Score one for “old school” on the Theremin – minus one for “old school” on the Minimoog keyboard.

There’s plenty of debate about whether or not you can justify splurging on the extra cash for the Moog name on synths and effects – no one questions Moog’s quality, but there is other great boutique gear out there that gets far less attention. But one area where the Moog line is unquestionably superior is on the Theremin. And the Etherwave Plus at US$519 is an instrument you can really sink your musical teeth into over a period of years. With the addition of a Control Voltage output, you can control other instruments and effects, too. (Reader velocipede checked out a demo with Theremin controlling a guitar filter.) CV outs for pitch and volume are separated, so each hand gets isolated control. It’s a lovely setup, and I wouldn’t hesitate to get the Plus version.

Etherwave Plus Theremin [Moog Music]

So, the Theremin gets a little more old school with the Etherwave Plus. But meanwhile, Moog Music has announced they’re building only 200 more units of the Minimoog Voyager Old School model, which we admired at last year’s NAMM. This keyboard added retro wood-paneled styling, but took “old school” literally by eliminating patch memory and MIDI – the very features added to the Voyager that gave it more modern appeal. I expect the Old School may never have been intended for a longer run, but I’m not sure any of our readers will mourn its loss – the response to losing MIDI was a resounding “huh?”, and the Old School still costs US$2595.

Minimoog Voyager Old School

Still, you have to give props to the Old School for having the best slogan ever, even if it was only used internally: “Got Balls?”

How many products dare you to use them based on features they don’t have? (Too bad Moog didn’t use this as the official slogan, suggesting their answer was “Nope.” Well, at least as far as marketing. They’re no Synthi.)

I’d still love to see a Moog product that’s not an effects unit but does bring a little something to bargain-minded synth lovers. Maybe a NanoPhatty?

  • thing is, one could either buy one of the old schools or they could spend a few hundred more and get an original minimoog (i.e. real deal old school). yea, it's a little less reliable and a little less stable and there's a few less routing and mod options but it has a completely different character. if you're after a mini, it's likely *that* character you're after. the voyager takes it to another level and should be (and usually is) treated as such. it seems few want the sound of the voyager without the extended options it offers.

    long story short, moog should've slimmed it down a bit more (get rid of the back panel i/o and either the dedicated lfo or the third osc/second mod buss) and dropped the price down to, say $1500 street, and they would've had a best-seller.

    me, i'm happy with my voyager and a little sad i don't have the funds for an old school too. it'd be fun and, like collector's plates, may or may not increase in value.

  • Well, right, exactly – I'm not sure about it being a "collector's item" for exactly that reason. It'll have to compete with the CV-only original. 😉 I don't expect it'll lose much value, but I wouldn't buy it for that reason.

    I'd love to have a monophonic, truly old-school slimmed-down synth from Moog Music.

  • lilith

    I would be more than happy with a NanoPhatty

  • Paul Norheim

    "me, i’m happy with my voyager and a little sad i don’t have the funds for an old school too."

    Ditto. But now I can control the Voyager RME and some Moogerfoogers with my Haken Continuum AND a Etherwave Plus!

  • Alex

    Oh please, not another monophonic real analog for hundreds of dollars! Moog nowadays responds to collector's and "geek" needs. They could make at least a 4 voice voyager synth for the same cost, but they insist on making "cheaper" and useless (for their price) synths like little phatty or the ridiculously overpriced Taurus…

    They could even sell their overpriced gear as modules…I have sent an email to them suggesting this. Instead of Moogerfoogers, make modules with oscs, filter units etc…like Doepfer. They didn't even reply with a "thank you for your suggestion" sentence. Moog name is state of the art for analog synths but they are also stupid, elitistic and arrogant…

  • Eoj

    I have absolutely no problem with no patch storage on a analog, in fact i prefer it because I cant stand the whole thing of the knobs not being in the right place… give me 360deg pots or noting at all. Thats why I was relay drawn to the OS (apart from the price). BUT NO MIDI?! That was the funniest joke i had ever heard! I was in stitches for days.. cheapskates!

  • Alex

    Speaking of the OS, i believe that its a nice "toy" and the fact that it hasn't got midi and other digital stuff inside, makes it more specific..somehow it screams for sound design every time you touch it…but…at this price and polyphony…its really stupid. As jmelnyk wrote,they could have dropped the third oscillator and sell it cheaper, with a logical price…they could even have made the chassis from strong plastic like little phatty…but, they are like Ferrari, they have their specific customers and they don't care about the other musicians..

  • Well, someone certainly bought them, so it made sense to someone. But yes, it seems like if you're going to pony up for an Old School you'd just get the standard Voyager. If you want to use the Voyager with just CV or ignore the patch memory, you still can, as on the OS; you just have a choice. 🙂

  • ernesto

    I love my voyager. Can't find a toyish detail on it and I don't need more than the wonderful single voice it gives me. ohhh beautiful triangle waves…

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » New Music Tech Round-Up: NAMM in a Nutshell on CDM()

  • Wooperman

    I have an Old School. I bought it really cheap 1700, it was a customer return, but impossible to tell it was not brand spanking new. So I couldnt pass it up. In my case, it was about 700 bux cheaper than a full-on voyager. I already had a midi/cv converter so I am set. But the reason I am here is because I am trying to justify trading in for a Voyager. I'm wondering if the Old School will become a collectors item.
    I will say this about the Old School. It does cause you to experiment more, sometimes due to frustration, but sometimes because in tweaking, you go beyond what you wanted you get happy mistakes. You do get some xtras with the Old School. CV/gate outputs that are only availabe with the VX-351. Plus more modulation possiblities (every knob in mod 1 & 2 has one extra option, so you could say 6 extra x their combinations). But no XY modulation.
    Lack of midi doesn't bother me as much as lack of patch save.
    For a creative tool, excellent, but for a johnny on the spot synth, I'm actually looking forward to getting a Moog Phatty for that.
    If I could sell the Old school for same price, I think I would, and then quickly get a used voyager w/midi, think about it kiddies.