First Listen: A Review of The Moog Music Subsequent 37 CV
At Moogfest 2017, Moog Music announced the release of the Subsequent 37 CV, a higher end reimagining of the Sub 37 Tribute Edition. This fully analog synthesizer with electronic memory for easy recall ability is limited to only 1,000 units in the United States with the first 125 being hand built live during Moogfest.
The Moog Music Subsequent 37 CV has so many amazing features, it’s hard to know where to begin with this review. I spent days messing around with this synth, and feel like I only scratched the surface of its potential power. I was blown away with the sounds of the 256 stock presets, ranging from dirty sub bass to lush airy pads. Also, the Subsequent 37 CV is stocked with banks of percussion, woodwinds, brass, organs, sound effects, ambient noises, synth leads and strings.
The synth's front panel includes 40 parameter knobs and 74 switches, allowing users to manipulate sounds on the fly. The key bed has been enhanced to give more dynamic feel, offering better action and playability, enhanced velocity sensitivity and after touch. With the integration of MIDI (either through USB or two standard MIDI cables), every parameter can be automated within your favorite DAW, and also allows you to use the Subsequent 37 CV as a MIDI controller to control external synths or drum machines.
The left panel has the same design as the Tribute Edition Sub 37. “Audio In” allows you to manipulate external sources such as a guitar, bass, synth, vocal, or any line level signal for that matter. I messed around with this feature on a bass guitar and got some serious dirty synth bass tones. I also experimented plugging in a Ukulele and got one of the craziest tones I’ve ever heard. From a Pro Tools session, I sent out a vocal into the Sub CV 37 to run through the “Multi Drive” circuit, which gave me a warm saturated vocal to use for parallel processing. The ability to shape external sound sources are endless, and all parameters are able to be saved within the sound bank, making it easy to recall if you need to play live or want to use the sound on another record. “Audio Out” allows you to send signal from the synth to an amplifier or directly into your DAW.
The second bank of inputs features the “Control Voltage In” circuit, allowing you to connect external controllers to adjust certain parameters inside. I was using a Moog EP-3 expression pedal, but other expression pedals can be used as well. “Pitch CV” allows the pedal to control the pitch of your sound, and is calibrated so that a one-volt change in the control voltage will result in a one-octave change in frequency. “Filter CV” can sweep the filter cutoff, allowing you to keep two hands on the keys, and still achieve that classic Moog Ladder Filter sweep. “Volume CV” allows the expression pedal to control the output volume of the synth, adding the ability to create nice swells and decays, and played fast enough, can be used to create a tremolo effect. The Volume and Pitch CV controllers can be remapped inside of the global menu parameters menu, allowing you to assign the pedal to virtually any parameter inside of Subsequent 37 CV. The “KB Gate” input excepts a +5 volt signal, and uses a 1/4” TS foot switch which causes the synths envelopes to trigger, this input can also be used to control switched based parameters. If you desire, you can have all four pedals hooked up at one time.
As mentioned earlier, the Subsequent 37 CV can be used as an external MIDI controller or accept MIDI signals from your DAW or external synths and drum machines. With the integration of a MIDI time clock, easily sync all of your devices. The connection will allow you to sync the arpeggiator and modulation times to the BPM assigned by your DAW or external devices.
Some of the biggest improvements from the Tribute Edition Sub 37 are located on the right panel. The Subsequent 37 CV is now equipped with four CV outputs, and two gate outputs. This is where the “CV” in the name comes from. These outputs can be used to interface with external modular synth stations such as the Moog Music Sequencer Complement B, Moog Music Mother 32, Moog Etherwave Theremin, Moog Music VX-351, Moog Music Synthesizer IIIC and many more.
The array of CV outputs give players the ability to use the Subsequent 37 CV as a master device, allowing the expressive sequencer and modulation engine to interconnect with modular gear to further manipulate sound. This comes from the classic Moog design, which allowed users to patch sources to destinations to custom design the instrument they wanted to play. With the integration of the programming menu, all of these parameters can now be saved and recalled.
Another great improvement over the Sub 37 Tribute Edition is the enhanced Multi Drive circuit. It now has a wider range and can be set to be more aggressive than before. Turned all the way up, you can get some interesting audio clipping, which is great for big filter sweeps, wobbles or gritty sound effects. Around half way up you get a very pleasing saturation, and as mentioned before, this was really great on a vocal. With the use of the Audio In, this could also be used for electric guitars, bass, drums, room microphones, piano and more to add depth and attitude to the track.
The Subsequent 37 CV has increased headroom from the Tribute Edition, making “Duo” mode sound better than previously. The increased headroom allows the highly stable oscillators to play completely independent pitches from each other, the voice is then processed through the classic 20Hz - 20kHz Moog Ladder Filter. When experimenting with changing the waves of the oscillators in this mode, I was able to create sounds with huge amounts of depth and even make crazy R2-D2 style noises. Combined with the Hard Sync mode, which locks oscillator 2’s phase to oscillator 1 (eliminating any phase differences between them), the synth unlocked a whole new level of sound design.
The headphone amp has also been upgraded, achieving more dynamic range and clarity. This is a great feature for creating custom sounds late at night or to use as a monitor when performing live on a loud stage. I tried a couple different pairs of headphones for this test, and even the iPhone headphones sounded amazing, maintaining that nice warm analog sound and deep low end.
If I went into all the ins and outs of what this synth can do, this blog would be 50 pages long. I highly recommend hunting one of these down and trying the Subsequent 37 CV for yourself. The street price is $1,799, and with it being such a limited edition piece, I believe it’s worth every penny. I feel like it will surely become a collector's item in the near future.
The one thing I wish was improved upon is the size of the display screen, which can be a little hard to read if you are diving deep into the parameters. When sitting down, your hands can really get in the way, especially if you’re right handed. Yet, with so many knobs and switches to create custom sounds (which I highly prefer over a big display screen), you don’t need to dive in there too often. You can assign 16 of your favorite presets to the bottom row of buttons, so once you find the ones you love, you’ll spend less time inside the programming menu.
For more of the Moog Music Subsequent 37 CV, watch our video below to hear many of the new features and upgrades mentioned above in action. If you're interested in purchasing a Subsequent 37 CV, please contact your Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or phone at 888.653.1184 before these bad boys are out of stock forever.