Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

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ebbster
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Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by ebbster » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:21 pm

Hi guys, I'm really new to synthesizers in general, and my friend was just offered an MG -1 for $200, so we decided to check it out. On ebay they seem to go for more than that so it seemed like a good deal. It is in mostly working order, but noticeably the Polyphony seems completely nonfunctional, especially after looking up some working ones on youtube. Just wondering if the price seems right, and if this is an issue anyone has dealt with before. Thanks for your time!

calaverasgrande
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by calaverasgrande » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:40 pm

the polyphony is just a corny organ sound. These are more sought after for the rest of the synth which is pretty much a Moog Rogue minus the piths and mod wheels.
It would be strange for the polyphony to be non-functional if the keys still work. Because the poly circuit is part of the note on circuit itself. May just be a bad slider. These are known for the 'black death' where foam deteriorates and goops up the pots and sliders. That is a good deal.
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nicholas d. kent
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by nicholas d. kent » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:39 pm

Have not heard of the Poly section dying as a common failure. Would not want to guess what part of it went bad but yeah it might be something minor or lots of money not that you have to fix it.

Disagree that it would be hard to happen, something in there could easily fail rendering just that portion silent.

Sold mine before I had the black goo problem or not, haven't researched it other than knowing it was a foam material inside that decayed really badly over the years. What might be the only worry is if by chance the goo is all over the inside and so far only the Poly section went bad

Agree that even without the Poly section it's well worth $200 and while not identical the Rogue is a model that is pretty similar, has no poly feature and sells for much more than $200 these days.

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museslave
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by museslave » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:39 pm

The MG-1 is a desperately under-appreciated synthesizer.

While not all of the parts used in it were Moog Music-standard, it was designed and assembled by Moog. It is an astoundingly powerful synthesizer for its price and lack-of-reputation.

Don't believe what you hear about the polyphonic section. It is not an organ.
1. It is a divide-down section. This is cool because every single note can be played at once. Some people are not as interested in it because each note isn't individually articulated... that means that each note doesn't have its own filter, envelope, or amp. All of the notes of the polyphonic section are fed through the amp and filter of the monophonic section. So, if you're playing multiple sequential notes in a chord, only the initial notes will have articulation. (in other words, it's "paraphonic") But that's okay. If you're playing chords on a synth, you're usually just playing straight chords. Still. It's a minor sacrifice compared to the inexpensive nature AND power of the MG-1. It is possible to play chords on it without sounding like a "cheesy organ." In fact, with the Moog filter, some artful programming and patience, and especially the Sample and Hold function, you can create some really cool polyphonic sounds.

You can use the polyphonic section as an "extra oscillator." You don't have to play chords with it. Since it is detunable, the MG-1 is essentially a three-oscillator vintage Moog synthesizer.

I made a 6-part series of videos about the MG-1 which will show you exactly what I'm talking about. Here's the first one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE7aQpA4XVA

If you want to skip the talking, here are some sound examples of the synth (including synth chords):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ynv4V09_d0

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thealien666
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by thealien666 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:09 pm

Hey you guys, if you have the chance you have to check out Museslave's (AKA Marc Doty) 6 parts series on the MG-1 that he mentioned in his post. You'll probably learn a thing or two about this great little machine. I had one for many many years, and I thought I knew everything about it, but I still learned a couple of things or tricks I hadn't tried by watching these videos. Great stuff. :D

I see the polyphony of the MG-1 as having 32 square wave oscillators that can be passed thru the famous Moog ladder filter which is pretty cool ! 8) :wink:
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Stuka
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by Stuka » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:31 pm

I haven't had the chance to watch the whole series, but it is definitely inspiring and makes me want to drag out my original MG-1 and get busy with the overhaul!

Speaking of which ~

Mark / museslave -

I do have the overhaul kit (mine is definitely a victim of the dreaded gunk!!), but was wondering if you had any recommendations / "gotchas" to look out for during the overhaul? Also, while it's torn down, any additional recommended mods to make it more usable with modern equipment? I would like to make it compatible with my other "modern" Moog gear and be able to make the most of the CV capabilities.

