REEL SYNTHS V2: MOOG MG-1 Ableton Live Pack
The REEL SYNTHS v.2: MOOG MG-1 Ableton Live Pack combines two of my loves: a vintage analog synthesizer and a reel to reel tape machine. I recorded all of the different sound sources of the MG-1, plus a few experiments with the noise and sync settings, to my Tascam 388 8-track reel to reel tape machine. I used those recordings to build 44 Ableton Live Instrument Racks that capture the spirit of the MG-1 and take it to new levels.
About the Moog MG-1 Concertmate…
Designed for the consumer market and sold by Radio Shack (hence the “Realistic” branding), the MG-1 is very similar the Moog Rogue. It has two tone generators, a noise generator, and what is referred to as a “bell” tone. Additionally, it has a polyphonic organ-type sound, which makes it quite fun to play and somewhat more versatile than the Rogue.
I got my MG-1 at the Brooklyn Synth Expo a few years back. As soon as I started playing it, I was transported to another world. My particular synth has some funny quirks with some of the sliders; they crackle and drop out occasionally… but in a very charming way. I’ve thought about fixing it up a bit, but I actually like the random problems. It makes the instrument feel alive. One of the presets in this collection, “Crazy Noise Maker,” makes very good use of those problems.
Recording the MG-1 to Reel to Reel Tape…
In truth, the MG-1 isn’t super deep when it comes to programming, so I decided to capture the raw sounds of the various sound sources of the MG-1. On a few of the samples, I moved some of the parameters in real time, especially while I had tone source two synced to tone source one.
First, I recorded everything to my Tascam 388 reel to reel tape machine. I noticed that the resulting recordings were slightly noisier and had a nice saturation in the low end.
Building the Instruments in Ableton Live…
Once in Ableton Live, I did the tedious work of trimming, tuning, and adjusting each sample in Live’s Sampler. I placed them into Instrument Racks that include filters, tremolo, glide, chorus, phaser, distortion, and even a control to mix in some additional tape hiss.
Some of the instruments are very pure and true to the original sounds. These are more authentic recreations of the MG-1’s true sound. Other instruments are crafted to use Live’s capabilities to bring the MG-1 to new levels. These instruments make use of the effects and Macro Controls, but they still have the spirit of the original synth at their core.
Here the Pack in Action…
In the video below, I am experimenting with an instrument from the REEL SYNTHS MOOG MG-1 Ableton Live Pack called "Crazy Noise Maker." This particular instrument was created by sampling the noise oscillator on the MOOG MG-1 while playing with its filter and resonance. My particular MG-1 has dirty sliders that cut in and out, and make some crackling noises. The sample captures all of that.
While using the instrument, I am scanning through the 1:30 sample, finding interesting sounds and tones. It's an experiment in granular-type synthesis using Ableton's Simpler.
The background music is made with other sounds from the REEL SYNTHS MOOG MG-1 Ableton Live Pack, except for the drums which are the 606 kit from my Analog Drums Ableton Live Pack.
REEL SYNTHS V.2: MOOG MG-1
I sampled all of the oscillators and tones on my Moog MG-1 Realistic Concertmate analog synthesizer, and then recorded them to my Tascam 388 8-Track Reel to Reel Tape Machine. The already warm, analog sound of the MG-1 gets caressed by the analog tape, and I turned those samples into 44 rich and fully customizable Ableton Live Instruments.