by Robin Vincent | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S  ·  Source: Modal

Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S  ·  Source: Modal

Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S  ·  Source: Modal

Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S  ·  Source: Modal

Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S  ·  Source: Modal

Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S  ·  Source: Modal

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Made from the same stuff as the COBALT8 but compact and portable. With 40 complex algorithms and 8 oscillators per voice, COBALT5S could be the synth to take everywhere.

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COBALT5S

The original COBALT8 has a fantastically usable sound engine that makes a fun time out of blending together two virtual analogue waveform algorithms that travel through a morphably warm filter and out with some effects. But it was heavy, surprisingly heavy, the sort of heavy that made you feel it was a serious piece of kit. In comes COBALT5S with a much sleeker design, lighter on its feet while retaining the same synth architecture that made the COBALT8 great with just a little less polyphony.

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Modal has scaled down more than the voice count to give COBALT5S its portable vibe. While the encoders are the same there are fewer of them giving you a decent row of 16 and dropping to a Shift function to access all the other parameters. The keyboard has shrunk but it still feels good and has aftertouch. The joystick has been replaced with a more travel-friendly XY pad that is less likely to get knocked and broken in transit. The display is a bit smaller but still just as gorgeous. It’s almost exactly as wide as the original COBALT8 but the shortened depth makes it completely capable of being dropped into a bag. There’s no battery compartment unfortunately but it will happily run on a USB power brick.

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Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S

Back to the specs, the filter is the same self-oscillating 4-Pole morphable ladder filter with 4 separate modes and dedicated knobs for cutoff, resonance and morphing. There are 3 envelopes, one for the filter, one for the VCA and one spare for you to assign. Which is also what you can do with the LFOs. There’s one that can play within the voices and one that’s global. Assignment can be achieved through the internal 8-slot modulation matrix.

Modal COBALT5S

Modal COBALT5S

There’s an internal sequencer with up to 512 notes and 4 lanes of automation. The arpeggiator can handle up to 32 steps and is also programmable. MPE support is built-in although you’ll need another controller to access that. There’s also the MODALapp which gives detailed on-screen editing of every parameter either standalone or right within your DAW.

At £379/$449 it’s an attractive price for a genuinely great-sounding synthesizer that’s uncomplicated, pleasing to work with and fits nicely into any hardware or software environment. It should be shipping within a couple of weeks.

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Image Sources:
  • Modal COBALT5S: Modal
  • Modal COBALT5S: Modal
Modal COBALT5S

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