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Modular Released!

Pulse Code Inc. has released their hotly anticipated Modular Synthesizer! This is a full on Universal skeuomorphic modular system that ships with a bunch of modules to explore. The base app is free to try, and comes with a bunch of free modules, with premium and future modules costing $1 each. Instead of paying for the modules a la carte, you can buy a lifetime bundle which includes all current and future modules. The price on the bundle will increase as new modules come out, but you can buy it today for $5. Considering how many free instruments and effects Pulse Code added to Rhythm Studio over the last 2 years, this looks like an incredible deal!

Modular iTunes Description:

Modular, the ultimate synthesizer that will revolutionize your sound.

• High fidelity virtual analog synthesis using band limited oscillators and oversampled filters
• Audiobus and background audio modes
• CoreMIDI control with external devices or internal sequencers
• Beautifully rendered graphics
• Dynamic workspace with intuitive navigation
• 10 octave keyboard with classically styled arpeggiator
• Extensive in app help with detailed module descriptions and guides
• Record and export live performance to Soundcloud, Sonoma Audio Copy, email and iTunes file sharing

Modular is a powerful sound design tool which allows you to build your own custom synthesizer by connecting different sound modules together. By separating each synthesis process, modules can be connected in any way. You are no longer limited to fixed synthesizer design, you are now in full control of your sound. This is the beauty and power of modular synthesis. Whether you are a professional musician or a beginner who just loves sound, modular offers you an incredibly powerful synthesizer experience.

Modular looks, acts, and sounds like a hardware modular synthesizer to give you features that musicians want such as pulse width modulation, oscillator sync, 4 pole ladder filters, and 1v/oct filter tracking. Traditional modular systems are expensive and out of reach for the average artist. Modular is here to bridge that gap and allow everyone the opportunity to use these powerful synthesizers.

Modular provides modules in every category for free. Enough to build a vast array of sounds. Buy only the modules you need or get the bundle which includes all modules including future modules. Owning a module means you use as many as can fit in the modular rack. You want to build a monster 6 oscillator synth? You can.

Buy Modular Synthesizer on iTunes: Freemium ($5 Unlock Bundle)

For the surprisingly large number of you coming here from Portugal and Brazil, Marcus Padrini did a 38 minute walkthrough in Portuguese. For the even larger number of you that speak English, the first part of my Modular tutorial series is available now. The first video uses only the free modules; to give you an idea of what can be achieved without paying a dime. I'm going to knuckle-down and get Part 2 up by tomorrow!

Here is the official promo video.

Reader Comments 62

large number from Portugal :) you don't say!!

I have to meet them and exchange some soundcloud account info!!


September 12, 2013  | person_outline Hoyas79

This looks superb. But. It it only monophonic?

September 12, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Ah! I just knew that the Modular announcement would be posted at THE EXACT MOMENT that I was noting it's absence in the Modular, Tutorial 1 thread.

At any rate, I'm liking it so far.

Reposting my question from the other thread:

What modules would you like to see in future updates?

(Right out of the box, I would love to see 6 or 8 I/O mixer and splitter modules, without the attenuation knobs to save rack space.)

September 12, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

good first impressions, looks lovely. bit of lag on keyboard on ipad2, i guess it's just showing it's age. one thing I'd love is a small keyboard locked to the bottom of the screen, to play and tweak at the same time without an external keyboard

September 12, 2013  | person_outline RMG

Yea it scales the buffer size depending on what device you use (making it basically useless on iPad 2). One workaround is to use it inside Audiobus where the buffer will be lowered to 512 on iPad 2 and lower spec devices (or 256 if you chose to), at 512 buffer size it's atleast usable to work with.

September 12, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

Woah, great tip, ChrisG!

Awesome. Thanks Tim for your tutorial. I had watched it before; but today I watched and paused and watched and paused until I built your 6 OSC patch.

September 12, 2013  | person_outline Steve

Hey Tim, out of curiosity, can you emulate iMS-20 with this?

