It’s hard to talk music technology (especially synthesizers), without mentioning the name Moog Music. For decades, the brand's nameplate has adorned countless classic synths that have offered groundbreaking sounds to hit record after hit record.
Throughout this Buyer's Guide, we'll talk about the importance of Moog and outline its current crop of synthesizers, theremins, and beyond. So where do you start with a company so revered? Let's talk about Dr. Robert Moog.
The History of Moog Music
Dr. Robert Moog, the mastermind behind Moog synthesizers, is known as one of the founding fathers of electronic music. His synthesizer design, which was first developed in the 1960s, would act as one of the building blocks for all synthesis to follow. What made the Moog synthesizer so influential was its practical, modular design that separated the many functions of its sounds, and the emphasis on being budget-friendly for the working musician of the era. Over the years, due to Robert Moog’s sensible priorities on the product, as well as his excellence in design work, the Moog company has grown to become a manufacturer of several products offering the brand's iconic sound today.
Learn more about the complete history of Dr. Robert Moog and Moog Music in our Inside Look video below:
Moog Music Synthesizers
Moog One Polyphonic Synthesizer
The Moog One (available in eight-voice and 16-voice models) is the most comprehensive modern synth that the brand offers.This polyphonic synth is designed for musicians who want the largest suite of creative controls over their synthesis and sound creation.
Both versions of the Moog One feature 61 keys, 3 VCOs (Voltage Controlled Oscillators), 4 LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators), and 73 different knob functions to tweak sounds. The synthesizer also features a tri-trimbal design, which enables users to spread out three timbres over the keyboard, each of which features its own sequencer, arpeggiator and on-board effects.
The Matriarch is Moog's latest release and sees the brand further exploring semi-modular analog synthesizer designs. Much like the Grandmother (more on that in a second), the Matriarch is a patchable synth. However, a lack of patching knowledge won't prevent from taking advantage of the synth's incredible sound. Matriarch features a four-note paraphonic design with a built-in sequencer, arpeggiator, stereo ladder filters and stereo analog delay.
In September 2020, Moog announced a new colorway for the Matriarch that reflects the stoic black of the brand's original modular units. Dubbed Matriarch Dark, the synthesizer remains the exact same in terms of technical specs. Both the bright Matriarch and Martriarch Dark will be produced and available to synth lovers around the world.
Moog Grandmother Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer
As the predecessor to the Matriarch, the Moog Grandmother offered a glimpse into where the brand would be taking its semi-modular designs. The synthesizer features 41 patch points, 21 inputs, 16 outputs and parallel-wired 4-jack Mult that can offer endless possibilities for patching. Since the synth is semi-modular, users who don't know about patching still can get beautiful sounds right out of the box.
The Grandmother has everything a classic synth need with an onboard arpeggiator and sequencer, two analog oscillators with selectable waveshape and hard sync, a 1-pole high pass filter, and the classic 4-pole Moog Ladder filter. The synth can control multiple devices through its DIN MIDI In/Out/Thru, USB MIDI and 1/4 external audio input, and plays with when patching with the Mother-32, DFAM and Eurorack modules.
Just like the Matriarch, the Grandmother also has received a color variant. The Grandmother Dark forgoes the color of the original synthesizer for the black and white look that made Moog famous all those years ago.
Moog Subsequent 37 Analog Synthesizer
The 37-key Moog Subsequent 37 was designed as the successor to the beloved Sub 37. With higher headroom and a two-note Paraphonic synth engine, the Subsequent 37 also features one Square Wave Sub Oscillator and two Variable Waveshape Oscillators, enabling a larger palette of sounds than the Sub 37. The Subsequent 37 features 40 knobs and 74 switches of control on its surface, giving users plenty of ways to tweak, warp, and create new sounds. If you liked the Moog Sub 37, you’ll love the Subsequent 37.
Moog Subsequent 25 Analog Synthesizer
Fans of the recently discontinued Sub Phatty should be excited, as the Subsequent 25 is a spiritual successor to the beloved synth first released in 2014. The new and improved Subsequent 25 is a 2-note paraphonic analog synth that combines the high-quality analog designs of classic Moog instruments with the versatile sound engine of a modern synthesizer.
In terms of upgrades, there are several, both sonic and cosmetic in nature. Upon initial inspection, the new wood side pieces giving the synth the classic Moog look. Under the hood of the Subsequent 25, users will find twice the headroom in both mono and duo modes, reshaped gain staging in the Ladder Filter, a re-tuned multidrive circuit, and a high-powered headphone amplifier.
Moog Minitaur Bass Synthesizer
Don't let the compact size of the Moog Minitaur fool you! This little beauty is based on the classic Tauris I and Taurus III, which means the desktop synth is capable of kicking out hearty analog bass power. The Minitaur allows users to tweak knobs in real-time or command up to 128 presets via MIDI.
Moog Music Mother-32 Synthesizer Family
Moog Mother-32 Semi-Modular Analog Synthesizer
The Moog Mother 32 is a streamlined semi-modular synth designed to bring excellent analog sequencing to any electronic environment you’re working within. With a modular patch bay that has 32 patch point, the Mother 32 provides tons of options and patch configurations to route to and from its step sequencing. Want to dodge all of the patching? The Mother 32 can be plugged directly into a MIDI controller and driven by that device. Another great feature worth noting is that this synth is designed to integrate easily with any Eurorack system or Moog's rack system with another Mother-32 or the DFAM.
