Moog is a legendary name in synthesizer design. Founded by the American engineer Dr Robert Moog (1934-2005), Moog Music created the world’s first practical modular synthesizer way back in the mid-60s. Daring but also daunting, Moog’s innovation was to combine a number of modules for generating and manipulating tones – hence the name – within a towering case with an integrated keyboard. By using patch leads to connect the integral oscillator, filter and noise generator modules together in an endless variety of ways, a whole new world of sounds was opened up.

Moog never looked back. Nor did its many imitators. Synths swiftly shrank in size and grew in power, and analogue signal control was soon joined by its digital equivalent, further expanding the musical palette. However, as with all meetings of technology and creativity, there has been a steady push and pull between the authenticity of analogue and convenience of digital ever since. The past decade has seen a modular synth revival as a new generation of musicians and creators discover the performative, hands-on and DIY delights of analogue synthesis, and the art of physically linking things together to forge new sonic frontiers, hacking, splicing and even building new kit as they go. 

Moog Sound System
The new Moog Sound Studio in all its glory, accessories, manuals and printed ephemera included

 

Moog Sound System
Moog Sound Studio: two complete kits

As a result, a vast array of small, nimble start-ups has arisen, buoyed by the sky-high prices and scarcity of original equipment (a refurbished Moog System 55 from 1976 sold for around £45,000 in 2018). Moog’s new Sound Studio marks the mothership returning to reclaim its territory. A bespoke box of synth delights, each Sound Studio package is pitched as an all-in-one introduction, the aural equivalent of those childhood science kits filled with brightly coloured chemicals and test tubes. As well as two semi-modular synthesizers and a mixer, each kit includes a rack mount and all the patch cables you’ll need, along with a host of guides and even games to get you started. 

Moog Sound System
Moog’s new Sound Studio: every detail is considered, right down to the packaging

There’s a lovingly filtered sheen of retro-nostalgia coating the whole exercise, from the graphics and packaging down to the illustrations on the instruction manuals. There are two packs, the Mother-32 module together with the ‘Drummer From Another Mother’ (DFAM) percussion synth or the DFAM paired with Moog’s Subharmonicon, with all equipment hand-assembled in Moog’s facility in North Carolina.

Each combo offers up a cocktail of creative experimentation. The company has also commissioned a new EP to accompany the launch so you can experience the full scope of sounds before you buy. Whether you’re a budding Rick Wakeman, aspiring Aphex Twin, or even someone who simply delights in the physicality of tinkering with technology, the Moog Sound Studio will get you plugged in. §