If you can, it's cheaper to buy this :-)


September 12, 2013  | person_outline Hoyas79

HA if you could convert this to a ims20 on my ipad 2 i would find away to empty a bucket of puke on david camerons head

September 12, 2013  | person_outline andre

@andre Please feel free to do that anyway...

September 12, 2013  | person_outline walkymatt

Zen i would go for a ems trapezoid module just because it sounds good & a great track by man or astroman

September 12, 2013  | person_outline andre

Visually lovely,realistically laborious to program (you get a feel for how the minimoog killed for most keyboard players when it was introduced) and to my ear a very uninvolving sound quality.
Which shows how spoilt you can become on the ios platform !

September 12, 2013  | person_outline fatblokeinawheelchair

For me sadly the sound quality on ipad 2 is not inspiring to want to spend alot of time on it ,it obviously changes when you put it through filters in bus,but theres 2 more big synths coming at least so i will come back to this with better ipad.

September 12, 2013  | person_outline andre

What are the 2 more big synths coming?? Now you got me wondering....

September 12, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

Easily in my top 3 already. Unlike others, I find the patch cable interface infinitely MORE intuitive to program. I also prefer warbling, semi random patches, something one can quickly dial in here. The terrifying part is that it makes me want to actually jump in the eurorack pond, which is a terrible, terrible idea.

September 12, 2013  | person_outline Nivek

5 stars when they fix the zoom bug that keeps forcing the screen back up to the upper left. $5 IAP = all new modules for free - very nice deal for the cash.

September 12, 2013  | person_outline Em

Try relaunching the app. That bug was supposed to be fixed, and to a great extent it is... that used to drive me mad. It seems to only happen if you play with it for a long time in a given session. If that ever happens that means you've been playing with it for too long and need to go outside.... or just close and restart the app.

I love this, it's perfect, a very realistic implementation of analogue hardware, I was a little hesitant because of the limited space,but I was wrong to think so, it's difficiult, troublesome and wonderful in equal measure... I fee like I'm working with a petulant teenager! It's wild!

10/10 for everything, an future updates are additionat alcohol soake cherries on a perfectly baked cake!!

September 12, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

@Tim Webb

By that reasoning, I should be going outside every twenty minutes. That is far too much fresh air for my tastes! I just sent the developer a note to let them know it was happening to me. I'll work around it until they send out a fix.

I do hope they will add a way to split and combine signals that will use a lot less space. By the time I am done adding the 3-way splitters and mixers to do some "advanced signal routing", as they put it, I've already run out of room for the modules I wanted to route the signals to and from. (At least, for a couple of patches I wanted to try)

Maybe they will take someone else's suggestion and add another rack bay or two, if that won't eat the iPad's resources alive. I sent all the above to them also, along with andre's request for a trapezoid module (just to see if they'd actually do that). ;)

September 13, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

So... I feel like I should be way more exited about this than I actually am.

The graphics are stunning. The price is right - lots of included freebies plus a modestly priced and future proof expansion pack. The engineering type in me is attracted to this notion of wiring up virtual hardware boxes to build something from scratch.

I think here is where the lack of excitement is coming in. It seems to be only monophonic, or at least I can't find the poly-ify switch. And, if I ignore the cool factor of wiring up virtual hardware, is there any patch that I could build with this that I couldn't build a lot more easily in say, Sunrizer, Nave, Thor, fill in the blank other synth...

September 13, 2013  | person_outline Joe

I some senses you're right @Joe, but if find a lovely modular analogue synth randomness and twitchiness with this I don't get with the others you mention, it all comes down to knob twiddling - I personally wouldn't use this as a 'dial up a sound and play it' kinda synth, more dial up a sound, have some loop, latch or arp going and then tweak a performance out of it using all those juice producing components!

The way it moves around when trying to do this needs a rethink, it is a bit frustrating, but not sure how this could be managed better - I've only played with it twice but this is my only grumble so far.

