MATRIXSYNTH: Moog Sonic Six Vintage Duophonic Analog Synthesizer

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Moog Sonic Six Vintage Duophonic Analog Synthesizer

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"Moog Sonic Six vintage duophonic analog synthesizer in collector-grade condition and in perfect working order, recently given a clean bill of health by our techs here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar. One of the more unique and obscure vintage Moog synths, the Sonic Six finds its roots in the muSonics Sonic V, which was designed by Gene Zumcheck. Zumcheck had a vision of creating an integrated synthesizer that could be used without the "spaghetti junction" of patch leads. And while Zumcheck wasn't allowed to pursue this vision as a Moog employee, after leaving the company he was the father of MuSonics' Sonic V. After MuSonics purchased RA Moog, the Sonic Six was released as a slightly tweaked version of the Sonic V's circuitry under the Moog banner, complete with a briefcase-style latching enclosure.

Distinct from other Moogs both visually and sonically, the Sonic Six is a duophonic design featuring two analog oscillators with three waveforms a piece, and two independent LFO generators with a degree of control not seen on other Moogs. These dual, mixable, dynamic LFOs are a virtually unseen feature on early synths, and specifically among early Moog offerings. A Ring Modulator which can modulate either Oscillator B or an external audio source is also included, along with pink and white noise generators. A pitch-bend wheel and glissando control were other features added to the original Sonic V platform.

The VCA (or "Articulator" on the Sonic Six's control panel) offers two signal paths: one whose gain is controlled by the Contour Generator, plus a switchable Bypass that appears to pass all the signal from the Source Mixer directly to the filter.

The filter is a low-pass 24dB/oct which offers the usual controls and is capable of self-oscillation, and while the Sonic Six featured two different filter designs during its production run (the original borrowed from ARP), this later example has Moog's transistor ladder filter design. The filter offers the usual control of cut-off frequency and resonance, with cut-off frequency modulation provided by the Contour Generator, the mixed X/Y output, and/or the keyboard (0 or 100 percent).

This Moog is exceedingly well-kept, with all original knobs and slider tips, and an immaculate control surface and keyboard. There is sparingly little wear on the aluminum-trimmed ABS plastic molded save for a small spot of localized scuffing on the lid."

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