Made by Clavia, the Nord Modular is a virtual analog synthesizer. It digitally emulates the versatility and programmability of modular synthesizers of the past, but remains compact enough to sit on a desk or be rack mounted.

There are actually two components to the complete Nord Modular system.

  1. The hardware component, and
  2. The software component
The hardware component is the physical box housing the various DSP hardware and synthesis algorithms. There is a keyboard version, which has a built in two octave keyboard, and a rack version, which lacks the keyboard but can be mounted in a standard 19" rack. Like all of Clavia's synths, the Modular is painted an eye-catching firetruck red. It has eighteen knobs that can be assigned to just about any function, as well as an LCD display and controls for selecting and editing patches and system settings.

The software component is the heart of the system. After connecting the Modular to a PC or Macintosh computer via a MIDI Interface device, you can create and edit patches in an Editor program. (This program is available on Clavia's website for free. You can play with it without the hardware, but obviously this won't make any sound)

You build sounds in this environment by chaining together virtual modules. There are over a hundred of these modules at the time of this writing, with more added through updates to the Editor software.

Some examples of modules are:

Just about any parameter on any module can be manipulated in real-time via the front panel knobs or a MIDI continuous controller. Clavia's clever morph groups let you set a number of parameters to be controlled by one knob or controller, each parameter moving through a customizable range.

Since the possible combinations of modules is nearly limitless, the Modular is a brilliant tool for sound designers, but can be overwhelming for those without much knowledge of acoustics and signal flow.

For more info:

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