Moog MF Chorus review

The synth pioneer has turned its attention to the world of compact guitar stompboxes. Simon Bradley finds out what the foog’s going on.

Robert Moog is considered to be the father of modern synthesizers, and although he sadly passed away in 2005, his legacy lives on. Guitarists have had their ears bamboozled by Moogerfooger stompboxes for a few years now, and these hardwood-encased contraptions can seriously twist your aural melon…

Now we’ve got our hands on one of six newish Minifoogers, a series of compact pedals which, although they lean towards convention in certain respects, still provide dollops of the otherworldly weirdness that continues to make Moog gear so sought after.

Each pedal in the range is based around `bucket brigade’ circuitry, an innovation which has largely been rendered obsolete by the advent of RAM-based digital delay technology. We don’t have sufficient space here to go into the dark art of how a brigade arrangement of capacitors (or `buckets’) and clock chips serves to provide delays and modulations, but it’s this design which imparts the classic analogue signal degeneration that’s so revered by players.

The pedal’s tank-like aluminium chassis, complete with angled front plate, is satisfyingly old school in its livery and, unlike the Moogerfoogers, its footprint shouldn’t take up too much space on most players’ pedalboards.

It features four controls, alongside a three-way microswitch that gives a choice of preset bases upon which to construct your sounds. There’s also an input for an optional expression pedal, a mono instrument input, and a mono/stereo output.

To use the latter in stereo, you flip a small internal switch and use a TRS splitter or Y cable. Power comes from a PP3 battery or an optional nine-volt PSU, and the MF Chorus offers true bypass.

In use

Setting the mix switch in the downward position gives the subtlest chorus base and, with the time and feedback controls set to zero, the MF sounds like a quality analogue modulation – all warmth, shimmers and movement. For a deeper, richer effect, flick the switch to the centre and dial in a touch of time and feedback – think Rush’s Alex Lifeson in his satin-caped pomp.

The mix switch’s upward position is described by Moog as a vibrato, but it’s more of a throbby flanger. With all four controls set to halfway, the sound oscillates and wibbles somewhat disconcertingly. It’s pure Moog weirdness and can be truly inspirational, but is easily pulled back to a more usable setting.

The time pot is the most efficient at reigning in the atonal nature of these more extreme settings, and you can also use an expression pedal to control the effect rate in real time.

It’s always fun to dig out genuinely crazy sounds and, due to the expansive operational range of the MF Chorus’s four controls, the choice here is virtually limitless. For example, we found a palette of full-on Forbidden Planet soundscapes, a mutated, 1950s-style echo and an effect that Moog describes as `film projector’.

The fact that the MF Chorus is more than adept at providing some truly organic, eminently usable choruses and flangers alongside the craziness is a testament to its design excellence, and we certainly found it far more straightforward to use than any of the undeniably brilliant Moogerfoogers that we’ve tried. We love it and we’re sure that you will too…

Key Features
Moog MF Chorus
• Price £159
• DESCRIPTION Analogue bucket brigade modulation pedal with true bypass
• CONTROLS Rate, depth, time, feedback, three-way mix switch
• Features On/off footswitch, mono input, mono/stereo output, input for optional expression pedal, internal mono/stereo switch
• Dimensions 225 (w) x 58 (h) x 144mm (d)
Source Distribution
020 8962 5080

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