werkstatt2

It seems popular demand worked.

Moog’s peculiar, brilliant Werkstatt synth was a huge kit as a workshop-only build for premium Moogfest attendees in April in North Carolina. And not only that, the design swept the Internet. It seems your pleas were heard, as the instructional project is turning into a product. Just expect it to be in “extremely” limited quantities, says Moog, at a handful of their boutique-minded US dealers.

Because it’s solder-free, even including those through-hole parts, the “kit” aspect is largely putting it together. But it’s still a clever, rich-sounding, versatile single-oscillator analog synth with some semi-modular routing options. The only real argument against the thing (apart from the feature, not listed of the specs, of Having to Fight Synth Nerds to Buy One), is that it lacks MIDI. (If you want external keyboard input, you’ll need CV out – a good candidate would be the Keith McMillen QuNexus reviewed here on CDM.)

But then we get to the price – at US$329, it’s about the most inexpensive Moog I’ve seen. (Well, unless you’re in the market for a Broken Concertmate MG-1 – you can probably pick that up for less.)

Update/addition: There’s some discussion in comments about comparable synths. Now, for $300 these days or even much less, you can get all sorts of interesting instruments, from the likes of KORG, Waldorf, and yes – us, in the form of MeeBlip.

The best comparison to the Werkstatt, though, is probably the Arturia MicroBrute. It costs about the same as the Werkstatt, it’s an analog single-oscillator synth with switchable waveforms and various extras, and it’s semi-modular. (There’s limited internal routing on the MicroBrute – not so much to write home about – but also CV outs if you have other analog hardware.) The Moog is unique: you get the Moog ladder filter and a lot of the bass characteristics of the Taurus. So I could easily see having both. On value, though, the Arturia wins fairly handily: it also has a keyboard, it has MIDI (via MIDI DIN in and USB), clock, and more sound controls. It’s also easier to buy. They’re each so unique sonically, and so different from one another, that there’s no harm in either one. But yes, I’d probably buy the Arturia first if I had $300/300€. (I actually intend to write up the MicroBrute very soon, especially after spending some hours with it as my main live instrument over the weekend.)

What would I actually want? Well, both. They’re different enough that the comparison on anything other than value is sort of pointless. They both sound great, and they’re both (I think) pretty great buys; they just sound different.

A new video:

Full product details (and dealer links):
Werkstatt-Ø1 Moogfest 2014 Kit

Sadly, the product that’s named in German won’t make it to Germany – or anywhere else outside the United States. Time will tell whether Moog decides to ramp up production for a bigger release (perhaps by adjusting the feature set). But it’s already gone from one-off workshop to limited release, so perhaps it’ll make it further.

But for a review of why we like this synth – and creator Steve Dunnington making some sounds with it himself – previous coverage:

Moog Werkstatt: Listen to its Creator Make Sounds; Why It Could Bring Moog Back to Modular

  • mckenic

    Sweet! Thank you Moog for releasing it but I’m in Ireland… we don’t get to play?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I tried to get one and couldn’t. ;) Yeah, more than half of CDM readers (including, ahem, its editor) are outside the USA.

      That said, we do have a lot of other synth treats, so I suppose we can’t complain.

      And I expect some folks will just go ahead and swallow the import duty and get it shipped from a US dealer. You’ll find the list on the site above.

    • mckenic

      Yes of course (might even do it myself he he) but here is hoping its only step one of the releases! :-)

    • Phil Robinson

      Peter, you may want to give proofreading to someone else or at least take a second glance at this article. Fire the guy who checks to make sure you’re not using Homophones that mean different words.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      News was breaking last-minute (end of day European time) and there was … yes, a major error.

    • DaveAA

      I’ve ordered one from Perfect Circuit, who do worldwide shipping.

  • Nolej

    Does this make the Werkstatt the cheapest semi-modular?

    • SemiMod

      no…check the mfb microzwerg or doepfer dark energy..same priceclass

    • stumm

      Incorrect. They are both substantially more expensive.
      dark energy is $600+ USD, used it goes $450+
      microzwerge is $500+ USD.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Right, the comment above I think is correct – the comparable synth is really the Arturia MicroBrute. And… well, it’s actually a better value. This is an interesting, different animal, however. It’d be tough to justify buying the Moog *before* one of the Arturias, but if you have a MicroBrute or MiniBrute already…

  • Renral

    I ordered one from sweet water to deliver to the uk then got an email through 3 hours later saying moog doesn’t allow them to ship worldwide, their exact words. Absolutely gutted.

  • http://allezweitagediat.de/ sofenza

    I requested one from lovely water to provide to the uk then got an e-mail through 3 time later saying moog does not allow them to provide globally, their actual terms. Definitely destroyed.

    Spybubble gratuit

  • Jorge from Madrid

    Hey! No love for the wonderfull semimodular Arturia MicroBrute? I got mine for 278€ retail price on a physical store here in Madrid.

  • maindrag

    No fighting here – we still have a few of the first batch available for pre-order – http://www.maindragmusic.com/moog-werkstatt-synth-assembly-kit.html

  • http://fkillmary.com/ Jason Duerr

    The shape of things to come in the Industry… Assembly required. Lower sale prices since labor is being taken out of the product. Imagine a world of Ikea & Lego meets Korg & Roland.

    • Jaybeeg

      No. Screwing a circuit board into a metal case and slapping on rubber feet takes only a minute or two at a labor cost of under a dollar. It’s not going to save the customer money.

      However, selling a kit is a nice way to avoid the need for FCC Part 15 certification and save thousands of dollars of testing.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      If you’re spending thousands of dollars on FCC certification, you need a new certification shop… ;)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      What Jason said. Assembly is one of the easiest, cheapest phases of the whole process. Parts, shipping – those are a bigger deal. I think they kept it as a kit partly because that was how the thing began. It does in fact save you FCC certification, which is an issue if you’re doing a very short run. Other than that, though, not an issue.

  • John Pazdan

    Peter: thanks for the update re the MicroBrute…hope your review comes out soon.

  • nick

    It’s as if http://www.mfberlin.de/ built a entry level version of of the tinysizer http://www.anyware-instruments.de/