Moog Music Thread

Posted: 8/5/2015 11:24:09 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

I got this newsletter from Moog Music today. Aww :,)

"Thanks For Everything Slim.

For the past five years the Slim Phatty analog synthesizer has been handcrafted at the Moog Music Factory in downtown Asheville, NC. On July 17th, the last Slim Phatty was built with love and sent out into the world.

The Slim Phatty was Moog's first tabletop synthesizer, a compact poly-chainable ideation of the classic Little Phatty analog synthesizer. Over the last 5 years, the Slim Phatty has found a home on countless stages and in studios around the globe.

We have truly enjoyed putting love and care into each and every Slim Phatty we have built. Thank you to all the Slim Phatty owners for supporting our company and making music with our tools.

Your work inspires our work.

As a thank you to all Slim Phatty owners, we have compiled a Best Of Slim Phatty Presets pack, which includes 99 of our favorite Phatty presets from over the years. Download the Best Of Slim Phatty Presets pack here.http://www.moogmusic.com/news/thanks-everything-slim

Posted: 8/5/2015 11:28:18 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

A selection of music artists gets to live in the Moog Sound Lab for a few weeks. Lucky! :D

From Moog Music: http://www.moogmusic.com/news/living-moog-sound-lab

"Living With The Moog Sound Lab

 

The Moog Sound Lab is literally moving into one of the bedrooms at the Ace Hotel in London for an entire month of Moog-ing. Six artists will each spend four days (and nights) cosied up to the equipment which will conclude with a live performance of their creations in the Ace's basement space, Miranda.  

This special UK iteration of the Moog Sound Lab includes over 20 analog Moog handcrafted instruments, including one of the newly reissued classic System 55 Moog modular systems and some aural muscle from Bowers & Wilkins 805 Diamond speakers. 

The UK Moog Sound Lab will be on tour across the pond for the rest of the year, allowing artists to experiment with the largest collection of Moog analog synthesizers outside of the the Moog Factory."

Posted: 8/6/2015 2:01:51 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Not so "Aw" for people like me who bought a Slim Phatty last year only to have it discontinued. That's the synthesizer world. New models every year. The Etherwave is a dinosaur by comparison.

But you can play that Slim Phatty from your Etherwave Plus because it has CV inputs (the main reason I bought it). It was one of the few relatively inexpensive synths that took CV inputs.

I wonder - does anyone use a Moogerfooger analog delay with their theremins?

Posted: 8/6/2015 2:14:34 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

I know, I meant it to be sad. Yes, I got an Etherwave Plus in hopes of using the CV to control a Moog synthesizer someday. I don't yet, but I'm hoping to get a Moogerfooger eventually :)

Posted: 8/6/2015 2:39:16 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

You certainly are a Moog fan. They should at least send you a T-Shirt.

I gotta get back to playing the Slim Phatty. Maybe I'll throw it through that Amazing Grace and see what comes out. I'm waiting to hear your rendition.

Posted: 8/6/2015 3:13:10 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

I really am! :) I sent them an email a few days ago but they haven't replied yet :3

You should!! That's going to sound amazing! I will put my version on SoundCloud at least a few days before the 21st, I've only had my theremin for about a week but I've been practicing a lot! https://soundcloud.com/theremincat

Posted: 8/7/2015 3:38:02 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Amazing Grace - Etherwave+ playing Slim Phatty

OK. Interesting experiment. Never tried playing my Slim Phatty from my Etherwave Plus using the CV outs for any extended period before. Started by going through all the Slim Phatty patches to find one I wanted to use for Amazing Grace. Didn’t find one I liked. Either they were too harsh or they had too strong or fast envelopes that didn’t translate at all to the theremin gating - especially when that wonderful Moog filter opened up on a lot of them. So I decided to make a patch and try emulating a theremin-like sound. Started with a triangle wave (at the most sine-like setting) and synced the two oscillators two octaves apart. This created a sound with more harmonic complexity. Then I set volume and filter ADSR envelopes to slow settings that I thought would simulate a theremin well. Too fast an envelope would ruin the sound.

