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Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:02 am
by ppg_wavecomputer
calaverasgrande wrote: [...] Or will they be dicks and just sell 'systems''?
They are Moog Music. How much dicker can you get?
synthroom wrote:
ppg_wavecomputer wrote:
I for one would love to see a Chris Franke Moog clone... 13 960 sequencers, plus interfaces, controllers etc., for starters.

Stephen
Stephen - our friend Phil tells me that Chris Franke "GAVE" that modular to Hans Zimmer.
Yeah, so I´ve heard, too. Well, Chris has a good heart, and Hans has always been one of the needy people, I guess.

Stephen

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:21 pm
by calaverasgrande
ppg_wavecomputer wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote: [...] Or will they be dicks and just sell 'systems''?
They are Moog Music. How much more dickish can you get?
Well they could be Roland. :lol:

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:26 pm
by Automatic Gainsay
I have always been of the opinion that Moog should grasp Bob's legacy by creating synthesizers in regard to that legacy. Obviously, a modular system comes to mind. However, I don't see how creating a modular system of this size and price is really useful at all, except as far as getting the few clients in the world who could actually afford it to buy it.

Even if they decided to start producing the individual modules, they would be unbearably expensive. Moog just doesn't have the resources to have people hand-making vintage modules. Look how much a Minitaur costs. What we'd undoubtedly be looking at is something along the lines of back when Moog CE was still making modules... except probably more expensive.

What undoubtedly happened was that Moog realized that they could build their own Moog modular systems for far less than they would have to pay to buy a vintage one, and figured that they could make some profit even with such a limited-range customer base.

I am looking forward to hearing whether they felt compelled to "improve" oscillator modules. Can you sell an oscillator in this day and age that requires such attention to intonation and has such limited scale? I'm going to guess that they didn't reproduce any 901s for it. But of course, I haven't been able to find a decent photo of it to see.

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:03 pm
by pflosi
Don't see a 901, only 921:

Image

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:08 pm
by madmarkmagee
Automatic Gainsay wrote:
Even if they decided to start producing the individual modules, they would be unbearably expensive. Moog just doesn't have the resources to have people hand-making vintage modules. Look how much a Minitaur costs. What we'd undoubtedly be looking at is something along the lines of back when Moog CE was still making modules... except probably more expensive.
But couldn't they just mass produce them like they mass produce most of their other products?

You wouldn't have to do everything but some Moog Oscillators and filters in the Eurorack format would be nice

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:42 pm
by pflosi

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:24 pm
by CZ Rider
This is a nice project done by some dedicated Moog modular enthusiasts. Namely Gene Stopp and Brian Kehew. Seems funded and backed by the new Moog Music, but a different crew working on these authentic Moog modules. Not the same technicians/engineers resonsible for the digital controlled analog Moog products offered today. So a new division perhaps, using original Bob Moog designs. Fantastic project really, and Gene Stopp has a past connection of restoring the Emerson modular and bringing it back to life some years back. So who better to make a clone of the system he spent many hours working on. Noticed he was apparently responsible for many of the custom modules later installed in that restored version Emerson modular. The top modules look to be Gene's own ASM-1 board used.
Info on Gene's version ASM-1 synth module here:
ASM-1 Analog Synthesizer Module

So, what better way to introduce Moog back in the modular making buisness? Many manufactures are making inspired by adaptation Moogish modules. These guys are making the real thing.

Automatic Gainsay wrote: Can you sell an oscillator in this day and age that requires such attention to intonation and has such limited scale? I'm going to guess that they didn't reproduce any 901s for it. But of course, I haven't been able to find a decent photo of it to see.
I might be first in line to purchase a new 901B. The Emerson clone has one 901A driver and two 901B oscillators. The main oscillators are the 921 series in that version of the Emerson modular. The earlier system version (1970-1974) with all the famous recordings were done with 901's.
There is a page with some higher resolution photos of the system here:
Web page with photos of system

At least they did it the right way and no one can say the new Moog Music does not make a modular anymore. And let's be real, Moog modulars were never afordable to the average musician, ever. Expensive in the 60's when they were first made right up to the last ones made in the early 80's. Moog's answer to an affordable Moog synthesizer was the Minimoog. Expensive in the early 70's but didn't have to mortgage the house to get one like the modular systems. These are built to a higher standard than any module built today. Just take a typical Dotcom module a start putting the same quality parts in it. They still make those military spec stainless steel shaft pots at about $50 each. The cost would more that tripple when you just replace those $2 Alps pots everyone uses today. Different standard for sure and built to last.

Anyhow, great job by Gene Stopp and Brian Kehew. This was a difficult and very cool project to undertake. And I'm sure a labor of love to do all that meticulous work. And who knows what they may offer for sale in the future? I'll bet the Emerson modular is just a begining.

