If you think Moog’s entry into iPad synthesizers is too new-fangled, something for the kids, and nothing compared to the authentic analogness of … uh … analog, you’ll like this, at the opposite end of the spectrum.

In the same week they unveiled their first iOS synth, Moog has their first 500 series module – and it’s a classic, derived from Dr. Moog’s legendary Ladder Filter design. Engineering audio isn’t quite like engineering bridges and airplanes: it’s actually the unique flaws in what might have otherwise been a forgettable filter design that led to a distinctive distortion, first heard in Moog modules but made famous by the Minimoog. That signature sound is what you get in this module.

I propose we celebrate Ladder Filter Day on October 28 – the 45h anniversary of Dr. Moog being granted the patent for the “Electronic High Pass and Low Pass Filters Employing the Base to Emitter Diode Resistance of Bipolar Transistors.” (I also propose that you greet everyone you see on that day with “Happy Electronic High Pass and Low Pass Filters Employing the Base to Emitter Diode Resistance of Bipolar Transistors Day!”)

Here’s some good reading on the original Ladder Filter:
The Classic Sound of the Moog Ladder Filter [Universal Audio Blog; check out their references at the bottom, too]
Analogue Systems has some good thoughts on what made the filter special, in the commentary for their own module, influenced by the same

But seriously – what’s in this module?

  • Low pass and high pass analog filter modes with cutoff
  • Attack and release parameters
  • Amount (positive/negative), which you can drive hard enough to make compression-like sounds or even reverse filtering, claim Moog
  • Resonance, which you can push into self-oscillation
  • 2Pole/4Pole: (12db per octave/24db per octave)
  • Relay bypass switch
  • Modernized design, including XLR (Via 500 rack) balanced line level

Better trade in your 64GB iPad 2 now — US$769, available in December 2011. That our else you need a special relationship with Analog Santa Claus. (Can I actually please have a chat with Analog Father Christmas?)

One downside: it doesn’t play Angry Birds. But you could make a sound like a flock of angry birds – which, by astounding coincidence, is also how I’d describe CDM comment threads earlier this week. Have at it: