Moog – Please Fix Animoog & Keep MIDI Standard

Moog Animoog

Moog Music’s Animoog software synth has been embraced by the synth community as one of the most powerful music apps available for the iPad. Animoog turns the iPad into a real synth, a Moog synth and a synth that offers capabilities that your won’t find anywhere else, at any price.

The latest update, though, is wowing and frustrating owners in equal measures.

It adds welcome new features, including MIDI CC mapping, improved preset management and extended recording time. But it also suffers from a problematic update process that is causing serious synthesists to lose their custom patches.

To upgrade safely, users need to export their custom patches, delete their version of Animoog, reinstall Animoog and then import their custom patches. But iOS automatically notifies users when app updates are available, making it easy for Animoog users to update, without being aware of the potential for data loss.

Moog needs to fix the upgrade problem. Ratings for the current version of Animoog in the App Store are a full two points below previous versions. So, it’s clear that owners are frustrated by the issues they are encountering.

If it’s not technically possible to eliminate this upgrade problem, Moog should take the opportunity to lead the industry and ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

There’s another problem with the latest Animoog update, though.

Don’t Break MIDI

Moog has added improved MIDI support to Animoog, which is very welcome.

But one half of Animoog’s MIDI support, MIDI-OUT, is a $5 in-app upgrade.

Making MIDI support an optional add on is an annoyance for users, damaging to the MIDI standard and a barrier to the development of MIDI on the iOS platform.

Hardware synth manufacturers don’t charge you a fee to activate the MIDI ports on their keyboards. They know that this would be absurd and that having a standard way to connect gear is beneficial to everyone.

The makers of music software for your desktop or laptop computer have continued the tradition of supporting MIDI. They know that MIDI support makes their software more useful to customers and worth more to buyers.

Developers of professional music apps for the iPad have the option to charge for MIDI, via an in-app purchase. And it’s clear that that this is an appealing option for companies looking for ways to make developing iOS music software profitable.

This is short-term thinking.

Synthesists don’t want to have to think about whether a synth supports MIDI. This is reflected in Animoog’s dramatic ratings drop with this release. In the long run, making MIDI work consistently on the iPad music platform should be beneficial to Moog and to all companies making serious music apps.

Synthesist will be a lot happier, too, paying for in-app purchases, if they are for lust-worthy sound libraries or mind-blowing new synth capabilities.

Moog, please fix this. Your keyboards and other gear are not just highly respected among synthesists – your no-compromise approach has made them objects of desire.

Animoog can be and should be in this same class.

Update: We’ve posted an official response from Moog on these issues.

71 thoughts on “Moog – Please Fix Animoog & Keep MIDI Standard

      1. The first paragraph admits that Animoog offers features that you can’t find anywhere, on any synth (including hardware) at any price — and I totally agree with this statement. I’ve been playing hardware synths for over 25 years (I wish I still had my ARP Solace from back in the day), and the last piece of kit I bought set me back close to $3,000 (Roland Fantom X).

        Even if you paid the full rate of $30 for the app (I picked it up when it was $20), another $5 is still a bargain for what you get from this app. Early app developers set the bar way too low with their $2 iPad app pricing, and software this good is worth the money.

        If you pay for ALL of the expansions at full price, you’re out what… $45? Look at comparable PC/Mac-based soft synths (oh wait, there are none), and $45 is the bottom of the barrel — expect upwards of $300 for a decent soft synth.

        Stop whining. If you don’t like it — don’t buy it.

  1. There is no excuse for the failure in the update process….especially when you consider that it happens only for ipad update and the iphone update.
    Its a big bug and moog goofed up here. They better make it up in someway to the customers.
    Who could have resisted an update to the most awesome and beloved synth….just looking at that pending update in the update list got the hands quivering and twitching !!!……who wants to read what has changed….its an update for Animoog damn it! Its going to be cool….let me update and find out!!

    Luckily the tweet from discchord saved me and did a export and back up first

    Also agree on the midi, I think the iaps should be used for new patches,sounds. Midi should have been the core inbuilt feature….no complains for the feature though !

