In recent years, the move to emulate past synthesizer hardware as virtual instruments has become very popular. On the one hand, it introduces old sounds to a new generation. On the other hand, it works to preserve old technology that is slowly fading away. The two means we currently have at our disposal are modeling and sampling. There are always arguments over what method is better—modeling because it actually emulates the instruments but is not always entirely accurate; sampling because it captures the exact sound of the instrument, but that sound is static and unable to change over time as in true synthesis. Either way, we as synthesists benefit from having access to instruments we could never afford otherwise. One of the most popular brands being reproduced at this time is Moog—one of the great pioneers of synthesis. There have been a number of Moog virtual instrument products, but none quite as comprehensive as IK Multimedia's SampleMoog.
SampleMoog - the Moog Synth Anthology
SampleMoog is a virtual instrument collection featuring 16 of the most popular Moog synthesizers. Chromatically sampled and programmed by the team of IK and Sonic Reality sound designers, SampleMoog sports over 400 multisampled sounds, with over 2,000 patches, which represent over 4GB of sample data. Because SampleMoog is based on the SampleTank 2.5 XL Sample Workstation, you may want to read that review before continuing with this one since many of the features are the same.
Like SampleTank, SampleMoog can run as a standalone application or as a VST, RTAS, AU plug-in under both Mac and Windows. It provides a 16-part, multitimbral architecture allowing you to play multiple instruments simultaneously, or create huge multilayered Combi sounds. The only limitation is a 256 voice polyphony, which can be overcome by simply opening another plug-in instance. Both preset browser and search features are available, though you can't load any additional sample libraries into the player since it is fixed to the included Moog library. You can, however, load the Moog library into SampleTank to use it along side your other SampleTank sound libraries.
The SampleMoog Sounds
Included in SampleMoog are the following Moog instruments: Modular Moog 3C, Modular Moog 15, Modular Moog 55, Minimoog Model D, Polymoog, Taurus 1, Prodigy, Multimoog, Vocoder, Concermate MG-1, Source, Rogue, Memorymoog, Etherwave Theremin, Minimoog Voyager, and Little Phatty. Each instrument is represented by a large collection of sampled presets including basic Moog synth waveforms you can use to create your own sounds from scratch.
For creating and editing sounds, SampleMoog gives you access to the same Resampling and STRETCH synth-sample engines found in SampleTank. Also provided are over 50 synth-sampler controls including low pass, high pass and band pass filters; amplitude, pitch, and filter frequency envelopes; MIDI velocity parameters; and LFOs for pitch, volume, filter, and pan modulation. Of course, sound editing with SampleMoog is not exactly the same as having a fully-tweakable Moog synth at your fingertips. This is mainly due to the fact that the instruments are sampled rather than modeled. However, because the instruments were sampled, the patches provided here all sound authentic and can easily be used to emulate your favorite Moog melodies from songs of the past. Plus, SampleMoog provides you with enough synth power for you to create your own Moog-inspired sounds.
In addition, SampleMoog brings something modern to the Moog universe—effects. Most Moog synths would be heard as a dry signal direct from the output, but with SampleMoog, not only can you manipulate the samples with synth-sampler parameters, but also with a full arsenal of effects. These include reverb, ambience, delay, filters, wah-wah, modulations, chorus, phaser, flanger, panning, distortion, overdrive, amp simulation, EQ, compressor, and more—32 effects in all.
SampleMoog is Moogalicious
The debate over modeled versus sampled virtual instruments will continue as more products are introduced to the market, but in the meantime, IK Multimedia and Sonic Reality have created something special. At the time of this writing, no where else can you get a more comprehensive collection of Moog synths than from SampleMoog - the Moog Synth Anthology. IK and Sonic have done a spectacular job of recreating some of the worlds most famous synthesizer products. They have also done the musical world a great service in not only introducing these synths to a new generation, but also in preserving a part of the Moog legacy as the hardware-based Moog instruments become more difficult to find. In addition, most musicians wouldn't be able to afford a real Moog synthesizer of the past let alone 16 different models. SampleMoog gives all musicians access to the Moog legacy.