|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!...
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!