Need advice on buying a Moog Voyager

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JWOLFORD
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Need advice on buying a Moog Voyager

Post by JWOLFORD » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:37 am

Greetings all, this is my first post here.
I landed here in the last 24 hours while searching for a Korg Legacy controller, and again while researching the Moog Voyager.

I have been nearly convinced that I need a Moog Voyager for my small but humble studio.
I'll elaborate if asked, but I've been told by a reliable source that many of the sounds I spend hours making on my Waldorf Pulse + or or in my Mac could be made easier and I would have more fun if I did them on the Voyager.

Fair enough, but I can't afford a new one, and am forced to troll Craigslist, ebay and other places for one.
So I am curious what I should look for in my Voyager? The pretty blue lights would be nice, but are not necessary if it saves me a few hundred dollars. From what I can tell, with the exception of the OS upgrade and the accompanying patches, the differences in the different versions appear to be cosmetic and accessories.

I see that there is a $300 OS upgrade that I'd be comfortable doing myself ( I looked over the PDF) if I found one that was not upgraded.

I enjoy tweaking, but have never owned a big analog synth like this. So I don't know if I'll need the expander or CV Processor.

I'd appreciate any advice from people who have already done research and made a purchase.

Thanks in advance,

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Post by mao » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:30 am

do you really need the keyboard and the touch pad? You can save A LOT buying the Moog Voyager RME edition (Rack). It comes new with all the expansion at a lower price than a 2nd hand Voyager.

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Post by JWOLFORD » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:34 am

That's something I considered.

But I think if I'm going to do it, I have to go all in.
I like the idea of it being a self contained instrument, and while playing with it in a shop the other day, I had a lot of fun playing with the pad.

I think I'd rather wait until I can afford it if I can't find a keyboard version in my price range.

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Post by mao » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:59 am

If you buy a 2nd hand keyboard version... pay attention to have a V3 with the 7 bank expansion. It's a great improvement, and check for noises coming from the LEC panel when turned full on. Last releases haven't any noise at all... my RME is absolutely silent even with full glowing glory.

And be aware that twisting knobs makes stepping values...
If this makes you going nuts simply buy the new OLD SCHOOL which has nothing digital inside (but no midi, display and memory banks...).

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Post by cl516 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:11 pm

twisting one knob at a time does not give me stepping values.
but twisting certain combinations of two knobs or more gives certain values on the current operating system. somewhere on the moog forum, they said a new os is coming which will get rid of this problem, if parameter display is turned off.

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Post by Mr Rich » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:36 pm

mao wrote:I check for noises coming from the LEC panel when turned full on. Last releases haven't any noise at all... my RME is absolutely silent even with full glowing glory.
It's a small point, but valid; mine has the most annoying whine and it gets on your tits.
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Post by Solderman » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:22 pm

mao wrote:my RME is absolutely silent even with full glowing glory
Then you're lucky. Mine's not even a year old and whines like a mofo with the lights up. :x

The upgrade jwolford spoke of is probably just to add the 7 banks if they aren't currently installed. Personally, unless you're a preset enthusiast, I don't see anything more than about 40 patches, used as templates for setting software values and basic tones, as being useful.

Someone mentioned zipper noise, and I can hear for instance, stepping in the higher octaves when tweaking filter cutoff. For the most part, one control at a time won't produce audible stepping. I can't even say this for Arturia's Minimoog V, which is one of the reasons I've kept my Voyager.

Some people don't like not having WYSIWYG, being forced to turn knobs just to know where the preset was set to. The Voyager does have a manual mode, but it's unfortunately buried under a menu.

A few things I can comment on the Voyager:
It doesn't really sound that close to the Mini to me. A much different, more tame but more versatile, personality. It sounds much cleaner and is a tad less bassy*, although I hear it can do deeper bass more easily. It takes alot more effort to get it to wail over the guitars than the 70's Moogs. Mine doesn't sound nearly as bright without EQ, so I put an aural exciter in the Mix Insert path.
It absolutely will not overdrive worth a damn on its own. My biggest complaint. I found a workaround for it using the Mix Insert path, but it doesn't really add any "vintage" flavor.
Otherwise, it's very fun to tweak, sounds great, and of course the filters rock. You probably won't need the VX expansions unless you have some really wild modulations in mind, and/or want to control other analogues with it.

* footnote on bassy:
the Minimoog filter can do resonant basses so well because Q decays with the envelope, bringing the low frequencies back. You can simulate this with the Voyager using the software by sacrificing the pedal bus to modulate resonance with the filter envelope, and turning down the resonance knob. Turn up the pedal bus knob and resonant basses get pretty deep.
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Post by JSRockit » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:40 pm

JWOLFORD wrote:That's something I considered.

But I think if I'm going to do it, I have to go all in.
I like the idea of it being a self contained instrument, and while playing with it in a shop the other day, I had a lot of fun playing with the pad.