September 13, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Thanks Baddcr, that's an interesting take, and perhaps because that's not the way I'd normally work, I never really thought of it that way. I'll give it another spin with a new set of eyes maybe focusing on tweaking the sound of a previously uninteresting arp into something interesting rather than creating a sound that will later be used to create a melody.

September 13, 2013  | person_outline Joe

I thought that might be the case, you're in for a treat, synths will never be the same again!

I posted this on the other Modular thread, but here it is again, the wobbly bass line is done with knob twiddling - hence the rather erratic timing at the beginning and in a couple of other places, but there's a big chunk in the middle and another bit towards the end where I get the knob turning timing right and it locks in nicely with the beat - ridiculously good fun :))


September 13, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

The people I have watched used modular synths to alter patches in real time (duh) while playing an arp, but I never realized how gratifying it was.
I haven't tried yet to do it with a sequencer triggering it, but that sounds like an excellent idea.

September 13, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

I just re-read what I wrote, and I had better clarify: the "duh" was refering to my inference that a modular synth could be tweaked in anything other than real time. It had nothing to do with anyone's knowledge, or lack thereof, of modular synth best practices.

September 13, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

Ahhh Zen you're a star!!

I would also highly recommend pulling cables out and putting them back in time as part of your explorations too! Doesn't always work but sometimes the weirdest sounds are created!

September 13, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Enjoying this app. Sounds really great. Patching could be easier. I drop cables onto inputs but seem to miss a lot. Would also like to be able to repatch on the fly without unpatching first. If I drag an output onto an input that already has something plugged in, automatically remove it.

The split thing is neat and authentic but sorta silly in software. I just want to be able to drag an infinite(ish) number of cables out of an output. Some modifier key plus drag to add a new input (virtual splitting, invisibly).

Would also love to long tap on a blank space to pull up a flat module list for quicker insertion.

September 13, 2013  | person_outline Will

Zymos on future synths ,i was talking about arctic pro is not far away & there is another 1 i cant remember & 1 for aquired tastes in atmosphere & spacey sounds,drones-ivcs3 if it turns out good.
Zen thanks for suggesting trapezoid module they will look that up on google probably & find no one could copy it, its a,strange wave shape generator but if you want 2 mins of watching a poor dog putting up with a bloke i believe playing bits of hendrix & other stuff on guitar with 1

September 13, 2013  | person_outline andre

@Will I also keep missing the right connections, even when they are highlighted in yellow... must be my 'fat' fingers...


September 13, 2013  | person_outline Hoyas79

+1 on the missed connections - really hard to see unless you're zoomed in. I drag the cable to slightly above the input which seems to do the trick.

September 13, 2013  | person_outline Em

also +1 on missed connections,and relentless zooming!

Off topic, nothing to do with anything here, but this is a slice of tonights live session...


See description for what went on... We had fun :)

September 13, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Didn't even realize I was getting a universal app. What a pleasant surprise I just had. Props. Delivered.

September 14, 2013  | person_outline Will

@Baddcr - thanks for the soundcloud link. I think I'm starting to get an idea of how this might best be used!

September 14, 2013  | person_outline Joe

@Joe cool! Yeah, not the best performance ever, but a good indication of some of the things possible.

We had a fm session last night with it, after the absurd JamClub nonsense... The latch and arp are ok, but now I've used it a bit have a few suggestions if the Dev is listening?

The biggest thing for me right now is visual feedback and control of the latched keys. I.e. they should look pressed when latched and be able to be un-latched.

The second thing is some visual clue as to where in the cycle the arp is, a light pulse would be ideal, a bigger or different coloured flash for the first beat in the bar.

September 14, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

This is a responsive developer. They WANT people to write emails to them with their suggestions and complaints. Please do so, everyone! The guy that responded to my emails has been very excited about some of our ideas, and said that with our help they will make the app better for everyone, and the modules that are the most desired are the ones they will develop first.

