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13 of Moog's finest pieces of kit

In celebration of the Minimoog Model D's return

  • Sydney Megan Jow & Dave Turner
  • 21 July 2016

After being teased in May, yesterday it was announced that the Minimoog Model D is back in production.

The original device was introduced in the 1970s and made its way across dance music as one of the most distinct and influential sound manipulation technologies.

Moog's updated version will be released in limited quantities each month with some new specs including MIDI integration, an analogue LFO with dual waveforms, a 'mixer overload' function and more saturated sound quality.

To celebrate, we've dug through the last four decades to group together some of the best pieces originating from Dr. Robert Moog's fundamental innovation.

Check out our top picks in the gallery above and see each model listed in order below.

1. Mother-32

Moog's first tabletop semi-modular synth, the Mother-32 sequencer guarantees raw analogue sound for music makers. Safely situated inside an aluminum shell and wooden sides, specs include 32 modular patch points, two voltage controlled mixers, a five-pin MIDI input and an oscillator with Pulse and Sawtooth wave outputs.

2. Modular System 55

Somewhat of a beast and not cheap at $35,000, the System 55 is back in production having first been made in 1973. It took three years of research and design in order for production to resume and the updated version comes with voltage controlled amplifiers, a random signal generator, six oscillators and a 960 sequential controller. Only 55 have been made for worldwide sale, so it could be tricky getting your hands on one.

3. Minimoog Model D

The reason for us running this image gallery, the Minimoog Model D is now back in production after being on show at Moogfest in May. Production restrictions means limited units will be retailed on a month-by-month basis but it'll be totally worth the wait once you're playing around with new MIDI integrations, analogue LFO and plenty more.

4. Aluminum Minimoog Voyager

Only a handful of dealers distribute this one as it's limited to 100 units, but its appearance alone is enough to pick one up and get in the studio. Coming in a sleek silver and black finish, the Aluminum Voyager is a limited edition version of the original Minimoog Voyager that was released in 2002. A monophonic synth, features include voltage controlled oscillators, a five-input mixer module and wide-ranging patching. It doesn't just look good.

5. Emerson Moog Modular System

Keith Emerson created this huge machine 52 years ago and Moog announced in 2014 that'd it be recreating it. Now costing a whopping $150,000 it's not exactly a piece of kit that's suitable for a Christmas list. For the hardened synth heads who are lucky enough to have one, they've got access to the same circuit designs hand-crafted as they were back in the day. When announced, Moog said it was "proud to partner with Keith Emerson and salute his pioneering artistry." This is a classic.

6. Little Phatty Stage II

This cute MIDI controller has been discontinued but the Moog site points to a few authorised dealers where you can grab one. Described as "an incredible tool for both performance and the studio" by engineering manager Cyril Lance, a MIDI Clock Sync, an arpeggiator and tap tempo are all included for the price of $1,475.

7. VX-351 Voyager CV Expander

Compatible with the Minimoog Voyager, the VX-351 has 19 control voltage and two gate outputs, with voltage distribution supplied by four-way mults. Not too pricey at $295, other specs include keyboard pitch, velocity and afterpressure, LFO square and triangle waves and pitch bend and mod wheels. Moog certainly doesn't doubt its abilities: "Think: if Voyager = infinite sound possibilities, then Voyager + VX-351 = infinity squared."

8. Minimoog Voyager

Said to be the "crowning achievement" of Robert Moog, this all-analogue performance instrument was released in 2002, taking influence of the original Minimoog from the '70s. Brian Eno, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock are just a few notable musicians to use this, so not much more has to be said really.

9. The Moogerfooger CP-251

Able to be used with the Minimoog Voyager, the award-winning CP-251 gives you the ability to create complex audio through generating, modifying and combining controlled voltages. It's pretty affordable at €399 (compared to a lot of Moog's equipment, anyway) and works with two signals - audio and control. It looks smart too, with a black finish for the main box and varnished wooden side panels.

10. Prodigy Synthesizer

Deemed as a decent starter for synth users, this monosynth - armed with two voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs) with saw, triangle and pulse waveforms - has also been used by a star-studded list of musicians like The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, Depeche Mode and Jimmy Edgar.

11. Moog 953 Keyboard

Possibly one of Moog's most aesthetically pleasing instruments with a smooth walnut (or black) finish, this 61 duophonic keyboard can be linked up to the System 55, 35 and Model 15. Multiple oscillators can be played through twin CV/Gate outputs, with pristine controls for scale, range and portamento settings.

12. Modular Model 15

Originally made in 1973, the Model 15 has been brought back to life with the original circuit board and hand-built recreations of the original instruments. Modules include VCOs, envelope generators, a fixed filter bank and two voltage controlled amps. It may be tricky to get, though, as only 150 have been freshly made.

Sydney Megan Jow is Mixmag's US Digital Content Editor, follow her on Twitter here

Dave Turner is Mixmag's Digital News Editor, follow him on Twitter here

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