What is it?
Bundle reviews are rare for us, but Moog’s new Sound Studio sets are a little different. Each kit packs two instruments from the company’s semi-modular Mother range with everything you need to start, from a stand and cables to guides and games. In Moog’s words, “just add headphones”.
The Sound Studio bundles come in two varieties, both contain a DFAM percussion synth, paired with either a Mother-32 or the more recent Subharmonicon. The Mother-32 is the more straightforward monosynth, while the Subharmonicon is geared to non-traditional harmonics and polyrhythmics, so is naturally more leftfield. Both bundles offer plenty of scope for experimentation and adventurous patching though.
The synths themselves come with the usual manuals and power supplies, but the bundles include a variety of accessories to help them work together. There are a pair of rack ends to create an angled two-tier stand, which comes with an attachable patch lead holder – a nice addition. There’s even a small phillips screwdriver included, to help you put it all together.
The kits also come with a compact summing mixer, which doubles as a power hub for the two synths meaning they can be run from a single wall socket. The mixer actually has three power outputs, handy should you want to add a third ‘Mother’ to your setup in the future. Audio-wise there are four jack inputs, switchable between mono or stereo pair operation, and a mini-jack headphone out with volume control. It’s a shame not to have a master output separate from the headphone, but it’s hardly a dealbreaker.
Beyond this, each package comes with an assortment of extras ranging from aesthetically pleasing to educational. There are a pair of lovely illustrated posters, one of which doubles as instructions for building and connecting the kits as well as several colourful pop-out characters (with two under-fives at home, these disappeared from our desk within minutes).
Performance and verdict
Each kit comes with an excellent patch guide highlighting techniques for connecting and combining the two instruments. There’s also a neat dice game, housed in a fold-out cardboard recreation of the Moog factory, designed to get you experimenting with patch point connections.
We tried these exercises with the DFAM/Subharmonicon bundle. While we were familiar with the former instrument, this was our first time using a Subharmonicon. The guided patches and games provided an excellent introduction, making it easy and fun to get up to speed with the workflow of the two instruments. While you could hardly describe these as ‘entry-level’ packages given the price and complexity, they would make an excellent step-up into the hardware or modular realms.
The price is roughly in line with what you’d spend on instruments and accessories separately – and if you were to hunt for deals you might pick up the core elements cheaper. Considering the quality of the packages though, from the lovely art style to, more significantly, the excellent guides and exercises, these bundles are easy to recommend.
MusicRadar verdict: Combining useful accessories and inspirational resources, this is a great showcase for the power and fun of Moog’s Mother range.
What the web says
"If the Moog vibe resonates with you then, of course, it’s worth it and because it’s been put together with such competence it’s unlikely anyone would be disappointed on opening the box. However, the premium feel and the more artsy and crafty creative elements won’t appeal to everyone and there are more cost-effective alternatives."
Molten Music Technology
- KEY FEATURES: Synthesizer bundles including two instruments, racks stand, summing mixer, cables and patch lead organiser, art print and patch guides.
- PRICING: Mother 32 plus DFAM: $1,399, Subharmonicon plus DFAM: $1,449
- CONTACT: Moog Music