  2. Edit the above : i meant that it works for iphone update but the ipad update is the one with the problem.
    Unfortunately i bet most of the folks use only ipad and not the iphone version

  3. I think generally I (we?) should get in the habit of looking at the text in the update descriptions in the App Store app. And, an updater should have the ability to copy/bu/convert presets in background (or have an option during the update process. “You have custom presets from the previous version. Would you like to import them to the new version? YES/NO”

    I also like when software knows it has crashed. “Animoog is unable to finish it’s launch. You may have to delete and re-install. Would you like to do this now? YES/NO”

    The process to re-install was painless. Too bad the rating had to take such a hit for such a small little glitch in the installation process. I’m in the GOT-IT-FOR-A-BUCK crowd. Time for me to post a review in the App Store. I’d encourage anyone else to do so. I’ll mention the two installation pre-cautions, but rate the app, not the updater.

  4. I generally hate in-app purchases, but in the case of Moog, I think its an OK model. I’m not sure I’d ever use the MIDI out capability, but it makes perfect sense to have it!! That keyboard really is quite nice for poly-aftertouch.

    I’m thinking I’d want to have all those timbres. I could see the person who paid full price might feel differently about the in-app purchases.

  5. Animoog is the reason i bought an iPad2. I love it. The new crash is so obvious that it makes me think hard about Moog’s quality control. And it’s absurd to have to “buy” MIDI connectivity. It’s OK for extra patches to be an in-app purchase, but not MIDI connectivity.

  6. Moog seriously dropped the ball on the upgrade issue; this is something they should have seen coming, and they should have had a plan in place better than “oh, sorry, you hit the upgrade button like everyone always does, and now you’re screwed.” Moog is not some fly-by-night outfit, with one or two people hacking code in their spare time (and this is reflected in Animoog being a top-grossing app on the charts — they sell a LOT of copies of the app).

    The sandboxing and file system control that comes with apps should make upgrading easy (this is part of the reason Apple has locked it down); the developer should know where every file is, what it does, so when an upgrade happens, there’s no weirdness to figure out with a config file being in the wrong place. iOS is a platform that encourages robust, reliable software; there should be no insanity with where files are, and the hardware resources all look the same. Getting this right on iOS is about as easy as it could possibly be.

    I very much agree that crippling MIDI support is stupid. If you’ve got a synth, you want to be able to connect it to other stuff with minimal grief. I can see charging for patches, new filters and effects, and so on, but MIDI strikes me as basic functionality. If I go to buy a car, I expect it to have wheels on it, even if the marketing literature doesn’t explicitly say so.

    Obviously, Moog is trying to make money, and they’re looking for ways to maximize profit. They may have a short term cash-win off of MIDI IAP, but I think they’re really eroding the warm fuzzy feeling most of us have for them — which means that long term, we’re not going to pay a premium for Moog stuff if we’re going to be treated better by other vendors. The huge swings in pricing ($30 to $1 and back) ensures that the people who are most loyal, and ponied up the cash, will feel like they got screwed, while folks who hang back and will only pay a buck are the winners. Not good, not good….

      1. Point well taken — still, big swings in price bother me. Obviously, Moog can charge whatever they want, and change price whenever they want — but the message they’re sending to people who paid $30 is not a good one.

  7. When I looked at the update page it clearly stated that you should backup your presets before doing the update. It even gave basic instructions in how to do so. I updated soon after the update became available, so I’m not sure why people are complaining when they were warned. As for midi out…this isn’t something that everybody really needs (I didn’t bother paying for that function). Mostly I want midi in so I can control it with Genome or other controller apps. There’s always a cost for development and they should be paid for their work. 5 bucks really is not a lot of money if you really need that functionality.

    1. That is correct, people need to learn before they push a button. Blaming moog for QC (Quality Control) when users can’t even read is just lame. There is no excuse on I just hit update all, it is a good practice to read what is new in an update. This is not the only app that has removed previous data with an update. Get over it and start making new patches, isn’t that the beauty of a synth ?

  8. “one of the most powerful music apps available for the iPad”

    I think it sounds great, but there really isn’t all that much to it…

  9. Charging for MIDI capability is a dick move on anyone’s part. MIDI is basic functionality. Not having MIDI at all is one thing, because the instrument still functions. But charging for that capability is like selling a microphone without a capsule in it, or a mixing board without knobs on it. It’s a standard that has been in place for decades, and never did we have to pay extra for it. I understand that it takes time to code those features, but they are part of the basic cost of doing business.

