Moog Sonic Six

Moog Sonic Six Image

The Sonic Six is an interesting, although obscure synthesizer from the Moog history books. Its predecessor, the Sonic V, was designed by an ex-Moog employee for the muSonics brand. When muSonics eventually bought out R.A. Moog, forming Moog muSonics, the Sonic V’s basic design was moved into a portable brief-case style synthesizer, and with only a few tweaks, the Sonic Six was born.

The fact that the Sonic Six originated from another company’s design not only accounts for why the Sonic Six looks different than any other Moog, but also for some pretty unique differences under the hood as well. To start, it is duo-phonic, utilizing two analog oscillators with three basic waveforms each plus tuning, modulation and scaling controls. There are two independent LFO generators with advanced control options not seen on other Moog synths (for instance, an X/Y knob is used to mix and balance the LFO outputs). Also on-board is a Ring Modulator (that can modulate either Osc. B or external audio) and pink/white noise generators.

Moog synthesizers are known for their filters, and the Sonic Six strays from the usual Moog in this area as well. While it is known that ARP stole a filter design from Moog for use in some of their 2600 and Odyssey models, leading to lawsuits between Moog and ARP, according to Mark Vail in "Vintage Synthesizers," the Sonic Six actually used some circuitry in its filters which were stolen from an ARP design, although ARP never sued Moog over it. However, later models of the Sonic Six were eventually fitted with a more traditional Moog designed filter. In either case, the filter is a low-pass 24dB/oct which offers the usual controls and is capable of self-oscillation. The VCA, however, has a rather limited set of controls - attack and decay plus a sustain on/off switch.

Moog Sonic Six Image

Not commonly seen, they are actually rather durable devices and used ones generally (if proper care was taken of them) are found in good working order. It was originally designed for educational and home use so it is light and portable and even has a built-in amplifier and speaker. It’s a genuine Moog synth that is equally as obscure as useful these days. And its rather simple looking front-panel layout hides the uniquely flexible, powerful and great sounding little beast it truly is! It has been used by Freddy Fresh, Stereolab and Spectrum/EAR.

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22 Visitor comments
December 25, 2010 @ 4:42 pm
Fantastic sounding synth with even more fantastic looks.
Bargain (still) at current prices
Bill Holt
June 12, 2010 @ 6:55 pm
I purchased my brand new Sonic Six in 1973. At the time it was a ton of money. Top of the line. I loved it. It came with paper templates so you could mark the setting of every knob and switch in order to recreate a great found sound. The idea that one "machine" could make almost any sound inspired me to create my 1973 "dreamies" album. This is an important piece of gear.
January 5, 2010 @ 1:18 pm
this MOOG has its own sound n vibe. not fat like mini,lots of variety in tone, almost any synth effect can be achieved. very warm and pretty but can turn into a banshee and thats before using ring mod! i own over 17 ANALOGUE synths mini 2600 ppg chroma prophet 10 obx prosoloist etc sonic6 like odyssey n prosolist sit very easy in ANY mix!! its one of those synths that you are not hearing the true sound until its RECORDED!! like prosolist fender rhodes solina an sometimes dx7mr1 you dont have to use ANY effects . on play back 9 out of 10 times it comes back sounding larger than life! the only prob i for me is it can be hard to make a simple LEAD line in a hurry (the engeneer/producer/BAND giveme that stink glare)when in recording session
October 3, 2009 @ 1:58 pm
It is a total BEAST! This design was originally a concept design for the Minimoog!
Bill C.
September 22, 2009 @ 3:15 am
It's hardly a budget synth.......a nice unit just closed at $1550 on eBay, even in a sick economy! I've had one for 26 years.......bought it used for $150. I've always known it was a keeper, and I will NEVER part with mine. Most people who have laughed at these over the years obviously never took the time to appreciate its capabilities, quickly dismissing it simply because it wasn't a "Classic Mini Moog". Yes, it has limitations, but it's utter simplicity and charm cannot be denied. As well as that "RIGHT HERE" sound, and the endless LFO, filter, and triggering possibilities, you can easily stay up for hours exploring new ways of scaring the crap out of your neighbors.
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Rated 3.83 (237 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Duophonic (2 Voices)
  • Oscillators - 2 VCO's with sawtooth, triangle, pulse waveforms (variable pulse width on Osc B only)
  • LFO - (2) multimode LFO's with variable rate (sawtooth, ramp, triangle and square)
  • Filter - 1 24dB/oct low pass filter
  • VCA - Attack / Decay / Sustain or Release
  • Keyboard - 49 note keyboard
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1972 - 1979
  • Resources & Credits
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    Additional information provided by DAC Crowell.

    Review updated Jan, 2011

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