Moog (rhymes with "vogue")

Robert Moog built his synthesizer in 1964 after a composer told him about the need for user-friendly electronic instruments utilizing new solid-state technology.

The Moog was modular: You used patch cords to select your waveform (the sound's timbre) and frequency (pitch), and plugged in the interface -- a keyboard, instead of the binary code on paper that had defined the first RCAs.

It was the first synthesizer to use attack-decay-sustain-release (ADSR) envelopes, set with four different knobs, which control the qualities of a sound's onset, intensity and fade. Like many of his designs, Moog's envelope generators became a basic component of later synthesizers. The sound was monophonic.

"We're the people who started it all!"
(a slogan on the original Moog Rogue ad)

Robert A. Moog and Herbert Deutsch built their first modular synthesizer prototype in August 1964. The next summer R.A. Moog, Inc. employed approximately 10 employees and was building custom modulars for people like John Cage. Business remained relatively slow until Wendy Carlos released the Switched on Bach album in 1969, making the Moog sound known around the world.

With ARP Instruments giving Moog some serious competition in 1970, things started looking rather bad financially. The company was saved by an investor called Bill Waytena, who practically bought Moog for nothing. He merged them with Musonics, with the new firm changing its name to Moog Music. At this time the now legendary MiniMoog was released, and eventually even made its way to music stores (which at that time didn't sell synths).

Moog Music was sold to Norlin in 1974. The new owners' policies prompted Bob Moog to leave the company in 1977. Instead of leaving the synthesizer business altogether, he did design other synths like the Crumar Spirit. Nowadays he owns a company called Big Briar, which manufactures theremins and the Moogerfrooger line of analog effects units.

Moog equipment featured in Everything2:

More to come...

One of the leading causes of good bands going bad, the Moog is commonly implemented into newer cds of various punk/ska or other bands. Many bands which once were very good, such as the Aquabats, the Hippos, My Superhero, and many others, have dropped quite a bit in quality due to integration of a Moog into their music. The Moog is seen at its low in the band Elliot. Apparently, many bands think it sounds good to emulate the Main Street Electrical Parade. Thankfully, the Moog's ill effects have not swept to all bands, some bands, such as Less Than Jake and HomeGrown, continue to make awesome new music without a Moog.

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