Moog Animoog – The ‘First Professional Synth For The iPad’?

Moog Music has released their new software synthesizer for the iPad, Animoog, which features what Moog calls its Anisotropic Synth Engine.

Moog calls Animoog the ‘first professional synth for the iPad’. That’s a pretty bold statement, considering that there are already some excellent synths for the iPad. But Moog has as good a track record as anyone at putting out great-sounding synths.


  • Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE) – A new Moog technology that allows the user to move dynamically through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create a constantly evolving soundscape.
  • Timbre page – Assemble unique sounds in the X/Y space from timbres of a wide variety of vintage and modern Moog synthesizers and pedals. Note: this is NOT simple sample playback.
  • Polyphonic Modulation – Slide your fingers to control multiple modulation parameters in Animoog right from the keys.
  • Polyphonic Pitch Shifting – Manipulate the exact pitch of each note in a chord by rotating or sliding your fingers.
  • Delay Module – A classic analog style ping pong delay.
  • Thick Module – From bit crushing to unison voice detuning and drive, this module adds depth, edge and character to Animoog’s sound palette.
  • Moog Filter – The classic four-pole Moog ladder filter with High Pass, Low Pass and Band Pass modes.
  • Record Module – Record your performance and overdub new layers, or play along live. Transfer recordings between Animoog and any other apps which support AudioCopy/AudioPaste
  • Path Module – Direct ASE through Animoog’s X/Y space to create new sounds.
  • Orbit Module – Control the rate of orbit in the X/Y space around the path you created for ‘subtle to insane’ voice manipulation.
  • Flexible Modulation Matrix – Amp, Filter and Mod Envelopes, LFO with continuously variable wave shapes and sync, and four flexible and assignable modulation slots.
  • MIDI in/out – Use any other MIDI controller to control Animoog.

Here are some screen shots from Animoog:

Moog has released Animoog at an introductory price of $.99, because they say they “want as many people as possible to experience Animoog.” The regular price will be $29.99.

Check out the Animoog specs, screen shots and audio previews and let us know what you think of Moog’s new iPad synth and its Anisotropic Synth Engine. Time to buy an iPad?

And if you’ve tried out Animoog – leave a comment with your thoughts!

Moog Animoog Tour

Here’s the official Moog tour of Animoog:

Here are some audio demos of Animoog:

Animoog Manual

A manual for Animoog is available for download via the Moog site (.pdf). At this point, though, the manual could be charitably called incomplete. We’d like to see Moog create a manual equal to the app itself.

Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE)

Animoog, powered by Moog’s new Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE), is a polyphonic synthesizer for the iPad. ASE is designed to let you move dynamically through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create constantly evolving soundscapes.

According to Moog, ‘Animoog captures the vast sonic vocabulary of Moog synthesisers  and applies it to the modern touch surface paradigm, enabling you to quickly sculpt incredibly fluid and dynamic sounds that live, breathe, and evolve as you play them.’

Anisotropy is the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions. It can be defined as a difference, when measured along different axes, in a material’s physical or mechanical properties.

97 thoughts on “Moog Animoog – The ‘First Professional Synth For The iPad’?

  1. Im getting tired of most of these teasers that companies are putting out, but this one does have me intrigued.

    If Moog does put out a great software synth, they’ve got some balls.

    1. Would you be interested in a Moog digital keyboard?

      Their historic association with analog gear might make people resistant to them doing an analog synth. Look at the feedback we had on the Roland Jupiter 80 posts. It seemed like people were rejecting the idea of a digital Jupiter as much as what they heard or read about the synth.

      Animoog shows that Moog can do a software synth that does sound great, though.

      1. First, I have to disclaim that my experience with analog synths is pretty limited. I think the differences between a Moog digital synth and a Roland (for example) would be that Moog would not have to make as many compromises to have more mass appeal. IMO, Moog will take the rig seriously, get it right, and the users who appreciate that level of design will seek it out.