    The only exception to this is when the full feature set is laid out in front of a customer and they can buy what they want/need, but the overall cost to every customer is always the same, and is relevant to competing products. Unfortunately almost everyone who does micro-transactions ends up pricing their product much, much higher when purchased in full than the complete product would have cost purchased in a single package. This has proven out in the gaming industry. Only around 5% of a freemium product’s users will ever pay for in-app content. That 5% is enough to make a living on, but the other 95% end up with a crappy product. Music software is dangerously close to ending up in this same territory where a good synthesizer will cost you hundreds of dollars on an iPad, and every other synthesizer isn’t worth using.

    1. Midi is basic functionality? Mayi IPAD apps charged for it. In the analogue domain and new synths it may not be present. If you don”t want the midi don’t pay for the upgrade. People are complicated…..

      1. yes MIDI has been basic functionality since…1982. So much of what you are saying in the comments here reeks of trolling/Moog-o-sexuality.

        1. Hello anti-moogfan,

          The article is confusing, on one side it argues that synthesist (purist) don’t care about midi. It then compares software to hardware synths over their free midi implementation. Why play the purist card? After all, vintage moog have no midi. On the other hand it argues that the half way midi release and the $5 midi app purchase is something a company like moog should not engage as it damages the future of midi on the ipad and music apps development. I fail so see why, when other companies are giving it way for free. Is the writer implying that others will follow moog ? Perhaps, perhaps not.

          I already mention that sad and frustation is obvious when loosing ones work, but when our job is so important we need to protect it. Specially when the application has the simplest way to do it. Don’t you agree? Now, I like to look at the positive side, which (for me at least) is to engage in building new presets. The outcome is you become a better sound designer.

          Sure I like moog, just as I like midi. This ipad synth is already amazing and the new midi features are great. Sure the release has a big glitch, but to blame a company and the moog legacy over presets and $5 midi out is just bashing. Specially when there are options to backup your work or opt-out of the midi purchase, which as the article points, is a feature a “true” synthesist does not care about. I’m sure plenty of people save their presets and backup their work, dont you? I really hope so.


    2. There is no way I’d pay hundreds of dollars for a software synth i’d just buy hardware. In relation to what you said about games. I like free/cheap games. I install them, play them for a day or two, get all the fun I can out of them and then delete them. I don’t see the problem there. Sure I can’t play Skyrim or Mass Effect on the iPad but for those games I have…. specialized hardware – just like I do for music.

    3. I’m still looking for a softsynth app on itunes that costs hundreds of dollars…still looking….still looking. Oh maybe those apps are over there by the hens teeth!

  10. The lost patches concern me more than anything else: that’s time and experience lost, and those can’t be replaced. Thank you, bloggers, for getting the word out so quickly! I’m sure Moog has learned its lesson. Charging $5 for MIDI out doesn’t bother me, because (a) it’s not expensive, (b) it’s funding further development, (c) we already got MIDI in for free, and (d) I wouldn’t hesitate to pay $5 for a standalone version of the controller. Charging for MIDI in would have been cheesy, but that didn’t happen. If I could change one thing, and one thing only, it would be to extend the recording time again so that it measured in minutes instead of seconds.

    1. While is sad that you lost your work and time, see the positive side. You have the opportunity to recreate some of your patches or create a total new set. Make this a fun challenge, in fact when done, wipe them out and start over again. You will become a better sound designer. Oh and experience is never wasted, you learned to make patches and use the product in the process. I don’t see how you wasted that experience….


  11. Oh, and someone needs to say this… When Audanika charged extra for MIDI capabilities in SoundPrism everyone pitched a huge fit. Moog does it and many of you are supporting it. Be sure to take a good long look at your reasons and make sure you aren’t just drinking the cool aid because you love Moog.

    1. “When Audanika charged extra for MIDI capabilities in SoundPrism everyone pitched a huge fit. Moog does it and many of you are supporting it.”

      Amen to that. Just because its Moog and Apple people are willing to bend over and take it, but when others do it everybody complains.

  12. do you know how much a plug-in VST/AU version of animoog would cost us if IOS or iPads didn’t exist? paying for midi out is not new…. soundprism, alchemy and a whole a gang of other apps are doing it, in-app purchases and app updates are the only thing keeping iOS music apps interesting in a world were people get jaded way too quickly

  13. When I saw the update there was no “NOTE” warning about the crash. So I went ahead and updated and had the crash and loss of user presets. When I checked back later the warning was there. So I am guessing Moog had some complaints and added the note when it was too late for people.
    I do read update information thoroughly.

