Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

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bollinote
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Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by bollinote » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:07 pm

I have currently an an Moslab modular (french moog modular clone) and I am very happy of the sound but I would like to ask an simple question (kevin for sure you will give me an good reply).
¿Its still possible to clone with the current parts an moog modular ? ¿What could not be clone ? ¿Same sound possible? ( Here I am not looking for the cost).
I am curious because I see many people claiming to have done clones (Moslab- COTK - custom costumers modules..). ¿Are some modules like the filter, oscillators really +- the same ?
And with vintage moog modulars ¿ Can they be restored at 100% still today ? If not ¿what can not be restored any more? ( I am looking to buy one but also looking of the long term survival & restoration of my vintage synths).
Thank you in advance
Bollinote

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MC
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by MC » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:31 pm

Most of them could be cloned using modern parts, the exceptions would be the 921 VCO which uses the no-longer-available 1496 and the fixed filter bank with the custom wound inductors.
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analogmonster
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by analogmonster » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:11 am

Hi,

as you might have seen I am also on that topic: http://www.analog-monster.de/moogmodular_en.html

A real 100% clone in hardware using modern parts is not possible, I'm sure, as the sound of a system is defined by the sum of functions combined with the sum of component side effects. Modern components, other side effects. Some soft synths emulate component side effects in their algorithms, perhaps they sound more like the original, I don't know.

I've built two moog modular filters yet using old circuit diagrams and modern components. As I write on my pages I don't know how close the sound comes to the original. It should be similar, as the circuit I use are the original one (beside minor changes due to spice results). For me it is more interesting to study the circuit designs of the old moog engineers, and I am happy if the sound of my modules is satisfying for me.

I am still at the beginning of the project, but I am sure a clone can be realized, but some compromises have to be done. To cut a short story long: Clone yes, 100%: no, 90% more likely, but don't know how to measure this :)

Carsten

bollinote
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by bollinote » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:48 am

Thank you (both) for the replies.
So as I understand the old oscillators can not be restored & repaired at 100% if needed. I was just looking to get an moog modular with the old ones.
Bollinote

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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Just Me » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:16 am

There was a guy in Italy, I think, that cloned one right down to the inspection stickers. There was a post about it here a year or more back.
"Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

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Kevin Lightner
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Kevin Lightner » Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:56 pm

Since I was asked, I have to reply with a question: What is the point?
Seriously.
Does owning a real or cloned Moog modular somehow fulfill something you feel is missing in your life?
Will it make it you money? Fame? Improve your music or musical skills?
If I had an absolutely perfect Moog 55 and gave it to you, what would be the outcome?
Pride of ownership? The secret key to somehow making great music? An ego boost to show off to friends?
Truly... what is the point of copying something like a Moog?
I doubt most people could even tell the difference between between a Moog and many other synths and even if they could, so what? Again, what is it about a Moog that's somehow better or more desirable than owning other synths?

In fact, here's an example: with many old Moogs, one cannot even trigger an envelope generator directly from a VCO.
That's a limitation, amongst many, that stock Moogs have.
It's like owning the original Mona Lisa painting. What's the point?
It's a painting. Does it bring you some innate pleasure in owning something rare and valuable?
And if someone painted an exact duplicate of the Mona Lisa, would you feel less pleasure simply because it's not the original?
I personally don't understand people that collect things or own things they don't put to some practical use.
I've seen people with rooms full of electronic musical gear that simply can't make music and I've seen people with guitars missing half the strings that can cause an audience to experience deep emotional responses like joy or sorrow.

So my question is, again, what is it about a Moog- in fact a Moog clone - that somehow makes one feel better?
Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime. - R. Pupkin

Rob Smith
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Rob Smith » Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:37 pm

Why , When you could have one of these The MK1. http://www.macbethstudiosystems.com Watch the videos!

Ronny_Pudding
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Ronny_Pudding » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:00 pm

I collect things. Are you saying I have a character flaw Kevin? You don't get to understand everybody and everything. Collectors have made you a nice living with all the services you've done for them over the years. A lot of people have things missing in their lives and struggle everyday to fill the void. I guess I'm just not an enlightened guru like you. You sound like a real arrogant, insensitive jerk man.

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Kevin Lightner
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Kevin Lightner » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:19 pm

Ronny_Pudding wrote:I collect things. Are you saying I have a character flaw Kevin? You don't get to understand everybody and everything. Collectors have made you a nice living with all the services you've done for them over the years. A lot of people have things missing in their lives and struggle everyday to fill the void. I guess I'm just not an enlightened guru like you. You sound like a real arrogant, insensitive jerk man.
First off, no malice or anger was used when writing that post.
If you're interpreting it, I feel it must be subjective.
I didn't mean to offend you, but remain that you're reading a bit deep into this personally.

