Featuring just one oscillator,
it was clear that you were faced with compromise but to counter
this, the MicroMoog did offer various sub-octave footages to beef
the sound up. However, these were phase-locked to the master oscillator
and didn't offer the rich detune one might expect of a synth from
the Moog stable.
The filter was, of course, classic Moog and the envelopes
were lifted directly from the Mini being of the ADS type with a
switchable R stage that took its time from the setting of the Decay
New to the Micro was a simple LFO for vibrato and filter
modulation. Interestingly, the Micro also allowed cross modulation
of the filter by the audio oscillator which offered some interesting
possibilities. Unfortunately, as the oscillator was the only audio
source, all it could do in most circumstances was to add a certain
'rasp' to the sound. However, when the filter was self-oscillating,
some interesting pseudo ring modulation sounds could be created.
The Micro was a departure from the Mini as well in that
it employed a ribbon controller for pitchbend instead of the Mini's
wheel (there was still a wheel for modulation though and this was
quite versatile in what it could control).
To get costs down further, the casework was moulded plastic
with fake wooden end-cheeks bound with an aluminium strip. Whilst
it looked nice enough, unfortunately, this gave the MicroMoog a
rather cheap and flimsy feel and many never withstood the rigours
of life on the road. The keyboard was also a 32-note affair (2.5
octave) which was a bit restricting.
Whilst the MicroMoog was undoubtedly a decent enough
synth capable of a good range of (albeit limted) sounds, it had
a rival in the form of the ARP Axxe. Whether the Axxe was a reaction
to the MicroMoog or something that ARP developed independently (and
coincidentally) is not known but ARP's budget single-oscillator
offering was an altogether more versatile synth in that it offered
far more in the way of synthesis facilities (almost anything could
be routed to anything thanks to its pre-patched semi-modular design),
it had a 'proper' ADSR envelope, a sample+hold unit, waveform mixing,
PWM and more besides. It was also far more sturdily built with a
solid, metal panel (and real walnut end-cheeks!). It also had a
three octave keyboard.
The MicroMoog was high on my shopping list way back in
the mid-70s when it was released but, after much deliberation, I
settled on the Axxe.
That said, there is no denying that the MicroMoog was
a capable little synth and I am glad to offer some samples here
that have been donated by John from Inverse
Room who has carefully multi-sampled and looped his