  14. People who use a lot of apps on iPad and iPhone update software so often that they almost never read about the updates. Too many apps, too little time. Moog should have realized this and prepared an update that would not wipe user patches. That’s obvious.

  15. Argh this is so frustrating. I updated when there was no warning about potential crashes and lost all my patches. Now I have a gig coming up that soon I was going to use this, the so-called “first professional synth for the ipad” for. I can either re-do all those sounds I spent ages tweaking (which I don’t really have time for) or I’ll just lug a hardware synth. Dear Moog, don’t call it a professional synth when it loses your data without warning!

  16. seriously Moog, you suck. I actually paid the full $30 for your app. but I have to pay for MIDI that should have been there all along? Keep making expensive shit and I’ll keep not buying it.

  17. With Yonac’s (amazing near perfect synth) , Moog had better watch thier step if they care at all about people’s opinion of then. I’m bretty sure Bob Moog being the kind, community contributes he was would be disgusted by this act of greed. It’s the spirit and principle at stake here not the 5 bucks. Shame on you who trample on Bobs legacy.

  18. I have heard of Apple rejecting an app that used in app purchases for midi. It may have been Soundprism? Sorry, but that is the right idea to make midi support an in app purchase. You have to increase the price for everyone to include something far less used like midi out. Nothing creates high maintenance users like midi does.

    Professional use cases involving in-app purchases is perfectly natural. Connecting with other synths involves testing with a bunch of stuff that is not your own code.

  19. really people ? ur complaining over 5 bucks ? if iPads and iOS didn’t exist do u know how much an animoog plug-in VST might cost ya?

    1. and why would any of you not already have a backup of any presets u made, theres always been an “export presets” option in the app since birth, i backup and hit “command S” so much i do it in my sleep

    2. ” do u know how much an animoog plug-in VST might cost ya? ”

      So would you be happy to spend either 20 or 500 percent of the price you paid for that mythical Animoog VST plugin, just to enable some MIDI functionality?

      1. jesus its 5 freakin bucks calm down ya damn lunatics and 500% percent really guy ? i paid 29.99 for the so 5 bucks aint bad for an add on

  20. Watch Moog fix it with a free patch and a mea culpa within a few weeks. This isn’t their usual style and I’m sure they want to keep their brand healthy rather than creating friction. I bet it’ll just be a bump in the road.

    1. All app developers have a broken update eventually, and it will probably be fixed within a week. How much customer service do people really expect on apps that are used for months, yet cost less than hamburgers? It’s just unreal what people get for the prices. This is the cheap and easy app universe that everybody is asking for.

      The truth of the matter is that any app that becomes unprofitable (due to unsustainable maintenance or an inability to get users to pay high enough prices) eventually must be be killed off by the developer. Using in-app purchases may be a sign that they are having trouble getting people to pay realistic prices. It AMAZES me to see people say things like “I use this professionally…” while also saying things like “no app is worth $100” …. AMAZES me.

      1. “This is the cheap and easy app universe that everybody is asking for.”

        This is the blueprint Steve Jobs left with his company. If his blueprint doesn’t suit the developer who used the tools and ecosystem Apple provided to make and sell the cheap and easy apps then the app store is not the place for him or her.


          The problem with that idea is that not every kind of app can follow the $0.99 model. The only way to make an app appeal to “everyone” is to remove all prerequisites so that 0% are excluded, which is double-speak for “dumb-it-down”. For every professional power that an app grants you, cut the audience that won’t be confused by its existence in half. The app store *does* have a lot of games and time-wasters; but that doesn’t mean that there is no place for useful tools.

  21. In app purchases and DLC are the new generation gap. In app purchases feel wierd, it doesn’t make sense to compare software to hardware either. In 3 or 4 more generations of iOS it’ll be running on a powerful enough system that software bloat will be a problem just like it is now!

    Who knows maybe in app purchases will help keep programs lean and reduce bugs, although that’s obviously not what happened here.

    Sound prism bugged because it was strongly implied that MIDI would be added to the original purchase and by buying now helped support the developers.

  22. if you don’t like their sales model, don’t in-app purchase, and give that response to their model time to stew. eventually buyers will get what they want. we have the dollars so we have the power despite how companies like to make us feel powerless. speak back with your actions not your words. be calm and avoid buying the animoog for awhile.

