Moogerfoogers, the Moog effects for anything from delay to soundscape

If you want to create a unique sound based on an existing recording or synthesiser piece, you’ll want to use separate plug-ins for delay, phaser/flanger and reverb. For starters, a plug-in that is dedicated to a single effect has more granular controls allowing for more flexibility. Secondly, a higher number of possible settings increase the number of effects as well as allowing for a larger depth, ranging from the very subtle to the over-the-top.

Moog recently introduced its digital version of seven analogue Moogerfoogers “effect pedals” that are direct descendants of the original Moog synthesizers ($149 intro offer; $249 regular — 7-day free trial available). They can be used individually or combined to deliver maximum flexibility with an unparalleled number of controllable parameters.

Not only can you parameterize directly (MIDI and DAW automation controllable) but also by channelling input from other Moogerfooger instances using voltage controlled In-Ports. For time delay projects, there are three interesting Moogerfoogers, of which none is a reverb effect (the MF-103S 12-stage phaser, MF-104S analogue delay, and up to a point the MF-108S Clusterflux). There’s no Moogerfooger for room reverb, but there are plenty of those around. My personal favourites are Spacelab Interstellar and Paragon. Added to any of these three Moogerfoogers or a mixture of them, you can create the most luscious and exuberant time delays.

I started trying out the Moogerfoogers collection for creating time delay and settled on the MF-103S 12-stage phaser and MF-104S analog delay. After a whole day of creating effects that ranged from barely audible and subtle to huge and, indeed, superbly massive, I realised I could have gone on for weeks and every effect I’d settle for would be unique. That’s because everything is based purely on parameterization and voltage control and not on vendor-defined reverb/delay/phaser models.

The plug-ins’ voltage control parameters are most obvious to use when you have multiple Moogerfoogers or instances of the same Moogerfooger in your project. Each of these instances have four or five CV In-ports with which you can have one instance modulating another instance’s mix, LFO, or other CV-controllable parameter. It’s a matter of selecting the desired port, control-clicking and selecting the desired modulation source — this process being a digital alternative to physically connecting a cable. In addition, you can connect the plug-in to itself — exactly as the pedals allowed for — and create more sonic interactions than available from the “front panel” alone.

It’s also important to note that the digital Moogerfoogers aren’t limited to the typical Moog sound that were a signature of the analogue Moogerfoogers. The latter were limited by the characteristics of the electronic circuitry and gave them the typical Moog sound I personally am in love with. The digital versions are set to that Moog sound by default, but you can switch the “character” to a brighter, more mainstream sound.

Soundscapes

Do keep in mind, though, that the Moog sound binds the effects across instances in a way the mainstream sound cannot because it’s, well, mainstream. That Moog signature sound enables a sonic consistency that’s simply not available anywhere else.

So far I’ve only discussed time delays. However, there are seven Moogerfoogers, so what can you do with the others?

It turns out that you can create soundscapes by adding, for example, the MF-102S ring modulator and MF-105S multiple resonant filter array (aptly called MuRF) to tracks with recorded sounds like the ones I tried it out with: water dripping from a kitchen tap, children playing and screaming in gardens nearby, marbles falling one by one in a glass jar, tapping a metal bowl rhythmically — you get the point.

The term soundscape refers to the way the environment is understood by those living within it. A soundscape therefore has the power to put an audience in a programmed environment and goes beyond just recalling emotions like delay and reverb do 1.

Using five Moogerfoogers — the analogue delay, MuRF, ring modulator, FreqBox and Clusterflux — and by carefully setting parameters, I changed these sounds into alienating experiences. The results were more akin to what you would be able to achieve with a synthesiser than with simple digital audio effects.

I guess that’s not surprising, given the Moogerfoogers’ origin.

Verdict

If you’re into music making (whatever the style), and certainly if you’re into sound design and film music, at the very least I would recommend to download the trial and experience these new plug-ins to see if you share my enthusiasm. In my opinion, with the Moogerfoogers you can add a unique sound character to music as well as create totally different sensations from a “seed clip” that takes the audience into new worlds of sound.


  1. January 2016 paper by a group of scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology examining effects of reverberation on the emotional characteristics of musical instruments. Reverb/delay length and amount appear to be strongly correlated to emotional categories such as “Romantic” and “Mysterious”, with a medium effect on “Sad”, “Scary”, and “Heroic”. ↩︎
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