It sometimes feels as if there’s not enough good news in the world, but today was not one of those days. Today the inbox showered us with the surprise of Moog’s Model 15 iOS app, a recreation of the modular Moog synth from the ‘70s. We’ll save you the suspense: it sounds really thick, rich and creamy. It’s sonic Nestle Quik, but so much more.
The $29.99 app is on sale now, and it’s the first synthesizer to utilize Apple’s new Metal graphics engine, which means it has higher than average system requirements. You’ll need a 64-bit iOS device running iOS 9.3.1 or later, which means an iPhone 5s or newer, an iPod touch 6 or newer, iPad Air or never or an iPad Pro.
That could be potentially bad news for some users, but for more good news, using Metal helped Moog to create a very immersive and expressive modular interface, with fast, responsive zooming and natural-feeling modular patching. CPU maximization lets Model 15 run in monophonic or 4-note polyphonic modes, and the audio calculations include spontaneous imperfections to mimic real analog circuits.
Moog strove to capture as much of the original’s look, feel, character, sound and harmonic complexity in the Model 15 app as possible, to try to inspire as much zoned-out experimentation as full-sized analog modulars do. Recreations include the classic Moog 921-series oscillators and modules like the 904A Low Pass Filter and 907 Fixed Filter Bank.
The Model 15 app is also positioned as an educational tool. It includes learning-enhancing features like highlighting all available patch destinations, and Tutorial Presets that instruct you step-by-step on patch creation and signal flow. Users can make their own Tutorial Presets if they like.
Natually, the Model 15 app also includes plenty of high-tech, whiz-bang modern features that iOS affords. Total MIDI integration, dedicated Audio Bridge and MIDI Bridge modules, a looping recorder module, a ping-pong delay module, an extension cabinet with additional amplifiers and voltage controlled attenuators, cable coloring, 3D Touch and Apple Pencil integration, and support for Bluetooth LE MIDI, Ableton Link, Inter-App Audio, Audiobus, AudioCopy, AudioPaste and AudioShare.
You can input notes with QWERTY keyboards, or the onscreen keyboard, Animoog keyboard with 22-built-in scales, Moog 1150 ribbon controllers or 8-step sequencing arpeggiator. You can share recordings and presets with anyone, starting with the 160 factory presets and adding more through the in-app store.
Some of those in-app store presets include a free set from Suzanne Ciani (pictured, right), one of the influential composer/synthesist early-adopters of original Moog modulars. In this video and SoundCloud clip below, Ciani works the Model 15 app to create custom-programmed sounds and a two-minute composition from the Moog Factory in Asheville, NC. Plenty of additional demos in the SoundCloud playlist show off the depth of the Model 15 app. We can’t wait to literally get our hands on it!