Moog Sub Phatty Review

Here’s a look at the new Moog Sub Phatty, via Nick Batt at sonicstate.

The Sub Phatty is Moog’s new $1,100 analog synth, introduced at this year’s NAMM Show. It’s Moog’s most affordable keyboard synth, but manages to deliver much of the power of the Minimoog Voyager and some unique features of its own.

If you’ve used the Moog Sub Phatty, leave a comment and let us know what you think of it!


  • Sound Engine: Analog
  • Number of Keys: 25
  • Type of Keys: Semi-Weighted
  • Other Controllers: Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel
  • Polyphony: Monophonic
  • Sound Sources: 2 Variable Waveshape Oscillators, 1 Square Wave Sub Oscillator, 1 Noise Generator
  • Oscillator Calibration Range: 22Hz-6.8KHz.Guaranteed note range at 8’ of Note 18 to 116
  • Mod Sources: Triangle, Square, Saw, Ramp, SH, Filter Envelope
  • Mod Destinations: Pitch, Osc 2 Pitch Only, Filter, Waveshape
  • Filter: Moog Ladder Filter 20Hz-20Khz
  • Audio Input: 1xTS
  • Audio Output: 1xTS, 1xTRS Headphone
  • Presets: 4 Banks, 4 Patches Per Bank
  • MIDI I/O: DIN In, Out, and MIDI over USB
  • CV/Gate Inputs: Filter CV, Pitch CV, Volume CV, KB Gate
  • Transposition: +/- 2 Octaves
  • LFO: 0.1Hz-100Hz

Under The Hood Features:

  • Filter Velocity Sensitivity
  • Volume Velocity Sensitivity
  • Ext. Audio Level
  • Osc2 Beat Frequency
  • VCO Gate Reset
  • LFO Gate Reset
  • Pitch Bend Up Amount
  • Pitch Bend Down Amount
  • Glide Legato
  • Glide Type
  • Filter Poles
  • Wave Mod. Destination
  • LFO KB Tracking
  • LFO Range
  • Filter EG Reset
  • Amp EG Reset
  • Legato
  • Gate On/Ext.
  • MIDI Ch. In
  • MIDI Ch. Out
  • Local Control
  • 14-Bit MIDI Output
  • MIDI Path In
  • MIDI Path Out
  • MIDI Merge DIN
  • MIDI Merge USB

See the Moog site for more details.

45 thoughts on “Moog Sub Phatty Review

  1. First!

    The SubP is pretty amazing, I’ve had mine now for 3 months. Beautiful sound, under-the-hood options, great build quality. The only possible complaint is aftertouch, and that isn’t really that big a deal when you consider the rest of the package.

    1. No arpeggiator? Less keys than a MicroKorg? No digital display? Out of date hardware based design? This is 2013 duchebags.

      RIP. OFF.

      I’m joking man, chill.

  2. This is a great synth but 2 octaves is just not enough. Is there a way to switch octaves up and down with some kind of foot pedal?

    1. VCO 1 OCTAVE cc# 74 16 = 16’, 32 = 8’, 48 = 4’, 64 = 2’

      VCO 1 OCTAVE cc# 75 16 = 16’, 32 = 8’, 48 = 4’, 64 = 2’

      That’s the only relevant thing I found in the manual, you will need some creative midi patching to control both osc with just one pedal, if you add a computer in between it should be a piece of cake with puredata or something similar.

      There’s no mention of GLOBAL octave controlled by midi, but I think they might be able update the firmware for that if users ask kindly.

  3. I was impressed by the sub phatty. Seems like when it came out, everybody wanted to compare it to the MiniBrute, but this thing is way ahead in build quality and also sounds much fatter. Nothing wrong with the MiniBrute – but it’s designed to be less expensive and compromises have to be made to make that happen.

    1. No disrespect to moog on the quality of the build or sound. But even for people who’ve played a minibrute I’d say if you own one and can either post a video comparison or know of one, don’t compare the two. The minibrute may look like a jeep but it covers the same terrain, got to it first and inspite of early issues with minor fixes to some keys and the power, which shows they rushed it. I bought one second hand so with pics and the registration transfer at arturia they would have gotten to me if the key went bad. Never happened. So don’t be so anxious about new gear from a new contender. And that it is. I’m waiting for a demo that wows me from the sub phatty, I saw one but if this can’t cover as much sonic ground as a brute it’s a sad response to charge stienway prices on analog gear that has a name and legacy of sound, but the brute has a voice that I can’t see as less capable or less reliable. Search Dovina, and minibrute song on YouTube for some good demo songs that wowed me over the Gaia, minitaur, microkorg, little phatty, bass station 2, and MS-20 mini. It has the 20 mini beat in originality of voice, connections, and quick patch draw up, which is crucial in live performance and at least preferred for me over patching for my first serious and affordable synth. Love to own the moog in some way, maybe this because pairing this with a brute using the keyboards for both at the same time would be astounding!

