Animoog on the LinnStrument and the ROLI Seaboard with Expressive MIDI

One of my ongoing quests is to find an alternative controller for Animoog that would suit my playing style. This post focuses on the compatibility and capabilities of the Linnstrument and the ROLI Seaboard with Animoog now that Animoog supports MPE, aka Expressive MIDI.

Animoog MIDI MPE Support

Animoog 2.4.0 released about a month ago brought support for MPE input with note-per-channel MIDI controllers. This changes everything. Everything when it comes for Animoog to support sophisticated MIDI controllers.

What is MPE and why it matters so much? MPE is an extension of the MIDI standard that stands for the Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression specification. It is also known as ‘Expressive MIDI’. You’ll learn a lot more in this previous post a year ago about MIDI MPE’s development and its technical specification.

In short, this new way of leveraging MIDI messages makes it possible to control the multiple expressive parameters of a single Animoog note over the same old MIDI cables. The ‘core MIDI specification’ wasn’t built to handle multiple dimensions per note. Dimensions in Animoog? Think of modulations such as the different polypressures or orbit rates for every note played.

The advent of MIDI MPE significantly reduces the limitations external controllers had when it comes to controlling advanced sound synthesis instruments such as Animoog and Model 15. If I’m not mistaken, it also enables better means to record Animoog performances over MIDI (I haven’t made experimentations myself yet, but I plan to — and of course, I’ll publish my findings on this very site). Expect more and more controllers and apps to support MIDI MPE over time. And be happy, thanks to Moog developers, Animoog now supports it! :-)

The LinnStrument

The LinnStrument by Roger Linn Design is one of the alternative controllers for serious players. Yes, it’s different from the MIDI controllers we’re used to, but don’t be afraid by this grid of lights, just look at how others play with it and you’ll understand why it attracts that much interest. Every cell will reacts to z-axis pressure as well as x / y-axises for vibrato and modulation. Pitch slides are easily performed on the LinnStrument’s x-axis. The Sonic Lab video below will show this to you.

The LinnStrument also happens to be built and played by incredibly friendly people! I wanted to try the LinnStrument and Roger Linn himself nicely arranged a meeting with a LinnStrument owner in my home city of Montreal. That’s how I met with the wonderful Nathanaël last April. Nathanaël happens to work for the famous Moment Factory studio. He generously spent time with me on his LinnStrument, testing not only Animoog (which at the time didn’t support MIDI MPE) but also let me test how it feels to actually play  on the LinnStrument. Thanks a lot Nathanaël!

Nathanaël on the LinnStrument

Unrelated to the LinnStrument, here’s a short video by Nathanaël showing Animoog controlling LED lights with note velocity and polyphonic aftertouch.

Sonic Lab just released a 22-minutes video review of the Linnstrument, and guess what, it extensively features Animoog! :-) This video not only gives you an idea of the capabilities of the LinnStrument,  Gaz Williams goes into the details of many of its features. This is a must-see video to anyone looking for an alternative controller for Animoog.

After trying the LinnStrument last April, there’s one question I asked the LinnStrument developers: can we select playable notes ourselves, just like we can select which Animoog keys show up on the iPad? The answer is essentially no. From their FAQ:

Q: LinnStrument's rows always contain consecutive semitones (chromatic scales). Is it possible to set it so that the rows contain consecutive notes of a specific scale, for example only major scale notes while skipping over the accidentals?

A: It is fundamental to LinnStrument’s design that each of the eight rows always contain only chromatic scales. While it is true that some controllers (like our Tempest drum machine) permit you to set consecutive pads to play only scale notes (for example, only major scale notes, skipping accidentals), this is really only useful for controllers with few pads like drum pad controllers or Ableton Push. However, LinnStrument has 200 note pads so it is not necessary to delete any notes of the chromatic scale. The problem with removing the notes outside of the scale is that you can't play them, which is useful in all but very simple music. There are other problems with non-chromatic scales: 1) you must always change the scales to play in different musical modes so you never get a chance to develop any playing skills because the notes are always moving. 2) Pitch slides will no longer be consistent, with larger jumps between note pads that are a whole tone apart than between those that are a semitone apart. 3) Vibratos on a pad with a semitone interval on one side and a whole tone interval on the other will be asymmetrical, bending twice as much on the whole tone side than on the semitone side. Instead of preventing you from playing accidentals, LinnStrument borrows an idea similar to the piano keyboard's black and white keys: it provides access to all the notes but highlights the naturals. By default, it highlights the natural notes (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) in green lights and highlights all “C” notes in light blue lights, but you can change it to highlight any scale and in any of 6 colors (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta or yellow). This is done in Global Settings / Note Lights.

