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
GeoffK
January 24, 2014 @ 12:33 am
I used to own one of these as my first synth. It worked well for years but was more useful for sound effects than for ordinary music. The pitch stability is lousy, and you need to retune it often. The keyboard is duophonic like some Arps, and can do microtones. The built-in Ring Mod lets you do Vocoder-like robot effects. and the two LFOs can emulate a sample and hold. However, it doesn't have a Mod wheel and the pitch bend wheel is sprung to center, unlike a Mini. The biggest flaw is the single AR envelope generator. With only one, you can't set a separate filter envelope. Fun though
Juan
May 7, 2013 @ 9:19 pm
$2,800.00 is fair if everything works well and no parts are broken off. It's not a smoking deal but it is fair. I've seen ones on eBay sell that are nearly demolished sell for up to $1,200. So if you have the funds it's not a bad deal.
Juan
May 7, 2013 @ 9:16 pm
I love my Moog Sonic Six. But I believe my Tone Oscillator A doesn't really work. I can't make it sound on its own. Other then that everything works nicely. Any suggestions please on how to test if it works?
fred
January 15, 2013 @ 8:08 am
I see one in LA's craislist for $2,800 although not sure if that's a fair price.
Robert Starr
January 4, 2013 @ 2:02 pm
I have a Moog Sonic Six, it works fine, but needs some TLC to make it perfect. Any idea as to its value?
 
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VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 3.84 (229 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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
  • Images from

    Additional information provided by DAC Crowell.

    Review updated Jan, 2011

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