Sonic LAB: Moog One - Review

A closer look      19/12/19
    MP4 31:26 mins    

It's not often you get to look at what is possibly the most advanced analog polysynths currently on the market. 

You may have seen our first video which covered the basics of the instrument  - thanks for all your questions. In this video we hope to hone in on some of those.

First up, though we need to talk about what happened - the first Moog One appeared to have a calibration issue that did not show up in my initial video - essentially, from octaves C2 and C1, repeatedly triggering voices, resulted in some fairly wide pitch variations.
I spoke to Moog and they suggested that they could use the network port to run a remote calibration routine - awesome. Except sadly that functionality has been retired, so they sent me another unit. Which was fine and also had an updated firmware to address filter tracking as well.

Moog tell me that they are working on an internal calibration routine that the user can run themselves - but it's not ready yet.

And so on to the unit itself: As far as the build is concerned, it's a lovely piece of hardware with plenty of those nicely scaled controls you get with a Moog - proper Logarithmic knob response - which makes a great difference to the usage. Mod slot routings can be set up with a single press of the DEST button on LFOs, Envelopes and controller params (ModWheel, Xpad, Ypad, KB, Vel, Aft, Expr1).

You then dial in the destination with the appropriate parameter - this is not Logarithmic, but you can shift/fine control with the soft parameter knobs.

We take a look at the Oscillators and FM routings, with LFOs going into high audio rates, and FM routable between oscillators, Ring Mod, as well as looping ADSRs (these are pretty flexible and snappy too)- there’s plenty of audio rate mod to play with.

Sequencer - with three 64 step sequencers, one per synth engine, it's actually a pretty cool, three part musical sketch pad - great for throwing down some ideas. You can also record what appears to be unlimited parameters into it, and edit both note and control data.
The only problem I had was that it was a little buggy - when recording LFO1 pitch depth and filter LFO 2 depth, the depth jumped to 100% and then inverted the front panel control. More seriously, I had a hard reboot while switching between sequenced parts. This makes me feel that the firmware really does need some more work, as it stands, you wouldn’t trust this on a world tour if the sequencer was something you really needed.


My overall impressions of the One are mixed. It's certainly a lovely thing and capable of some quality sounds. The depth of synthesis is impressive, right up there with any other high end analog poly - and of course it's a Moog. 

The One is an ambitious project for sure and I think that’s perhaps where you will have to be prepared to go on the journey with Moog - the firmware is definitely in progress and will be something that evolves as you continue to discover this synth. And thats fine, if your into that, but the One does represent a large investment so make sure you are prepared to put the time in.

Moog One 16 voice  £7,530 $7999 (street)
Moog One 8 Voice £5600 / $5999 (street)

Available now.

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