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Saturday, November 4, 2006

Idle speculation: Moog Big Phatty on the way?

As the nights draw in, it's time for some idle speculation (and poor-quality photoshop work) about new product launches at NAMM in two months' time. I doubt we'll see it this year, but my hunch (and it is just a hunch) is that Moog are developing a polyphonic synth based on the technology in the Little Phatty. Why? Shortly after the Voyager was released, Bob Moog said 'We could build one...But we're not going to'. Back then, he was working with the Voyager - a fantastically expensive hand-built machine. Now, with the Little Phatty, I think everything is in place for a realistically-priced poly synth.

What do the different parts of a synth cost? Look at Dave Smith Instruments: An Evolver Rack (four voices and a very minimal interface) costs $1,349. A PEK (four voices, a 5 octave keyboard, tonnes of rotary encoder knobs, wooden ends, an awful lot of blue LEDs and a big steel box) costs $1,050 more at $2,399. So, keyboard and interface costs just over $1,000.
What about voices? Voices for the small-run, very boutique, all analogue, all discreet, Studio Electronics Omega 8 seem to cost $350 each (Two voices = $2,299, Four voices = $2,999).

If we assume Phatty voice cards cost the same, it would be possible to build 8 of them into a PEK-quality keyboard for $3,850, just $400 more than the top-of-the-line Moog Voyager. Four voices would be $2,450 - cheaper than the Alesis Andromeda (which admittedly has 16 all-analogue voices.)
Is this what Moog are working on? I don't know, but it would be cool if they were. Would you buy a Big Phatty?


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