Friday, May 13, 2011

What makes a Moog a Moog?

I apologize for the lack of posts the past couple days; I took a day off, and when I returned, Blogger had fallen apart :(.  But now I'm back!

If you own a Moog, then this post will probably be old news to you, but one synth everyone comes across when they start looking at synths is the Moog Little Phatty.  Moog has the largest legacy of all the synth companies, due to the fact that Bob Moog, the company's founder, invented synthesizers.  You could head over to their site and check out the legacy section for all the information you could want.  What makes a Moog a Moog though?

The biggest differences between this instrument and a DSI instrument, or any modern synthesizer, is the fact that it has VCO's (voltage controlled oscillators).  Many old synths use VCOs (like the original Prophet 5 which DSI has remade as the Prophet 08), but they've mostly gone the way of the dinosaurs in synthesizers because they're harder to keep in tune.  The VCOs go slightly out of tune, which is what you want when you buy an analog synth.  The drift of the oscillators is the "warmth" you always hear about.  The Minimoog Voyager has even better waves than the Little Phatty.  Not long ago, I found a site where someone had used their oscilloscope to look at the waves, and the Phatty had more rounded edges, meaning it had less harshness.  The Voyager is still king in this respect, but the Phatty is still a great analog synth.  I sadly haven't had the chance to buy one, but have played with the Phatty on multiple occasions, and I can tell you, it's great.


  1. The VCOs aren't the only thing that give Moogs a unique sound. You can't forget the Moog ladder filter. Another feature that is usually attributed to Moogs is the addition of a mod wheel.

  2. very good point. i apologize for missing this, i somehow forgot to mention the filter. I never knew about the mod wheel though.