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:40 pm
by Automatic Gainsay
I agree with most everything you said, CZ.

I don't have a tremendous amount of experience with Moog modulars... I have only worked with three. But in those three, one of which having been very professionally maintained, none of the 901s held pitch for very long at all, and none of them had scaling that stayed in pitch beyond two octaves. Now, don't get me wrong... that's not a problem for me, and plainly you... but it might be a tremendous problem for people who have less experience, understanding, or patience. Just sayin'!

I am friends with Gene Stopp... he has spent most of his time at the past two NAMMs in the Bob Moog Foundation booth teaching me about various aspects of the Moog modulars we've demonstrated there. He's an extremely nice guy, and he really really knows his stuff.

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:42 pm
by Automatic Gainsay
madmarkmagee wrote:But couldn't they just mass produce them like they mass produce most of their other products?

You wouldn't have to do everything but some Moog Oscillators and filters in the Eurorack format would be nice
Don't forget the CPs! They are an important part of the "Moog Sound." But yes, I agree!

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:58 pm
by CZ Rider
Automatic Gainsay wrote:But in those three, one of which having been very professionally maintained, none of the 901s held pitch for very long at all, and none of them had scaling that stayed in pitch beyond two octaves.
Several things going on there, one depends on the revision of 901 you are using.
First, those 901's do not tune up like a standard oscillator many are accustom to today. You need to tune two areas of the oscillator. Pitch and scale. First tune them with zero volts going into them, usually a low C note. (Tuning with nothing plugged into the CV inputs.) Much like you would any other oscillator. Next you need to tune the scale or intonation. Several ways to do this. The original 950/951 keyboards had a scale adjust. But using a precise 1 volt per octave output like from a MIDI to CV you would need to send two of those CV's to the 901 driver with one attenuated. A simple patch really. So send it 5 volts straight with the one patch cord. Should be a five octave higher C. If it is a little flat you need to add in a tiny bit of the other attenuated CV to bring it into tune. (a zero to 10 setting of about 0.2 or so) If sending 5 volts the C is a little sharp disconnect the straight CV and patch the attenuated one until in tune. (a setting of about 9.8 or so) The important thing here if they go slightly out of tune due to temperature/humidity changes you first tune the scale as the zero volt low note will rarely be what is going out of tune. It is usually the scale that changes on those. And adjusting the incomming scale will not change the low note it is tuned to.
So once you figure out how to handle the tuning it is not that difficult. Similar to if you tuned an open guitar string to E, and if you have 24 frets finding the high E note is sharp or flat. If you start retuning the machine head you will throw the lower notes out and never properly tune it. You have to set the intonation/scale on those 901's too and have an easy way to adjust/compensate if needed. If I am playing for a while and I find the 901's are slightliy flat or sharp, a slight tweek of the scale attenuator is all that is needed.
The drifting at a slight breeze on a 901 is probably related to the revision. Early 901's up to as late as winter of 1967 had those large germanium "top hat" diodes in the 901 drivers. These would be the one's Carlos used on SOB and many early systems had. I'm sure Bob Moog was aware of the drifting and made changes to the later revision 901's to replace the diodes with a pair of CA3019 doide arrays. An 8 legged can that had several matched diodes inside. This must have increased the stability greatly as the 901's I have here, and probably most made from 1968 on, have these inside. My 1969 901 oscillators while as temperature sensitive as any 70's analog oscillator, won't go out of tune just because someone walks by them, or if there is a breeze. In a studio environment they are rock solid once warmed up 10 minutes, like any other vintage oscillator design.
I do not doubt all those stories of needing to retune those early revision 901's or the breeze being all that was needed to make them go out. My experience with germanum diode matching by measuring the voltage drop is that any slight temp change will make the readings go all over the place. To match a set of those old diodes I needed a constant breeze from a fan across the diodes and had to handle them with pliars. Even hand temperature was enough to make the readings unstable. So, if your 901's are next to impossible to keep in tune, they may be early revision ones. That Norlander system had many of those and they made many of that revision 901 up into late 1967.
Here is the different diodes on the 901 driver schematic. Early individual ones on left and CA3019 on the right.
Image

Long explanation, but there has to be a reason these 901's have the poor reputation of staying in tune. Bob did get it right on the later ones and thanks to musicians like Carlos insisting on better stability, revisions were made.
There is more to the 901 quirkyness too. For instance the tuning is not quite a linear line, but has some bumps in it. So even if both high C and low C are in tune, the middle C could be slightly out. (Or any one note in between) A bump in the tuning range and using the fixed voltage on the 901A driver and retuning the 901B frequency, you can move the bump around if needed. Not a problem, but sometimes those bumps need to be moved around if it falls in the wrong place. Rare but it happens.
The other thing that could limit the range is they will c**p out if you send more than 6.5 or so more volts to them. That is what the "Fixed Control Voltage " on the 901A rotary switch is for. To keep the 901's is their optimum 0 to 6 volt range by offsetting or adding voltage. So for instance, if a five octave keyboard is controlling the 901's with 0 to 5 volts and you are already adding in 3 volts via the 901A driver, about half way up the keyboard the 901's will hit a wall and not get any higher note. This is probably due to the voltage rails on the Moog system of +12/-6 volts. Many of those adder circuits mirror the voltages and it can't go below the -6 volt rail even if the output is then inverted to +6.

