Once-in-a-lifetime chance to own the Holy Grail of Modular Synths
"Oh, what a lucky man he was..." Those famous lyrics, written by Greg Lake when he was 12 years old, could well have been said of Greg's bandmate Keith Emerson. The keyboardist in Emerson, Lake & Palmer, after all, was the proud owner of a Moog modular synthesizer. "Lucky Man" featured one of the first recorded synth solos in rock music, played by Keith on the axe that would become an avatar for progressive rock and jazz heavies setting a new course into uncharted musical territory. But Emerson's modular was no ordinary production model — and neither is this extremely limited re-creation of his iconic synth.
An icon, re-created
The year was 1969. Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for mankind. The Woodstock festival rocked over 400,000 on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York. And 140 miles away in Trumansburg, Dr. Robert A. Moog was soldering together the future of music, one circuit at a time. Over a year before the Minimoog distilled the essence of the mighty Moog modular into a portable monosynth optimized for live performance, the modular synthesizer reigned supreme. By December 1973, ELP's stage setup had grown so massive and elaborate that the band's Madison Square Garden shows — amplified by a custom 28,000-watt quadraphonic surround system — required five hours of load-in. Rock had taken a progressive turn, and Mr. Emerson's custom Moog setup was the biggest, baddest modular rig on the planet — an instrument weaponized to meet the demands of the new music.
Only one available, and it's only at Sweetwater
Today, you can own a limited edition of the most iconic modular synthesizer ever made, the Emerson Moog Modular System. Three years of painstaking research went into the faithful re-creation of this complex custom musical instrument. The all-discrete EMMS is handcrafted from original schematics, using the same assembly methods in use at the Moog Music factory back in the day. The modules are hand-stuffed; components are hand-soldered to circuit boards; and for the classic vintage Moog look, photo-etched aluminum — an exceedingly rare process these days — is used for the front panels. Only one of these incredible instruments will be available here at Sweetwater, so if you want to own this legend, this is your only opportunity.
The non plus ultra of modular synths
Moog uses three classes of modules in the Emerson Moog Modular System: standard Moog modules, standard Moog modules that were modified over the years to meet Mr. Emerson's needs, and custom modules that are unique to his original system and have never been replicated until now — like the built-in tuner, preset programmer, preset and master modules, and the CP3A mixer module with illuminated slide switches and trunk line jacks. Other custom modules include a custom LED display panel, custom interface panels, a console voltages and triggers panel, and 921 oscillator drivers (standard 921 modules modified to add input and volts/octave adjustment from the preset programmer section). Customized low-frequency oscillators offer a choice of triangle or square waveforms, with the LFO rate being controllable via fixed control voltage. There are dozens more custom modifications that make the EMMS one-of-a-kind, and driving home that point are the custom Brain Salad Surgery album cover artwork panel and Emovision LCD video display that bookend expansion cabinet 3.
Presets: you heard that right!
We casually dropped mention of presets in the previous paragraph, and of course, the original Emerson was made a decade or so before patch presets started appearing on production synths. But did you seriously think Keith Emerson's custom modular wouldn't have presets? As with Keith's original system, the reissue features a preset selector remote that connects to the main cabinet via a standard DB-25 cable. This allows for a selection of presets that can be placed a convenient distance away from the main system. It incorporates a special preset scanner that lets you set the remote to automatically step through the presets, with configurable rate control.
Custom-built for rock royalty
As for the Emerson's commanding physical presence, mere mortals have been known to quake in its presence. Three types of hand-finished walnut cabinets are used: one console cabinet, four expansion cabinets, and one cabinet that houses the 61-note Pratt-Read organ-style keyboard (the left cheek of which hosts range, scale, and portamento controls, plus a glide actuation switch). In all, 77 modules comprise the most comprehensive subtractive synthesis system we at Sweetwater have ever laid ears on. With the user manual in hand, confidently step up to the beast and throw a simple patch — oscillator to filter to mixer — raise the mixer channel, play a note while twisting the filter cutoff, and prepare to be awe-struck. The Emerson Moog Modular System speaks with a majesty and sonic magnificence befitting its aristocratic lineage. After all, this is an instrument custom-built for rock royalty.
Moog Emerson Modular System Features:
- A faithful re-creation of the most famous modular synth ever made
- Handcrafted from the original circuit designs, using the same hand assembly methods in use at Moog's Trumansburg, NY factory in 1969
- Modules are hand-stuffed; components are hand-soldered to circuit boards
- Photo-etched aluminum is used for the front panels for the classic vintage Moog look
- Comprises 77 modules, consisting of standard Moog modules, standard Moog modules that were modified over the years to meet Mr. Emerson's needs, and custom modules that are unique to his original system
- 3 types of hand-finished walnut cabinets: 1 console cabinet, 4 expansion cabinets, and 1 keyboard cabinet
- Includes 61-note Pratt-Read organ-style keyboard in hand-finished walnut cabinet