Moog Music

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Moog Music Inc.
Founded1953; 65 years ago (1953) (as R.A. Moog Co.)
New York City, New York, U.S.
HeadquartersAsheville, North Carolina, U.S.
Key people
Robert Moog, Founder
Mike Adams, President
ProductsMusical instruments, Guitars, Signal processing

Moog Music is an American company based in Asheville, North Carolina which manufactures electronic musical instruments. It was founded in 1953 by Robert Moog. Its early instruments included various Moog modular synthesizer systems, followed by the launch of the Minimoog in 1970, which became one of the most influential instruments in popular music.

R.A. Moog Co. and the original Moog Music[edit]

Based in Trumansburg, New York, Robert Moog's original company was founded as R.A. Moog Co. in 1953, manufacturing theremin kits and, later, modular synthesizer systems. This company became Moog Music in 1972, and through Moog's collaboration with people like Herbert Deutsch, Moog Music produced some of the most popular synthesizers of all time.

In November 1971, the company moved to Williamsville, New York. An old factory at the north end of Academy Street was purchased. The company was renamed Moog Musonics, then Moog Music. In 1976 the company moved to a much better facility on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga.[1]

After becoming Moog Music, the company went through various changes of ownership, eventually being bought out by musical instrument manufacturer Norlin (who also owned the Gibson guitar company at the time). Norlin produced a number of synthesizers under the Moog name in the late 1970s, but they were less successful than Robert Moog's own designs.

Poor management and marketing led to Moog's departure from his own company in 1977. Moog Music was forced into bankruptcy in 1986. The company liquidated and officially ceased operation in 1993.

Big Briar[edit]

Moog re-entered the music industry after leaving Moog Music in 1977, starting Big Briar to produce theremins under the name Etherwave. Big Briar expanded its range to produce a variety of analog-electronic musical instruments, mainly effects pedals called moogerfoogers.

In 1999, Big Briar partnered with Bomb Factory to co-develop software modeled plug-ins for Pro Tools TDM based on the moogerfooger effect pedal lines.[2] Robert Moog worked closely with Bomb Factory to ensure the product would remain true to the classic Moog sound.

New Moog Music[edit]

Newly assembled Sub Phatty instruments undergoing testing.

In 2002, after a legal battle with Don Martin who had previously assumed the rights to the name Moog Music, Moog reacquired rights to the Moog Music trademark in the U.S., and immediately changed production of Big Briar products to Moog.[3] Another company, Moog CE, was selling modules for the original 1970s systems, and agreed to change their name to allow Moog to re-enter the market. It was also in 2002 that Moog Music hired Michael Adams as Vice President in charge of business operations.[4][5]

After the company's name change, Moog released the Piano-Bar, a Don Buchla -designed device which converted the physical movement of the keys on an acoustic piano into MIDI information.[6]

That year, Moog Music began production of a modern version of the classic Minimoog synthesizer, the Minimoog Voyager Performer Edition, based on the same electronic principles as the original, but adding modern appointments such as MIDI and a three-axis touch control surface. The Voyager name was selected through a contest where keyboardists could submit their own ideas of potential names for the new Minimoog. But because Alex Winter of Wales had acquired the UK trademark rights to "Moog" and "Minimoog" in 1996 and had been producing Moog branded instruments since then, early UK Minimoog Voyager models were instead branded as "Voyager by Bob Moog.". It wasn't until later that Bob Moog regained the trademark rights to "Moog" and "Minimoog" in the UK.[7]

2004 marked Moog Music's 50th anniversary year, and Moog Music released a Voyager Anniversary Edition, the Moogerfooger MF-105 MuRF Multiple Resonance Filter effect pedal, and the Etherwave Pro Theremin. In 2006 Moog Music introduced a new 37 note, 2 oscillator analog synthesizer, the Little Phatty. It would be the final Moog synthesizer to be designed by Moog himself. Upon its release, it was considered to be the true heir to the Minimoog legacy. The instrument also broke new ground, as it was the first Moog synthesizer to feature USB connectivity, as well as the first of the new Moog products to offer the option to daisy-chain other Little Phattys to create a polyphonic instrument.

Robert Moog died in August 2005 due to complications arising from brain cancer. Michael Adams continued running the company as its President.

Hungarian band The Moog requested permission from Moog Music to use the name. This was granted on the condition that the band precede the name with "The".[8]

2008 marked the release of Moog Music's first entry into the electric guitar market, the Moog Guitar, an electric guitar with the unique ability of being able to magnetically sustain or mute its strings. Developed by inventor Paul Vo, the technology was designed into guitar bodies provided by the Zion Guitar Company to Moog specifications and the instrument was manufactured by Moog. The first guitars released were "Paul Vo Collector Editions."[9] Standard versions and MIDI guitar synthesizer versions were later introduced.

2011 saw the introduction of the Slim Phatty, a module version of the Little Phatty.

