Super 8




Modular Systems
Hard-wired Synthesizers
Robert A Moog's name is one that is inseparable with synthesizers, but his involvement with individual instruments and the fortunes of their manufacture are less well known. Many of Moog's designs are still held as the holy grail of modules, with his legendary ladder filter being on of the most sought after. Despite their status in modular hierarchy, many modules suffer from common analogue circuitry problems, particularly thermal stability causing tuning drift. Mainly the imperfections are a characteristic' and their total elimination is not entirely desirable. It's the subtle variations in pitch and phase and also distortion that create the 'life' of analogue sound after all!...

Early Days

Bob Moog started his career in music quite casually, making Theremins to bolster funds whilst studying for his numerous degrees! In The summer of 1963, whilst still finishing his Ph.D at Cornell he set up a shop in Trumansburg, New York, planning on selling amplifiers and electronic kits in addition to his Theremin commissions.

By chance, Moog met Herb Deutsch, a music tutor, who then introduced him into the world of 'tone colour music' Inspired by this Bob built a couple of voltage controlled modules on breadboards (a term used for a lash-up circuit board) and demonstrated them to Herb. Between them they came up with the basic of the a modular synthesizer.

On the Up

The R.A.Moog logo introduced in early 1964
In October 1964 a thirty year old Robert A Moog presented his paper on "Voltage Controlled Electronic Music Modules" to the AES The principles of voltage controlled synthesis he outlined back then still remain virtually unchanged to this day. By the summer of '65 Moog had ten people working for him, and he was still doing his thesis!

The course of Moog's history took off with another chance meeting, this time in '68 (?) with studio engineer Walter Carlos (allegedly at a Chinese meal). Triggered by Walter's (or Wendy as it then became) interpretations of some Bach pieces "Switched On Bach" a genre of music known as "Moog Music" came about.  This became a real 'bandwagon' or 'modular race' with record companies desperate not to be outdone by each other, specifying bigger and bigger modular systems for their "Moog Record" The Trumansburg factory now had approximately 40 employees and was producing several modular systems per week.


n 1971 Moog hit troubles, caused by a slump in the economy and increased competition from the likes of ARP. Despite the introduction of the Minimoog, sales were just too slow, music shops hadn't caught on to selling synthesizers yet! Moog sold his debts to Bill Waytena and the company became Moog Musonics. The Musonics bit was shortlived and it soon became known as...

Moog Music Inc.

Based in an damp, smelly old gelatin works in Buffalo...
more to follow!