        Whether it will sound analog is less of a concern to me. Looking forward, the more important question is: “Can they make a musical instrument that will play expressively, sound wonderful, and have versatility and power enough to wear the name: Moog?”

  2. wow. consider me mindfucked. I’m getting this the second it drops. Yeah the demo was rather short but if it’s made by Moog, there’s no doubt as to it’s quality.

      1. I don’t have a MIDI adaptor for my iPad (I really only use hardware synths) but I might make an exception for Animoog. It looks like it has MIDI input:

        Setup -> Refresh MIDI input(s) -> OFF/Network Session 1

  3. It sounds beautiful. I’m a music app junkie and every time a new one comes out I tell myself “no more” but I always weaken. It took me only a few seconds to weaken for this one. For 99c it sounds a lot better than it has any right to.

  4. I just paid the 99cents (what? how?) and the first thing I’d say is… it makes you want to dig deeper. It’s not all there on the one page. A lot of real estate is devoted to the Fairlight type display which sort of baffles me so far. But buying this is to use the overused quote… a ‘no brainer’

    1. The ‘fairlight display’ has a great concept: you can have a predefined ‘path’ that an X-Y point moves over, it’s like pre-programming modulation. To the right of the display is a module (filter/path/orbit). Select path, then hit the bottom button (edit) and you can then alter where the points are that make up the X-Y path. Or hit clear, and then make your own path.

  5. Downloaded it and played with it for about 10 minutes before leaving for work. It sounds fantastic to say the least. I really do think this statement is true: “(you can) quickly sculpt incredibly fluid and dynamic sounds that live, breathe, and evolve as you play them.” I don’t see any instructions yet but it seems very easy to figure out what everything does just by playing around with it.

    The only complaint I have is that turning the small knobs (at least for me anyway) was fiddly and difficult to manipulate. The larger ones work okay. I didn’t see anyway to adjust them to linear control.
    I can’t believe this is only 99 cents!

  6. Just got it. Here’s the answers to a couple of questions it has.
    MIDI? Yes it has it. I haven’t tried it yet, but it should even work with background MIDI.
    What OS version.. App Store says 3.2 or later, Though I’m going to go out on a limb and say that an iPad 2 will run this much better.

    It sounds great. I really want them to releas some docs for it though. The synth engine is a little different from what we’re used to.

  7. If it responds to mid, does that mean you can use another app, like StepPolyArp or Polychord to control it? Sorry if that’s a dumb question – kind of new to all this stuff

    1. Great app. From what we can tell, it recognizes virtual MIDI ports, but Moog needs to enable background audio before you’ll be able to use apps like polychord to control it using 1 iPad.

  8. Sounds very good and it has Midi!

    It looks like it supports virtual Midi, but I didn’t get it to work with Genome. Anybody have better luck?

  9. Right off the bat I’m impressed. Such eye candy and evocative sounds. And I can’t believe the 99¢ price (for now, I guess). Now, if our friends at Touch Digital Controllers Ltd. would come up with something to dock the iPad into so we can tweak some real knobs!!
    Thanks, Moog!

  10. this synth sounds beautiful! i am very impressed. and thanks to synthtopia for being on top of this so i could get it before it’s 30 bucks! = )

    1. You’re welcome – and I’m glad you’re liking the app. I haven’t found much to complain about yet, which is a good sign.

  11. I’ve just bought this and I don’t have an iPad … Madness? Well, I know I’m going to get one in the New Year so 99 cents well spent. 🙂

    1. How did you manage to make it work with Genome ?
      I can’t make it appear in the Midi output list.

      Otherwise, it has a fantastic sound !

  12. Tried it for one hour, and I can say this Animoog is really impressive. Sounds are great, ergonomy is clean, and it’s easy to manipulat3 and triggering the sound is a dream. MIDI, audio import/export, recording with overdubbing several differents sounds, clean interface,modulable keyboard,to name few of the valuable features. A great synth for a single $ !

