Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Tips and techniques for Minimoog Analog Synthesizers
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Midiguy4u
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Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Post by Midiguy4u » Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:02 am

I just purchased a "standard" XL and while I do like this instrument very much, and am proud to have it in my arsenal, I can't help but feel the ambition behind the general design comes-across a bit weak. My main comment/concern is the cost of this unit which is $1,000 more than the list price of the most powerful work station out there, the 88-note Korg Kronos. Yes, I know that analog parts are expensive, and that Korg is a much larger company than Moog, and as such, can offer products with smaller price tags. Given that, I still feel there are few things the design team could have done that would have made the XL shine brighter. My suggestions, such as they are, ARE:
1: The name " XL" suggest to me extra large, ok, the XL is 5 octave, but thats the only thing that is innately "bigger". I would like to see a 4th oscillator. Where? Move the Digital section to the right side of the control panel. PLace the master volume knob to the right side of the LCD display. Move the headphone jack and its volume knob to the side of the unit, and voila, you now have room on the panel for a 4th oscillator.
2. Who uses an X-Y pad? Its just another controller, and quite frankly it makes MUCH more sense, ergonomically, as a joystick, which also takes up FAR less real-estate on the panel. On the left side of the keyboard assembly are the wheels and switches, and they all reside on small panel. On the right side of that panel is a small block of wood that does nothing more than take up valuable space. The panel should be one piece and fill that section entirely, THEN you would easily have room for a 3rd wheel AND the programmable joystick.
3. In the digital section there should be internal FX. They need not be "studio" quality, but reverb and delay is essential and for this price, EXPECTED! On the left side of the display window, there should be an infinity knob; the "up-down" cursor switches are inefficient.
4. Ring modulator function in the patch-panel.
5. The way patches are edited, stored, and named is VERY out of date, and infuriatingly cumbersome. With the aforementioned suggestion of the joystick controller, the space of large XY touch-pad could now be replaced by a secondary window for non-panel programing parameters.
6. The mechanical support for the panel is lame. While it may be solid for a regular Mini, its flimsy for the expanded size on the XL, there should be 2 support structures; one on either end.
Moog System 55 with controller.Synthesizers Studio System 110 with controller, Voyager XL, (9) Moogerfoogers,(3) Mothers, (2)500-series Ladder filters, (2) 500-series analog delays. [img]fullmodular.jpg[/img]

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MC
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Re: Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Post by MC » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:57 pm

First off, years ago before the Voyager became reality Bob Moog sent out an anonymous survey to a prominent analog synthesizer discussion forum (AH, before many others existed) - home to many experienced (some professional) musicians - asking what they wanted in an analog synthesizer.

The majority didn't want built-in internal FX, ring modulator, sequencer, arpeggiator, et al. The AH members were well aware that there are plenty of outboard options for the bells and whistles, and were tired of paying $$$ for crap internal FX that they eventually replaced with much better sounding outboard FX. They placed greater emphasis on raw fat analog sound, modulation options, programmability, and a full panel of knobs. They didn't want endless encoders because too many of them have malfunctioned on other "workstations" and synths. 4th oscillator? TWO is enough for most applications in a fat synth like the Voyager.

Who uses an X-Y pad? Isn't that a knee-jerk overgeneralizing blanket assessment! I have been programming and performing with synths since 1978. I can tell you that from experience that I much prefer the touchpad to any joystick. If you dig into the system, there are many control options not possible with a joystick - the touchpad is pretty darn useful. The survey results reported a big preference to wheels over joystick, the touchpad was a bonus that I certainly appreciate. It takes some getting used to, but some of us have the discipline to practice.

If you had read the owner's manual, you would had known that there is a much easier way to name patches.

I played an XL. Being a college educated engineer, I disagree that a second support is needed. The panel didn't flex at all when I manipulated the knobs.

Comparing the Voyager to workstations is apples and oranges. Frankly any attempt to compare prices between the two - in addition to your suggestions - is an illustration that you don't understand the tools in front of you.
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Dimi
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Re: Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Post by Dimi » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:50 am

Regarding the effects, does it make sense to have those on-board? I did give this some thought recently because i am considering getting a Prophet 6 which does have effects and i would have preferred that it didn't, just like i prefer it that my V XL does not have them. The only reason to include them is if a company tries to market a synth as a gigging synth. Otherwise if you are not going to use them in a studio, as you probably own betters units if you are able to afford a V XL, why waste space on them and only up the price?

Also regarding the trackpad, I have used a joystick before and i found it a bit difficult to visualize exactly how far in i am. You don't always want to start at 0 or at max. So i prefer that.

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_DemonDan_
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Re: Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Post by _DemonDan_ » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:13 pm

Midiguy4u wrote:The name " XL" suggest to me extra large, ok, the XL is 5 octave, but thats the only thing that is innately "bigger".