While I understand their valid arguments, I still think that it’s the single absent feature that stops me from purchasing a LinnStrument. The good news is that the LinnStrument firmware is open source, anyone can modify the LinnStrument’s software. Enthusiastic players could thus implement this features themselves. I thought of crowdfunding this feature with Bountysource for everyone to benefit from it. I went as far as creating this little explanation of what I was looking for.


My recent discussions with the main LinnStrument firmware developer highlighted the following: “there are physical spacers between the rows of LinnStrument that prevent smooth transitions across cells in the vertical axis.” Despite this limitation, I still foresee this LinnStrument keys layout as valuable and being a useful way to play Animoog on it, similar to how we can configure Animoog’s keys on the iPad. At this point, the LinnStrument developers aren’t interested in even maintaining this feature if we successfully implemented it. I of course respect their decision and it made sense to me to postpone working on crowdfunding this feature.

But don’t stop yourself at my sentiment regarding this feature absent from the LinnStrument, the LinnStrument is clearly an excellent alternative controller and it usually pleases bass and guitar players because of its keys layout, Gaz Williams explains why in his extensive review. Here’s a nice LinnStrument track from Geert Bevin to give you a sense of how it can be played.

The LinnStrument is available for $1,499 from Roger Linn Design.

The ROLI Seaboard

If you haven’t seen the ROLI Seaboard yet, I’m glad you’re reading this. One could dare think this keyboard came to existence to be Animoog’s companion. Let’s first have a quick look at what the Seaboard can do — notice the x & y gliding effects in the video, akin to the slides our fingers do on the Animoog keys on the iPad.

The following impressive video successfully demonstrate the Seaboard capabilities with human-like voice. No wonder why the ROLI Seaboard won several awards!

Anyone excited or considering a Seaboard should read the Sound on Sound Seaboard GRAND review which goes in depth and provides valuable details.

Ok, but how does this the ROLI Seaboard sounds with Animoog? We’re very lucky, Steffen Presley, the sound designer who created the Song Haven pack of presets for Animoog, recorded the following video showcasing Animoog on the ROLI Seaboard Grand.

The ROLI Seaboard has the scales physically locked to the piano scale, meaning my main reticence to adopt the LinnStrument is also valid for the Seaboard. Steffen Presley also warns us that playing micro-tonally, which was possible on the GRAND but never the RISE, is not an option anymore. Steffen provide the details in the description of the following video. Those interested in having access to this feature again should request it to ROLI directly.

Can I have a ROLI Seaboard? You can and you have multiple options. The smaller ROLI Seaboard version available is named the Seaboard RISE, the 25-keys is priced at $799 and the 49-keys is $1,199. The latter is currently out of stock. I haven’t found a comparison of the RISE and its bigger brother the Seaboard GRAND, but the GRAND features more inputs and outputs and has different keywaves. It also costs more, the 37-keywaves GRAND Studio is $1,999, the 61-keywaves GRAND Stage is $2,999 and the ultimate Limited First Edition version featuring 88 keywaves is $8,888.

For such an expense, you’ll probably want to try how a Seaboard feels like and sounds like before purchasing one. Here’s the worldwide map of ROLI Seaboard retailers. Trying one is the next step for me — despite the fixed scale, will I fall in love with it?

Expect more surprises

We’re just at the beginning of a new era of controllers and advances like the LinnStrument and the ROLI Seaboard are pretty exciting. Combined with Animoog, the most popular iPad synth, there’s certainly lots of wonderful explorations ahead! And expect even more surprises in the future, hey, synths are even making it to the augmented and virtual worlds. You got that right and this is nicely demonstrated by the Behringer DeepMind 12, which crosses the chasm and dives into augmented reality. The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed ;-)

Wrapping up this article, you might want to revisit this June 2015 article named Alternative Controllers for Animoog and the few posts on custom Animoog controllers. Now that we have MPE support in Animoog, the doors of the LinnStrument and the ROLI Seaboard are wide open to all Animoog players!

If you have comments or if some of the info I shared is wrong, let us know in the comments! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the numerous ways  we can be expressive with our beloved Animoog! — Alex / Satri

Animoog for iPhone 1.3.0 Released, as well as Model 15 1.1.0 and Animoog 2.4.4

For those amongst us playing Animoog on their iPhones and iPod Touch, we have great news! The first update since last February, here’s a welcomed major update to Animoog for iPhone which includes several features we already have in its larger brother Animoog for iPad. The latter got minor improvements and is now at version 2.4.4.

If you’re an Animoog fan, chances are you’re a Model 15 enthusiast as well. If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to hear that Model 15 version 1.1.0 has been released, the first update since June and its first major update since the launch of Model 15 last May.

