It has been announced recently that MOOG Music is to end production run of the Model D re-issue early, with the last limited shipments of the synth due to hit our shores in the next couple of months. At the time of writing this, as far as we are aware, this is due in part to an unprecedented demand for the re-issue unit, lack of parts left in the bin, and a burgeoning need for the MOOG team in Asheville to turn their expert hands to crafting other new and exciting products. So, the end of an all too short era, again.
Whilst not wishing to eulogise too much about the passing of this re-issued Model-D, the impact the sound and form of the Model D had on synthesis and modern music can not be underestimated. In essence, a hardwired “portable’ version of the System 15 (sans the fixed filter bank) The Model D brought hands-on playability and portability to musicians that wanted to get their hands on ‘that’ MOOG sound, for a fraction of the price of one of their 5u modular systems. Still weighing in at 32lbs and costing around £1500 (equivalent to £10,000 adjusted for inflation) it was no shrinking violet, but compared to more than double that for MOOGs smallest comparable 5u modular system, it appealed to players both professional and aspiring, studio facilities and producers across the globe. Users from Brian Eno, Bernie Worrel, Wendy Carlos, and Vangelis; Jean Michel Jarre, ELP, to Pink Floyd, 808 State, and Kraftwerk to the Apex Twin to name a few, frankly It would be easier to list the artists that did not use this iconic instrument, rather than list the vast amount of luminaries that did. It has a genre-spanning sound and truly globe-conquering appeal. With a production run from 1970 to 1982, a lifecycle that is unprecedented by modern comparison. The synth was in its time, and remains, truly iconic and one of a kind. The front panel follows a format that has generally been adopted as the signal flow standard for subtractive synthesisers in perpetuity. No longer, for the most part, do we have disparate and beguiling front ends like those found adorning the likes of the ARP Odyssey, Roland SH-3 or EMS Synthi.
Eternally mimicked, but never eclipsed, the combination of its 3 classic Moog oscillators and implementation of their 4 pole 24db/oct ladder filter circuit remain sonically matchless, The overdrive in its signal path gives it an edge that few other synths can compare to, from smooth to screaming, whilst never ever sounding un-musical, and of course ‘that’ low end… The MOOG bottom end has a depth and character of sound that has shaped everything from early prog-rock to modern electronica.
The numbers and time period in which this synth was produced means pre-owned examples are generally readily available should you have the funds to facilitate, and of course the will to become custodian of a machine of this vintage and all that entails. The prices of the original continues to rise and rise, and so it will be the case with the re-issues. In reality, the sensible choice is to get your hands on one of these fastidious recreations before the production run ends, but you will have to be quick…