First impressions of the new Moog Sound Studio

Robert Moog (1934-2005) was the inventor of the Moog synthesizer, which he introduced in 1964. His Minimoog, which debuted in 1970, was the first synthesizer to be sold in stores. It cost $1,600 at the time. (You can buy an iOS version of the Minimoog Model D Synthesizer for $15.)

Moog produced many of the most famous synthesizers and effects pedals, including the Minimoog, the Polymoog, the Moog Liberation, the Voyager, the Taurus Bass Pedals, the Memory Moog, the Little Phatty, and the Moogerfooger Analog Delay. 

A few weeks ago, I got a new offering from Moog, called the Moog Sound Studio. It includes two different synthesizers. One is the Subharmonicon (2020, $700), and the other is a percussion synth called the DFAM (2018, $600). It also includes a mounting rack, a mixer, patch cables, and a set of beautifully illustrated books. It costs about $1,500.

You must supply your own headphones or speakers with a 3.5mm jack. The one thing that was missing that I wanted was a way to plug it into my computer to record sounds. Fortunately, I had one of these USB audio sound card adapters that I bought on AliExpress for $5, which works OK (it hums a little) but probably isn't as good as a slightly more expensive like this one.

I'm not a professional musician, but the Moog Sound Studio is a lot of fun, and I'm delighted with it. To my surprise, I've been playing with it almost every day. I've found that I can easily get lost for hours without noticing that time has passed. Twirling the knobs and randomly plugging in patch cords is a journey of surprise and discovery — you never know what sound you'll get. I'm also visiting websites and YouTube channels that show different settings, which has been helpful. 

One thing that's nice about the Moog Sound Studio is that there are no menus or screens to distract you from playing. The Subharmonicon and the DFAM are physical instruments, and it's just a matter of experimenting with them to find interesting sounds.

There's still so much to learn! The Moog Sound Studio has a lot of features that I haven't even explored yet. I'm focusing on making polyrhythms on the Subharmonicon now. I haven't used the DFAM yet, because the Subharmonicon's feature set is enough for me to deal with for the time being.

I'm looking forward to getting more comfortable with it and exploring its creative possibilities.