    1. this might be a problem with iOS 5, and you just haven’t realized yet, that your iPad has been muted since the update.
      Check if your side switch is enabled for “display rotation lock”, switch it back to “mute”, go to your homescreen, unmute with the switch, go back to menu and switch it back to “display rotation lock”, this should solve the problem, well it did with my musical apps yesterday.

      good luck!

  13. I’m loving this, but I still haven’t tried the MIDI part, I’m actually a bit confused about the whole thing, and apparently there’s not much of a user guide as of now..
    So, MIDI, does it mean that I can program say, a bass line in Live and it will play Animoog as if it were a plugin instrument?
    And how will MIDI work? Is it a virtual MIDI connection through wi-fi or bluetooth, or do I need an actual cable to do that?
    That’s pretty much it for now. Thanks a lot..

    1. The app is very impressive synth.

      They need to follow it up with some practical demos or documentation, though, because it’s clear that some features, like MIDI routing, are puzzling some users.

      Animoog is an exciting new synth, for sure, though.

  14. Just got it, sounds fantastic !!! But i don’t have any sounds coming out the ipad speaker, only thru the headspeakers output. I’m on iOS5….
    anybody the same problem??

  15. OK, got it fixed.
    My ipad was on rotation lock, i changed to mute lock and switched the locker on and off. And it’s working fine on the iPad speakers. 🙂 🙂

  16. This is what fairlight app should of added in. MOOG does it again. Made the value of my iPad go up. $.99 Make other devs step their game up.

    1. It’s head to head with Sunrizer, IMO, but Sunrizer is easier to figure out and a little less “fiddly”.

      Both sound great. I haven’t been able to get Animoog working with Genome yet – hoping Moog will create some tutorials for Animoog!

      1. Well, let’s not forget about VirSyn’s Addictive Synth. But even forgiving the PR hyperbolae, it’s a pile of fun, and with oodles of potential – and that’s what counts. That it can be enjoyed for under a dollar is just crazy, and for that, I thank the Moog folks profusely. ^_^

        1. Sunrizer, Addictive Synth, Korg iMS 20 –

          What other iPad synths do you think are “professional synths”, comparable to Animoog?

          And if you don’t think any of them are professional quality – why?

    1. if this app was made by Chris Wolfe (creator of Jasuto), then I wouldn’t be surprised if a manual will NEVER come out…. I’m still waiting for him to release one for Jasuto which I purchased almost 2 years ago!

      1. I have manules for both, the jasuto manule came out with the original VST version, though some of the oscillators and the moog filter have changed names for the iOS versions it’s the same thing, as for Animoog there is a 9 page manule on the moog website

  17. I noticed this on Moog’s website…
    “The heart of Animoog is Moog’s Anisotropic Synthesis Engine (ASE), a technology that has been in development at Moog for nearly six years. Animoog captures the vast sonic vocabulary of Moog synthesizers and applies it to the modern touch surface paradigm.”

    Six years? There were no iPads 6 years ago.

    I smell a new hardware synth…

    1. I’m guessing the digital engine was in development for other products like a soft synth for desktop use, and when the iPad came out, it was adapted to a touch surface.

  18. This app is WELL worth the 99cents or 30 bucks. Sound quality is great and it explores some territories that were missing on the iOS platform. I am hooked, already used about 10 of the built in sounds for tracks. The presets are fucking great on top of that!!

  19. It’s a killer app, sounds great BUT I have a real problem with the marketing hype – it’s completely unnecessary (all they would have had to say was “MOOG iPad” & I’m buying) and worse, inaccurate. It is not the “first” or even the “first professional” – (Korg iMS20 if you mean “professional company that makes hardware). But I consider several of the most recent synths – Sunrizer, Addictive Synth, NLog Pro, SampleWiz to be _very_ professional. As far as the iPad hype – yes it is wonderful, yes, it’s about touch, but it’s just another instrument in my arsenal (yes I have an old MicroMoog + more) – not better or worse than hardware instruments . On the other hand, there are a few iPad developers that have produced some very non-traditional sound generating programs that do not have a corollary to anything you can buy at Guitar Center – check out CP 1919 and Donut from The Strange Agency – these do not rely on the “traditional” keyboard/Osc/Filt/Env paradigm and hint at the power that the iPad can bring to audio production.

