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Realistic MG-1 Synthesizer by Moog Music
July 15, 2011 9:16 PM   Subscribe

The Realistic MG-1 Synthesizer with 'polyphony', built by Moog Music in 1981 for the home market and sold through Radio Shack stores for $499. Despite its toy-like appearance, its tones are quite serviceable. Sound demos: Classic Moog filter tones. 1 2. A thorough demonstration of each knob, switch and slider, 1 2 3 4 5, filtering audio, and with a sequencer.
posted by Ardiril (27 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
The tones are indeed quite serviceable, but the insides won't be until you get the infamous black gunk removed.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:20 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Want.

More info at Vintage Synth Explorer and Wikipedia
posted by swift at 9:20 PM on July 15, 2011


(Gunk.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was mildly intrigued until the "Subdivisions" solo, at which point I was completely and irrevocably on board with it, because *of course* that's what you'd use it for.
posted by sigma7 at 9:29 PM on July 15, 2011


Nice if you can find a good deal, but good deals on Moogs are rare these days.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:33 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bought one of these in 1982 and lost it a couple years later in a roommate dispute. I ran it through a 30 watt solid-state guitar amp that had reverb. It was a very precise instrument and both the filter and the oscillators' pitches all drifted. This usually resulted in a thin sound but the reverb would give it some heft. You really had to ride the pitch slider and polyphony tuning. For the price in the early 80s though, you couldn't beat it.
posted by Ardiril at 9:35 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has! De-gunking was a challenge.
posted by MeatLightning at 9:50 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My old roommate's band used to use one, but I think it finally gave up the ghost after to much noise jam.
posted by drezdn at 10:04 PM on July 15, 2011


Would $449 back in the day be roughly equivalent of the Nord Lead prices today ($1500-1800)?
posted by dobie at 10:25 PM on July 15, 2011


That's a complicated comparison to make dobie. There's the straight dollar amount comparison. There's also the issue of computers (which most synths are these days) following the same curve as personal computers: more functions each iteration, for a lower price. etc. But to try to answer your question, a $500 synth in 1981 was quite inexpensive. A $1500 Nord today is in the middle of the pack, I'd say. You can find synths today for as cheap as a couple hundred bucks. Or as much as a two or three thousand.
posted by readyfreddy at 10:41 PM on July 15, 2011


More like $1200 I think.
posted by Ardiril at 10:41 PM on July 15, 2011


Excuse me, where can I purchase one of these? At my local electromonger, perhaps?
posted by cmoj at 10:43 PM on July 15, 2011


The Sequential Circuits Pro-One would probably be the closest 1981 equivalent of the Nord. $2000 sounds about right for the Pro-One new back then, and certainly no more $3000. My memory for prices back then isn't too clear. I do remember that Roland was pushing their cheap synths as well, but I never found a dealer near me.
posted by Ardiril at 10:51 PM on July 15, 2011


Had.
posted by pracowity at 10:56 PM on July 15, 2011


I've got two of these, one over a decade ago and have been playing with them out for around 6 years or so, now. They're like, really quite durable and adorable little boxes, and yes (re Sys Rq): the foam goo that i've cleaned off their insides is epic and gross.
posted by armisme at 11:00 PM on July 15, 2011


I'll take that back. The Pro-One had that amazing sequencer in it, so I really can't guess how much it cost back then.
posted by Ardiril at 11:03 PM on July 15, 2011


It's goofy synths like this that keep my eyes sharp whenever I'm in a thriftstore; you just never know when that non-descript lump in the electronics pile might be a once-in-a-lifetime score. A friend of mine found an MG1, fully functional, for $30 at a swapmeet, the lucky bastard.
posted by lekvar at 11:04 PM on July 15, 2011


Excuse me, where can I purchase one of these? At my local electromonger, perhaps?

RadioShack, back then. Craigslist now.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:05 PM on July 15, 2011


Reminds me of the totally and utterly mental Roland System 700
posted by geodave at 11:21 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq, yeah, that gunk is nasty, nasty stuff. Kudos to those who have braved the task of degunking.

Geodave, the System 700 is my favorite modular, mostly because it's the only one I can pretty much figure out on my own. (The fact that it's structured like an Arp 2600 doesn't hurt, either!)

lekvar, I knew a guy who found an Emu Modular at a planetarium for $35.

Oh, and I'm totally being nitpicky, but there really isn't one Moog filter design. They used a couple over the years. (My personal favorite is the one in the Minimoog [Model D].)
posted by luckynerd at 12:27 AM on July 16, 2011


Heck, between Moog and Wendy Carlos, dozens of filter designs probably got no further than prototype just to please her.
posted by Ardiril at 12:32 AM on July 16, 2011


Love these. Got one. It's losing sensitivity on the sliders, but is gunk free and has the filter mod. Used to us it as an expensive moog filter. Also used to slave it to my micromoog via cv for double moog action. Now my iPad has a killer ms20 app.... Oh for slightly simpler times.
posted by Smegoid at 5:43 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Reminds me of the totally and utterly mental Roland System 700"

You could lose entire days just screwing around with that.
posted by MikeMc at 6:16 AM on July 16, 2011


Have it. Love it.
posted by univac at 7:05 AM on July 16, 2011


The Sequential Circuits Pro-One would probably be the closest 1981 equivalent of the Nord. $2000 sounds about right for the Pro-One new back then, and certainly no more $3000.

Nah the Pro One was $745, which was actually a hundred bucks more than the price Sequential had announced at NAMM earlier. Lovely synth. There's a whole Vince Clarke/Alison Moyet album "Upstair's at Eric's" with only the Pro One and vocals. It's doing bass, lead, drums, everything.

I was in Tokyo a few years ago and stumbled across a tiny upstairs synth shop opposite Harajuku subway station that had a mint Pro One, along with hordes of other cool old analog synths. There were no price tags and the guy didn't speak English, so I've no idea if they were priced really high (because they're cool) or really low (because they're old electronics and they hate that).
Best selection of synths I've ever seen though.
posted by w0mbat at 9:26 AM on July 16, 2011


Oh and the question of what the 1981 equivalent of a Nord Lead would be? It'd be a programmable polysynth like the Jupiter 8, and those were expensive.
posted by w0mbat at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2011


I was watching some Jupiter 8 demos last night too. Man, that sub-octave slider was dramatic. That was one gorgeous sounding synth. Too bad so much of the pop music made with it was utter crap. I think I'll put together a playlist of good songs that use it.
posted by Ardiril at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2011


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