I simply see people that covet old Moogs more than just about anything.
I've seen divorces and huge relationship arguments over synths.
Is that not a terrible outcome for one's lust over a synth?

Collecting is fine, if you have the money. Kudos to you for having enough.
But collecting vintage instruments drives prices up.
It removes them from the marketplace.
Then basic economics of supply vs demand take place: less supply, more demand, higher prices.

Since you're placing yourself into this with the statement "I guess I'm just not an enlightened guru like you", it would appear reasonable you're taking this personally and unnecessarily defensively.
Try empathy: consider a 19 year old who'd like to own a vintage Moog but can't afford it.
Or perhaps consider, as your writing suggests, a tech who *has* seen a bunch of varied synths over decades.
Do you truly think I didn't once find synths magical and awesome to play with?
Of course I did.
But one thing I've learned over the years is that it's not the synth that makes the music, it's the person.
With that, I find it odd how many people believe the inverse: if they only had a Moog, their music would suddenly be sprout wings or their lives would somehow be complete.

With all this said, I wonder where one draws the line... in their own mind.. between owning a clone and owning an original.
There are people that believe if they draw on a CD with a green marker, the CD sounds better.
Or those that believe in $10K speaker cables.
They will all defend them with great vigor because they want to believe.
Here I'm simply wondering if knowing something is truly a Moog or cloned to exact specs somehow makes it better than other synths.
And with that, I agree with the post before yours.. who didn't take any offense and offered an alternative.
Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime. - R. Pupkin

unfiltered37
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by unfiltered37 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:20 pm

Kevin Lightner wrote:Since I was asked, I have to reply with a question: What is the point?

I think it's just pure materialism, combined maybe with the investment aspect. But in my opinion, modular systems by their nature, at least today, are purely materialistic. I mean to have even a basic system provides pretty much endless possibilities. Yet people will keep adding more and more modules that they will probably never explore fully. I particularly get a kick out of seeing Keith Emerson's huge Moog, with all of the patch cords, knobs and screen, yet the simplest minimoog sounding patch coming out of it.
But to have an original Moog is extremely cool, and I think it would be on the top of my list along with an original Neve console (for the same reasons), were I to find a vein of gold in my backyard. Just owning a model D, even though it's sound and feel trumps any other aspect of its value, still is very cool in a historical, sentimental way (which model D haters tend to say is its only appeal). Also I think moog systems have a very cool, though not flashy look to them. The beautiful wood, black faceplates, and red lights is a very appealing combo, vintage yet futuristic. If i had one would explore it when I could, but you're right, the actual resulting output of the system would in no way account for the cost and upkeep.

I love how you can't post an opinion on a forum without someone getting butt hurt.

LivePsy
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by LivePsy » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:17 pm

Kevin Lightner wrote: But one thing I've learned over the years is that it's not the synth that makes the music, it's the person.
How many synthesizer flame wars have been over this?
I've stopped talking now.

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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Sweep » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:35 pm

Well said, Kevin. I think you've raised some very important points.

Maybe the key is in your comment that you too once found certain instruments magical, but you've learned the essential thing that it's the musician, not the instrument, that really makes the music.

For most people, I think the magical instruments are the ones we haven't played. Experience teaches us the reality - and that reality may be that the synth has really good qualities, or it may be that it isn't so great after all.

I've played quite a few synths, and my conclusion is that musical value bears very little relation to cost. It bears even less relation to rarity, as the wonderful Packrat cartoon about the Con Brio synth shows very clearly. Some cheaper synths are perfectly adequate and may in fact be preferable to more expensive ones. But at other times you need a particular thing and the best instrument for that may happen to be expensive. It's chance, much of the time.

I used to say back in the 80s that I'd rather hear a real musician with a single oscillator monosynth than an idiot with a Fairlight. People were sometimes surprised. They seemed to think a Fairlight could make even an idiot worth hearing. The same applies with many other instruments, and the Moog modular is one of them.

I sometimes think it would be great to have a room somewhere with a Moog modular in it, where people could go and spend time with it, so they'd find out you don't become Wendy Carlos or Keith Emerson when you try to play one. You probably become quite frustrated, and pretty exhausted, actually.

But I think the reality would be that some people would get decent music, and yet there'd be many more who'd get total crap out of it - but would be convinced their total crap is music, either because they don't know what music is or at best because they think a good sound (or even a certain sound they think is good) is music.

In the real world a genuine musician could put a few sounds together and make much better music than someone who has the best instrument in the world but only makes sounds in isolation. If there was some truly heavenly instrument that made a beautiful sound with single note, that would be great to hear, but in the long-term a real musician with a half-way decent instrument would sound better because a real musician understands how sounds go together to make music. That's as true in electronic music as elsewhere.

