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[2021 Latest Edition!] Popular Modular Synthesizer/Semi-Modular Synthesizer Ranking [Recommendations]

2021-12-02

Theme:Keyboards

In recent years, famous international musicians have been experimenting with modular synthesizers as a new way of expression. Modular synths have now become so ubiquitous in the music scene that there are special booths at international music shows. Even in Japan, there are big systems provided at major music festivals and on the wall of the WAVE record store in Shibuya PARCO department store. Modular synthesizers are gaining momentum all over the world!! In this article, I’ll show you recommendations based on the popular ranking as well as how to choose a modular synthesizer.

[WAVE in Shibuya PARCO] https://wavetokyo.com/

■ What is a modular synthesizer??

The modular synthesizer is a synthesizer with separate modules for different synthesizer functions (oscillators, filters, amplifiers, envelopes, LFOs, etc.), and these modules can be freely combined by connecting them with patch cables. There are infinite combinations and patching patterns, allowing you to create a wide range of sounds and build your own original synthesizer!!

■ What is the Eurorack format??

The Eurorack is the most popular modular synth format that was specified by the German manufacturer Doepfer Musikelektronik. The panel size, power supply, and jacks are specified. Most modular synths are designed in Eurorack format. Regarding the module size, the height is 3U (128.5mm) measured in rack units, and the ‘HP’ is measured in horizontal pitch units, which is the width (1HP=1/5 inch=about 5.08mm). The input/output jack uses a 3.5mm mini plug/jack, and the power supply uses ±12V and +5V.

■ What you’ll need to get started

  • Dedicated power supply for the modular (case with power supply)
  • Patch cables
  • Cable for audio out
  • Mixer
  • Speaker

■ Semi-Modular Synthesizer

The semi-modular synthesizer is a type of modular synthesizer that has internally pre-wired modules and can produce sounds without connecting modules with patch cables. The semi-modular synthesizer even allows for changing the connectivity of the modules with patch cables. Because semi-modular synthesizers are easier to use than modular synthesizers, they are ideal for beginners who want to start using a modular synthesizer. Also, since each module is integrated into a single unit, it is usually less expensive than combining separate modules.

■ Popularity Ranking!!

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular modular and semi-modular synthesizers at Sound House!

MOOG / MG DFAM Drummer From Another Mother

The Drummer From Another Mother (DFAM) is a highly interactive, semi-modular analog percussion synthesizer that is quite different from traditional drum machines. Individually hand-assembled at the Moog factory in Asheville, North Carolina, the DFAM is the first addition to the Mother-32 family of synthesizers and presents an expressive hands-on approach to percussive pattern creation. No patching is required, and people of any age will be able to quickly create new, unique rhythmic patterns.

The DFAM is highly recommended for those who are looking for a drum or percussion sound that cannot be found in other rhythm machines by patching.

MOOG / SUBHARMONICON

The Subharmonicon is a semi-modular polyrhythmic analog synthesizer with a 6-tone sound engine and multi-layered clock generator to explore the unique world of subharmonics, polyrhythms, and their combined elements.

The sequencer is unique. The POLYRHYTHM knobs are clock dividers that create very unique rhythms. The Subharmonicon is also a semi-modular type, so it can be combined with other devices to create complex tones.

MOOG / MOTHER 32

The Mother-32 is the first tabletop semi-modular synthesizer produced by Moog. It is an extremely unique analog instrument with raw analog sound, sequencing, connectivity to electronic instruments or modular ‘ecosystem’, and a patchbay for development potential. The careful designing process provides a creative tool that endlessly inspires musicians to compose new music, unique sounds, and explore new sounds. This expansive synthesizer that is perfect for live performance and music production is handcrafted at the Moog factory in Asheville, North Carolina. The Mother-32 is the best product for those who are just starting to work with a modular synth.

The gift box includes these three synthesizers, a rackmount kit, a 4-channel mixer, and a patch cable organizer! The entire gift box is now on sale!

MOOG / SOUND STUDIO SEMI MODULAR BUNDLE

KORG / MS-20 mini

The MS-20 mini is a synthesizer that has been recreated by the team led by the same engineers who developed the original MS-20. When alternate parts were needed, these engineers painstakingly studied the sound so that they could try to remain as faithful to the original MS-20 sound as possible. The sound of the MS-20 mini may sound a bit bright and extreme, but this is exactly how the original MS-20 sounded when it went on sale, with no aged components.