Moog DFAM Semi-Modular Analog Percussion Synthesizer
Moog designed the DFAM (Drummer From Another Mother) as the first percussion option for the Mother-32 family. Built around an intuitive eight-step analog sequencer, the DFAM allows users to quickly build great rhythms with impactful sounds from two analog oscillators and the Moog Ladder filter. The DFAM integrates seamlessly with the Mother-32, requires no patching to start creating patterns and will fit well in any Eurorack rig.
Moog Subharmonicon Semi-Modular Analog Polyrhythmic Synthesizer
As the most recent addition to Moog's semi-modular synthesizer line, the Subharmonicon brings together the concepts behind two classic instruments. First, the Trautonium, a touch-sensitive synthesizer with a saw-tooth waveform and subharmonic oscillators. Second, the Rhythmicon, a polyrhythm generator.
Moog's Subharmonicon is a two VCO synth that features four additional subharmonic oscillators (two per VCO) that can be layered to build chords or sent to one of two on-board four-voice sequencers. Each VCO on the Subharmonicon features saw, pulse width waveforms, or both combined. Each of the oscillators has a mixer section at the bottom of the panel. To the right we have our filter section and to the right of that our patch bay.
Moog Music Limited Edition Legacy Modular Synthesizers
Moog Model 10 Modular Synthesizer
The Model 10 is faithful recreation of the sound and feel of Moog’s first compact modular synth from 1971. This limited edition synth maintains a focus on simple, pure sound parameters, allowing you to create sounds with the best building blocks possible. The 11 analog modules featured in the design include the 901 Voltage Controlled Oscillator, 901A Oscillator Driver, two 901B Oscillators, 902 Voltage Controlled Amplifier, 903A Random Signal Generator, 904A Voltage Controlled Low Pass Filter, two 911 Envelope Generators, 907 Fixed Filter Bank, and CP11 Console Panel.
Moog IIIP Modular Synthesizer
Dr. Robert Moog's mammoth IIIc synthesizer wasn't exactly portable, so the innovative thinker made a fully mobile version consisting of three separate cabinets. Moog has brought back this mobile version back to life with a recent reissue of 40 units. The modern Moog IIIp faithfully follows the original's design and features 37 hand-stuffed, hand-soldered modules in a portable carrying case. This modular synthesizer features 10 discrete 901 series oscillators, a 905 Spring Reverb module, four CP3 mixers, 984 4-channel Matrix Mixer, and much more.
Moog Music Vocoder
Moog recently announced that they are reviving their classic 16 Channel Vocoder. This new version of the Vocoder is extremely faithful to the classic original design. The Moog Vocoder features 16 patchable bands from 50 to 5,080 Hz, in addition to a selectable DIRECT mode for a high frequency channel. The unit's Sample/Hold switch will hold tonal characteristics of a sound while the switch is flipped and turn off when returned to its out position. There is also a selectable Hiss, Buzz, and Balance control, which enables users to have greater control over their voice.
Moog Music Theremins
The theremin is one of the oldest innovations in the world of electronic music and has always been known for its other-worldly sounds. Simply by waving your hands around the theremin's antenna, you can get an incredible range of sounds. Moog has several different models of theremin, all of which have their own feature sets.
Moog Etherwave Theremin Standard: This is Moog's authentic adaption of theremin intventor Lev Termen's original design. The theremin has a five-octive pitch range and has controls for pitch, volume, waveform, and brightness.
Moog Etherwave Theremin Plus: The Moog Etherwave Theremin Plus features the same classic design of the Standard version, but several more options for connectivity and control. The Plus has a headphone out, gate output and pitch and volume CV outputs which can connect to analog synthesizers.
Moog Theremini: The classic theremin gets reimagined by Moog with a whole host of new features and functions. The Theremini features assistive pitch correction with selective scales and root notes, 32-presets, built-in tuner, built-in ping pong delay, and so much more.
Moog Music Claravox Centennial Theremin
Moog has been one of the world's biggest proponents of the theremin and has given us several different interpretations of it throughout the years. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the otherworldly instrument, the brand is introducing the Claravox Centennial Theremin, which Moog explains will encompass the technology of the "past, present, and future."
Named in tribute to Clara Rockmore, perhaps the most famous theremin player, the Claravox Centennial Theremin is Moog's most versatile theremin yet. Players can switch back and forth between Traditional and Modern performance modes. In Traditional mode, the theremin utilizes classic heterodyne oscillators true to old school instrument designs and can cover five octaves. Flip the Claravox to Modern mode and you'll be able to choose between multimode DSP oscillators with different waves (saw, sine, triangle, wavetable) and can assign scales, octave ranges, quantization, and more. Here you can go from four to seven octaves.
Moog Music Accessories
Moog 953 Duophonic Keyboard
The Moog 953 Keyboard is a 61-key keyboard, designed to use with the brand's modular synth reissues. This Duophonic keyboard comes with dedicated controls for Ranges 1 and 2, as well as Scales 1 and 2. All housed in the tasteful, walnut finished wood that celebrates classic Moog aesthetics, the 953 is a great option to use with your suite of existing Moog products.
Moog EP-3 Expression Pedal
The Moog EP-3 is a universal expression pedal, integrating seamlessly with any synth or keyboard with a standard expression pedal or CV input. Rugged design will withstand touring and gigging, while the smooth glide of the pedal ensures sonic excellence. Any keyboard system that allows use of an expression pedal will find immediate benefit from the Moog EP-3.