Regarding the people who can't play and force prices up by paying large sums for certain instruments, I'm in two minds about this. I can appreciate that for you it must be frustrating to hear instruments you've given your considerable skill and patience to used in really crass ways by people who can't really play. For me, it's sometimes amusing and sometimes irritating when I hear total crap from people who have instruments I could really do something with, or which I know would be played beautifully by someone else who can't afford them.

But on the other hand these instruments are being looked after and protected. They'll again come into the hands of real musicians at some point, instead of being lost forever. And any instruments I own may gain in value, allowing me to own them and make music with them, then sell again at a profit. That does have its good sides.
Websites: http://musicbysweep.com and http://theSynthiMusicSite.infinite9ths.com

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mayidunk
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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by mayidunk » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:39 pm

Kevin Lightner wrote:Since I was asked, I have to reply with a question: What is the point?
Seriously.
I think the point would be that one can have the actual, true fidelity sound, coming from a true reproduction of the actual instrument. I think that there's a kind of archeological aspect to this, kind of like being able to create a clone of an extinct life form. Unobtanium suddenly being made obtainable! That sound you used to only be able to hear on a record from your collection suddenly come to life, and under your control. It can be pretty powerful juju for some people. Kind of like being able to own a violin that's an exact clone of a Stradivarius . It may not have been made by the master, but if done properly, for all intents and purposes it still fits the bill. And while plenty of people have made beautiful music using non-Stradivarius violins down through the years, it has never kept people from attempting to create Strad clones, nor has it kept others from attempting to own those clones. It's horses for courses, and God bless the one who can afford to own one.

People buying Fender Stratocasters make sure they get an American Strat, one made of Ash rather than Poplar. They feel the tone is better, more authentic. Which, indeed, it is. However, when Leo Fender spec'd the use of Ash, it was only because it was the cheapest, most plentiful wood available to him at the time. He could have just as easily used another species of wood, which would've then caused that tone wood to render the authentic "Strat sound." In the end, it isn't Ash that made the Strat a classic, it's the guitarists who played it!

This, I believe, is Kevin's point. It isn't so much the sound of the Moog modular, or the components used to build it. Rather, it's the skill of the musicians who played it down through the years, that made it the classic it is today. It's very much like the riddle of steel from Conan the Barbarian. Remember?

"What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Trigger » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:32 pm

Sweep wrote:the essential thing that it's the musician, not the instrument, that really makes the music.
Yes.
Give a competent player a Stradavarius today, and you'd probably get a good sound. Give a world-class musician a student instrument, and you'd probably hear a world of difference.
This is a topic that could (and probably should) have a forum all its own.
First off, If someone wants to hock the house to get a vintage Moog Modular, more power to you. But that instrument won't make you a better composer, player, or synthesist by itself.
In my opinion, listen to W Carlos, or especially, Tomita-san. These people decided to use Moog modular equipment (warts and all), and became immortal for it. Every time I listen to Well-Tempered Synthesizer (1969), or Snowflakes are Dancing (1974), and figure those albums were made with 901 oscillators with linear discrete 8 or 16 track tape machines, I just shake my head in disbelief (as a disclaimer, my first engineering experience was over 38 years ago with 3M and Ampex 2" multitrack recorders, so I have a bit of a "track" record). These people were totally into the "necessity is the mother of invention" mode--they used the tools of the day, and they persevered.
AFAIK, Wendy Carlos hasn't recorded with her modular (in spite of all Bob Moog's custom innovations) in decades, and Tomita--well, we haven't heard from him in just about as long.
They probably weren't so much into the tool itself, but they had a vision of what they want to accomplish, and the tool they chose was apparently the best choice. Sooner or later that tool's limitations drove them to look further. That drive for innovation is probably why you're not hand cranking your car in the morning to go to work.
I think Moog modulars are genius, whose design came from a genius. And if you want to clone one, great. But they're a snapshot of a certain time, place, and mindset, and having one won't make you the next Carlos, Tomita, or whomever you're trying to emulate.

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Re: Can really an moog modular be cloned today?

Post by Rob Smith » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:28 am

It's all about the fun. If you want to clone a Moog synthesizer, that's great, if it makes you happy. You don't have to be a great musician, it's just the appreciation of the sound and some people who are not musicians have the money to put these systems together. And guess what, they employ other people. I can relate this to the automotive field. A guy named Carol Shelby, who converted an English two seat sports car into the Shelby Cobra. It's a legend, just like the Moog product. And today, there are many companies that make clones of this car. One that I can think of offhand is ERA, in Connecticut. And they make beautiful replicas. And if some guy comes home from work and gets a feel of what the original car was to drive, then isn't that fun? Or if the guy comes home and fires up a nice cloned or original modular system, isn't that fun? You don't have to be Juliard trained to enjoy the sound of a beautiful synthesizer. You just have to enjoy it. It really doesn't get any simpler. It's about the fun, people. What a concept.

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