Then I connected the Etherwave Plus Volume, Pitch and Gate CVs. You need all three to transfer over the theremins expressive content and envelope shaping. This also is  where Theremini CV falls flat on its face with only one CV out. Didn’t care about tuning any 1/V per octave between the slim phatty and theremin – as the theremin has the totally dynamic pitch range so I just found my starting note and I was off to the races.

Then I set up Cubase to play my Amazing Grace stereo String track and played the Etherwave/Slim Phatty line on a Mono track. Put 2C Audio Breeze reverb on both and EW Spaces String Hall convolution reverb on the mix. One last thing was to add Antares Aspire vocal processing as a plug in on the Slim Phatty track. This creates a bit more harmonic complexity (though things get a little hot here and there).

The resulting sound is rather theremin-like to my ears (there is no etherwave line output connected at all here - just CV outs to Slim Phatty). You could never do this with MIDI. Even though CV is as old as the Moog synthesizer itself, it's still relevant – especially for theremin/gestural control.

This experiment also kind of reinforces my feeling that I could care less what creates the back end sound of a theremin - be it traditional heterodyning oscillators / subtractive synthesis, additive, FM, samples, Wavetable (which can create dynamically changing sounds) or virtual modeling, etc. Who cares as long as the sound is nice. It's the front end that really makes it a "theremin" to me and almost anyone who sees it played I would expect. There are those who will say I'm not really playing a theremin here because the back end is a Moog synth. I'm only playing a "gestural controller". But then a theremin is 99% gestural controller in my mind so it really doesn't matter. The future of the theremin is all in the back end as if the front end changes, that's when I start saying it's not a theremin anymore.

Have to try now moving more towards the sawtooth wave and increasing filter resonance with a different envelope. I should be able to get a more vocal/glottal sound.

Posted: 8/7/2015 6:18:19 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

The song sounds great! That's very interesting how you can control the pitch and volume of a synthesizer with the theremin, and then I agree that it is basically still a theremin in a different format.

Your accompaniment track of "Amazing Grace" is beautiful. I play a lot of blues and soul music on my theremin but only during that song her voice quavers like a singer who has been crying...
R.I.P. Bob Moog :,)

Posted: 8/7/2015 10:01:39 PM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

That is one of the great things about control voltage - it's not quantized and can create a very fluid dynamic field, be it volume or more importantly pitch. In the old days, there was no MIDI, or digital synths for that matter. The Analog synths were controlled by CV and they had CV keyboards, etc. Then came MIDI and while it's great for traditional, equal tempered pitch sets (like on a piano), it has severe performance limitations being an 8 bit language. Basically there are only 128 values for any parameter you work with. Fine for some things (like maybe volume in many cases), not for others (like for a truly dynamic pitch field). And even though higher bit-based MIDI implementations have been developed, the industry is still stuck on 8 bits for the most part. You just can't get a great natural portamento with MIDI.

But then, these days most synths don't have CV inputs or outputs. Why bother when 99% of the world is using MIDI controllers of one sort or another. How many people are buying synths to play with their theremins? But Moog always maintained its analog foundations and for many products still thankfully support CV. That's why I got that Slim Phatty and after last night's experiment, I'm really glad I bought it. I'm going to use it a lot more now that I see how it can open up the sonic potential of the theremin.

Way back in school I used to work with a big old Moog synthesizer like the one you see on the Switched-on-Bach album. Not something anyone can afford, but the modular synthesizer market has really picked up in the past few years -  especially with the small form factor Eurorack Modules (typically $100-$500 a module - so still not cheap at all but you can buy a few things and add over time). Here, CV once again rules (though there are MIDI to CV converters you can add to these setups so you can also play using standard MIDI controllers). There's something very nice about patching up your sounds the old fashioned way - and it teaches you tons about analog synthesis.

 

Posted: 8/8/2015 5:04:17 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

If digital info doesn't have to go through a MIDI pipe it can be any resolution one likes internally, high enough not to "zipper".

I have a serious love/hate thing with MIDI - wish I'd been in on developing the original specification.

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