Moog Music has made official the launch of the Moogerfooger MF-108M Cluster Flux. Leaked specs went out yesterday. I was editing a book; hopefully you were doing something less work-like, such as sipping beers aside the beach with your iPhones completely powered down and stowed. But now that it’s official, we know full specifications on the hardware (below), and pricing and availability. The Cluster Flux will list for US$599; expect lower prices street. You’ll be able to get it third quarter of this year.

Why is the Cluster Flux worth leaking? Moog already has a lovely line of analog Moogerfooger effects units, but the Cluster Flux is a unique flanger / chorus / vibrato / modulated effect unit. It promises to do the usual sounds those features entail, but loaded up with hardware controls, it can do more, too, says Moog – like a “wider range of modulated delay line effects” more. And in usual Moogerfooger fashion, you get a full complement of CV and MIDI controls, too.

Two other observations: first, the design of this will look familiar to those of you who have used Moog’s iOS app. Second, Cluster Flux to me sounds more like a Metasonix product name than Moog. Actually — no, then it’d be just Clusterf***, and one of those knob labels would require you to shield youngsters’ eyes. And there would be a tube stolen from a rotting Soviet submarine, not what the Moog press release describes as “state-of-the-art all-analog circuitry.”

I’ve been waiting some time for a Moogerfooger to move from “nice to have” territory into “have to have.” And for those of us on a budget, who can’t fill up our studios with Moog hardware the way the company’s NAMM booth exhibits do, that means being choosy. This one could be the one, looking at the specs. I’ll reserve judgment until I get to play with it.

The specs (copying and pasting; I hear editor-sent attack dogs scratching at the door and actually need to run for it so they don’t savagely tear off my limbs — catch you later):

The MF-108M Cluster Flux is more powerful than traditional chorus/flange effects offering musicians the added modulation of multiple LFO waveforms: Sine, Triangle, Square, Saw, Ramp and Random, to create many kinds of new modulated BBD Delay effects. MIDI IN allows control of Delay Time, Range, Feedback, Output Level, LFO Waveform, LFO Rate, LFO Amount and Mix. Additional features include:

· The ability to sync LFO modulation effects to MIDI Clock or Tap Tempo
· The ability to control Delay Time w/ MIDI Notes for “tuned” flanger comb-filter effects.
· CV control of Delay Time, LFO Rate, Feedback, LFO Amount, Mix
· Send/Return Insert for external processing of BBD signals.
· A second output configurable via DIP switches for different types of stereo outputs
· A Spillover mode allows for creation of interesting drones and other feedback effects.
· Control of Delay Time, Mix and Feedback in Chorus setting for extreme chorus effects
· Bi-polar feedback design creates Flanging effects w/ even or odd harmonic emphasis.
· Wide-ranging LFO Rate for very slow to audio rate modulation
· Input/Output Level controls for use w/ wide range of devices.

Readers are already pointing to rival gear from maker Eventide. It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison in some ways — but, then, sometimes you want an apple, sometimes an orange. I hope we’ll get to cover more soon from both these vendors.

  • http://soundcloud.com/puls-n pulsn

    Awesome! I already want it! But the price is definately over the top. For 499 you can get a Eventide Timefactor which is basically a dual delay pedal, that can also work as a chorus and with LFO and other features (looper) with a REALLY good sound! But ok…it´s not CV controllable and it is not Moog branded…

  • Peter Kirn

    No, actually, that's a good point. The Eventide box is very different in personality, but I'd love to do some editorial where we make some comparisons (actually, precisely because they're different). Not everyone really needs CV…

    I wouldn't say the price is over the top, as this isn't the easiest thing to pull off in analog. But it's worth considering your options.

    I should add, though, Moog isn't the only gear made in the US — Eventide and Electro-Harmonix are, too, to name some other effects sources of interest to CDM readers. And that's a good thing.

  • http://www.beautypill.com Chad Clark

    I think Moog should back off from the name "moogerfooger," an unfortunate, coy wink-wink thing they took on during the period when they could not use the name "Moog" for legal reasons.  They called them "moogerfoogers" to avoid trademark infringement.  That's in the past now — they reacquired the full rights to the name again some years ago.  So I think they should drop the name "moogerfooger," 'cause it's truly one of the dumbest brand names ever.  Nobody ever liked it.

