Moog book explains how to use synths

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/23/moog-book-explains-how-to-use-synths.html

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that’s cool. i got a moog grandmother last christmas and a matriarch a few weeks ago. with 140+ patchpoints between them i’ll be having fun for a while.

i’ll be buying that book.

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This looks like a great resource! I’ve wanted a Moog since I first heard of them in the 70s, and finally got one for like $30 - Animoog for iPad during the rollout special pricing. :slight_smile:

I’ve played around with it and love it, but actually understanding all the bits that go into sound synthesis will open up new vistas, I’m sure!

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Just pre-ordered it. Early xmakah present for me :grinning:

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Scene: A MOOG Design & Development Department Meeting

Staff member 1: How do we capitalize on the current retro trend in music?
Staff member 2: Retro trend? Be specific.
Staff member 1: Well… the use of digitized record scratches as a creative tool in music recording? The resurgence in vinyl record sales? Old school is now new.
Staff member 2: Old school. Gotcha! Modular patched systems!

If I had a Moog I would definitely buy this. I did buy the original Patch and Tweak book - it’s a fantastic resource for anyone getting starting in modular synths. The focus is on Eurorack (unsurprisingly given it dominates the market) but it touches on other formats like Buchla.

The walls of knobs and dials on a classic synthesizer are forbidding to newcomers. Coming from the all-done-on-computers generation, I’ve never quite gotten into the old-school because of it.

What, you never wanted to make music on an old-timey telephone exchange? Weird… :grin:

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it was literally my dream from the time i was 13 and saw keith emerson tweaking his ludicrous wall of moog live at california jam.

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But when will they finally release the long rumoured Moog Cookbook?

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If anybody has a Moog Taurus they’re not using, hit me up!

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I’ve had an on and off again relationship with synths, drum machines, sequencers and samplers since the mid 70’s. Logic’s acquisition of Alchemy was pretty exciting, a great machine but I found the menu diving/ tab changing did my head in and wasn’t exactly a user friendly experience when it came to experimenting and coming up with happy accidents. It’s not the cables in modular so as much as the knobs… THE KNOBS!!

Have been getting into the ‘no computer’ electronic music/soundscape tech and it has been a real revelation. Have had the semi modular Arturia Microfreak for 4 months and have learned so much more about synthesis. Probably one of the best written manuals that actually describes what all the parameters mean and their history. Has different digital emulations of synth ‘types’ and again explains their history. Kinda worth buying just for the manual!

And it has knobs… tweaking becomes part of muscle memory, intuitive and immediate.

I’m thinking, for the way my brain is wired, I would love to have the Moog manual but unless I’m hearing the outcome of a tweak it’s really just an abstraction. Unless you’ve got a Moog or a Eurorack set up this won’t be a fun educational experience and may put some people off that would otherwise be enticed into the synth realm.

The cable patching in modular synths, Moog (analogue) and Eurorack (Hybrid analogue/digital) requires a lot of per-determination and forward thinking to get to something close to where you want to go. The same in Logics Alchemy. But the new breed of music tech UI, with depth under the hood and physical controls, opens up much fun and endless experimentation, which is what synths are all about.

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the place where menu-diving might have started to come to seem daunting was with the rise of the fm synthesis mode. the yamaha dx7 synth had some of the most iconic presets in synthesis because so few people had either the patience or the skills to create their own patches. the dexed emulation of the dx7 has an interface that is vastly easier to use than the dx7 and it’s still a challenge to create useful sounds. i can only imagine what it must have been like to program the dx7 one parameter at a time with that tiny led screen.

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Yep the DX7 is the notoriously hard to program synth. Was surprised to hear that the process was well in development in the early 70’s if not before. The concept is analogue and quite simple, one oscillator modulating another with others in the mix in patches or “algorithms” and envelopes in the mix. I’m hard pushed to say that there is actually anything new in synthesis that wasn’t being experimented with in the 60’s and 70’s.

I was looking at the Korg Volca FM as it puts many of the parameters on the surface… knobs. I’m thinking the DX7 gave fm a scary reputation with musicians and tweakers alike… “I can’t get into my machine and change it”. But all synthesis comes down to the most basic of audio components and can also be the most complex of study and learning. That’s why I will champion a good user interface that alows musical tweaking.

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Nope but I now have in my head an image of a Moog Torah that would just be phenomenal.

Yet they make programming sounds (including the learning process) a lot easier than using software. If the synthesizer panel is well thought, all controls lie right in front of the player, functionally arranged, which makes the creation process super fast compared to every soft synth out there, including those replicating famous synths panels on their GUI.
Not that soft synths are bad; they’re not sound wise, but having to move the mouse from one “knob” to another, or using a touch screen, makes the process more time consuming.

And… btw one can have automation on old synths too, say linking together 3 knobs using rubber bands so that widening a filter on oscillator 1 also increases modulation on oscillator 2 while opening the resonance filter. Also doable on mixing consoles to link more functions together old style, without any computer.

I would consider converting.

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