The Animoog for iPhone 1.3.0 release notes:

  • Animoog now requires iOS 8.2 or later
  • Support for ‘path-width’ as modulation source for presets created with Apple Pencil on iPad Pro
  • Support for accelerometer modulation controls as ‘accel-x’, ‘accel-y’, and ‘accel-z’
  • Support for Bluetooth LE MIDI devices
  • Support for MPE input with note-per-channel MIDI controllers
  • Added collapsible Inter-App Audio transport bar
  • Consolidated ‘poly-pressure’ and ‘chan-pressure’ into one ‘pressure’ modulation source
  • The vertical position of the keys on initial touch is now used as the ‘velocity’ modulation source
  • Tapping left or right of the scale slider will now transpose octaves up or down
  • Timbres panel improvements for easier sound design
  • Single-tapping on a left panel timbre now highlights it, while double-tapping scrolls to its location in the Timbres list
  • The Timbres list on the right panel no longer collapses when switching presets
  • Values of CC mapped controls are now sent out at preset change
  • Incoming MIDI CC 120 now turns off all active sound
  • Incoming MIDI RPN 0 now sets the active pitch bend range
  • Application settings are now saved immediately when changes occur
  • The keyboard now allows more space between keys
  • Fixes to timbre list where auto-scroll would overshoot at times
  • Fixes to built-in scale definitions
  • Fixed crashes when Animoog goes to the background
  • Fixed crackling sound when using hold from a MIDI controller
  • Fixed sound cutting out when switching between certain audio devices while Animoog is running

The Animoog 2.4.4 release notes:

  • Improvements to sample rate / buffer size behavior
  • Improvements to scale slider

The Model 15 1.1.0 release notes:

  • The SETTINGS -> SHARE panel now allows you to create and share a music video from audio in the Recorder module
  • Saved patches, arpeggios and CC maps are now automatically stored on your iCloud drive. They can be retrieved through SETTINGS -> SHARE -> iCLOUD DOCUMENTS from any device that uses the same iCloud account
  • Keys can now be released when HOLD is active by tapping any currently pressed key
  • Recordings now use much less memory
  • Recordings can now be up to 5 minutes in length
  • Recordings are now persisted across application restarts and the undo buffer
  • Added crossfading to the Recorder Module to prevent clicks at the beginning and end of a recording
  • Added a configuration option to prevent controllers from being changed when presets are loaded
  • Added a progress indicator for tutorial presets
  • Tutorial presets now continue highlighting areas during wiring
  • Added support for highlighting individual ports, knobs and switches in the tutorial presets
  • Updated factory tutorial presets to reflect new highlighting capabilities
  • Factory tutorial presets can no longer be accidentally replaced
  • Values of CC mapped controls are now sent out on preset change
  • Added support for incoming MIDI RPN 0 to temporarily set the pitch bend range
  • Added support for “shake to undo”, which also works during tutorial presets
  • Added “rate on app store” and “contact us for help” buttons on the SETTINGS -> ABOUT panel
  • Support for iOS 10
  • Improvements to inter-app audio connectivity
  • Improved core audio engine
  • Improved Ableton Link support
  • Improved stability on iPad Air 1
  • Improved fluidity of GUI rendering on older devices
  • Improved precision of the Apple Pencil as a controller
  • Improvements to the built-in manual
  • Updated AudioCopy to v3.3
  • Fixed stability problems when using incoming messages on MIDI channel 16

More Animoog news to be published probably within a week. Stay tuned :-) Enjoy the apps updates! — Alex / Satri

Live Animoog Performances: Makers of Sense & Discophone_

While I’m preparing a few other Animoog posts, I’d like to share with you two nice live Animoog performances that found their way to me. I usually find it inspiring to hear and see what other Animoog players do with our beloved instrument.

The first video is from Discophone_ and it’s a mix of apps played in a car, with Animoog providing the melody.

The next one of is a live performance by Makers of Sense, and in this one as well, Animoog is at the forefront.


I’m slowly gathering more and more Animoog videos in curated playlists where everyone can find more of such Animoog gems. If I missed any other worthy video on Animoog, let us know in the comments! Take care — Alex / Satri

Animoog 2.4.2 Released

Three updates in a week, isn’t that nice! It shows that Moog cares about us, the Animoog players :-) Versions 2.4.1 and 2.4.2 are essentially bug fixes. Read the 2.4.0 announcement for the recent new features. Here are the official changelogs.

