The Skulpt is a polyphonic virtual analog synthesizer that has 32 oscillator spread across 4 voices with 2 morphable waveforms. With further ability to modulate, blend, and morph these waveforms, the end results are limitless. What is a virtual analog synthesizer? A virtual analog synthesizer is digital in design, but emulates the characteristics of the early synthesizers which were exclusively analog meaning they relied on non-digital components to give them their characteristics and sounds (think transistors, diodes, capacitors, etc..). As digital synthesizers came to the market, it drastically reduced the price barrier to owning a synthesizer, but many musicians insist the characteristics of analog synthesizers make them unique and they are still highly sought.
If I had to describe the sound of the Skulpt, I would call it a “pad machine.” We sit there endlessly skulpting pad patches time after time, and it is honestly hard to have a resulting sound that we don’t enjoy later when playing back the recording. If you’re into lofi, ambient, or boom bap hip hop, but synthesizers scare you because of the aggressive tones you see in most videos, we can assure you the Skulpt can get very mellow without losing its special characteristics.
While you can get mellow, relaxed sounds, the bass is no joke and can bring serious energy to any track. My favorite bass tip on this little machine is morphing the waveform into a sine wave, changing polyphony to mono, increasing glide, adding minor distortion, with a low-pass filter as far as it will go without losing the characteristic of the bass. The bass that comes out a machine that 3 minutes ago was playing dark, ambient pads is not only surprising, but very impressive.
Modal Electronics speciality is designing digital synthesizers that are based on analog circuitry (“virtual analog” or “VA”), and you can definitely tell that from the sound characteristics of the Skulpt. The sound this compact synthesizer produces is not only impressive, but keeps me coming back. As a bedroom producer with minimal desk space, the Skulpt has become my go-to synthesizer in my workflow. What we enjoy most is the versatility of this machine. You can go from having an aggressive bass tone to a soft, lush poly pad with the delay fx and filter in a matter of minutes. Add in the intuitive modulation matrix with the added benefit of the companion app and you’re at an enormous advantage with this little device.