September 14, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

They just let me know that larger and more precise snap areas for the connections are in the works. Screen zoom/snapping problem fix is also. New connections without having to break the old ones first has been added to the feature candidate's list to be decided. The response concerning the trapezoid module was vague, leaving me uncertain about what they plan to do with it and somewhat unsettled.

September 15, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

Zen on the trapezoid generator module it is being made to this day by analogue systems under licence of ems so its not a prob for them to find out but im sure we could not ask them to make brand name modules.But that is great news they are interested in suggestions & if it was not for the whole sound quality i could think of never ending ideas by watching modular synths on youtube but because of ipad 2 sound i would ask for a powerful filter module that would make it get close to the sound of rhythm studio or bass line.

September 15, 2013  | person_outline andre

I know, I'm just being silly at this point.

September 16, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

I checked out the video you 'linked' to. That's why I thought the joke would be detected. Weird sense of humor, I know.

September 16, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

I've been dreaming about this app... It's gorgeous, I love the sound, and the way it behaves!

My next idea is to have multiple instances of the rack, that is, several panels & keyboards, I reckon the ipad 4 could run 4 without much trouble, but that is just a guess, 2 or 3 would still be immense!

These panels could be run in parallel with separate sounds or connected together by new module to run in series and all kinds of mayhem :)

Another hint re the sound, it responds incredibly well to the fab filter plugin Saturn in Auria!

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Baddcr your third paragraph is exactly what would really interest me but will this app really grow with lots of new modules & i need a new ipad & Auria as this app on ipad 2 is not up to it on sound quality unless you use audiobus & another app or you want a flat sound

September 16, 2013  | person_outline andre

Of course this is pure speculation but I think that the number of available panel spaces and the width of the modules has something to do with CPU usage vs. CPU available on the minimum supported device. Notice how some modules are 2x wide and don't need to be? E.g. the VCA-11 has fewer knobs and connectors than the SPLIT-03 but is twice as wide as that module. Something tells me that decision wasn't arbitrary.

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Joe

@andre, yeah the jump from ipad <=3 to 4 is huge!

The A7 processor is promising twice the A6 so when Apple get round to putting these chips into the iPads I will definitely be parading and maxing out the available memory - I'm in that horrible space where I don't have much room on my ipad any more and I need to have a big clear out!

@joe, yeah, you're probably right, but I've successfully run this and Auria and Nave together, so there's still plenty of headroom here :)

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

parading.... heh?

that should of course have been 'upgrading'

I think I need a keyboard for iOS that doesn't suck my fingers onto the wrong keys!

While we're on about processors, I also thought it a very smart move to include the M7 chip! Interesting times, does anyone know anything about the audio processors on iPads? Or the audio processing capabilities of the A7? It seems like Apple would definitely consider this as part of the development cycle and I wonder if they are going to give us something really awesome with iOS 7 and the latest round of chips./

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

@Baddcr, I know this is getting off topic but you've mentioned your love of the Saturn plug in several different posts. I don't have any of the FabFilter plugs for Auria yet. Do you think this is the best choice for a first one?

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Hey @Joe,

They are all awesome! Do you have a desktop computer and a DAW on there? If so download the trial versions of all the plugins from FabFilter's website, you have 30 days to try them all out - the iOS versions are identical!

Saturn is the best distortion unit I've ever used, period. It will do anything from subtle 'exciter' effects to downright filthy destruction of everything! It's a multi-band distortion unit which gives you excellent tuning potential and of course, all the parameters are fully programmable to modulate over time!

It's extraordinary and comes highly recommended :))

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

I've yet to buy an auria plugin but saturn is my most wanted. Timeless looks dreamy too.

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Will

Ah, thanks @Baddcr, I remember the desktop versions being more costly than I wanted to get into right now but didn't remember them having free trials. Great idea!