In January 2012, Moog announced the Minitaur, a two-oscillator, pedal-less bass synth designed to be the successor of the Taurus bass pedals.[10]

In 2013, Moog released the Sub Phatty, a 25-key monophonic synthesizer which featured a more aggressive analog sound than the Little Phatty. Many who reviewed the instrument likened the Sub Phatty to the original Minimoog in spirit, if not in sound. On September 9, 2013, Moog announced that it would discontinue the Little Phatty.[11]

In 2014, Moog announced the Sub 37 synthesizer, a 37-key paraphonic version of the Sub Phatty.[12] Moog also released the Werkstatt-01 synthesizer kit, which, after some assembly, yields a one-oscillator, monophonic, patchable synthesizer. Werkstatt was originally debuted at the 2014 Moogfest in an Engineering VIP workshop, and is designed primarily to be an educational tool.[13] Moog announced it would discontinue the Slim Phatty module on November 11, 2014.[14]

2014 also saw the rebirth of the Moog Modular synthesizer, when, in honor of its 50th anniversary, Moog Music spent three years designing and building a faithful recreation of Keith Emerson's Moog Modular, dubbed the Emerson Moog Modular System. Moog engineers used original circuit designs and production methods to create as accurate a recreation as possible. Moog Music plans to build a very limited number of these synthesizer systems.[15]

On June 10, 2015, Moog Music announced that its 62 employees owned 49 percent of the company.[16]

In November 2015 Moog Music released the Mother 32, a semi-modular, monophonic, single oscillator synthesizer. This is Moog's entry in the Eurorack format, a low-cost framework for modular synthesizers, which has gained a lot of popularity in the past years. Mother 32 includes a step sequencer and is internally hard-wired, which makes it easy to use for novice users. However it features 32 patch connectors, which let the musician use the device similar to a modular system, with the ability to create new sounds and to connect other devices. While being shipped in a desktop enclosure it is also possible to detach the front panel and include it in a Eurorack system.

In July 2016 Moog Music announced a limited production run of a reissue of the iconic Minimoog Model D.[17] The sound and look was faithful to the original. Moog even worked with supply partners to obtain transistors that had been unavailable for many years – transistors that were essential to the sound of the Minimoog. The reissue added functionality such as a dedicated LFO (low frequency oscillator) which meant that the third oscillator no longer had to fill that role. The imminent end of the reissue run was announced in late 2017.[18]

In May 2018, at Moogfest[19], Moog Music announced the Moog Grandmother, a semi-modular synthesizer inspired by the circuitry from the original Moog Modular.[20] It is the first Moog synthesizer to have a built-in spring reverb.


In 2005, the Bob Moog Foundation was formed by one of Moog's daughters and is not affiliated with Moog Music in any way. The mission of the foundation is "to educate and inspire children and adults through the power and possibilities of electronic music and through the intersection of music, science and innovation,' and plans to carry out that mission with construction of the "Moogseum," a Student Outreach Project initiative, and the Bob Moog Archive Initiative.

Timeline of noteworthy products[edit]

Timeline of Moogfest Engineers Workshop limited release products[edit]

  • 2014 - Moog Werkstatt-ø1
  • 2016 - Moog BFAM (Brother From Another Mother)
  • 2017 - Moog DFAM (Drummer From Another Mother)
  • 2018 - Moog Subharmonicon

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Moog Archives". Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  2. ^ Mix Magazine, Plug-Ins At AES: Everything Old Is New Again, Dec 1999
  3. ^ Bob Moog Archived 2008-09-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ ""Memories of Moog", Mark Vail, Keyboard Magazine, 2005". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  5. ^ Bob Moog: Original Synth, The Independent, March 2003
  6. ^ History of Moog Music
  7. ^ "Voyager By Bob Moog -". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  8. ^ Ladies and Gentlemen, The Moog Metro. Retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  9. ^ "Paul Vo Collector's Edition Moog Guitar Prototype, Guitar Player, November 2008". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  10. ^ "INTRODUCING MINITAUR - Moog Music Inc".
  11. ^ "Moog Announces Discontinuation of Little Phatty Analog Synthesizer - Moog Music Inc".
  12. ^ Sub 37 product description Accessed Nov 28, 2014
  13. ^ Moog Werkstatt-01 product description, Accessed Nov 28, 2014
  14. ^ so long, slim - Moog Music - Nov. 11, 2014
  15. ^ EMMS Product Description, Accessed Nov 28, 2014
  16. ^ Byrd, Caitlin (June 11, 2015). "Asheville's Moog Music now employee owned". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  17. ^ "The Minimoog Model D In Full Production - Moog Music Inc". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Moog Ends Minimoog Model D Production". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Moog Debuts Grandmother Analog Synth". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Grandmother - Moog Music Inc". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  21. ^ "END OF A VOYAGE - FINAL PRODUCTION OF ICONIC SYNTHESIZER - Moog Music Inc". Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Moog Minitaur". Sound On Sound. May 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Moog Sub Phatty". Sound On Sound. June 2013. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Moog Theremini". Sound On Sound. May 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  25. ^ "Moog Werkstatt ø1". Sound On Sound. March 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Introducing Mother-32". Moog Music. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  27. ^ "Moog's New App Is a Spot-on Recreation of a Classic Synth - Moog Music Inc". Retrieved 27 September 2018.

External links[edit]