Modal Argon8 – 8 voice polyphonic wavetable synthesiser

This synth is very intriguing to me. Full size keys, but shorter keybed for limited space and portability. I am digging the sounds on the video, and the joystick looks like great functional fun. He said in the video a release before xmas, which is great, not too far off. Some great options coming out for digital, wavetable synths.

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This is great news on the sequencer. I love me a good built in sequencer!

I guess the other thing of significance between the two is that they’re both mono-timbral. (At least for now.) A synth-war is always good for getting the best out of the synth makers.

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I love that Modal is showing this around so suddenly, they’re like “Don’t spend your money on the ASM, hold off a bit, we have this thing coming!” Healthy competition.


I got the bits about the sequencer from here:

However, I agree with what @Jukka says about specs being subject to change



It was actually someone else who posted this to me on another forum about the ASM

“Well,- 5 multi-waveform LFOs, 5 6-stage ENV generators, modmatrix and kind of SEM state-variable filter (filter #2) make this device interesting alone.”

I found this image on the Modal web-site – it’s a full on front view and it’s massive so you can read the captions on all the dials on the front panel, if you download it.


waiting for Elektron to enter the ring

“Introducing the Digi-ToHellWithModalAndHydra”

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Hydra’s panel looks better for direct control, but VST/AU for Argon8 is a great option, turning it into an hybrid instrument like Elektron & Access stuff.

Depends … if we look soundwise … how many waveshapes make up a wavetable?

AFAIK Blofeld comes with 64 waveshapes per wavetable and allows to upload user wavetables. The Blofeld has three oscillators, more LFO/ADSR and a more complex modulation matrix. I would say, the only thing the Argon rules is that it has a decent UI.

Compared to the also new ASM Hydrasynth the Argon seems to be a little outdated :thinking:


The Hydra looks an instant classic. I agree.

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I hate to say it, but with this new guy and the Hydra, Elektron is being out-classed for similar $.

I really hope Elektron’s next synth brings back “parameter slides.” I’ve always felt that the Digitone/Digitakt don’t feel right lacking this.


Not sure if the Hydra has a sequencer.

I don’t think it does. But I think Elektron should make “parameter slides” a standard feature on their machines because they really help make up for the lack of LFOs and Envelopes that synths like this and the Hydra have.


So its looking like an 8-voice super craft 2.0? dayum

If I were to get this one, my SKULPT and craft 2.0 would immediately become redundant. But this is a much better deal than polychaining two SKULPTS.

I’ll think about it


I don’t see that there is any way the Argon is done and shipped in the 15 weeks before Christmas. This is purely my opinion, hopefully an informed one, so please feel free to disagree, i’m fine with there being other opinions. We’ll find out soon enough anyways.
No doubt the people at Modal are going to work very hard to make their tight schedule.

This post is long, because the development process is long.
The short version of this is they have too much to do. Skip reading the reasons here, it will save you a lot of time.

Reasons i think they slip schedule, part A through G:

(a) They’re not done with the hardware yet, although they are well along, there are hardware changes and reconfigurations due. Jackson said this.
(b) The core code, the DSP stuff, has a lot left to do, and this is all happening mainly through one guy, which means a schedule bottleneck. Sure he can work 80 hour weeks, but there is a limit to what one person can do, before quality and the creative aspect drops off. So for instance they have one filter ‘done’, and they may have two more, they still haven’t decided, and detail on those two more filters is still fluid. Plus there is a modulation parts left too. And more no doubt. Let’s hope the DSP guy stays healthy.
© Sound design is yet to start. Yes they seem to have their wavetables complete, 120 which is 24 banks of 5, though i completely expect another iteration on those wavetables once the sound design is initiated. Good part is you can have more than one sound designer working at once, so that can be a parallel path. But you still have to have nearly finished hardware and software in their hands, probably 20 or so pre-production units built, the completion of all the filter code, etc. Then you need to control what the sound designers do enough so they’re not redoing the same sounds over and over between them, and then at the end take the separate product of each sound designer, probably throwing a fair amount of it out, and molding the rest into some sort of complete product. To illustrate, if something would take nine months for one person to do, that doesn’t mean you can have nine people doing that same task in one month. It might be more like nine people can do the same task in two months.
(d) There is the whole process of ramping up to production – you need special software and hardware written to qual test the separate manufactured parts to be sure they’re ready for final assembly, and then more hardware and software to test the assembled products to assure they are good as well. This is often forgotten by regular developers, hopefully they have a hard-nosed manufacturing engineer on the team. Modal probably does, having been through Kickstarter successfully on the Craft Synth and Skulpt. Argon is exponentially more complex. Assuming they have selected and scheduled the board manufacturers, and the mechanical parts manufacturer, and have sourced and ordered all the parts, every last one, in the right quantities then they’d be ready to start a run through on the manufacture. You need to get all the separate things shipped around, and deal with all the last minute snafus which are guaranteed to come up. If you are really good at this you only have a half dozen killer snafus to work through. Oh and the packaging has to be designed, sourced, scheduled, manufactured, and then packed with the final hardware.
(e) Oh i forgot alpha and beta-testing. That happens probably in parallel with the manufacture, which is a short schedule risky scheme, because if you find a problem that requires a hardware fix, you will need to rework, hopefully not scrap, all the systems you’ve made. So a safer approach is to alpha and beta-test prior to a commit on manufacture, but that means a longer schedule. And for the beta-test you need 20 or so completed pieces of hardware with a software that has made it through a pretty extensive alpha, by people other than the developers, it’s hard to find bugs in your own stuff. It’s really hard to shorten schedule through this, and you generally pay dearly if you try. Think about all the separate aspects to this synth, some of them fairly complex. Now design a test scheme to go through all the separate paths through this maze of options and find and identify the errors. Identifying all those errors may not be obvious. Classify those errors, find and make fixes to the most important ones, and then start the testing process all over again. How do you know when you can stop going around this loop, when there is never “the last bug”?
(f) Money – this is all getting to the expensive phase of things, and if you don’t have enough sadly it will cost you double. And setting the price this early is hazardous if you face cost over-runs without time to iron them out.
(g) I have missed, and don’t know about a ton of things specific to this project, but i do know there are many many things left that will be outside of a carefully constructed schedule. Surely there are things they can do to shorten the process up – if they are clever, and they do seem very clever. But clever people also like to shoe-horn in a few neat ideas at the end. Like for instance making the keyboard and synth have polyphonic-aftertouch, or MPE, or both. Plus they’ll have a thousand people like those at Knobcon this weekend saying, “Hey, it would be great if you just had …”

Hopefully i’m wrong. This is a very cool synth.


This looks so good.

I won’t compare it to Elektron as it is mono-timbral.

Bot wow, loaded with my kinda features. Especially the smaller foot print you get when moving the joystick above the KB.
Also, another 37 key synth with a joystick! Heck yea!


Yeah i think of playing my Analog Keys. But with wavetables.
And this all costs less than a Digitakt! Extraordinary.

The ship is sailing away…