  23. I am so disappointed with this last upgrade…
    I spent some money for a product that sounds nice but they act like some amateurs that don’t care about their clients. This last upgrade is a shame: why do you make an upgrade that don’t work and you know about that? At least just say in your note: “delete your Animoog and install it again”.
    So, now I have to buy MIDI out upgrade. What’s next? To buy more virtual keys for it?
    Also, not working: Animoog store” still fetching products” and would be nice to draw 2 arrows for easy browsing through patches.

  24. I just wish that they would change the behavior in which the scale/key settings are not retained when changing patches, sooo frustrating and not at all performance friendly.

      1. Well, I suppose that could work, but when my musical partner says “lets do b flat dorian” on the fly, it seems like a real pain in the ass to have all 12 keys and all the modes and altered scales saved for all the patches . . . Much more sensible if it were to persist. Thanks for the advice though!

      1. These bollocks will be addressed, but 2 new bollocks will come with those fixes, people will demand 3 more free bollocks for their trouble and after a while, all the bollocks will obscure the synth entirely. What a load of cod’s wallop, eh?

  25. Ok

    It’s only a few quid/ dollars to upgrade to midi..animoog ( and recently megallen) are the best synths available on a touch screen and are worth far more than their asking price- they are pro standard synths

    Yet we whine about the price of a beer?

      1. Do you realize how whiney and ungrateful you sound. You have an amazing sounding synth from a world leading company in anunprecedented,ultraportable form factor and you’re complaining about the “marginalization of midi”?!! I bet if musicians 25 years ago could have looked ahead and seen the type of A.D.D., Instant Gratification whiney society we have become they would have commited suicide.Folks who never invented,developed,programmed,coded,engineered a day in their life are usually the biggest consumers and loudest critics of innovative products. “…it does 99% of my work, but still…”. All that bitchin’ and moaning and probably paid a freakin’ dollar! Whew, got that off my chest, I feel better. Remember the good ole days?:

  26. It’s true that everyone should be more cautious when agreeing to in-app purchases, and upgrading software in general. When’s the last time anyone here actually read a end user agreement?

    That being said, Moog makes great physical, and now digital products, and supporting them financially, while giving them constructive criticism (which is what I think this article means to do) is the best way to ensure they continue to make cool products in the future that we can all enjoy. Could they have been a little more clear regarding the update? Yes. Could they have offered MIDI integration for free, or in a new pack of tones? Yes. Companies are largely like everything else out there, and they make plenty of mistakes in judgement. Given the awesome lineage of products they’ve put out, and the incredible hands-on experience I’ve had with their customer service and support people, Moog should be forgiven it’s slight misstep this time around.

    Now, for those of you that are whining about the five bucks, all I can say to you is to seriously grow up. Five freaking dollars is less than you’ll pay for a drink at Starbucks, so just man up and pay it if you want MIDI connectivity. It’s seriously boggling to my mind that people would whine so much about such a small charge, when there are plenty of audio software makers that wouldn’t hesitate to charge tons of money for an app that’s nowhere near as good as AniMoog.

    Personally, I’ll continue to support Moog products, along with other companies that make great stuff, like Doepfer, Dave Smith, Bose, Ableton and Novation.

      1. And sure enough, on the Moog Facebook page – ”

        We worked through the weekend on Animoog. A new version was submitted to Apple yesterday, and we are awaiting approval. More soon…

        Thank you all for your patience,
        Your friends at Moog.”

        That, fellas, is the sign of a responsive company that cares. Contrast that with what Akai has been doing to the iOS market lately…

    1. >Now, for those of you that are whining about the five bucks, all I can say to you is to seriously grow up.

      You completely miss the point. It’s not about this one purchase. If you teach a company that you will pay for every little feature, then pretty soon your $200 instrument becomes a $1,000 instrument. Do some research and you will find that this has happened in every market where people openly purchased tons of micro-transactions or individual features. Yeah, “cup of coffee” and all that, but not for long. Count every feature in your favorite software, multiply that number by “a cup of coffee” and you will see you are getting ripped off, and the entry price bought you a a limited piece of junk.

      It starts slow, but it happens. Make no mistake.

  27. “Synthesists don’t want to have to think about whether a synth supports MIDI. This is reflected in Animoog’s dramatic ratings drop with this release. In the long run, making MIDI work consistently on the iPad music platform should be beneficial to Moog and to all companies making serious music apps.”

    Agreed – interoperability via MIDI (and audio routing in the future) improves the whole iOS ecosystem to the benefit of users and developers alike.

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