The size of the MS-20 mini has been shrunken down to 86% of the original MS-20. The MS-20 mini has a MIDI IN jack and a USB jack, so you can connect it to your computer for DAW software.

Make Noise / 0-COAST

The 0-Coast (no-coast) is a tabletop semi-modular synthesizer by Make Noise, who established their position in the world of Eurorack modular synthesizers. The 0-Coast is a synthesizer that has been influenced by both MOOG from the East Coast and BUCHLA from the West Coast, but the ‘no-coast’ claims to be neither of them. The 0-Coast is Make Noise’s first stand-alone synthesizer which can be used to create classic modular synth sounds using the included patch cables. It is a semi-modular synthesizer that has pre-wired modules inside, so you can easily enjoy making sounds even without having to connect with patch cables.

DOEPFER / A-100SS-1-P9 PSU3

The A-100 SS-1 is a starter system for the A-100 series modular synthesizers, which have a history of more than 20 years. Composed of Doepfer’s classic and latest modules, the SS-1 offers excellent performance that most would not be able to guess judging by its small 84HP configuration. The SS-1 lets you experience the powerful sound of an analog synthesizer and the fun flexible intuitive sound creation by patching.

All the basic modules such as VCO, VCF, VCA, LFO, EG are included!! The SS-1 is a starter system in a 9U size, solid-built 3-line built portable case, so more modules can be added as needed!!

ROLAND / SYSTEM-500 540

The SYSTEM-500 series includes five of Roland’s traditional oscillators, filters, envelopes, amplifiers, and effects units, and can be freely installed into your Eurorack system. The 540 is a multi-purpose module with the Dual Envelope Generator and one LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator). The independent ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) envelope sections allow for intuitively controlling the oscillators, filters, and VCAs of external modules. Each envelope section is designed to be manually triggered, as well as synchronized with internal LFO cycle or external devices. Each envelope output has two normal outputs and one inverted output. In addition, the 540 outputs five different LFO waveforms. The key trigger switch and the delay trigger switch on the panel adjust the starting time of LFO when receiving an external trigger signal.

The SYSTEM-500 series module is ranked in from Roland. A very attractive feature is the ability to insert the traditional Roland sound into your system.

■ Summary

What did you think? I introduced a few of the products in this article, but please find the modular synthesizer that suits your style and create new sounds that cannot be done with synthesizers or software synthesizers alone!

→ List of Synthesizers

Kiuchi Yusaku

ハウス、テクノが好きなDJ。またハウスダンサーとしても活動しております。週末はレコード収集、クラブやサウンドバーでDJをしたり踊ったり。高校時代はメタルが好きだったのでどんなジャンルの曲もかけれるDJになりたいです。最近は自分でトラックをつくれるように日々精進しています。

MOOG / MG DFAM Drummer From Another Mother

MOOG

MG DFAM Drummer From Another Mother

¥67,700(incl. tax)

アナログ・シンセサイザー、セミモジュラータイプ、8-Stepsシーケンサー

Rating00000

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MOOG / MOTHER 32

MOOG

MOTHER 32

¥78,000(incl. tax)

アナログ・シンセサイザー、モノ、セミモジュラータイプ

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MOOG / SOUND STUDIO SEMI MODULAR BUNDLE

MOOG

SOUND STUDIO SEMI MODULAR BUNDLE

¥255,200(incl. tax)

アナログ・シンセサイザー、セミ・モジュラー・シンセ3台、ラックマウント・キット、ミキサー等パッケージング

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MOOG / SUBHARMONICON

MOOG

SUBHARMONICON

¥89,800(incl. tax)

Analog synthesizer

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Make Noise / 0-COAST

Make Noise

0-COAST

¥65,780(incl. tax)

セミモジュラーシンセサイザー、テーブルトップタイプ、CV/Gate 対応

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DOEPFER / A-100SS-1-P9 PSU3

DOEPFER

A-100SS-1-P9 PSU3

¥217,800(incl. tax)

モジュラーシンセサイザー、A100 SS-1 P9 PSU3

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KORG / MS-20 mini セミモジュラーシンセ

KORG

MS-20 mini セミモジュラーシンセ

¥38,500(incl. tax)

Analog synthesizer

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ROLAND / SYSTEM-500 540

ROLAND

SYSTEM-500 540

¥42,900(incl. tax)

Modular synthesizer, AIRA, ENVx2/LFOx1

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