Moog Rogue (close up)
image - © synthlearn.com
The Moog Rogue is a two oscillator analog monosynth first produced in 1981. Designed to be a budget offering from Moog, the Rogue is a simplified version of the Moog Prodigy. However, the Rogue is "still a Moog" - and provides a more affordable way to get the Moog sound.
The Rogue features two oscillators, which are able to be synced or detuned - plus additional white noise, one assignable LFO, envelope, portamento ("glide") and "real Moog" low pass filter. The Rogue has an external audio input which can allow other sounds to be processed through the filter / envelope stages - and when doing so it becomes clear that the filter is really one of the "keys" to the Moog sound. Running unfiltered waveforms from other synths through the Rogue's filter gives them a tonal quality that's hard to achieve any other way.
The Rogue is capable of "solo" lead sounds, space effects and some very solid bass sounds. It's fairly simple to use - with all the controls laid out on the front panel - and lots of fun to play around with as you can go wild adjusting the controls and making new sounds. The Rogue is also one of the smaller synths around - with a two octave keyboard.
Being one of the "old school" of analog synths, the Moog Rogue has no patch memory. This is both a good and a bad thing. Bad because you can't save your sounds. But good because it's likely to be a different machine every time you use it - and if you wish to recreate a sound, you are compelled into knowing more about what you are doing!
Modification / customization of the Moog Rogue:
As with many other analog synths of old, several interesting modification possibilities are open. Here are a few:
Analog Solutions offers a handful of mod kits for the Moog Rogue including an interesting sounding "Modular Upgrade" which, according to their page, "provides as many CV/Audio input and output sockets as possible to turn your monosynth into a patchable modular". Sounds great!
Synhouse MIDIJACK modification - with full tutorial for adding a MIDI option to the Rogue.
Oakley 1U mod - this takes the insides of the Moog Rogue and houses them in a 1u rack!
Moog Rogue LPF Cutoff Filter Modification this one's a score - I found a discussion of modifications to the analog circuitry to give extra control over the filter.
Kenton had a page in 2006 featuring a kit to add a Filter CV Socket to the Moog Rogue - however this page has been down since 2006. I found it via the web archive. Kenton's Pro Solo Manual (PDF) also mentions the kit - which, used in conjunction with one of their MIDI-CV boxes, would presumably give MIDI filter cutoff control.
Moog Rogue Essential Accessories:
In a typical modern setup, the Moog Rogue might be combined with a MIDI-CV interface such as one of the excellent Kenton range of products. This will enable the device to sync to MIDI and be controlled from a sequencer such as Cubase.
Moog Rogue prices:
Moog Rogues seem to be going for around $400-650 on eBay, depending on condition, and there's usually at least one on there. (July 2010)
Moog Rogue Reviews:
Moog RogueResources and other links:
Moog Rogue Sounds:
There are various moog samples floating around the internet - but no "patches" - as the Moog Rogue has no "memory". One unusual item I found on this front was Moog Endless - 24 hour a day live stream from a Moog 55 system (not a Moog Rogue, but Moog nevertheess!) - royalty free sounds you can use! (Maybe not working, July 2010)
Moog Rogue Videos:
Moog Rogue vs. the Moog Prodigy - head to head! Great video to compare the sound of the two machines.
"Keybdwizrd" Moog Rogue demo. Note - Delay and Reverb have been added with an effects unit.
Another demo. Moog Rogue with custom MIDI modification added.