    I mean, wouldn't it just be cooler to call this a Moog pedal, period?

    That small issue aside, I'm intrigued to hear what it sounds like!  I'm imagining it's lovely.  The rest of the line sounds fantastic, so I'd be surprised if I'm wrong about that.

    - c

  • Charlie Lesoine

    Pretty, pretty expensive. And a bunch of features 99% of users will not use.

  • klaptastic

    Peter, do you know if the ClusterFlux is mono in/out, mono in/stereo out, or stereo in/out?

  • Peter Kirn

    @Charlie: Really? I can absolutely see not having this be in-budget, but … not using the features? Aside from CV (since you need something, you know, with CV), everything else makes me want to reach through the screen and start tweaking. Having a selection of selectable LFO shapes plus a controllable delay line is terrific. Not saying there aren't other ways of doing this (in fact, makes me want to mess around with some Pd patching while I wait), but … well, I hope someone shows those 99% of users the light *one* way or another.

    @klaptastic: Yes, that'd be a fundamental question. I'll find out.

  • tobamai

    The list price *is* high, but this is a unique pedal. I'm not saying it's the ultimate modulation fx pedal for you. Most people will be perfectly happy with digital versions in more affordable pedals, but for someone out there the CV and MIDI in an analogue pedal make it the only option.

  • http://soundcloud.com/puls-n pulsn

    Actually Peter, there are even more alternatives. Starting by getting a Doepfer Case and adding some Eurorack modules, will make float ones boat just as good, with more flexibility. But of course…without the full Midi implementation. Or have a look at the Vermona Filter lancet. Ok…not a delay/flanger/chorus thing…but add an Electro Harmonix device and your are ready to roll. http://www.vermona.com/index.php/de_filterlancet….. Same for the EHX Deluxe Memory Man with Hazarai…

    But i am curious…what does Moog different with the ClusterFlux than the competition? To drive the LFO into audiorange is of course already something that gets me hooked on. If the LFO is being routed to a direct CV out…that might be a good match to use with a Voyager/Phatty.

  • nisios

    There is a DIY project online that accomplishes a lot of these features……..and you can make it for like 40$……for those not affraid of pickuing up the soldering iron.

    http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?t

    But you have to make it yourself, and its not a readilly available kit……but i really think that making your hown pedals is amazing!!!! if you have the time and dedication you learn amazing things.

    If you end up thinking the sound you get is too thin and steryle you can warm it by branding your enclosure MOOG and use words like russian analog tape tube vintage saturation…..its DIY you can make whatever you whant!!!

    Somebody said the price was fair as it was hard to accomplish in analog circuitry!? If you what to see some electronic artistry going on just look inside a TR-808… thats hard to accomplish, and it was made 30 years ago.

  • Peter Kirn

    @nisios: the DIY stompbox project looks like a really nice one.

    Of course, there are a *lot* of things you can do with audio modulation; this just happens to be the Moog offering.

    The TR-808 was $1000 in 1980; that'd make it pretty steep in 2011 dollars. So, I think generally things have gotten less expensive. Of course, a lot of the digital circuitry has gotten cheaper at a more dramatic rate.

  • http://www.minijackmusic.com minijackmusic

    I do love seeing manufacturers making unique BBD-based modulation effects. And I have no doubt this will be an amazing pedal. But I agree that at this price its just another thing to lust over. I recently scored a used Electro Harmonix Poly Chorus for 90 bucks, pretty much the only thing this has it doesn't is the tap tempo and variable LFO wave shapes. Only reason I can really see shelling out for this is if you needed the CV and Midi features, which I wouldn't.

  • http://soundcloud.com/puls-n pulsn

    Yes, ppl. you get my point. Moog is currently not sticking out of the market, except with the brand. So…what s the usep (unique selling point)? We will hopefully see that soon.