Changes for 2.4.1:

  • Fixes for Animoog 2.4.0 startup crash on iPad 2/iPad Mini 1 and instabilities on iOS 8

Changes for 2.4.2:

  • Improved playing precision when using Apple Pencil
  • Fixes to the hold switch to restore pre-2.4 behavior
  • Fixes to make the 4-track color and volume sliders work again
  • Fix for a very rare crash when Animoog goes to the background
  • Fix for rare crackles when using hold from a MIDI controller

While I have your attention, I’m happy to have been contacted last week by a team of two sound designers… new Animoog presets are coming! Cheers — Alex / Satri

Animoog 2.4.0 Released

Animoog players rejoice, a new version has come :-) And the official list of new features is long, there’s possibly something for you in there. Amongst the highlights, you find Bluetooth LE MIDI devices support, support for MPE input with note-per-channel MIDI (see this previous post on Expressive MIDI and Animoog) and Apple Pencil support for the lucky ones amongst us who have an iPad Pro.

Here’s the official changelog:

  • Animoog now requires iOS 8.2 or later
  • Fully optimized graphics, keyboard layout and interaction for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • Support for Apple Pencil pressure on the keyboard
  • Support for Apple Pencil angle as a ‘pencil-angle’ modulation control on the keyboard
  • Support for Apple Pencil angle as a ‘path-width’ modulation source along the path
  • Support for Bluetooth LE MIDI devices
  • Support for MPE input with note-per-channel MIDI controllers
  • Added collapsible Inter-App Audio transport bar
  • Consolidated ‘poly-pressure’ and ‘chan-pressure’ into one ‘pressure’ modulation source
  • The vertical position of the keys on initial touch is now used as the ‘velocity’ modulation source
  • Left and right tapping next to the scale slider will now transpose octaves down and up
  • Timbres panel improvements to make sound design easier
  • Single-tapping a timbre on the left panel now highlights it, while double-tapping scrolls to its location in the Timbres list
  • The Timbres list on the right panel is no longer collapsed when switching presets
  • Values of CC mapped controls are now sent out at preset changes
  • Incoming MIDI CC 120 now turns off all active sound
  • Incoming MIDI RPN 0 now sets the active pitch bend range
  • Minor user experience improvements when working with modal dialogs
  • Settings are now saved immediately when changes occur
  • Fixes to timbre list where auto-scroll would overshoot at times
  • Fixes to some built-in scale definitions

If you’re on a non-retina iPad, please wait before updating. We learned there’s a startup crash on non-retina iPads and the fix is coming. From a publicly accessible comment on the iPad Musician Facebook group: “We’ve implemented and tested the fix, submitted it to Apple for review and requested this to be expedited. While waiting for that to go through, we continue testing on all other devices. Sorry for this!” Update: less than 24 hours after 2.4.0, Animoog 2.4.1 came to us to fix this issue.

The previous version, Animoog 2.3.5, came out on March 11th. While Animoog for iPhone has not been updated since February 4th, this iPad update might be a sign for an upcoming Animoog for iPhone update as well?

Here’s a bonus for Animoog Love readers, most of you know I’m fond of Animoog solos, even considering myself an Animoog soloist — I’m always genuinely interested in how others are playing Animoog and I’m happy that Animoog player ‘Brother El’ contacted me to share the following video of his own Animoog performance earlier this month. Hey, there’s even other players that made full albums out of Animoog, such as Luigi Bairo.

I have quite a few unfinished posts to share with you Animoog enthusiasts, while I somehow find the time to complete and publish them, enjoy the new version of Animoog! :-) Cheers — Alex / Satri

Animoog Expansion Packs table

New Free Packs: 2,576 Animoog Presets Now Available — Major Update v1.5

When I published version 1.4 of the table of Animoog presets and timbres last May, I wasn’t expecting a new version coming this fast. Rejoice, today I’m announcing 352 new free Animoog presets, and they’re excellent!  This expansion packs table lists third-party presets and timbres that you won’t find anywhere else.

352 new Animoog presets are now available as part of this update. There’s now a total of 2,576 presets and over 4,500 timbres available for Animoog, lots of them free!

Version 1.5 brings presets from two sound designers, ‘analogue, I wish you were’ and Rust(i)k. The table’s page includes the links to download/purchase the presets and timbres. The full changelog is available at the bottom of the expansion packs page. Since the v1.4 announcement, I also published step-by-step instructions to install third-party Animoog presets and timbres.

Animoog Expansion Packs table

analogue I wish you were

Sound designer named ‘analogue I wish you were’ contacted me to share with you not one, but two packs of free Animoog presets. I’ve been playing with them the past few weeks and I can confirm that these are great presets! I’m amazed at the quality of what the sound designers amongst us are able to create for us, the players, to play with!
analogue I wish you were provided a preview for its Retro Futurism pack:

But never stop yourself at a preview, download and install the free presets for you to explore their capabilities. Next is “À la rescousse”, an improvised Animoog solo played live with ‘analogue I wish you were’ preset named ‘PAD ramp pur’ from the ‘Retro Futurism’ presets.

