Moog has revealed the innards of the synth they’re launching later this month, and it looks like a cute but sonically-rich analog monosynth: two-octave keyboard, no display, plenty of knobs.

What’s best is, we get not some strange Web teaser or blurry cropped photos, but a walkthrough of the prototype with none other than Herb Deutsch. Professor Deutsch is perhaps second only to Bob Moog himself in his influence on the early years of the Moog company and the evolution of the early idea of the synth. He can barely contain his delight as he “doodles” on the new instrument.

In the course of the walkthrough, we find out a bit more of what will be in this keyboard:

  • Classic Moog filter
  • Multidrive (pre-filter gain, post-filter overdrive), expanding on the Minimoog’s Overload functionality, which adds timbral color by overdriving the filter
  • Two-oscillator architecture, plus sub-oscillator
  • Redesigned oscillator design
  • Noise generator (which Herb likes quite a lot)

Best quote: “these oscillators are unusually in tune.” Even as this Moog continues tradition, yes, there is such a thing as progress.

Yes, it should be a more-affordable entry into Moog synths, but what excites me most is the new sound architecture. That Multidrive filter sounds fantastic even in this YouTube video – and a welcome opportunity to make a noise that’s not overly pristine. With so many instruments available, having a distinctive character is everything. We’ll look forward to meeting the new Moog as CDM covers NAMM. (I’m unfortunately not in attendance, but MeeBlip creator James Grahame is, and I hear he, like me, loves hardware synths with no screen.)

  • kent williams

    I think that using green PCB material for the front panel would actually be kinda cool.

    • Peter Kirn

      Yeah, the boards are actually quite pretty. Now, black PCBs… even better.

    • Tim

      Yeah, Black boards are great. I use them at work on the new generation of gear. The black meeblip pcb is classy as well.

    • Jason Duerr

      Dude! No! I manufacture PCBs and boards… getting color, any color, adds exactly ZERO cost. Bring on yellow, red, purple, orange, pink, whatever. “This isn’t your father’s PCB”!

    • Peter Kirn

    Looks awesome! I wonder what the price will be with the Phatty and Minitaur already in their line-up. If they can sell this for around 750$ that would be a great alternative to the Minibrute. Will be interesting to see how this stacks up against the Mini MS20

    • Rawcoco

      yeah, i can’t wait

    • Bruno Afonso

      I don’t think they’ll be able to do less than 1k. I sure hope so in order for me to NOT have to buy it… unruly minibrute could use a nice and warm brother. :-]

  • kconnor9000

    Sounds great! Similar to my new Anushri, actually – sub osc, overdrive stage pre-filter, no screen, lots of knobs. But that filter sounds great. I’ve got a lot of Moog style filter clones around (including a Voyager), and that one sounds nicer, even on youtube. A modern minimoog (nanomoog?) with simple, direct knobs, is a great idea. I think a 25-key board is a decent compromise – I have lots of controllers already, and would prefer knobs that far apart vs. another shoebox synth. Looks a lot like a minibrute, but with good sound. Minibrute is awesome flexibility, but demos and playing with one at a store (shout out Control Voltage in Portland!) left me really cold re: thin, aggressive, break-uppy sound. I like warm and fat and liquid, ymmv.

  • markLouis

    This is probably going to sound stupid and I don’t mean to offend and I apologize in advance, but, still– This is the twenty-first century and this is a MONO synth with 25 keys? And it is impressive to a guy who hasn’t seen a new synth since 1980? Is there a real market for stuff like this, or is it just targeting and exploiting a demographic of fantasy fans who have no connection to reality? I don’t think “digital music” as some kind of paradigm is well-served by being so insular and unreal. In a world of controllers connected to computers, or full-function digital things like Vipers, if a musician is really concerned with SOUND and MUSIC, what is the point of trivial mono synths with tiny keyboards that make really full-sounding variations of the same old analog sounds? Is there some basic philosophical issue I’m missing here?

    • markLouis

      ” full-function digital things like Vipers” — Sorry, I knew I didn’t want to say M-Audio Venom, but then I got the wrong “V” word. I meant to refer to the full-function Acess Virus in that sentence.

    • kconnor9000

      Really fair point. But yeah, there’s clearly a market given the extraordinary pre-order frenzy over Minibrute. If you hit that ~$500 price point, the waters start to churn.

