In our latest six of the best, we look at six great modular/Eurorack synths – everything from all-in-one units to complete systems created for you…
Best Moog – Moog Mother-32
Contact Source – 0208 962 5080
Well, this pint-sized Moog has just won our Eurorack Gear Of The Year award so must be doing something right. What you get is a complete Moog in one, with a single oscillator, patch bay and a price tag of less than £500 – cheap enough to get three, perhaps, and you may be tempted… As Dave Gale said: “During this review, I found that my cheeks were continually aching,
as I just seemed to be smiling at every moment.
The possibilities with one unit are vast, but the possibilities with two or three are endless. At this price, the Mother-32 is an absolute bargain, and regardless of cost, it’s an outstanding synth voice”
Best Moog Clone – AJH Synth Mini Mod
Price £165 to £260
Contact 07867 008964
A proper Moog Model D can be had in hardware these days but it will still cost you a few thousand. This alternative is from AJH and comprises half-a-dozen modules to make up a full Moog clone. It’s available in either classic black or silver, although you could consider just the VCO, VCF and Glide/Noise modules as great starter setup. “The system sounds outstanding; full of analogue fatness,” said reviewer Dave Gale.
“It really comes close to the original Minimoog concept and sound.”
Best All-in-One – Studio Electronics Tonestar
Contact MSL Pro, 0207 118 0133
Giving the Moog Mother-32 a run for its money is this ‘single voice synth in one’ from Studio Electronics.
Yet whereas that obviously has Moog tones, this is an out-and-out ARP equivalent. However, as Dave Gale said when reviewing it: “Sonically, this is not designed to be some kind of straight ahead clone of a 2600, so I wonder if it’s the start of further modules appearing with different filters.
If so, this is a fantastic opener. It’s a beautifully colourful module, with one of the best filters around, not to mention one of the finest VCOs. It’s very well built, solid as a rock, and is as stable as you like. If only all modules were built this way. ” He concluded: “A very usable and characterful synth module, which offers something different from the rest of the crowd.”
Best Ultimate Eurorack – Studio Electronics SENSEI
Contact 0207 118 0133
Lazy? Got loads of cash? Why not let someone else take the hassle out of assembling a Eurorack system, and while they are at it, make something that contains the filters from some of the best synths ever made? The result is the ultimate Eurorack synth. SENSEI has it all: analogue modules, digital modules (if you like) and up to five filters based on classic synths from Moog, Oberheim, ARP and more.
“Sure, you can do modular cheaper and you can make it more personal, but I doubt you can do it better than this,” said reviewer Andy Jones. “It’s the best synth someone else can build for you. Portable, powerful, beautiful and sonically incredible. Sell your car, your kids and your soul for it…”
Best Software – Softube Modular
Contact MSL Pro (again!) 0207 18 0133
Hang on a sec, so modular synths are supposed to be hardware, right? That’s surely the point of the Eurorack phenomena? Yes… and no. The return of synth hardware has undoubtedly been, in part, due to a need for tactile knob turning, but for anyone who is undecided on making the modular move, surely a system like Softube’s Modular is the ideal compromise? “I have to say that I really enjoyed my time with the Modular,” said reviewer Dave Gale.
“The overarching fact is, it sounds huge and, certainly to my ears, there’s some very realistic modelling of third-party modules. Modular is a great investment if you want an inexpensive version of modular on the move.”
Best FM – ALM Busy Circuits Akemie’s Castle
That’s one heck of a name and just one of the ALM FM-based modules we reviewed a couple of issues back (this being an FM tone module, the other being drums). Dave Gale said: “There’s plenty to get excited about and the control is pretty unique and enticing. If you like oscillators that are capable of charm and distortion, this is one to go for.”