Modal began in 2000 as Modulus Electronics, a company established by synth designer and enthusiast Paula Maddox, who was a fan of the PPG Wave synths. Paula set out to build a stripped-down and less expensive version of the Wave 2.2, and her result was the Monowave.

In October 2014, shortly after the introduction of the 002, Maddox became aware of a trademark conflict with another musical instrument company using the same name. (That company had been dormant for some years, but had finally found a buyer and was emerging for bankruptcy.) Rather than contest the name, Maddox made the decision to change the name of the company to Modal Electronics.