  20. It’s a good thing Moog always makes fantastic sounding synths, because their advertising, pricing and product placement has them bordering on “dick” these days. (Do I have to spend $30 to be a “professional”?). I would also put the ugly green UI squarely in the “unfortunate” category. But in the end its a really fantastic instrument.

    1. I bet you use Behringer gear and call your self pro… It’s all about quality, not professional vs consumer the reason a Moog cost more than most is because of the FILTERS, they sound sooo good people will throw a lot of money to have them, beyond that, they really just mix waveforms, which every synth does. If you provide a product that is better than the compitition’s why wouldn’t you tell people that your product is more expensive because your better. Advertising yourself to your target clientele makes you a “dick?”, because I know a lot of people that salivate over my Moogs, and wish they could own one but can’t, whereas I read/watch the advert and I say to myself “I may need to buy that.” The fact that this synth pulls from so many classics yet manages to combine it all in a shell that make people go “OMG!” just makes it better. 99.9999999% of the time you get what you pay for. This time, Moog gave us all an early Christmas, relatively speaking. If you run cheap gear chances are you produce a cheap sound (Reason vs Native Instruments) but that doesn’t make or break your pro status. Pro status is all in use and experience, not in it’s price, sometimes a certain sound costs more, sometimes less.

  21. Wow this looks like a ton of fun, will be picking up this app ASAP.. I hope it’s not just a fancy sample playback engine with some LFO’s and filters slapped on, but for $0.99 who cares. I honestly just hope this starts a trend amongst all the high end synth manufacturers… Access please take note the iPad need to get infected soon.

  22. This is the best fucking thing made for the iPad! Ok, so the recorder could have a metronome for count-in and looping, but hey no need, I’m buying midi for my baby now and are for sure use it live with my pc3x and ableton live!

  23. There’s a manual up on the “Download” page on the Moog site. Haven’t looked at it carefully yet – seems pretty high level, but it’s a start

  24. I have used Moog’s first iOS offering called Filtatron for a while now and find it to be a highly creative and unique electronic music app for the iPad.

    Moog’s newest Animoog app is very different than Filtatron, but is equally creative and unique. The best part about it is that it sounds so good, and is so much fun to play!

  25. Once you start to figure how this synth works, you’ll start to realize that you really don’t want to use a MIDI controller. It is one of the few apps that really makes amazing use of the touchscreen in order to do things quite unique. Sure, you can just make a sound and play it on a keyboard which works great, but you’re missing some great stuff this thing can do by bypassing the UI. I’m looking forward to digging deeper with it, maybe make a few vids.

    1. Agreed, Moog have done a really good job with control of the synth, particularly the polyphonic aftertouch. After I had played this synth for a couple hours last night I decided I still do not want to get a MIDI interface for the iPad.

      But I would like to see an option to have the keyboard use more screen space, e.g. taller keys.

      1. Anna Log

        Have to agree on the keyboard.

        The Animoog interface balances performance with patching. For performance, though, it would be nice if you could ‘close’ the top 2/3rds of the UI and expand the keyboard – putting the focus on selecting and playing patches.

        The current UI does a great job of balancing the different priorities you may have using the app, though.

  26. Is this app a sample player?
    The manual says there are 8 “timbres”/”waveforms” + some params to control them,
    and some effects (filter, delay etc) to post-process.
    I don’t see mention of synthesis params to control or design the basic timbres.
    Might it be a granular synthesis player maybe?

  27. Sounds beautiful. I had to return my work iPad to corporate when I took a promotion, but this app combined with my wife’s constant “I miss the iPad” remarks may warrant the effort to fill out a requisition for a PO.

  28. Hi synthtopia,

    I haven’t been here for a while, sorry about that, I’ve been busy, the dog ate my homework etc. etc.

    The site’s looking good these days, but where have all the cynics gone? Here’s a taste of the old days…

    All tablet computers/touchscreen interfaces/apple products/music apps/digital synths are lame!

