Update: December 20, 2022. We received this message from Mark from Higherhz. He directed his to this nice review of the Moogerfooger plugins.
This review of the new Moogerfooger pedal plugins appeared at musicradar.com. Please note that all (c) are with the author and Musicradar. The original article can be found here.
The original Moogerfooger pedals were discontinued in 2018, after which their secondhand values have soared to regularly ridiculous levels. This is not without reason as they are truly excellent effects, delivering best-in-class sounds and functionality, especially for those with CV (Control Voltage) compatible hardware, an audience that has exploded with the exponential growth in the modular synthesis market.
As with the modular world, it was only a matter of time before the Moogerfooger magic was translated into a digital format, as Moog has already managed through its Model 15, Model D and Animoog apps/plugins. It has been a no.1 request for many over the years, and so here we are, with a complete Moogerfooger lineup in glorious AU/AAX/VST3 technicolour!
Plugins included: MF-101S Lowpass Filter, MF-102S Ring Modulator, MF-103S 12-Stage Phaser, MF-104S Analog Delay, MF-105S MuRF, MF-107S FreqBox, MF-108S Cluster Flux Formats: AU (v2), VST3 and AAX Compatibility: MacOS 10.13 and above, Windows 10 and above
The original seven pedals are all present and correct, even down to the wooden side panels and plethora of black plastic rear panel 1/4” socket nuts, more of which below.
The pedal controls are replicated with very little adjustment: MF-101S replaces the Fast/Slow envelope follower switch with a rotary knob, and the MF-102S Ring Mod boasts a shiny new LFO Sync footswitch, for example. This latter addition is added to the 12-Stage Phase, Analog Delay, MuRF and Cluster Flux, where only the MF-104M Delay and MF108M Cluster Flux carried a Tap Tempo in their analogue forms.
The plugin versions continue the spacious, eminently playable control layouts, though the UIs are not currently resizable, and lining up a chain of Moogerfoogers carries much of the creative excitement that the IRL stompboxes do, though without the inevitable mass of cabling.
One of the great strengths of the MF pedal range was the generous helping of CV control options for integration with synths, modular setups and, of course, other Foogers. This has been brought to the plugin series with a rear panel that can be toggled open to access the CV input and outputs that can be routed internally, from the plugin’s left/right source feed or any other MF instance within the DAW.
Each plugin is assigned a four-character identifier when instantiated, and these identifiers are listed, along with the model number (e.g. MF-108S), when a CV jack is clicked on. This adeptly avoids the track naming confusion that can occur throughout the life of a DAW project.
Once plugged in there are plenty of options for defining the CV behaviour (see ‘CV and Side-chaining’). The sonic possibilities that this opens up within and across channels is at the heart of what makes these plugins an immensely attractive package.
Of course, the sonics of the MF-10#S effects needs to be on point to render the magic of the OG MFs in the DAW world. Almost without exception, these seven plugins deliver.
The modulation that the 12-Stage Phaser and Cluster Flux put on tap are as rich as they can be eccentric, and combined with the majestic MF-104S Delay users can immerse themselves in psychedelic spaciousness for days.
The MuRF makes even more sense in digital form as the pattern editing, accessed on the settings menu page (see ‘Settings: Further Fooger Functions’), is completely user programmable via a colour-coded matrix that allows for as much complexity as required.
The original duo
As for the humble pair that started the Moogerfoogers off over 20 years ago, the MF-101S Lowpass Filter and MF-102S Ring Modulator bring the sweet and the weird with expanded horizons, from stereo envelope following in the former to independent left/right carrier oscillators for the latter.
The MF-101S manages to bring all of the squelchy, quacky ladder filtering we all expect, but there is a low-end fatness that has been snipped off in the translation process, most easily demonstrated by driving it into self-oscillation and pulling down the Cutoff knob.
The analogue MF-101 will pump out a strong bass tone all the way into the sub-ranges, while the MF-101S drops off around 275Hz. On the other hand, the self-noise of the stompbox has been eliminated in the plugin, for obvious reasons.
It is worth noting that all seven Moogerfoogers can be driven hard into red LED territory and the Output knob wound up, but the signal is peak limited to -0.1dBFS. The overdrive distortion sound will be familiar to Moogerfooger users and is well worth playing with across numerous sources, especially beats and bass.
The MF-107 FreqBox seemed a little underwhelming, or at least rather too niche, in analogue form, but as a plugin, and especially as part of a CV linked chain, it brings plenty of snarl, fizz and warped distortion to basses, leads, arps, drums, vocals; maybe not so nice on a grand piano, though you never know until you try. That’s what the Moogerfooger plugins offer, flexible, easy-to-use tools to carve out new aural spaces.
The original analogue designs have translated exceedingly well to plugin form, keeping the well-balanced control sets, simultaneously capable of sweet, subtle enhancement and mind-warping experimentalism, while adding in extra features to expand the sonic range to meet modern audio expectations.
The virtual CV means that it’ll be hard to resist popping in another Moogerfooger, even if it’s just to access an LFO, opening up possibilities along the way (or massive detours). If there was one thing this whole set could do with it’d be a plugin CP-251 Control Processor to take the CV features that bit further.
CV and side-chaining
Though there are no real voltages being passed between Moogerfoogers the near limitless CV control available with these plugins is a real strength. Users are given a choice of sidechain input audio as CV (DAW depending), any other Moogerfooger or a DC offset position for the MIDI mappable parameter.
Incoming CV is by default treated as unipolar, i.e. moves from up or down from the parameter control position either positively or negatively based on the CV knob. A bipolar option can be selected to allow movement centred on the parameter position. External sidechain inputs can be derived from either their left or right channels.
Further ‘fooger functions
Each Moogerfooger Setting page carries at least two functions, most of which were not available in their analogue predecessors. For most there is some form of mono/stereo choice, be it the output (e.g. MF-103S Phase Main and Aux output combinations) or the envelope/oscillator signals (MF-101S & MF-102S/MF-107S respectively).
The delay-based pedals, Analog Delay and Cluster Flux, offer strict/loose timings, echo/ping-pong behaviours and analogue/legacy or modern tones for the decays. Envelope smoothness is addressed for the Lowpass Filter and MuRF, while all the LFO-based effects get bipolar and unipolar options for their oscillations. Though not every option is strictly new to the Moogerfoogers, together they build a far more comprehensive set of controls over the analogue versions.
At the time of writing, Moog is offering an introductory discount ($149), resulting in a price that is 100% a no-brainer, it’s worth every cent/penny. The regular price ($249) is also not at all unreasonable.
These are classic effects that have been carefully rendered in glorious digital form with hardly a hair out of place, and a whole heap of extra functionality poured in.
If you don’t own or have access to the original analogue models then this collection will bring something new and ear-tinglingly good to your productions. If you do have one or more of the originals you’ll find these are perfect digital companions that will only enhance what you already have.