In the Beginning: the Original Analog Synthesizer
From many perspectives, Moog invented the analog synthesizer as we know it. Designed in collaboration between engineer/inventor Dr. Robert "Bob" Moog and musician Herb Deutsch in the mid-1960s, the original Moog modular synthesizer not only gave music a new sound palette—it changed the course of music history altogether. It exploited the new possibilities of electronic soundmaking to provide composers and performers new sounds, new textures, and new ways of creating sound altogether.
The Moog was a huge success. Moog's instruments came to define the sound of entire genres, and are a critical part of music by such pioneering artists as Wendy Carlos, Stevie Wonder, Keith Emerson, Paul Beaver, Bernie Krause, Donna Summer, and countless others. Whether in the field of art music, jazz, rock, pop, R&B, or virtually any modern genre, Bob Moog's impact can be directly heard.
The Moog Sound
Not only did Moog's modular systems provide musicians entirely new sonic possibilities—they simply sounded amazing. With the brute power of their analog oscillators to the unmistakable tone of Moog's iconic transistor ladder low pass filter, these instruments became a benchmark by which every other synthesizer is measured, defining the modern concept of East Coast synthesis altogether.
But of course, Moog's modular systems weren't their only instruments—in the early 1970s, they created one of the most important synthesizers of all time, the Minimoog Model D. The Minimoog is behind the sound of Bernie Worrell's Parliament bass lines, Rick Wakeman's lead tones, and much more. The Model D featured all the most important parts of the Moog modular system (including the ladder filter), presenting them in a compact package that was much more immediately approachable to working musicians. This started a musical revolution, and suddenly the Moog sound was everywhere.
In the ensuing decades, Moog continued to produce groundbreaking instruments, including the Polymoog, Memorymoog, and plenty of others. And as the analog resurgence bubbled up in the 1990s and early 2000s, Moog was at the forefront: the Minimoog Voyager, Little Phatty, and Moogerfooger effect pedals were some of the most respected, sought-after, and forward-thinking instruments of their time, presenting a modern take on classic Moog circuits.
Moog in the Modern Age
Today, Moog Music, Inc. continues to produce some of the most respected instruments on the market—ranging from theremins and entry-level synth options all the way to groundbreaking synths designed to meet the demands of forward-thinking producers and sound designers. Each of their modern instruments draws directly on their long-standing history and design traditions, taking them another step into the future.
Moog's affordable line of semi-modular synthesizers provides the sound and patching workflow of their classic modular systems, with each model offering a solution to specific modern musical needs. Mother-32 is a bass and lead synth, packing a full analog Moog synth voice and sequencer into a compact desktop package. DFAM is a percussion synthesizer, turning a few simple synthesis resources into a huge-sounding barrage of electronic drums. Subharmonicon takes an experimental approach to melody, harmony, and rhythm, while Mavis presents an affordable, accessible entry point for newcomers to patchable synthesizers. While each of these ships as a self-contained instrument, they're also fully Eurorack-compatible...making them a great gateway into the world of modular synthesis.
Keyboard synths like Grandmother and Matriarch provide an all-analog signal path while maintaining the semi-modular structure of the Mother-series instruments, making them perhaps the best synths for keyboardists looking to explore modular synthesis. The Subsequent 25 and Subsequent 37, on the other hand, develop on the lineage of the Little Phatty and Voyager: they're fully-analog synthesizers with full preset memory and enormous sound design potential, making them a top choice among professional performers looking for highly flexible monophonic synths. Similarly, the desktop-format Minitaur is a stellar choice for anyone looking for a powerful bass synth.
And of course, Moog's One is perhaps the most sophisticated analog keyboard synthesizer of all time. With up to 16 voices of polyphony, a multitimbral sound engine, world-class built-in effects, and an insane level of flexibility for modulation and external control, One is no doubt a synthesizer that musicians will be able to explore for decades...and a synthesizer that designers will be looking to for inspiration for years to come.
So what's next for Moog? No doubt it'll be something powerful, excellent-sounding, inspiring, and just plain fun.