Moog Announces End of Moogerfooger Pedals: A Look Back at What Made Them So Great

Moog Music announced today the discontinuation of the remaining Moogerfooger effects pedals. These instantly recognizable stompboxes were first introduced in 1998 and were—along with the Etherwave Theremin and Voyager synthesizer—among the last pieces of gear developed by Bob Moog before his passing in 2005.

While different entries in the Moogerfooger lineup have come and gone over the years, the stalwart MF-101 Lowpass Filter, MF-102 Ring Modulator, and MF-103 12-Stage Phaser will now be leaving Moog's catalog, joining previously discontinued models such as the MF-108M Cluster Flux and the highly coveted MF-104M delay.

A farewell Moogerfooger jam.

These pedals were introduced before the boutique pedal explosion of the mid-aughts. Amid today's expansive effect market, it's easy to forget how groundbreaking they were when introduced. They remain an indelible part of Bob Moog's legacy, and today, we're going to take a look at some of the ways this now-defunct series helped change the pedal game.

Universal Application and Appeal

While recent boutique pedals designs attract all sorts of musicians, from vocalists to synthists, pedals of the past more or less ended up where you would expect—guitarists and bassists’ rigs. Electronic musicians and recording studios, on the other hand, opted for rackmount effects, which tended to be more expensive and capable. This was the musical landscape into which Moog debuted its line of Moogerfooger pedals back in 1998.

Moog didn’t bring rackmount multi-effects processing power to the masses, but they did fuse high-end sound with the traditional stompbox form factor. The Moogerfoogers’ black metal cases and wooden side panels hearkened back to Moog’s classic synthesizer days, pulling in existing fans, while the stompbox design, with its foot switch, appealed equally to guitarists, bassists, and other instrumentalists.

Multiple Inputs, Including CV and MIDI

Many effects pedals now have multiple inputs and outputs, whether they be Mono, Stereo, Control Voltage (CV), MIDI, and Expression (some of which can accept CV), or some combination thereof. Back when Moog started releasing the Moogerfoogers, this wasn’t expected, though Boss’s line of micro-rack processors from the 1980s did have limited CV implementation.

With many devices, from effects pedals to sequencers, now offering CV implementation, Moog’s foresight almost seems prophetic. Eurorack and other modular synthesizer rigs demand CV, and even non-modular analogue and digital gear are more frequently offering it to satisfy live and studio performers who need various ways of connecting their electronic instruments. Indeed, Bob Moog was skating toward where the puck would be, not where it was.

Full Analogue Circuitry

Between the early 1980s and 1990s, digital effects pedals really took hold in the guitar and bass worlds, with Boss, Digitech, and digital effects builders dominating the market. Some pedal makers, like Electro-Harmonix and MXR, were still making stompboxes with analog circuitry at the time, but it’s safe to say that analog wasn’t really the industry standard.

When the Moogerfoogers came along in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, they were on the frontline of companies bringing analog circuitry back to stompboxes—or at least vital in re-emphasizing the value of analog circuitry.

With the Moogerfoogers, Moog brought its decades worth of modular analog circuitry to bear on its pedals’ design. Everything about them was analog, from the controls to the signal path. This allowed Moog to offer up something like the MF-108M Cluster/Flux. Ostensibly a Chorus/Flanger pedal, the Cluster/Flux offered six waveshapes (Sine, Triangle, Square, Ramp, Reverse Ramp, and Sample and Hold), but with additional functionality like delay, low-frequency oscillation (LFO), and positive and negative feedback that can produce self-oscillation.

For the MF-104 Delay pedal, Moog opted to resurrect the Bucket Brigade Device (BBD) chip, a circuit that had fallen by the wayside during the digital revolution. For the uninitiated, BBD chips—originally made by Matsushita (now Panasonic), Reticon, and Philips Research Laboratories—were electronic devices that allowed effects unit designers to move away from large magnetic tape-based effects units, like the Echoplex and Roland Space Echo, and produce time-delay electronic signals like reverb, echo, delay, flanging, chorus, and effects in smaller packages. That “warm” analog sound found in analog pedals has a great deal to do with the low-fidelity artifacts created by BBD chips, like noise and aliasing.

Moog’s Iconic Aesthetic

Some pedals, like Roger Mayer’s Octavia vintage fuzz stompbox and Electro-Harmonix’s Memory Man, are just instantly recognizable and iconic. The same holds true for the Moogerfoogers—and their appearance makes them exceptionally easy to spot in a live or studio setup.

Like Moog’s modular systems, as well as the Minimoog and Prodigy keyboard synthesizers, the company gave the Moogerfoogers those legendary knobs, the black metal case, wood side panels, red and blue switches, and the clean vertical module columns. Everything is clean, minimal, and makes total sense. Indeed, the Moogerfoogers’ build quality was matchless.

Remaining Moogerfooger pedals are currently avalible through Moog dealers worldwide. Find yours here on Reverb.

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