  • http://soundcloud.com/puls-n pulsn

    Let me take the chance to point also to the nice but also fairly cheap DIY projects from mutable instruments?

    http://mutable-instruments.net/

    The "sidekick" has not only one but two LFOs that can be driven into audio range for some nasty drone fun. Hook it up together with a Deluxe Memory man with Hazarai and you should be in Drone heaven…ok…you have to solder it yourself…

  • Peter Kirn

    Well, my answer then would be not to omit coverage of the Moogerfooger, but cover more of this other gear, too. So, will get on that…

  • Charlie Lesoine

    Ok I take back what I said about the features. Still overpriced. Or maybe everything else is underpriced?

  • http://brandon-murphy.blogspot.com B

    @Pulsn: there's no chorus/ flanger in eurorack even remotely comparable to this. 

  • Peter Kirn

    Even from an engineering perspective – to say nothing of "value" in more intangible ways – you can't really tell the cost of the components of something by looking at a picture of its front panel. Don't sweat it so much. We'll look at it in more detail.

    I'll say this, too, though, I think it's also healthy that not only does Moog operate in the US, but some of the other makers here (Eventide, Electro-Harmonix) are manufacturing in the US, too. I think that's really a good thing, and I expect the folks at Moog Music who do emphasize that narrative might agree.

    If you want to do something like this cheaply, though, you wouldn't go all-analog. Doesn't mean all analog gear has to cost $500, but if your primary concern is cost efficiency…

    I will refrain from getting into the analog versus digital debate. (Maybe that's unfair. Maybe someone will say something *we've never heard before* if we go there. Uh-huh.)

  • Peter Kirn

    At the risk of spoilers, expect … more on this. I take the questions here seriously, and we'll get them answered. And I do take seriously covering other stuff, too.

    I liked Moog's stuff when it was labeled Big Briar, so for me it's not ever just about the brand. I don't think we need to discriminate against them just because they have a well-known brand, either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/styrofoammusic Arne

    This looks great. Also love the name – who wouldn't like to put their Mofo through a Cluster Flux… I can imagine this doing great things in a modular environment – for instance combined with a Voyager/CP251 combo. A little off-topic sidenote: I'm currently getting into Eurock modular stuff myself and am about to pick up the new Pittsburgh Modular Delay module which basically gives you EHX Memory Man functionality in a eurorack environment with full CV control:&nbsp ;http://pittsburghmodular.com/page10/index.html

  • BlueSpark

    I'm not a Moog customer, but I assume they don't intend to compete on price. They don't have to, just like Apple and other companies in other markets.

  • http://www.ebenestudio.com lematt

    have you try a moog voyager ? what you pay for with moog is a high quality sound ! you don't have to equalize any of the sounds you get from a Voyager to make it fit into the mix. that's the big difference with other fart boxes…

  • http://soundcloud.com/puls-n pulsn

    @lematt, i own a Voyager and owned also a Little Phatty and i almost agree with you…but the stompbox market is different. The competition has brilliant products out there for less money.

  • http://soundcloud.com/eat-cloud/sets/annunaki-pirate-radio Cloudman

    wow this thing looks so sweet. I'm gonna have to sell some of my stuff.

  • Mitchy

    the MIDI to flanger pitch is an exciting thing most people will overlook, for analog physical modelling style. I wonder if the LFO syncs to V/oct audio rate CV? that would be some fun analog delay line FM.

    Also, I'd say the only DIY thing that comes vaguely close to this would be Mr. Haibles Son of Storm Tide Flanger. and I'm not sure whether that's BBD or uses a digital chip.

  • http://Atlastop.com Martin

    This looks great… How short does the delay go? I got a mooger fooger analog delay, which shortest is about 40ms…

    The midi note control over the delay time, means it is capable of a simple form of karplus strong string synthesis right? That's what they mean with tuned flanging?

    Combines with the ability to insert efx into the delay feedback, this MF will be really capable of some great sounds.

    @kirn I get your point with the 'nice to have' vs 'need to have'…. But then again the real power of the moog stuff is the modularity. Like eurorack…Each new MF, means more modulation combination for the old MFs. Therefore ALL moog is 'need to have'