Every musician dreams of owning a Moog synth. Since its development by Dr. Bob Moog and its premier at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the Moog has become integral to modern music. It was made commercially popular by Wendy Carlos’ breakout album Switched-On Bach and now you can find the Moog sound in nearly every genre: from Sun Ra to Dr. Dre, from David Bowie to Brian Eno and of course, Keith Emerson’s legendary Moog set up.
But here’s the thing: Moog ain’t cheap. Your average Moog synth will run you about $600, up to $5000, and you can buy an emulation of Emerson’s rig if you’ve got $150,000 to spare. So for years musicians have clamored for an affordable, customizable option. The company eventually premiered the Werkstatt Analog Synth Kit at Moogfest 2014 but the at-home version has only become available this month.
If you’ve been dreaming of your own Moog, this is everything you wanted and all you need is $219, a screwdriver, an amp and the time it will take to set it all up. Like the name says, the little guy (the Werkstatt is only about the size of a VHS cassette) is completely analog and the sound is generated by a single voltage-controlled oscillator. A four pole Moog filter ladder controls the resonance and definition of the sound wave shape. It has two wave shapes to play with and a nine octave range.
Instead of a keyboard, the Werkstatt is laid out with a panel of buttons that glide for smooth note-to-note transitions and a 20-point patch bag allows for more tones. And if you’re not sure what any of this stuff means, Moog has produced a detailed series of instructions and explanations for new Moog users.
So grab your tools, grab your copy of Switched-On Bach (seriously, it’s required listening for anyone who wants to make electronic music) and get to making! If you already have a WerkStatt, take a video of yourself playing it and tag @VideoGameDJ.