Pittsburgh Modular

We are Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers and we make electronic instruments for musicians and sonic architects. Our innovative designs promote unrestricted, interactive synthesis for maximum control of maximum sound. 

Available worldwide through authorized resellers, our instruments include the flagship Lifeforms line of complete synthesizers and individual modules, the professional grade Structure enclosures, and a full line of eurorack modules and accessories.  

Established in 2012, Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where we hand-build and test all our products. 

  • Richard Nicol (Pittsburgh, PA), founder and chief designer, sold the first Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers module design, the VILFO, out of his basement to fund his crippling synthesizer addiction. Since then Richard has somewhat obsessively worked to create meticulously designed, beautiful instruments, which are both accessible to beginning sound experimenters, as well as infinitely extendable for professional musicians and producers. 
  • Michael Johnsen (Pittsburgh, PA) Instrument builder and performer Michael Johnsen was born in 1968 in Pennsylvania. Drawing on the rich American tradition of experimentation and cobbling, he has built up an integrated menagerie of devices specifically for live performance whose idiosyncratic behaviors are revealed through their complex interactions. His work is characterized by a relative lack of ideas per se, and an intense focus on observation, the way a shepherd watches sheep. The extensive patching of large numbers of devices produces teeming chirps, sudden transients and charming failure modes; embracing the dirt in pure electronics. Most of what he might have learned has come from the natural world, like watching robins run. He is particularly fond of sounds that end.