Well, there's also the:
500mm Ribbon Controller with both CV Out and Gate Out

Touch Pad X, Y, A, and Gate CV Outs

Keyboard Pitch, Velocity, Pressure, and Gate CV Outs

Pitch Wheel and Mod Wheel CV Outs

Mod 1 and Mod 2 Pedal CV Outs

LFO Triangle and Square Outs

Mod Wheel and Pedal CV Buss Outs

Filter and Volume Envelope CV Outs

Sample & Hold Stepped and Smooth CV Outs

Three Powered 4-Way Mults (12 jacks)

Two Attenuators with Amount and Offset knobs for each

A 4-Input Mixer with Normal and Inverted CV Outputs

A Lag Processor with both Rise and Fall Lag Times

An additional LFO with six Wave choices, Rate and Clock CV Ins, and Normal and Inverted CV Outs, and External MIDI control

And a Noise Output jack

But, other than the XL features you missed above, you totally nailed it :-)

P.S. Although you can recreate *some* of the functionality of a mere X/Y Pad with a Joystick (you can't, for example, instantly stab a specific X/Y value with a joystick without sweeping though all the values on the way there), it would be VERY difficult to simulate the Voyager's X/Y/A/Gate controller functionality with just a joystick.
_ :twisted: _DemonDan_ :twisted: _

Midiguy4u
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Re: Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Post by Midiguy4u » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:28 pm

MC wrote:First off, years ago before the Voyager became reality Bob Moog sent out an anonymous survey to a prominent analog synthesizer discussion forum (AH, before many others existed) - home to many experienced (some professional) musicians - asking what they wanted in an analog synthesizer.

The majority didn't want built-in internal FX, ring modulator, sequencer, arpeggiator, et al. The AH members were well aware that there are plenty of outboard options for the bells and whistles, and were tired of paying $$$ for crap internal FX that they eventually replaced with much better sounding outboard FX. They placed greater emphasis on raw fat analog sound, modulation options, programmability, and a full panel of knobs. They didn't want endless encoders because too many of them have malfunctioned on other "workstations" and synths. 4th oscillator? TWO is enough for most applications in a fat synth like the Voyager.

Who uses an X-Y pad? Isn't that a knee-jerk overgeneralizing blanket assessment! I have been programming and performing with synths since 1978. I can tell you that from experience that I much prefer the touchpad to any joystick. If you dig into the system, there are many control options not possible with a joystick - the touchpad is pretty darn useful. The survey results reported a big preference to wheels over joystick, the touchpad was a bonus that I certainly appreciate. It takes some getting used to, but some of us have the discipline to practice.

If you had read the owner's manual, you would had known that there is a much easier way to name patches.

I played an XL. Being a college educated engineer, I disagree that a second support is needed. The panel didn't flex at all when I manipulated the knobs.

Comparing the Voyager to workstations is apples and oranges. Frankly any attempt to compare prices between the two - in addition to your suggestions - is an illustration that you don't understand the tools in front of you.



- Moog is a company that is ever evolving,(proven by their ever-expanding product line) the MINI was what it was due to the technical limitations AT THAT TIME. I see no reason the Voyager and XL can't also undergo facelifts that better reflect the modern market. You certainly added a lot of assumptions in your reply,making it seem they were things I wrote of, which I did not. Instead, a lot of personal attacks, and attempts , I guess, to try to impress me with your education and your protracted usage. I never mentioned: wheels over joystick, sequencer, or an arpeggiator.Nor did I compare, in function, a workstation to an mono-analog synth. The Arp 2600 had a reverb in it, I doubt many people recorded that reverb too. Seeing Moog offers a ring modulator pedal, it doesn't seem so extreme of me to want one on my panel. I have nothing against an X-y pad, but it does take up valuable real-estate on the panel, IMO. You can say what you want, but I know these pads are not very popular, and given what I can do with the more popular joystick, Id rather see the latter and have a more open-ended approach to the way CPU information is accessed and stored, which on the Voyager is clumsy and outdated. But the funniest ( and contradictory) comment you wrote of was my "blanket assessment" of X-Y pads right after you did the same thing, pontificating "2 oscillators is enough for most applications." Seriously, who put YOU in charge of whats enough? I guess the owners of a System 55 wasted a lot of their $$$ on needless oscillators, cause' "two is enough". I will make one assumption, and that is you don't perform live with an XL, because if you did, you would immediately discover the panel bounces around because the Moog people decided the panel support should be the same for a panel that is over a foot longer than the original. But then again, what do I know, I don't even understand the tool in front of me.
Moog System 55 with controller.Synthesizers Studio System 110 with controller, Voyager XL, (9) Moogerfoogers,(3) Mothers, (2)500-series Ladder filters, (2) 500-series analog delays. [img]fullmodular.jpg[/img]

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MC
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Re: Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Post by MC » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:27 pm

The survey - and majority - has spoken. You seem to dislike being in the minority so much that you had to resort to ad hominem tactics to discredit the professional opinions of not just me but many more. Clean up your act and do it pronto because we do not tolerate manipulative tactics here.
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Re: Voyager XL: What I would have done.

Post by EricK » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:43 am

Midi,
My only complaint about the XL is that the OS wasn't expanded upon to encompass the new controls (and the fact that I don't have one). You sir have a badass monosynth at your disposal. Congratulations on your purchase.
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