“La vue” is an improvised Animoog solo played live with ‘analogue, I wish you were’ preset named ‘FM PAD – no way back’ from the ‘RPG Fantasy Sounds’ free Animoog presets pack. ‘RPG Fantasy Sounds’ is now one of my favorite pack of presets.

You can get the free presets directly on analogue, I wish you were’s Bandcamp page. That’s also an opportunity for you to support the sound designer with a contribution, he deserves it!


After the nice presets we got from him last May, sound designer Rust(i)k offers us a second pack of free Animoog presets! Nothing less than 169 new and free presets which are, once again, of pretty good quality :-) Rust(i)k informed me that some of the presets’ timbres might be missing and may simply be replaced with Basic Sine.

Click here to download the free presets.

Here’s one of the numerous tracks I recorded with these presets, “Japon turquoise” is an improvised Animoog solo played live with ‘Rust(i)k’ preset named ‘Keys Iluminati’ from the ‘RePrison’ free Animoog presets pack.

Timbre requirements

During an online discussion with another Animoog player, we came to the topic of which timbres are required for a pack of third-party presets to sound as intended. With this information available, an Animoog player can know in advance if he has all the required timbres before downloading and installing a new third-party pack. The table version 1.5 now includes the list of official In-App-Purchase packs you need installed for the third-party presets to sound as designed without any [missing] timbres.

If you’re a sound designer that contributed one of those packs, please contact me to let me know which timbres are required for your presets and I’ll add the info for the next version.

YouTube Channels and an Improvisation

Remember that I provide a list of Animoog-focused YouTube channels?  Here’s an Animoog improvisation played by Subconscience. I’m amazed at the variety of sounds and styles that can be played with Animoog.

Enjoy summertime — Animoog can be played anywhere, like shown on this photo from Lukas Gec (thanks Lucas!).

Animoog Summertime! (thanks to Lukas Gec for the photo)

Big thanks to ‘analogue I wish you were’ and Rust(i)k. Hope you’ll enjoy their presets as much as I do :-) Don’t hesitate to share this announcement with other Animoog players, the intention here is to ensure that as many players as possible are benefiting from those excellent presets! Cheers — Alex / Satri

Step-by-step Instructions to Install Third-Party Animoog Presets and Timbres with iFunbox

There’s well over 2,000 Animoog presets available now, lots of them free, and let’s be honest, the official mean to install third-party Animoog presets with iTunes is cumbersome and limiting. Animoog players ask the question often enough that I’m convinced it’s worth providing these step-by-step instructions on how to install third-party Animoog presets and timbres with iFunbox.

What are the benefits of of using iFunbox for installing Animoog presets and timbres?

  • You can quickly and easily install new Animoog presets and timbres from your computer to your iPad or iPhone
  • You can create folders and move presets in the folders you want
  • You can rename Animoog folders and presets, and thus order them to your liking
  • You don’t need iTunes which, for installing presets, is error-prone and for some of us, simply does not work
  • You can import your own presets for backups and then share your own presets with others
  • You do not need your iPhone or iPad to be jailbroken for installing Animoog presets and timbres with iFunbox


Is iFunbox safe? I’m not kidding, this is important: no one wants to install malware on his computer and suffer the consequences. I spent significant time searching the web and found no evidence that iFunbox would be malware. The proprietary software will show you ads but no source provided indications that iFunbox is unsafe in any way. If you have good reasons to believe installing iFunbox is actually unsafe, let us know in the comments below!

With these instructions, you can easily install plenty of great third-party Animoog presets, lots of them free, provided by nice sound designers sharing their work with us


The step-by-step instructions:

  1. Get the new and shiny third-party presets and timbres you want to install. You’ll find them on this table of Animoog presets and timbres
  2. Download iFunbox. I’ve seen reports that other similar tools work as well, if you can confirm, share it in the comments below. iFunbox is free and ads-supported, and I’m not related to them in any way
  3. Launch iFunbox. On macOS, the first time you launch an unsigned app you need to right-click on the app’s icon and select open
  4. Quit Animoog on your iPad or iPhone. To do that, double-tap on your iOS ‘Home’ button, browse opened apps to find the Animoog app and drag its thumbnail up to quit the app. If you ignore this step, you won’t see the new presets until you quit and relaunch Animoog
  5. Plugin your iPad or iPhone. It will show up in iFunbox
  6. Open the Animoog folder under ‘App File Sharing’. See screenshot above. The Animoog folder under ‘User Applications’ can’t be accessed and that’s fine since you don’t need it
  7. Create a new folder to host the presets you want to install
  8. Open the new folder and move your Animoog presets from the finder to your new folder. Note about the location of timbres: you can apparently copy your timbres in any folder under ‘categories’, presets are able to find the timbres no matter which subfolder there are in
  9. That’s it! You can use this opportunity to move and rename folders and presets while you’re there, otherwise you’re done, you can quit iFunbox and unplug your iOS device. When you’ll relaunch Animoog, the new presets and timbres will be there for you to enjoy!