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Heh - excellent - see you on the other side, i have a feeling we might lose you for a while :-D

The best thing about the FabFilter plugins is the smoothness of the interpolation, dreamy is the right word!

I've had a think and, while this is incredibly difficult, here would be the order I would buy them in if I had to take my time doing so;

Saturn - it's their latest and most versatile in terms of sound enhancement
Pro L - this is extraordinary, brings out quiet parts and tames loud transients like you wouldn't believe!
Pro Q - generally excellent perfect for any EQ work, also the notch is precise and perfect for slicing out unwanted artefacts,
Timeless - fully programmable delay... Need I say more?
Volcano - top filter, suitable for any filtering and some crazy effects too, spatial, stereo field stuff
Pro C - not found as much use for this or spent as much time with it as the others, so I'm not the best person to ask
Pro G - same as the pro C

but honestly, I think if you asked me again tomorrow that might change, ahh heck I'm looking at it now and I still wonder if the Pro L is a better option than Saturn, I don't know; whatever you go for you won't be disappointed - that's all I can really say :)

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Sounds like I can't go wrong! Many thanks for the drill down! One more question, if you would: is Micro just kind of a lightweight version of Volcano? I.e. if I will eventually get Volcano, just skip Micro?

Lol, there is probably an auria thread not too far away that I should be posting this in. Sorry Tim...

September 16, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Hey @Joe, I never bothered with Micro, you are right in that you can use Volcano as a simple filter :)

I don't actually know if there is any difference though.

Likewise, apologies from me too, heh, we do get carried off in random directions sometimes hey!

September 17, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Even tho I have Volcano I tend to always go for Micro for any filtering. I guess it's just that it's (or at least feels) so much faster and easier to plop it in a slot and immediately start filtering away. Sounds awesome, really got that juicy analog sound to it. Volcano got a few different filter algorithms for each of the 4 filters available tho, dunno which one would be closest to Micro. If you only gonna need low pass / high pass filter sweeps etc (in various flavors), Micro is awesome. Anything more complex, go for volcano.

September 17, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

Thanks guys. That makes perfect sense!

September 17, 2013  | person_outline Joe

@Baddcr & ChrisG: Thanks for the info about the Auria plug-ins!

September 17, 2013  | person_outline synthandson

@ChrisG interesting, may well be worth getting - cheers :)

September 17, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

NOTE: i am completely modular synthesis stupid

anytime i switch out a module, i end up getting no sound. is there a basic component setup that MUST be present for it to produce sound? i've read the manual to no avail. played around w it forever.

related: IMO the "Randomize Patch" function should only give results that produce sound. i haven't found this to be the case.

any help much appreciated!


September 24, 2013  | person_outline T53

T53, well you always need some signal going to the OUTPUT. So anytime you swap out a module, you'll be temporarily cutting off that signal. That's normal. You need some kind of source in your patch to generate sound. Typically oscillators/noise.

Yeah, the randmoizer just randomizes the knob values and sometimes that won't produce any sound. I imagine it would be pretty tough to build a randomizer where that's not the case.

September 24, 2013  | person_outline Matt

Also check out the great videos that Tim made (just type Modular in the search bar on this site). The first one covers some of those things like what you need to get a sound out of it. They helped me a lot, as I am also a self-declared-modular-moron (but learning!)

September 24, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Modular synthesis requires thinking about some things that other synths hide, so we just take them for granted... Like a working signal path! Hopefully this video will help explain the things you need to keep in mind: http://discchord.com/blog/2013/9/6/tutorial-intro-to-modular.html

Thx for the quick replies. I'll check those vids out.

Brought up another question: does the randomizer just affect the knobs or also the patches?

Thx !

September 24, 2013  | person_outline T53

It just changes the knob values for the patch you have selected. It doesn't add or subtract modules or make add any connections.

September 24, 2013  | person_outline Matt

Gotcha. Thx again for the help!

September 25, 2013  | person_outline T53

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