      Why is there a market for a 25-key monosynth in 2013? Because there’s a lot of diversity in the market, diffferent needs or wants being met. Lots of artists have lots of keyboards, using each for the different tone palette or workflow it brings to the table. And of course, there are lots of collectors out there, who don’t record or publish much (though soundcloud is changing that rapidly), who simply have a blast spending their limited time playing with a hardware device that has knobs, responsive musically-useful controls, sounds good and is fun to play. Analog fetishization is real, no question, and can be a limiter if people feel they can’t create without fantasy box X,Y,Z. But as long as people don’t get too distracted by options, having more tools available (analog, digital, computer-based, tablet-based, software and hardware) is a good thing.

    • wingo shackleford

      Oh, there is a serious market for this. Nothing in the world sounds quite like a Moog, and if you want that sound, a softsynth or VA workstation is not going to cut it. And for those of us that want that sound but haven’t been able to shell out the $1K-$3K for a proper one, this is going to hit the sweet spot. Some people *are* concerned with ‘SOUND and MUSIC’, which is precisely why you would want one. And my ‘connection to reality’ is that I love having varying sounds at my hands for gigs, but don’t want to have to lug many heavy things around, so small but playable is my wheel house. I am the exact demographic for this product, so yeah, we exist and are not necessarily fantasy fans either.

    • foljs

      “”” In a world of controllers connected to computers, or full-function digital things like Vipers, if a musician is really concerned with SOUND and MUSIC, what is the point of trivial mono synths with tiny keyboards that make really full-sounding variations of the same old analog sounds? Is there some basic philosophical issue I’m missing here?”””

      Yes, that a lot of people could not care less about BS “full-function digital things” and “controllers connected to computers” and what we primarily care about from a music instrument, including a synth, is its SOUND.

      Electronic music got into the mainstream in the end of the seventies. That’s like 30-something years ago, and you make it sound like it’s some deep antiquity and we should all abandon the instruments of the era (and current instruments build like that) for whatever latest fad.

      And it’s not even like there’s a dichotomy. We can use the latest stuff AND STILL appreciate the depth of sound and the character we can get from an analog monosynth.

    • DerfScratch

      I think that like any musical product the first goal should be for it to inspire musical ideas and allow a person to get their ideas out of their head. Whether this is done with an analog mono synth, a clarinet, a workstation keyboard or a test oscillator, is up to the individual artist. It has to do with the artist and the tool that inspires them, not just a feature list. I have a Virus TI2 that I love, I also have a MiniBrute that I love as well as a herd of other digital and analog mono or poly synths and software. All of these tools are valid too me as long as they inspire me. Musical instruments are not in some kind of competition of x is better than y because the reality is none is better than any other. They are just different. The new Moog sounds nice, I love the Moog sound. I love the Virus sound. I love the MiniBrute sound and the Oberheim sound, etc….each one is different. Maybe if you look at it as a painter looks at colors and brushes and surfaces it makes more sense?

    • Max Gerber

      [Is there some basic philosophical issue I’m missing here?]

      Yes… Digital sounds are only for people who can’t tell the difference. There are lots of electronic keyboards for KB players. Synthesizers are for synthesists.

    • gorgolath

      a moog is a moog like a statocaster fender or a les paul gibson guitars it sound is the same since the first day.nobody want a moog sounding like another synth.we are talking about a musical instrument and not a pc.i got keyboards since 1979 and now at last i could afford a is super practical at home or on stage .it is really no fun to me to see people with a laptop playing in a band.

  • Big Mister Doom

    What kconnor9000 said. I think if its fun to play, sounds good and is quick to access all the controls they are onto a winner. As for it being a mono synth with a 25 key bed? Not everyone in the market place has the cash for the voyager of their dreams. I guess Moog being a capitalist company hoping to make money and survive have assessed the two potential markets and relialised that the lower / mid range but high quality devices will bring lots of punters and some of those may even buy into their higher end models. I also don’t buy the idea that all gear should be capable of XYZ. If it handles a sound well and is quick to program why should it have to be capable of more? I picked up a minitaur the other week and that thing is the most fun I have had in a long time. To me this looks and sounds like two minitaurs bolted together with a bed underneath and couple of enhancements for diversity. Trivial mono-synth? Stick me on the list.

    • markLouis

      >why should it have to be capable of more?

      That’s a very interesting question to ask. I don’t mean to attack anyone’s approach to music making, but let me clarify mine. Nowadays a person can have, just for instance, a full-sized keyboard in a MOX6 that provides all the Motif sounds out-of-the-box, plus it integrates smoothly with DAWS, so you have, again for instance, complete access to things like Reason’s Malstrom graintable virtual synth for very contemporary sounds and endless others.

