Take a look at the new Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms System 201 Modular Synthesizer:
Wow, there’s a lot going on there, isn’t there? I must admit, I’m curious about that strange looking keyboard. This has clearly not been designed for traditional keyboard players. With the onboard step sequencer, this is much more for sequenced experimental music.
But the great thing about this system is that it can work on its own without any patching at all, but can also be patched amongst itself or to external modules. So it works as both a self-contained synthesizer and a modular system that can be infinitely expanded with other synth modules.
In terms of price, I couldn’t find an exact number for the System 201. However, I did find an article which said that the prices for the Pittsburgh Modular synths range from $499 for the KV-1 module up to $2,049 for the System 301. So I would assume the System 201 would be somewhere around the $1,500-2,000 mark.
Again, as with the Waldorf Eurorack modules, these kinds of prices may be out of reach for a lot of hobbyist musicians/producers. Also, in general, I think that hardware such as this is possibly an unnecessary route to go down these days. Yes, it’s a nice luxury to get your hands on lovely hardware like this, but it’s no longer necessary.
For musicians and producers who have less money to spend, you’re better off getting yourself a DAW with built-in software synthesizers, such as Propellerheads Reason. If you still want to be able to control the sounds physically with your hands, a MIDI controller is worth getting. For those on a tight budget, the Akai MPK Mini MKII does the job. However, Korg’s 2 new MIDI controllers are worth taking a look at too.
What do you think? Are you tempted to get a modular system like this? Or do you prefer the software route? Why not let me know in the comments section below.
All the best,