    1. I’d get DJAY 2 for iPad. The problem with the Moog and the Korg is you have to a.) learn synthesis and b.) learn to play a keyboard. As a DJ you don’t have to do any of that stuff, you just play other people’s records. Now being a DJ use to require some skill to beat map and match keys. But no worries, mate, as the computer does the whole “skill” thing for you! And with algoriddim’s new DJAY2 app, easy just got easier! DJAY 2 is on sale for one week only so never has the bar been set lower than this minute. Buy now and become a DJ!

        1. Why not both?

          A lot of really amazing musicians also do DJ sets, it’s not like it’s mutually exclusive. A friend of mine who’s a pro author/compositor/interpret that plays acoustic guitar semi-folk also do really nice sound system set on the side

          The core concept of the hip-hop (instrumental) revolution is access to cheap electronic instruments (like a 808) or cheap old funk/sould vinyl in case of djing.

          There’s a lot super relevant djs, naturally there’s a lot more who just just crossfade between trite tiesto songs .

      1. “Used to require some skill?” It still does. Real DJs (and synthesists) have talent and don’t use apps as a replacement for ability and practice. Watch videos on YouTube of AraabMuzik. He is incredibly talented at the MPC and in interviews said it took him over two years of daily practice to get there. Yes, the apps are getting better, easier, smarter, but please don’t think (or say) that you no longer need talent. That’s like saying owning Photoshop makes you a photo retoucher.

        1. If Final Cut Pro instantly makes you a film editor then I don’t see why Photoshop wouldn’t instantly make you a photo artist. And I didn’t say talent is not required. It’s skill you don’t need.

          1. Your lyrics in a text-2-speech program, put that in microsoft songsmith,

            You are now a ultra-modern electronic musician.


            1. Peoples here with windows computer should really try Microsoft SongSmith, for shit and giggles ,

              You just put in an acapella track, browse presets, it scan the pitch and beat and it outputs accompanying tracks following the preset algorithms. It’s surprisingly not that totally wrong most of the time, a friend gave me a voice track from one of his electro-pop song: the piano-bar songsmith version was disturbingly good (minus the cheap piano sound). It’s generative music with a style AI, not really serious but laughing helps creativity IMO!

              Talents/skills in my native language are mostly synonymous (both can be cultivated, but talent is tad more innate), you need that to have passable results. Even songsmith requires it, and it’s the most retarded/automagical music creation tool I know.

  4. I just got one yesterday, and it is absolutely insane. It is a freaking amazingly designed instrument, and the sound quality is mind-bending. I have never been so pleased with a purchase in my entire life.

    FWIW I played the Sub Phatty, MS-20 mini and Minibrute, one after the other, and the quality of both build and sound on the SP was miles above the other two. The other are admittedly different animals, and cool for their own unique reasons, but to my ears there was no comparison. The Minibrute and especially the Korg seem to have more novelty appeal whereas the Moog is all serious business.

    1. To be fair to Korg and Arturia, they designed their synths to be as affordable as possible and to be really good values, and they did a good job of it.

      The Sub Phatty’s got that old-school construction, though. Hardly anybody builds synths that solid anymore.

      1. Moog might have certain reservation about cannibalizing their higher-end products. Still, the sub phatty seems like a good quality/price package.

        1. Seems like a smart risk to take. I’d bet a lot of people will consider an $1100 Moog mono synth, but could never justify a Voyager..

          1. absolutely, I think it’s the most reasonably priced moog you can buy, they will probably sell quite a lot of them and capitalize on that as a gateway for their polys!

            I do wish I had disposable income to buy a voyager and do coke in cleavages at least 3 times a week.
            One goes with the others: get voyager->get rock n’ roll-> get sex-> get drugs !
            Some permutation of the steps is also possible.