Thanks!

Randy
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museslave
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by museslave » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:50 pm

Stuka wrote:Mark / museslave -

I do have the overhaul kit (mine is definitely a victim of the dreaded gunk!!), but was wondering if you had any recommendations / "gotchas" to look out for during the overhaul? Also, while it's torn down, any additional recommended mods to make it more usable with modern equipment? I would like to make it compatible with my other "modern" Moog gear and be able to make the most of the CV capabilities.

Thanks!

Randy


Hey, Randy!

The one in the videos was also a gunk victim, but I bought new sliders from... oh, crap... I can't remember the guy's name... but anyway... I had a professional tech install mine... I am not a tech! So, I'm afraid I can't help in that arena.


Thanks, Alain!

calaverasgrande
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by calaverasgrande » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:36 am

I didnt mean to imply that the polyphony section is worthless, rather that it is not worth passing on the MG1 simply because it is non functional.
While it is a kind of stretch to have called it polyphony, it does indeed work well in some patches as an extra osc. I have also recorded just the polyphony sound on its own, and yes divide down pretty much is the sound of a cheap organ as it is done here. It certainly isnt a string section.
What I'd always liked most about my MG1 was the hard sync, ring mod and its brattier tone filter wise.
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Kenneth
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by Kenneth » Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:34 pm

museslave wrote: If you're playing chords on a synth, you're usually just playing straight chords.

Marc, I must preface this by saying I have a tremendous amount of respect for you as a synthesist, and a human being. You have taught me much in the way of analog synthesis, and without your videos YouTube would be a much more boring place.

I completely and utterly disagree with this statement. I'm not even going to come up with an in-depth argument, other than saying I don't think you're listening to enough electronic music (have you ever heard of Vangelis? JMJ? Depeche Mode? Aphex Twin? Boards of Canada? I think all of them play polyphonic synthesizers in other ways than just straight chords), and I don't know you that well, so maybe that's not true. What makes you say that, anyway?
I don't own anything that would make you jealous.

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thealien666
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by thealien666 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:37 pm

Is there anything else than straight chords ? I've never heard of crooked chords before... :lol:
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museslave
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by museslave » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:21 am

Kenneth,

You're right, of course.

I spent years laboring under the misapprehension that most people on the internet were using synthesizers for the purpose of composing music with them so that they could have as-yet-unheard timbres that precisely suit their timbral wishes. It's been a hard couple of decades. These days, I sort of shoot for the average electronic music enthusiast in my words. So, yes... I gotta agree with you. For those of us in the world who seek composition as an end, my statement is untrue.

Of course, all of the people you listed had the benefit of much more complex synthesizers without the "analog" limitation. Anyone seeking powerful and extensive polyphonic functionality should probably massively steer clear of the MG-1. But that's not to say it isn't polyphonic, nor is it to say "all it can do is cheesy organ sounds." :D

But that being said... there are plenty of limitations in regard to really any instrument. The fact that the polyphonic section of the MG-1 isn't individually articulated shouldn't be a problem for a person who is interested in a synth with the MG-1's somewhat modest structure.

Thank you, sir!

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Vsyevolod
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by Vsyevolod » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:04 pm

Freedom comes from limitation.

Some famous person said that.

Or maybe I just made it up?

Stephen




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nicholas d. kent
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Re: Realistic MG-1 Polyphony

Post by nicholas d. kent » Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:47 am

Regarding the chords thing. Actually something that really gets me because it's so obvious. Though people used to monophonics just don't play that way and may not immediately "get" it -- playing a solo line on a real polysynth you can have the release of the previous note still going on while the next note sounds. This can't be done on a mono without overdubbing to tape. The poly result is very different than mono response and no, it's not like sticking a lot of reverb or delay on a monosynth.

As for the MG-1 Concertmate, correct, the sound and behavior of the polyphony is not like a vco based polysynth. It's worth noting that the Moog Opus 3 is the closest other Moog in terms of that sort of paraphony (a late 70s Roland coined term basically involving multiple notes sounding but all fed through a single filter)

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