The six-voice MemoryMoog was, in my opinion, potentially the finest analogue polysynth ever made.

It was the last synth ever made by Moog but was very late in coming to a market that had been dominated by the Prophet 5, the Oberheim OB series and the Roland Jupiter 8 for several years, a market that was soon to be turned on its head with the arrival of MIDI, FM synthesis and sampling.

Tthe MemoryMoog had an exemplary spec: per voice, it had three audio oscillators each with simultaneous (i.e. not switched) waveforms, it had the famous Moog filter and two ADSR envelopes (one for filter and other duties, one for amplitude). It also had a versatile, multi-waveform LFO, a comprehensive modulation (and cross modulation) matrix, memories and more...

It had PWM, oscillator sync, a super-fat Unison mode where all 18 oscillators were played from one key, various monophonic and polyphonic playing and triggering options - a later model even had a sequencer! On paper it was like six super-charged MiniMoogs in one polyphonic box ... a recipe for sonic heaven you would have thought. In practice, the experience was very different.....

It was thoroughly unreliable. It sounded absolutely stunning on a good day but those days were few and far between and more often than not, voices were out of tune with each other, the filters didn't track between voices and envelope times were sometimes different on different voices so you had to keep using the 'auto-tune' function in between takes (how people managed with them live is a mystery!). Build quality was generally excellent (and it looked beautiful with its wooden casework) but the switches were unreliable.

But when it was working, it was wonderful - big, fat and brash but also capable of subtlety. It could do everything from truly fat basses, cutting leadlines, warm pads, lush strings, punchy brass, spiky clavs and more. Its versatile cross-modulation facilities also allowed sounds that would normally only be possible on a modular system as Oscillator 3 modulated Oscillators 1 and/or 2 and/or the filter in a variety of different ways.

But it was all too late for Moog who had thrown everything at the MemoryMoog. It was released in 1982 with initial teething problems and it was expensive. Of course, a year later, Yamaha released the DX7 and suddenly, analogue synths were about as popular as a pork sausage at a bahmitzvah! Moog struggled on with the MemoryMoog adding a sequencer and MIDI (MemoryMoog+) but to no avail - the company folded several years later unable to compete with the domination of FM synthesis and the new breed of affordable samplers.

I bought a MemoryMoog in 1988 for just a few hundred pounds. It was versatile enough to replace several analogue synths I had been forced to sell earlier and I enjoyed owning it enormously, despite its reliability problems. Sadly, it was blown up (almost literally) shortly afterwards by an unexpected power surge that fried the internal electronics - I managed to get it repaired after a fashion but it had been rendered even more unreliable! I did manage to grab some sounds off it though.