Arturia Moog Modular V2 Review
The Moog Modular needs no introduction. We are talking about the father of modern subtractive synthesis, we are talking about the beast, the one that every major studio facility used to have, the one Keith Emerson made so famous back in the days of ELP, the one Moog has just reissued following original specs, the one you can ask them to build it for you if you have some extra 35k dollars in your pockets.
The one Arturia, in partnership with Bob Moog, made possible and affordable as a software version which sounds damn close to the original, and the one, of course, is included in the V4 collection, The Modular V2, let’s check this beast out!
Ok, the first thing you need to know if this thing won’t make any sound you patch some modules, so, let’s start with the modules in the bottom cabinet. Here, you’ll find the basic modules to make the synth actually sound.
You`ve got nine really wide-range oscillators that go from LFO range to 2”, plus a +/- 12 semitones with the frequency knob (you can fine-tune each oscillator holding shift while you move the frequency knob).
Each of this nine oscillators has outputs for sine, triangle, sawtooth and pulse, and the ability to be synced. The nine oscillators are divided into groups of three, each of this groups uses a driver module, which controls the frequency of the group, pulse width, FM, etc.
Below the oscillators, we have a mixer, so the first step in here is to patch an oscillator output, let’s say, sawtooth, to a mixer in, each mixer channel has an attenuator to set gain, a link button, an inverter button, a mod in and an output.
After the oscillators, there’s a VC LFO with Low and Mid range, as well as MIDI Sync for musical values.
Low mode, goes really low (0,0003 Hz) while Mid mode goes from 0,01 Hz, up to 20 Hz, and it’s quite complex, it has outputs for sine, triangle, sawtooth, pulse and random waves. PW can be set manually or via CV in, and there is a delay and fade in knobs.
Right after that, you’ll find two sets of ADRS (yes, in that order) envelopes, one for VCA 1 and the other for VCA 2. as there’s a pan pot on each, you can hard pan them left and right, and use both together for stereo sounds.
Needless to say that these envelopes are really fast and punchy!
Another cool feature is these envelopes are replicated with faders instead of knobs in the keyboard controllers section.
Moving up to the next cabinet, we find the filters, you can configure to have up to three filters, which can be VC LPF, VC HPF, Coupler -which is band pass or band reject- or multimode.
High pass and Coupler are non-resonant filters, while Low pass and multimode are resonant.
They all feature audio in and out and three sets of CV inputs for modulation.
Right after the filters, we’ve got another VC LFO. Those four slots can be used also for Bode Shifter and Formant modules by right-clicking on the module name.
Up to six ADSR envelopes can be used in this cabinet, as well as a trigger, noise generator (pink and white) with its own LP and HP filters, or you can select to use modules like Ring Mod, four envelope followers, or two S&H.
Finally, the upper cabinet is where you’ll find the sequencer module, as well as the fixed filter bank and dual delay and chorus modules.
The sequencer is awesome and very flexible. it has three rows of eight steps each. You can apply an amount of glide for each row, and you can use the internal clock or have it synced to MIDI.
You can set the gate length and choose between forward or fwd/rw modes for playing, and yes, you can tweak everything on the fly.
The fixed filter bank is a completely different beast, and you can think of it as if it were an EQ, where you can boost or attenuate fixed frequencies (12 bands actually, with independent Q for each), plus a low and a high pass.
Right after, there’s the Dual Delay which can sync to MIDI and has independent time, feedback and cross-feedback for each channel (each channel feeds a different VCA).
Finally, the last module is the Chorus. I’m not a big fan of a chorus, but, this one is pretty cool for making the stereo wider.
Back to the bottom, we find the keyboard which features lots of control options: The five octaves keyboard itself, mod and bend wheel, glide on/off and amount knob, direct controls for each of the three filter’s cutoff point, 2 assignable X/Y controllers, master volume and master tune knobs, faders for each VCA envelopes, a switch to play in monophonic, polyphonic or unison modes -polyphony can be set up to 32 voices, which is indeed a lot!-, buttons for legato mode and retrigger mode, knobs for setting the pitch and filter bends, four keyboard follower slopes, and eight switches for bend portamento.
There are also some very useful patch points for velocity, aftertouch, mod wheel, keyboard followers, sequencer columns, sequencer FM input, X/Y pads, external inputs and stereo outputs.
You can pretty much craft any sound you imagine (or can’t even imagine) with this beast, it’s power and flexibility is almost endless, it’s very hard to find downsides, I mean, somehow, almost every subtractive synthesizer is based in the Moog Modular, it sounds fat, great for basses, great for leads, even great for pads!
The amount of control and flexibility is superb, and the sound is so recognizable that it suits every style you can think of.Rafael Hofstadter is a recording and mixing engineer and sound designer with 10+ years experience in playing and programming synths, recording, mixing and producing pop/rock/folk albums. He also runs piggysounds.com.[/author]