If anyone knows better options than iFunbox or have related tips to share, simply write a comment below for all the community to benefit from your knowledge. Better together! :-) Maybe a future Animoog version will provide a better official option than the current one that relies on iTunes, that has been on our Animoog wish list since day 1, but as of today, using iFunbox is a useful, simple and free way to manage your Animoog presets.

And for those who read so far, I have good news, I got tons of fresh new presets for you from a few nice Animoog sound designers that contacted me. The new presets will be announced with the next version of the table of Animoog presets. I hope to have the time to release it by mid-July. Hope this post helped you better enjoy Animoog :-) — Alex / Satri

An Animoog Player Perspective on Moogfest 2016, with Pictures

It’s really with Animoog that I started exploring the richness of sound synthesis. In the past few years, this interest led me to learn a lot about the state of modern synthesizers and how we got here. At some point I learned about Moogfest, the annual, multi-day music, art and technology festival. Moogfest 2016 took place in Durham, North Carolina, May 19-22.

After years of discussing and sharing tips online with other Animoog players, releasing albums of Animoog solos and of course, running, Moogfest constituted an excellent opportunity to go beyond my iPad screen and commit to meet in person other like-minded people. I wasn’t certain what to expect before getting there but I was instantly amazed by the joyful ambiance amongst participants. Moogfest 2016’s had an ambitious program which “included 5 durational sound installations, 11 film programs, 13 art installations, 67 conversations, 100 workshops and 119 performances.” The quality of the talks and activities during the day was very high and I also appreciated several unique musical performances. I even met with the early and current developers of Animoog! There you go, here’s my report on participating to Moogfest 2016.

I care a lot about controllers because they directly impact expressiveness of the instruments they’re attached to. Animoog’s polypressure keys certainly explain part of the success this synth has. While there’s lot to do and hear at Moogfest, there’s also lot to see. Here’s two controllers from Richard Smith’s collection of Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments. Don Buchla was at the origin of the synthesizer era along with Robert Moog.


Buchla’s Marimba Lumina

It was a good idea to spend time at Moogfest installations before things started to get crazy! The few opportunities I had to play with others Moogfest participants were well appreciated as it made us share our love for playing electronic music. The ‘Ten Minutes Music’ installation brought three enthusiasts together to play a short track one after the other before they get mixed together.

A fellow musicians at the ‘Ten Minute Music’ installation

I ended up playing the Werkstatt-01, which is a synth you can build yourself and introduced at a Moogfest 2014 workshop. That’s right, Moogfest workshops can last up to several hours. At Moogfest 2016 participants could build their own synth in a 6 hours workshop.

Moog Music’s Werkstatt-01DIY analog synth

There’s plenty of exciting workshops during Moogfest on a variety of music, art and technology topics. Here’s a tip: some workshops have limited-capacity and you need to purchase higher priced ‘engineer’ tickets to increase your chances of having a spot. By the way, participation to the festival is fairly cheap considering you can get General Admission tickets for as little as 99$ if you purchase your tickets at pre-sale discounts. So I did not get a spot on the popular music in virtual reality workshops but I was able to experience Flatsitter’s Theta virtual reality spa which made us explore a beautiful world. Most of us have seen what virtual reality brings in terms of creativity, but experiencing it was marvellous. Virtual reality will not be a fad.

The setup of Flatsitter’s spa

I spent lot of time at the Modular Marketplace and the Moog Pop-Up Factory since there were so many instruments to discover and play with! It was one of the rare occasions where I could play on classic synths such as the Minimoog.

Moog Music’s classic Minimoog

The Modular Marketplace offered a quantity of nice looking modular synth with friendly people ready to tell you all about their creations. There’s even guided introductions to the marketplace, helping us make sense of everything there is to see.



There even was an Artiphon booth and they were kind to let me test it with Animoog.

Playing Animoog with the Artiphon

But wait, a wonderful surprise was waiting for me in Moog’s Pop-up Factory: two real Model 15 modular synths! And we could play with them! I must have spent 30 minutes playing on the real Model 15. I was super excited considering I spent weeks beta testing the Model 15 app and even releasing a free album of Model 15 solos made with the Model 15 app. Moog Music officially released the Model 15 app barely two weeks before Moogfest.