      So a setup like that isn’t very expensive, but it is capable of making just about any SOUND imaginable. And since it integrates with DAWS it will be able to keep on making whatever NEW sounds become imaginable. And since thesedays everything quickly gets digitized into a DAW anyway, I personally don’t see any reason to fixate on analog/digital differences.

      That’s my thinking–something should be capable of “more” because we as musicians in theory at least are always capable of playing more and thinking more and imagining more. A setup like I describe can produce ANYTHING from nursery rhyme songs for kids to symphonies and it costs just a little more than one of these to my eyes trivial mono synths. That’s my thinking. Something should do “more” because we can always imagine more. If anyone wants to elaborate on why it’s good to have equipment that does less, I’m very interested in trying to understand your point-of-view.

    • Joseph Misterovich

      I think that a device like this one is infinitely more inspirational to me than [insert any workstation keyboard]. For me, I thrive best creatively when there are limits to the sounds I can make on a single device at one point in time. It may take me a few hours of tweaking to get something I like, but, at least for me, that time is much more likely to inspire something inside of me than spending my time scrolling through menus to look for the exact function I want to create a physical model of a violin.

      Now I see where these sort of workstations have their appeal, they are relatively affordable, provide a solution to a whole host of problems (e.g. soundcard for your PC, midi i/o, a huge library of sounds, etc.) and all in a single box. For me, there’s no charm in that. I like working with something that could, out of the blue, start acting totally different than it was the previous minute, forcing me to craft the sonic ideas in my head around the limitations of the machine. This is certainly not the way everyone works, and is obviously not always practical in live situations. But this is the environment which I feel comfortable in and which brings me joy.

      For all musicians, finding the right tools is all about finding a tool that you are comfortable with and that is an extension of you, as an artist. You can make music with just about anything, but I, and a lot of other people, seem derive enormous amounts of pleasure out of the products of Moog and others building similar machines.

      You should also note that there are products in between a fully analog 25-key monosynth and a massive, overpowered, Motif workstation. Both digital and analog.

      Along similar lines, people don’t listen to vinyl just because they think that the sound quality is better or because they think it’s more practical, (I know I don’t, but I also have a crummy record player and a crummy amplifier) they listen to vinyl because of the physicality, the nostalgia, the charm of irritable machines, and the tremendously satisfying amount of work required.

    • Leek

      totally agree. except: vinyl does sound better IMO. and I say that as a traktor dj. but that’s the point, how boring is perfect :) (that doesn’t sound right either, since digital is a representation with 1s and 0s and therefore missing some information)

    • Joseph Misterovich

      Like I said, I have a crummy setup. Half the sound I get is cracks and pops. Plus I listen primarily to used records, which doesn’t exactly have the most pristine sound quality. I still love it though.

    • Graham Metcalfe

      I can name several instruments that have limitations, but are of interest to musicians: violin, classical guitar, piano, sax, trumpet…you get my drift. Limitations can help draw out the music and musicianship where limitless capabilities can mire one’s creativity with too much choice. I love Logic and all my AU plugins and my Korg M3, but I also like to sit down with my Alvarez classical.

  • Samuele Cornell

    It will remain a niche-product ( the average non professional musician, given the global economic status nowadays, would hardly buy it )
    In fact, as all others Moog’s products it will be certainly not cheap …. probaly 700-1k range..also there are plenty of vsts or less expensive gear which can give you similar sounds and way more than that .
    At last from a technical perspective its technology is already obsolete,
    It is a product for nostalgic, analog purists, with the world becoming more and more digital this rather than a step ahead is a a step backwards….

  • Mark

    It sounds lovely, but needs a larger keyboard, at least 3 octaves.

  • Mijk Van Dijk

    Hey Peter, thanks for sharing this. I just wanna hug Mr. Deutsch, what a nice chap!

  • Foob

    Probably will cost at least a grand… Only people that can afford moogs are already well known and make good money or people with good jobs who are 50+ and play them at home for fun at home in their boxers

  • ava

    minibrute will corner the market because its the best by far you can get with the money….one day outdated analog technology will be affordable hopefully…this kinda shit should be 200 bucks by now but if people will pay 1000 wouldnt u do the same thing

  • MediaWest ♫

    please moog. build me a new memorymoog. i would love a stable modern version of my old mm…. cant afford to rebuild it again, and parts are scarce….

  • Chris Sciurba

    Sounds awesome. Simple, to the point, and thoroughly brutal – just as an analog monosynth should be.