Powerful Moog-style bass synth • Simple, intuitive UI with easy control over major sound parameters • Switchable saw and square waves • Dual Detune mode for a thicker sound • Multimode filter with Moog Ladder and modern 4-pole options• Glitch button for instant patch creation!
Back in 1981, the Moog Source was an unusual departure. It was in some ways a classic Moog monosynth: two oscillators, that wonderful ladder filter, a built-in arpeggiator and all sorts of other goodies. Beyond this, it was also the first Moog machine to offer patch memory: you could save 16 of your own sounds to its internal banks, and dump them to cassette storage too. In many ways, the Source was the way of the future; too bad that the future, back in 1981, was fixated on covering things with membrane switches. While the Source sounded brilliant – particularly on bass sounds – its look-and-feel took a turn into DX7 territory, making it something of a pig to program and tweak.
But it did have a hidden secret weapon: its fairly basic architecture and Z80-based microprocessor control made it ripe for circuit-bending, customisation and various other mods.
Fast-forward forty years and, in a shed in France, a wonderful lunatic called Laurent Lecatelier has the ultimate modding brainwave: what if you took the circuitry of eight Moog Sources, bolted it together, and turned it into a massive polysynth?
The answer to that question is Baloran’s The River, an enormously impressive combination of genuine analogue circuitry, comprehensive CV and MIDI control, and onboard effects. At its heart are those eight Source circuitboards, repurposed here as individual voice cards; and the whole is very much more than the sum of its parts, too, with some genuinely unusual twists and turns to the sound architecture that makes it very inspiring to fiddle around with.
Its sounds also form the core of Mr Bass, which is essentially a lean, mean bass machine modelled on the Source, and with an eye on the Moog Rogue (and its circuit-twin, the Taurus II bass pedal system). What we’ve got here is a simple, intuitive bass synth with two detunable oscillators – switchable between twin saws or twin squares – plus a filter that can be clicked between classic Moog ladder style and an aggressive modern 4-pole setting. Mr Bass can operate in mono or poly modes, with portamento / glide for added funkiness; and although you can actually get perfectly cool pads and leads out of it, it’s obviously intended primarily as a bass monster.
Our (in)famous Glitch control is present and correct, offering instant gratification (or at least a constant stream of randomised new patches); and you can drive the circuitry to get some upper harmonics going that will help your bass cut through the mix on smaller speakers.
This is a pocket-sized instrument that punches way above its weight in sound terms: there’s a ton of genuine analogue goodness packed into the core waveforms, and with a little detune and a twist of the filter controls you can put yourself right in vintage Moog territory. For pretty much any kind of classic synth bass, this one’s got you covered.
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