Inside The Moog Werkstatt Analog Synthesizer

At Moogfest 2014, Moog Music introduced the Werkstatt analog synthesizer as a special DIY project that attendees could build in a two-day course at the Moog Factory.

The Werkstatt is a DIY project, with dozens of solder points, and is designed to be open to hacking, with jumpers, expansion points and even a ‘breadboard area’ where you can wire in mods. Though it’s a fairly straightforward design, it’s built like a tank, is patchable and, as designer Steve Dunnington told us, “It’s got Moog DNA.”

In this video, Moog Music’s Steve Dunnington and Trent Thompson give a behind-the-scenes look at the Werkstatt and what it can do.

Moog designed the Werkstatt specifically as a DIY project for Moogfest attendees and has not announced official plans for the synth beyond this week’s event.

Based on discussions we’ve had with attendees, there’s a lot of potential for the Werkstatt outside of Moogfest. Expect to see a lot of videos and hacks showing up in the next few weeks.

Over at BBoyTechReport, Corry Banks has shared his experience at Moogfest building the Werkstatt. “Long story short,” says Banks, “This damn thing is fun and it sounds great!”

Here’s an early example of the Werkstatt in the wild. Lee Coombs uses the Werkstatt’s expansion connectors to sequence it with a Roland TB-303, resulting in some Werkstatt acid:

Would you be interested in seeing the Werkstatt synthesizer having a life outside of Moogfest 2014? Check out the videos and leave a comment with your thoughts!

And, if you happen to be one of the VIP attendees, let us know what you thought of the experience of building the Werkstatt – and if you’ve got audio or video demos to share!


26 thoughts on “Inside The Moog Werkstatt Analog Synthesizer

  1. If they priced these at around $300, they’d sell like hotcakes. This is way more synth, in terms of sound quality, build and flexibility than things like the Volcas.

    The problem for Moog, though, is that it might detract from the sales of their other synths.

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    • Give them 50 years mate. They did the theremin kits a whole back so this would be a logical product the put out. Kits do have a limited market though unless they do a korg ms 20 job or build some sort of educational program materials around it?

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    • The schematics do exist online, but have been released only privately to the workshop attendees.

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  2. I was lucky enough to be at the workshop. Steve D did a fantastic job. I literally just hooked it up to my monitors at home, and it sounds BIG. Really identifiably Moog. It’s bizarre — I have similar oscs, EGs and a 24dB ladder filter in my eurorack, and this still sounds different.

    The workshop was a great deal of fun. The board is SMD, so the soldering really consisted of installing the pots and switches, and a few jumpers. Nice easy build, nothing difficult with the fit or enclosure. Only thing sort-of missing is a ground pin, but you can use the audio cable for sharing a ground with eurorack gear. Tracks very well. PWM for square waves is essential, and Steve included it in the design. Second day (3 hrs) was a walkthough of the schematics and discussion of test points, jumpers, and expansion possibilities.

    It was a fantastic experience, and Moogfest was a blast. The workshoppers were a fun and friendly bunch, and we were all very pleased with the build and the sounds coming out of the werkstatt. Big congratulations to SteveD for a great design, and to Moog management for letting their engineers do fun and silly things like this and the Emerson clone. You never know what might come out of this kind of thing. Mike Adams and Cyril Lance clearly have their hearts in the right place — it’s about fun and music! Hats off to all at Moog.

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    • I concur with miniphase. The workshop was great fun, and the other attendees were very friendly; we had a great time geeking out together for the rest of the festival, too. I will definitely sign up for any future workshop projects that Moog runs with Moogfest.

      The kit was extremely simple to build. As miniphase said, it was predominately a through-hole installation and solder kit. The board was simply laid out, and there were only 99 or so joints to solder. Steve and the other engineers were available and circulating the room to help where needed and were always very interested in conversation and questions. It was fun to hear that even certain engineers thought they were looking at a voice card when they first saw the boards! (I’d love to have a couple more to experiment along these lines.)

      Many thanks to Mike, Steve, Rick, and everyone else at Moog for such a great weekend!

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  3. I know that it’s hard to tell but something sounds like from just a YouTube video, but this does sound very nice and also very ‘Moogy’. The bass on it sounds pretty killer.

    It’s cool as is, but I’d love to see this turned into a Eurorack module. $400 or so would be a fair price for that (less than a Minitaur). It would fill a gap in the Euro market and I think a lot of people would live to have a simple synth voice at a fair price.

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    • I ordered mine! Got an email that said Control Voltage is waiting on a shipment from Moog.

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