That's my take on the 901's.
Get the ones with CA3019's and you should have reasonably stable oscillators. Tune both pitch and scale as the scale may drift. And don't send too much voltage. I can get 6 octaves in tune no problem, 7 octaves where the low bass might not be exactly perfect but acceptable.

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:45 am
by Automatic Gainsay
"That Norlander system had many of those and they made many of that revision 901 up into late 1967."
That makes sense, then. :D

Also, two of the three systems I've used weren't being controlled by 950s or 951s. When I was using the Wall of Doom, it was controlled by a modified Little Phatty. The BMF modular was being controlled by the new Synthesizers.com controller (which was very very fun). I've also controlled it with a MiniBrute. In the future, though... we'll be able to use a pre-1967 Moog controller or the Powell-Moog controller.

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:34 am
by Stab Frenzy
madmarkmagee wrote:...You wouldn't have to do everything but some Moog Oscillators and filters in the Eurorack format would be nice
Why? There's already a million vanilla oscs and ladder LPFs in Euro, Moog making some more would add precisely nothing but the name. I'd like to see them do something different and interesting in Euro, like they've done with the foogers. That would be pretty cool.
Automatic Gainsay wrote:Don't forget the CPs! They are an important part of the "Moog Sound." But yes, I agree!
STG and Manhattan Analog both make a CP3 clone in Euro (and STG do in 5U). I have both and they sound great. :thumbleft: But yes, that's another thing that Moog shouldn't waste their time doing, they should do something new and interesting.

Personally I think that if Moog were to make some Euro modules they'd be much bigger, wider, Macbeth style modules, I can't see them doing Euro with the typical tiny cramped layouts that are so common in Euro (and which I love because you can it so much in a small case for gigging). Then again if you want wider, Macbeth style modules that sound like a Moog then Macbeth already has you covered. I just don't see a niche for Moog in Euro apart from a) people who'll buy cause it says 'moog' on it and b) Eurofoogers. Admittedly they're both fairly big niches.

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:47 am
by Automatic Gainsay
Stab Frenzy wrote:STG and Manhattan Analog both make a CP3 clone in Euro (and STG do in 5U). I have both and they sound great. :thumbleft: But yes, that's another thing that Moog shouldn't waste their time doing, they should do something new and interesting.
Well, clones, sure. If we're going to talk clones, there's no point in Moog doing anything, but people want Moog to do something.

P.S. I actually own that STG clone. :D

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:59 am
by Stab Frenzy
Automatic Gainsay wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:STG and Manhattan Analog both make a CP3 clone in Euro (and STG do in 5U). I have both and they sound great. :thumbleft: But yes, that's another thing that Moog shouldn't waste their time doing, they should do something new and interesting.
Well, clones, sure. If we're going to talk clones, there's no point in Moog doing anything, but people want Moog to do something.
People want Roland to make a TB-303 again too, even though the sound has been nailed exactly by quite a few clones. People are stupid and will keep asking for something they already can have because they lack the imagination to ask for more. ;)

There are plenty of things Moog could do that haven't been cloned; the MF-104 is still one of the best analogue delays ever made, ditto the MF-103 phaser, there isn't really anything out there like the MURF, etc. Asking for a Moog Osc or LPF is thinking small, they have a whole lot more to offer.

edit: actually I'm not sure if there's a Euro VCO out there with a continually variable waveform like the freqbox and their new synths have. There may be, but that's something they could add to the picture. (That said running the saw and square outputs of any VCO into a crossfader is the same thing)
P.S. I actually own that STG clone. :D
It's great isn't it? It was my first Euro mixer and no other one could replace it until MA did the DIY clone. And now I have the STG and four of the MAs.

I've even used it just as a drive circuit to run things through to make them sound that little bit nicer. I've even been tempted to make a little 8:2 console using the CP3 circuit for mixing and the tilt circuit from the Music Thing reverb for tone control on each channel. Would be a really nice little colour piece.