    Ha! That told you!

  29. Fantastic app – almost worth the price of the iPad, never mind 69p!

    Couple of things I’ve found:

    * Occasionally crashes when searching for Midi ports – if so, double click home button, close the app and restart
    * Once got no sound – again double click home and close the app then restart
    * Works fine with Microkorg via USB adapter – detect both Microkorgs keyboard and external Midi ports.
    * Works fine with Core MIDI, MIDI clock is fully supported. I had it sync’ed up to Reason on Windows using a variety of software..
    * Works OK on latest iOS5 with 16GB iPad2
    * Doesn’t seem to send MIDI out from the virtual keyboard 🙁

    I have found that using the inbuilt keyboard is actually more fun than a MIDI controller – it allows you a lot more control over the sound.

    1. Kurt

      Yeah – nice to not have to moderate any comments because of personal attacks!

      You have to give Moog credit for hitting a home run with Animoog, though. It’s a fun synth, it’s can be played expressively, it’s got a very “Moog” UI, it sounds good and the price is currently ridiculously low.

      Also – is the current crop of iPad music apps causing some to reconsider the possibilities of multi-touch music software?

  30. if you own an ipad already .99 cents is a no brainer.

    if you don’t own an ipad, it’s just another fun approach with visual stimuli for creating something already available. nothing new, just fun to play with.

  31. This kinda reminds me of Melodyne, but even more tactile. It allows you to literally dip your fingers in the sound. Its not only Moog-good sonically, but they got 98% of the I/O right the very first time. Classy. It feels as if Bob designed a softsynth from the ground up. The guy who said he was playing AniMoog alongside a “real” MiniMoog has the best idea of the lot, because it covers traditional keyboard playing AND the new world of pad-play. All I ask is this: PLEASE don’t just use it for Depeche Mode covers, argh:P.

  32. Will somebody please please send a link to show how to link it with Core MIDI/Midi Clock. I am looking online but cant find anything – im not being lazy! Argh!!! I have seen about 10 people asking how to do it…..

  33. the sheer audacity of the idea behind this makes even the really well thought out iPad synths look ordinary. My ’74 Minimoog is giving me some very dirty looks.

  34. Within a half minute of install, I wrote a riff w/ the default setting worth recording…used the recorder in the app for playback, but I’m unsure how to port/send output to my Four Track App on my iPhone4 … Any guidance?

    1. You can export the sound as a .wav through iTunes FIle Sharing. The app also supports the AudioPaste ‘standard’, if your app works with that.

      Moog really needs to step up the recording aspect somehow. I would at least like multiple tracks, and some sort of better display of what’s going on with the recording.

  35. Bob Moog would be proud. He began building theremins and considered ribbon controllers an important component in synthesizer expressiveness. The iPad’s touch screen gives that kind of modulation.

    I love this app and recommend it to everyone who owns an ipad, musician or not. Just too much fun! The x/y pad’s visualization of the sound is inspired…and inspiring! I could go on and on.

    A great toy and a wonderful musical instrument that puts the “play” back in playing. Still on sale at a mere $9.99

  36. I have to say, i love animoog. At first i was amazed at how great the presets sounded coming out of my ipad. Once i got it into the studio and plugged it into the console, whoaaa, the bottom end was amazing. im still in aw of the quality and the wonderful hui. i havent used it in midi mode yet, i mostly use it to add color to my productions and play leads in realtime. Considering i got this app for 99 cents, i feel like i should be giving moog some production credits on my releases. Great product!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! incredible price…

    Michael K Success
    “What’s Your Status”

  37. I find Animoog to be a quite capable synth. It sounds every bit as good as my hardware Moogs when played through an amp or studio monitors. The presets and add on sets are good, but I prefer the sounds after I’ve tweaked a bit, or the sounds I’ve made from “scratch”. What I would love to know, is if I can load my own homemade timbres into Animoog somehow, so I can really create some things from scratch.. Can this be done, and does anyone know how to do this?

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