Moog Minimoog Voyager RME by kraku
"Voyager" is a surprising family of synths by Moog. These synths offer a much wider set of features and sound palette than the classic Minimoog or the more modern Little/Slim Phatty. If you're used to thinking that Moog only offers "that" sound from the old progressive rock records, you're in for a big surprise when you first lay your hands on the Voyager RME.
First of all, Voyager RME offers dual filters. It's not instantly obvious by glancing at the knobs on the front panel, but if you look more closely, you'll notice the "Spacing" knob and "Mode" flip switch. Spacing knob controls the separation between the cutoff frequencies of the two filters. This allows you to fine-tune the tone of your sound to fit your mix/arrangement perfectly. Very handy! The Mode flip switch lets you select the filter mode between Dual LP and HP/LP. Dual LP filters the left and right audio channel separately with lowpass filters, letting you control the left/right frequency balance with the Spacing knob. This produces nice and wide stereo analogue textures. HP/LP mode puts the high pass and lowpass filters in series, creating an adjustable band width bandpass filter. Just like in the famous Oscar synth. This mode creates a mono signal. These two knobs alone let you create huge number of non-Moogy sounds you could never achieve on your Minimoog.
The second thing that separates the Voyager RME from its little brothers are the extensive modulation options. The front panel gives you large number of ways to modulate all the usual suspects: oscillator pitch, filter frequency and so on. If you feel limited by the modulation options on the front panel, you can also dive into the menus where you will find tons of more modulation routing possibilities. In fact the options are so vast that I've only had the chance to use maybe 10% of them. Impressive. The downside is that navigating the menus can be a bit of a pain, but the results are usually worth it.
The third trick up the Voyager's sleeve are the expansion ports. You can buy VX-351 and VX-352 CV expander modules to turn your Voyager into a modular synthesizer. Unfortunately these modules concentrate only on the modulation routing and won't let you route the audio signal itself. This is a shame, but not a deal breaker. It still gives you a lot more modulation options and the capability to use external signals for modulation.
So how does it sound? In a word: good. Really good. Voyager is able to deliver those full, smooth and massive bass sounds the Moog is world famous for. Since this synth is no one trick pony, it can also deliver crunchy sounding FM bass sounds (yes, the synth lets you frequency modulate between the oscillators, as made famous by couple of top name dance music producers) as well as tons of other options. The oscillator sync also sounds quite unique and excellent, producing very usable sounds, especially in combination with the FM capabilities. What ever you do, the sounds always seem to be "alive" and don't sound static at all. Voyager definitely has it's own strong character which separates it from the other synths out there. If you want the Voyager sound, the other synths can't come even close. If - however - you're looking for a workhorse synth that delivers sounds that fit any occasion, the Voyager family of synths isn't probably for you.
The price tag might make you sweat, but when you look at the build quality and the modulation options this synth has, you'll realize that you have a quality product in your hands that has been built to last.