Re: The Moog Modular was not an April's fool joke

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:09 am
by Stab Frenzy
CZ Rider wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:But in those three, one of which having been very professionally maintained, none of the 901s held pitch for very long at all, and none of them had scaling that stayed in pitch beyond two octaves.
Several things going on there, one depends on the revision of 901 you are using.
First, those 901's do not tune up like a standard oscillator many are accustom to today. You need to tune two areas of the oscillator. Pitch and scale. First tune them with zero volts going into them, usually a low C note. (Tuning with nothing plugged into the CV inputs.) Much like you would any other oscillator. Next you need to tune the scale or intonation. Several ways to do this. The original 950/951 keyboards had a scale adjust. But using a precise 1 volt per octave output like from a MIDI to CV you would need to send two of those CV's to the 901 driver with one attenuated. A simple patch really. So send it 5 volts straight with the one patch cord. Should be a five octave higher C. If it is a little flat you need to add in a tiny bit of the other attenuated CV to bring it into tune. (a zero to 10 setting of about 0.2 or so) If sending 5 volts the C is a little sharp disconnect the straight CV and patch the attenuated one until in tune. (a setting of about 9.8 or so) The important thing here if they go slightly out of tune due to temperature/humidity changes you first tune the scale as the zero volt low note will rarely be what is going out of tune. It is usually the scale that changes on those. And adjusting the incomming scale will not change the low note it is tuned to.
So once you figure out how to handle the tuning it is not that difficult. Similar to if you tuned an open guitar string to E, and if you have 24 frets finding the high E note is sharp or flat. If you start retuning the machine head you will throw the lower notes out and never properly tune it. You have to set the intonation/scale on those 901's too and have an easy way to adjust/compensate if needed. If I am playing for a while and I find the 901's are slightliy flat or sharp, a slight tweek of the scale attenuator is all that is needed.
The drifting at a slight breeze on a 901 is probably related to the revision. Early 901's up to as late as winter of 1967 had those large germanium "top hat" diodes in the 901 drivers. These would be the one's Carlos used on SOB and many early systems had. I'm sure Bob Moog was aware of the drifting and made changes to the later revision 901's to replace the diodes with a pair of CA3019 doide arrays. An 8 legged can that had several matched diodes inside. This must have increased the stability greatly as the 901's I have here, and probably most made from 1968 on, have these inside. My 1969 901 oscillators while as temperature sensitive as any 70's analog oscillator, won't go out of tune just because someone walks by them, or if there is a breeze. In a studio environment they are rock solid once warmed up 10 minutes, like any other vintage oscillator design.
I do not doubt all those stories of needing to retune those early revision 901's or the breeze being all that was needed to make them go out. My experience with germanum diode matching by measuring the voltage drop is that any slight temp change will make the readings go all over the place. To match a set of those old diodes I needed a constant breeze from a fan across the diodes and had to handle them with pliars. Even hand temperature was enough to make the readings unstable. So, if your 901's are next to impossible to keep in tune, they may be early revision ones. That Norlander system had many of those and they made many of that revision 901 up into late 1967.
Here is the different diodes on the 901 driver schematic. Early individual ones on left and CA3019 on the right.
Image

Long explanation, but there has to be a reason these 901's have the poor reputation of staying in tune. Bob did get it right on the later ones and thanks to musicians like Carlos insisting on better stability, revisions were made.
There is more to the 901 quirkyness too. For instance the tuning is not quite a linear line, but has some bumps in it. So even if both high C and low C are in tune, the middle C could be slightly out. (Or any one note in between) A bump in the tuning range and using the fixed voltage on the 901A driver and retuning the 901B frequency, you can move the bump around if needed. Not a problem, but sometimes those bumps need to be moved around if it falls in the wrong place. Rare but it happens.
The other thing that could limit the range is they will c**p out if you send more than 6.5 or so more volts to them. That is what the "Fixed Control Voltage " on the 901A rotary switch is for. To keep the 901's is their optimum 0 to 6 volt range by offsetting or adding voltage. So for instance, if a five octave keyboard is controlling the 901's with 0 to 5 volts and you are already adding in 3 volts via the 901A driver, about half way up the keyboard the 901's will hit a wall and not get any higher note. This is probably due to the voltage rails on the Moog system of +12/-6 volts. Many of those adder circuits mirror the voltages and it can't go below the -6 volt rail even if the output is then inverted to +6.

That's my take on the 901's.
Get the ones with CA3019's and you should have reasonably stable oscillators. Tune both pitch and scale as the scale may drift. And don't send too much voltage. I can get 6 octaves in tune no problem, 7 octaves where the low bass might not be exactly perfect but acceptable.
All of these things you've mentioned are 'the problem' that everyone's talking about with them. All VCOs I have also have a trimmer to set the intonation as well as the tune, it's just that after I set the intonation 3-4 years ago I haven't had to touch it since. Having to tweak it all the time is a big problem in this day and age. Likewise the frequency response not being flat, that's a problem. Modern modular VCOs don't have that problem, and now that people are used to things behaving like they should they won't want to go back.