Moog’s Mariana is here on desktop (macOS, Windows) and iOS and – it’s about as much Moog sound as you can imagine in software. Here’s what’s in that architecture, some hands-on first impressions, plus details of a significant update for the Moogerfooger software effect range that goes perfectly with the synth.

Synch control layer screen, showing LFOs with sync options, filter and amp envelopes, mod envelope, and random sources.


If you’ve been a fan of Moog’s recent software updates, Mariana has evolved from those tools and to me represents the most refined sound and user experience yet. The Moog software always sounded good and, well, Moog-y, but the polish and sound have only improved. That effort comes from software lead Geert Bevin and his terrific software team, who gladly remained under the new management in Asheville.

Geert has worked closely with Steve Dunnington on the architecture and synth design, and that comes across right away: this has that Moog hardware feel, even if it’s adapted to software. Moog also now have access to inMusic’s QA team and have adapted their software authorization. Three words: no. more. iLok. That’s true of the just-updated Moogerfooger. I’d installed and reauthorized in a matter of seconds.

Big dual engine sound

“Bass synth” is right – there’s some major junk-in-the-trunk, floor-rattling bass in there, like a Taurus and a Moog modular came for your subwoofer. You know the drill with Moog, so let’s get straight to the specs:

Topology; click to view full-size (courtesy Moog):

Complete topology of synth 1 and synth 2 as block diagram
  • Dual-layer architecture, each with two oscillators, plus a sub-oscillator
  • Two resonant filters plus a dedicated filter for the sub
  • Stereo oscillators and crossover filter functionality – making the spatial experience of this reminiscent of the Moog Matriarch
  • Three LFOs, three envelopes, and two random generators per layer (with extra details, like a Perlin noise option!)
  • Delay and chorus effects, which operate on separate layers – so you can route mono into stereo, if you choose, and shape just parts of the sound into effects with a high-pass filter (for instance)
  • Tube, tape, and overdrive saturation; master compressor
  • Modulation editor
  • Complete keyboard, which is useful even in the desktop version (and indispensable on iOS)
  • MIDI, MPE, and virtual CV

Separate licenses: 14.99 USD (regularly $29.99) for iOS mobile devices and $49 USD (regularly $99) for macOS/Windows

Mariana @ Moog Music

Maria @ iTunes App Store

The desktop version is on a 50% off intro sale, also available via Plugin Boutique.

If you buy something from a CDM link, we may earn a commission.

Moog Mariana Synth by Moog [Intro Sale, Plugin Boutique]

It’s a beautiful melange of bass sounds, something that’s only truly possible in software, even as the architecture and UI retain that hardware feel. You’ve got equal parts Minimoog Model D, Model 15 modular, and even more recent stuff like the Subsequent and Matriarch. (Think: the bass of the Subsequent and the stereo processing and patchability of the Matriarch?) It’s bass when you want, but leads when you want, too. And with the multiple noise sources and other options, it’s just as capable as a percussion synth.

All of that is part of the software lineage. This team has graduated from one Moog software project to the next, from Model 15 to Model D to Moogerfooger to capping it all off with Mariana.

Preset library showing tags and Winded Hype Guy preset

There’s also a complete preset library from Kyle Hall, Erin Barra, Bad Snacks, and Lisa Bella Donna. One warning: a lot of these lean pretty heavily on the effects, so I still like dialing in some stuff from scratch.

Summing section with effects for each layer, compressor, and live meters showing correlation and gain reduction

The Output View alone is special, offering mixing and saturation types per-layer, and a unique summing section with metering, effects, and a powerful compressor. The meters have a left/right mode, but the default is set cleverly to Ø (Correlation) and Gain Reduction, which is a more useful way of thinking most of the time. That is, it shows you that your left and right channels are fully in phase and won’t have summing issues (correlation), and the amount of reduction being applied by compression.

Patchable and flexible

Mariana has a unique and intuitive approach to assigning modulation, a nice evolution of other software schemes. Hit the ‘M’ button, and you can assign any source to any destination knob, with complete pop-up controls for tuning modulation.

Modulation assignment, showing sources, options for one control (pressure), and highlighted knob with range overlay

There’s also a summary of all modulation on the right-hand side of the screen:

Modulation summary showing all sources and destinations with routings and amounts

The patchability is fantastic. While it’s not a modular quite like the Model 15, the mod editor plus CV in and out make it feel like it’s part of a fully analog studio. That opens up as you add Moogerfooger effects: you get a whole patch bay that you can connect between Mariana and the Moogerfoogers. For those of us with a limited budget and space and who love the flexibility of software, it’s a godsend.

Moogerfooger analog delay plugin shown atop Mariana synth with CV in and out routings

Geert is one of the people who has pushed MPE forward, so of course, you also get a complete MPE implementation. I need to work out why that isn’t responding yet to Ableton Live 12’s Tuning System feature, but I suspect that’s on the Ableton side and not Moog and – Live’s in beta. I’ll dig into that.

And it runs as plug-in or standalone, both on desktop and mobile, and you get nice little details like extensive keyboard shortcuts on desktop. There are some nice additional options tucked into there, too:

Advanced options, showing duophonic choices

Moogerfooger update

Moogerfooger effects also got a big set of improvements – resizable UI, no more iLok, and virtual CV is finally ready for prime time. Hell yes to all three of those.

• Minimum required macOS is now 11.7
• New software licensing mechanism, replacing iLok
• New resizable HiDPI user interface
• Improvements and fixes to virtual CV

Moog effects

Moogerfooger bundles and standalone effects are both on sale, too:

If you buy something from a CDM link, we may earn a commission.

Moog at Plugin Boutique


They’ve gone all out on the videos for this one. H. Jon Benjamin narrates the very dramatic “bass was there from the beginning” video. It takes us back to the glory days of 80s TV ads; if Moog had a Super Bowl ad, it’d be like this. It’s good he narrated it, as if I had narrated it, you’d have someone talking dramatically about “bass” who sounded way too much like Kermit the Frog.

And then Thavius Beck has worked with Moog for a complete tutorial series. The only downside is, they’ve made it so intuitive that you might be too distracted playing to have time to watch the videos, but they’re great when you’re ready!


Introducing Mariana, the Next Evolution of Moog Bass

Moog Mariana Synth by Moog [Intro Sale, Plugin Boutique]