After buying over 800 HP of separate modules, I took a risk and got myself a MOOG Mother 32 and a DFAM. My path to the ultimate dream system would have been completely different if I got those first. For modular standards, they are totally completely incredible, and you’ll need a ton of modules to emulate them.
I don’t own any MOOG stock, in fact, I looked down on the brand a bit, because they dare to charge thousands of currency for stuff that belongs in a museum, next to the Roland TR-808. I guess I am just not a fan of vintage gear, I love innovation and progress. I had the privilege and luck to start with a deprecated MAKENOISE CV Shared System for the decent price of 3500 euro. The new Black & Gold is around 5K, so it was kind of a ‘bargain’. The Shared System is a Buchla inspired west coast synth. Even though Bob Moog and Don Buchla where good friends, their musical paths went in complete opposite directions. Bob’s gear was closely related to ‘conventional’ melodic music (east coast), while Don was a Sci-Fi sound scientist who may have been communicating with aliens from a galaxy far, far away (west coast). My choice for Don was on instinct, and I never regretted it.
But I had to completely redefine my unfounded view on Mr. Moog’s work. The Mother 32 is a simple one voice synth with typical LFO, Filter (excellent) and VCA. It even comes with a neat sequencer which is just as easy to program as the legendary TB-303 from Roland (not!). It’s not the ultimate starter oscillator (that would be Mutable Instruments Plaits) but as a system you’d need a lot of modules to emulate the Mother of all synths. Plaits is pure fun, but hearing that legendary MOOG sound modulating it’s awesome ladder filter is pure magic. You’ll go beyond magic and fun when you hook it up to the Drummer from another Mother, the DFAM.
DFAM is a percussive synth. Thank the Lord for not making it sound like an 808. By sequencing volume and pitch you are in charge of synthesizing bleeps, bass, kicks, snares and hi hats into awesome evolving patterns that will never bore you or your listeners. Synchronizing it to the Mother gives you the impression you’re patching the huge Moog Modular 55 that fills a wall. The sound is really close to my expectations of how a modular should sound. Yes I know, a modular can sound like anything, but it should at least sound like a 55.
You can even output the two VCO’s from the DFAM into the MIX 1/2 inputs of the Mother, so it becomes a three voice synth. Ring any bells? You may be able to make it sound like a Mini Moog Model D from the year 2085, but with two sequencers instead of keys. And the Mother accepts a midi keyboard too, which you could patch into to the DFAM. The possibilities are endless.
There’s one little catch. A Moog becomes magical with a good reverb. You should not go for the best reverb on the planet (the MAKENOISE ErbeVerb) but pick a reverb that’s based on the VALHALLA engine (Like the TipTop Z-DSP). A Mutable Instruments Clouds clone also works very well, and you may also want to checkout Erica’s Black Hole or an MJH Synths Finalizer Moog inspired reverb. I’d pick a Clouds clone to add a bit of granular synthesis to the mix. Another affordable addition to the team is MAKENOISE PressurePoints and a sequential switch, so you can make the 8 step sequencer playing longer sequences and lots of hands on modulation.