A Moogfest participant playing with a real Model 15 synth
A real Model 15 modular synthesizer

My first impressions are that while I appreciate the ease of reaching out knobs on the real thing, the Model 15 app has modules that the physical Model 15 synth does not have and which make a significant difference to me in favour of the app.

Moog’s Pop-Up Factory has also been an opportunity for Moog to begin the pilot production of the Minimoog Model D, returning after over 30 years.

I headed off to experience Microsoft’s installation which tracked movements of participants with 4 kinects and used interactions with physical nets to modulate the track Realiti by Grimes. Grimes was also one of the numerous artists to perform at Moogfest 2016.


Another opportunity during which I could play with other musicians was at the Aloft Hotel Musical Playground. I am amazed that a group of strangers can play something harmonious with simple but yet interesting instruments, Critter and Guitari’s Organelle in this case.

Playing the Organelle in group

Two years after launching and acting for over a year as beta tester for Moog’s Animoog app and, more recently, the Model 15 apps, meeting with Moog developers at Moogfest has been a significant highlight to me. While I have exchanged countless emails with upcoming Expressive-MIDI standard. I had the opportunity to have a long chat with Moog product developer Amos Gaynes who was involved since the very beginning of Animoog and who shared interesting stories about its coming to existence. Thanks Geert and Amos! Albeit shorter discussions, I’ve been happy to meet Moog’s Chief engineer Cyril Lance as well as Social media manager Jim DeBardi. Those encounters were another reason why Moogfest is a special event for Animoog players such as myself. Maybe one day I’ll dive into compiling in writing the history of Animoog’s development?

At night times, I saw several pretty interesting shows of different styles. Paradoxically refreshing to see Silver Apples perform on stage, straight from the 60’s and playing live electric music. I was ecstatic to attend a show by Daniel Lanois, who worked with Bob Dylan, U2, Brian Eno and  many more. But it gets better since Moogfest features Masterclasses, a rather intimate conversation with the artists. We were about 50 to attend Daniel Lanois’ Masterclass and have the opportunity to go on stage with him and ask questions – that could not have happened anywhere else.

Daniel Lanois at the beginning of the Masterclass

One of the electronic music stars participating to Moogfest was sound designer Animoog presets. I was lucky to met with him later during the festival to have a brief chat and shake hands. Here’s Richard at the beginning of his 4-hours durational sound installation.

Richard Devine getting ready for his durational performance

Here’s a track made with Richard Devine’s ‘DreamCycles’ Animoog preset, part of my ‘Pianimoog •• discoverY’ album of free Animoog solos.

While this report focuses on Animoog because thats the purpose of this website, it’s important to know that Moogfest is not about showcasing Moog products: it’s a festival for art, technology and electronic music enthusiasts. Everyone is welcomed. Moog Music is known for the quality and the love they put in their products. Having recently become an employee-owned enterprise, it’ll certainly help them retain their cult status.

There were plenty of ‘Conversations’ during daytime at Moogfest, and all those I attended were of outstanding interest. ‘Conversations’ essentially are presentations interlaced with questions from participants. Amongst those I had the chance to attend was the talk on crowdfunding and micro-manufacturing musical devices with Andrew Kilpatrick of Kilpatrick Audio, a thesis on the death of music mastery by Mike Butera from Antiphon, in the Synth Design Icon themed conversations, I attended Tatsuya Takahashi from Korg and another one by Moog Music’s Cyril Lance, one of the creators of Animoog! One of the numerous interesting bits that Cyril shared is a saying from Bob Moog himself: « God is in the details » => details are actually what make things great. There were plenty other interesting talks from people such as Tod Machover from the MIT Media Lab and Laurie Anderson, former NASA artist-in-residence.

Sound design icon Cyril Lance

While I think the event is clearly targeting adult music geeks, Moogfest also appeals to families.

Plenty of families at Moogfest

Moogfest is also open to everyone in the world, just like The Global Synthesizer Project that crowdsourced georeferenced sounds from all around the planet. According to the organizers, “attendees from 44 US States and 21 different countries joined us in Durham. More than 6 million others around the world watched livestreams, and countless more shared our celebration online and in the press.”

The Global Synthesizer Project

Moogfest 2016 provided the opportunity to listen to difficult-to-find artists such as Suzanne Ciani, well known for her pioneering work with modular synthesizer in the 70’s.

