slow serial/MIDI connections to do so.”

Taysom adds:

“The UK pioneered the synthesiser industry back in the 60s and 70s and that has grown to a three-quarters of a billion pound a year global business, but now with little UK input. We are putting the UK back on the map with the first polyphonic synthesiser to have been completely designed and built in the UK for several decades.”

Internet access allows musicians to work collaboratively. A cloud-based server platform can be used to share settings, sequences and sounds.

The company is making  this an Open Platform and hopes other manufacturers will adopt it.

Modulus was founded in 2013 by Philip Taysom and Paul Maddox. Philip has over 30 years of experience in the electronics and computer industries having been CTO and co-founder of Planet Online (the creators of the highly successful Freeserve internet service), CTO and co-founder of inTechnology plc, and CEO of Peratech.

The Modulus.002 is the first in a planned family of synthesisers that will be launched over the next few years.


The keyboard layout includes a semi-weighted, five octave key mechanism. It provides twelve discrete voices of polyphony with full multi-timbrility if required.

Quick recall banks enable preset sequences and settings to be stored for instant use such as during a live performance. NCOs (Numerically Controlled Oscillators) are used for stability and accuracy while an analogue transistor ladder filter provides classic ‘warm’ sounds.

The UK price is £2995 plus VAT (£3594), the European price €3,750 plus the appropriate VAT and the US price is $5200 plus local sales tax.

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