I think I'd rather wait until I can afford it if I can't find a keyboard version in my price range.
I agree with this...when you are spending Moog type cash, it is better to get what you want instead of settling for less. For those who hate racks, a rack will never feel right. However, as far as racks are concerned, the Voyager RME is one of the nicest. If you are a player...get the keyboard model...if you are a sequencer user, the rack will do.
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Post by gd » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:28 pm

I have owned a miniD for over 30 years, and sold the Source to get a Voyager AE (I upgraded the bd to ver. 3). I am sure that you will luv the Voyager, no it is not identical to a miniD but they never set out to make a perfect replica of one anyway. The ability save your own presets, the panel and a host of other features makes the Voyager a great Moog product. I had looked into selling the Voyager and going with the LP but I haven't spent enough time in the music stores with an LP yet. I also would like to buy a P08 but the boss says 1 comes in 1 (or more) goes out. :lol: Let us know how things turn out and what you buy.
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Post by JWOLFORD » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:32 pm

Thanks for the helpful replies guys.
So the lights on all but the newer models produce a whine? I am guessing you can turn them down or off? I will most likely have to do mail order, so testing in advance will not be an option.

The upgrade I referred to was to v3.0 software, which contains updates other than just the 7 banks. I assume that the newer OS is better...
http://www.moogmusic.com/voyager/?secti ... uct_id=218

I've never owned or used extensively an original Moog or any older analog synth, so quirks like zipper noise or bass depth (though that is one of my main reasons for getting one) probably will not bother me. All I have to compare it against is the Waldorf Pulse + which I love and VSTi's.

Pathetic, I know.

Solderman, I am sure you've already tried this for deep or aggressive overdrive sounds, but I was reading this in the SOS review last night:

"Few Minimoog players have failed to experiment with feeding one of the instrument's outputs into the External Signal Input. This thickens the sound and, depending upon the synth's calibration, changes the timbre in striking fashion. Do the same thing on the Voyager, and the effect is even more dramatic, causing anything from a mild fattening of the timbre to a full-blooded feedback loop that you can manipulate using the filter, resonance, and all sorts of other controls. If you're into aggressive sounds, this is the way to go."

Here is the link:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Jun03/a ... oyager.asp

Thanks for all the good feedback.
So what is the best deal I could hope to find on a used or B-Stock Voyager keyboard model? The median price for a used Voyager online seems to be $2300-$2500 US. With the occasional one going for $2000 or so.

GD, what is the "LP".
The "1 in 1 out" policy is actually a very good one. It gives you a good opportunity to evaluate what's being used and what is not.
Last edited by JWOLFORD on Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by gd » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:34 pm

LP = Little Phatty

be wary of "B" stock, I have heard too many bad stories about defects, broken parts etc to ever consider buying one without playing it myself first. I'll use a camcorder to tape the whine/buzz of mine when you turn the panel light up full - mine is not bad and I have never needed the light up full so I have no complaints whatsoever about this issue. pm me you email and I'll send it to you later tonight. A friend of mine was one of the preset programmers for the Voyager and LP series.
Last edited by gd on Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by JWOLFORD » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:40 pm

gd wrote:LP = Little Phatty

be wary of "B" stock, I have heard too many bad stories about defects, broken parts etc to ever consider buying one without playing it myself first.
Duh!
Sorry, undercaffeinated this AM.

LP and the Voyager appear on the surface to be different animals.
Could you really make a swap like that?

I know it's still a Moog, and the sound and quality would be comparable.
What would be the attraction and what would you lose in going to the LP?
The obvious being the tactile experience of the Voyager.

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Post by gd » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:43 pm

I thought about taking the LP on gigs - as it is smaller, lighter and wouldn't worry so much about some roadie banging it around.
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Post by 7Hz » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:46 pm

IMHO the Pulse is a very capable unit. Be careful you don't spend thousands of pounds / dollars / whatever getting a Voyager just because it looks cool.

Also IMHO the LP is a nicer synth than the Voyager - I think a lot of other ppl think this as well.
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Post by Solderman » Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:04 pm

JWOLFORD wrote:The upgrade I referred to was to v3.0 software, which contains updates other than just the 7 banks.
I should have clarified. I have the version 3.3 software on mine, just no bank upgrade. Without the extra memory, this upgrade is free and works just fine.
SOS wrote:Do the same thing on the Voyager, and the effect is even more dramatic
I suppose this is purely subjective, but I did not find the "feedback trick" to be effective in terms of overdriving the filter. There's only a small range of play with the feedback trick on the Voyager between not hearing any effect and getting either just massive self-oscillation or completely useless atonal mud. There's also a number of ways to do it compared to a mini, because you have two outputs, one for each filter, and a stereo headphone output. The latter, imo, is risky due to the difference in impedence and the two signals combined. You can get phase cancellation problems, which thin the sound, when using both filters mixed.
What works best for me is feeding the left output back into the external in and only take the right output as mono, then carefully adjust the ext. input level so it doesn't cause self-oscillation on its own, and adjust spacing to reduce or remove any phase cancellations. The latter adjustment is often tedious and fussy. This doesn't create overdrive, just sounds somewhat fatter, and not like a MiniD does with its feedback trick.
FWIW, if I boost the signal at the Mix Insert path just before it returns to the Moog, I can overdrive the filter satisfactorially. But then I can hear the oscillators bleeding through to the main outs somewhat, and it's not nearly the overdrive the LP gives, so it's not a complete solution, by far.
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