Suzanne Ciani beginning her durational sound installation

Moogfest 2016 has been totally great! But as an Animoog player, were there any deceptions at Moogfest 2016? There wasn’t time to be deceived, so many exciting things going on! But yes, I do not fully understand why Moog Music apps were not showcased anywhere, not a single mention in the Moog Music space adjacent to the Modular Marketplace. Animoog itself nowhere to be seen, but much more stranger, not even a mention of the Moog Model 15 app that was launched less than three weeks before the event! I do understand that they can’t showcase all of their products, but I think they would have sold lots of Model 15 and Animoog apps considering they are attractively priced when compared to music hardware sold at Moogfest. I would have liked more music enthusiasts exposed to those wonderful app-instruments I like so much.

Here’s the three recap videos published by Moog Music themselves. It’s focused on the music shows of the festival, I suspect that’s why they haven’t provided a video for the fourth day which did not have shows at night time.

Moogfest 2016 ended up being something special to me. Has this first hand report helped you figure out if Moogfest is an event you’d like to participate in the future? Moogfest 2017 will take place in Durham as well on similar dates, May 18-21th 2017.

Durham’s Fletcher Hall • Caroline Theatre, where lots of the action took place

I hope I’ll be able to make it to Moogfest once again, that was an eye-opening experience to me! :-) Enjoy life — Alex / Satri

Moogfest 2016 Live Reports

Dear Animoog enthusiasts — a quick note to let you know that if you interested in my tweets while I’m participating to MoogFest 2016, simple follow’s Twitter account @animooglove — I’ll certainly publish a post  after the festival ends and I get some time writing it.

So far it’s been great, I even played Animoog on the Artiphon and have been ecstatic to play on a real Model 15! More in the tweets and in my post in the coming weeks. Take care! — Alex / Satri


Final Version of Satri’s ‘Model 15’ Album: Four New Tracks

I’m happy to have completed and now share with you the final version of my ‘Model 15’ album of improvised solos made with Moog Music’s ‘Model 15’ app during its Beta testing phase. I couldn’t resist the fun of releasing an album the very day the musical instrument becomes available to the world :-) That’s why you got an incomplete preview version. Please read the initial announcement if you haven’t do so already.

Those who have purchased the album already, THANKS AGAIN! :-) and please redownload the album for free on Bandcamp in order to get the full album as I intended it. My apologies for not having told you in advanced that I wasn’t done reviewing all the improvisations I did with the ‘Model 15’ app during its beta testing phase. I thought my first track triage was good enough but it wasn’t.

The four tracks I added are quite different from the previously released ones and I hope that you’ll like them as well :-)

The new total is 17 tracks and a running time now of 40 minutes. I also slightly shortened the ‘There will be more’ track for it to begin and end more smoothly. In a minority of cases, I truncated the beginning or the end of a track, which is provided raw without any mastering: that’s really how great the ‘Model 15’ app sounds by itself and played live :-) We really need quality headphones to fully enjoy such an app and the resulting tracks.


Here’s the updated list of tracks with the presets I used to play the improvised solos with Model 15. For the new version of the Album, I admit I haven’t respected the chronological ordering of tracks I used for the initial release, the new tracks haven been inserted attempting to make track transitions pleasant as much as possible.

Track list for the 'Model 15' album by Satri
#track nametimeModel 15 preset
1The wind0:41Pad / Drew Neumann
2Another blow1:09Pad / Drew Neumann
3Lumières2:01Brass / Fabio Di Mauro
Sperimenting in
4Learning to walk1:54Arpeggio / Kevin Lamb
Play one note at a time
5Constrained nonetheless2:49Brass / Trent Thompson
Wod wheelopoly
6Take off0:59FX / Trent Thompson
Ghost in the record
7Being real3:04Keys / Geert Bevin
Soft poly
8La foule1:22Brass / Trent Thompson
Wod wheelopoly
9Yourself alive6:05Tom Wies
Sequence I
10There will be more2:07Tom Wies
Sequence I
11Three trees2:25Tom Wies
Sequence III
12Through the rift2:59Modern / Geert Bevin
Between The Edges
13Steam loco1:50FX / Tony Saunders
Steam loco
14Ledom 51 test 145:54Tom Wies
Sequence I
15Légère2:04Keys / Geert Bevin
Soft poly
16Flat Earth horizon1:46Modern
Cosmic Organ Grinder
17D'autres traces0:39Modern / Geert Bevin
Sagittent Voluris

I’m rather happy with this album, I feel it brings something new I never heard elsewhere. That’s the feeling I get when I play solos with the Model 15 app. That’s fun music anyone can play live with the ‘Model 15’ app just like I did.

The album is of course still free, better actually as it is available as  Creative Commons CC-BY, and you can ready for Moogfest 2016! I think I’m now done working on Animoog albums for some time, there’s another music project I want to work on first. And yes, it’s Animoog related :-) I obviously won’t stop playing since I like it so much. And you’ll still hear from me since I have a few other Animoog-related posts to share with you.

Enjoy life! — Alex / Satri