            The thing is, my job situation is precarious at the moment. In the meantime, I really enjoy iMini and Animoog with my semi-weighted akai kb, it’s magnitudes less glamorous but it’s also polyphonic and I can take to the loo with headphones (TMI).

            Music is a dilettante for me, even at 1100$ and with a good resale value I would need a 10k$/year raise to be comfortable with that kind of purchase… 🙁

            I would probably just skip through and just buy drugs and forgo the sexy analogue groupies. 😀

            1. Yeah, if you just had more expensive analog synths, you’d be having lots more sex. Keep telling yourself that….

                1. A friend, with a really nice motorbike, once told me, honestly that he just get admiration/random stranger conversations about his bike with dudes and boys between 8 and 16, never never did it happens with a women… Bikes are absolutely not a chick magnet, most chicks don’t give a f about bikes!

                  Now Analog synths? What kind of magnet is this? Don’t even!

                  Analogue groupies girls don’t exist
                  unless, maybe, you’r also Trent Reznor…

                  1. “Analogue groupies girls don’t exist
                    unless, maybe, you’r also Trent Reznor…”

                    Nope, still 8-16 year old boys! 🙂

  5. I bought one a few months ago as my very first synth. Super easy to learn and I am still discovering news sounds with it every day. I was originally going to get either a Korg R3 or Roland Gaia before I found out about this instrument and then through some kind of budgeting magic, I found I had an extra $1000 in my budget so I decided to go and get a sub phatty. I love this thing though and love that I can just turn it on and jam at any time.

  6. There I thought that in the the age of VSTi’s, AU’s and iPads, Ill never look at another hardware synth.
    How wrong I was… Buying it the next pay check 😉
    Simply brilliant 🙂

  7. The Sub Phatty is great, but they’ve done every possible variation on the mono synth, now.

    Next up – a new PolyMoog?

    1. The SubP makes some damn nice percussion sounds…The SubP keyboard size makes sense when you start playing the keys with one hand and the presets with the other.

      I’d like a Moog build quality drum machine/sequencer/controller. As the physical connection to your sounds and music, a quality tactile interface is underrated in todays market, I think. Things like the MPC60 and tr808 DON”T sound magic, but they feel really good. No one else seems to be doing that level of lux today (on the mass market).

      I also think the presets technology is super exciting in that it works in real time and smoothly. Moog modules based off the Mooger Foogers, but with presets? Would buy. I mean, I thought the Voyager XL was cool and had a lot of desirable features, but for the same cash I decided to build a Doepfer modular that was more me.

  8. Here we go with the PolyMoog/MemoryMoog thing again. You have to understand why you have yet to see one. The technical issues can be addressed, sure, but the price would puncture a lot of dreams.

    What do you lot want to see in an “ideal,” polyphonic dream-Moog? If you want it to be all analog, how would you begin and what kind of compromises would you be willing to make if all you could get was 3-voice polyphony without it costing $30k? Let’s do a wish-fulfillment list vs. reality check thing.

      1. Fair point, but lets face it, four voice is really minimum.

        With that in mind, four SubPhattys is $4400, plus whatever else they would have to ad to it like LCD, greater memory etc etc. your probably talking 5k anyway.

        However if you look at the Voyager XL. Almost 5k for a soured up mono synth. So what link of poly would they make for 5k?

        My guess is a Moog Pokysynth is going to come in at around 8k, unless they take the Dave Smith route and rely more heavily of digital stuff than purely analogue.

        1. IIRC Andromeda cost 8K. No one was buying that.

          If Moog takes notes, I bet they would steer clear from a 8K synth idea!

        2. The concept of integrated circuit can also be applied to analog signal. That would be unorthodox, but they might be able to design a chip with multiple analog vco, vca , filter and stuff… A tiny analog chip that rely less on complex PCB and expensive assembly of discreet voice boards, that might make more sense with the currently available fabrication technology and the competition from the good VA.

          Reducing the number of parts and making it cheaper: integrated still analog. If you ever saw a smartphone logic board you know what I’m talking about: there’s so few components considering the actual complexity of the device, the PCB is minuscule.

  9. a lovely synth but its pricey for what you get, mopho x4, the electron A4 all in the same price range.

    one thing i have to say about moog that no one has picked up on is the software. compared to DSI, and others its stable and free and does exactly what it says on the tin. sound tower any one?

  10. Sold my voyager rack and replaced it with the sub phatty. I love it ……if your using a moog for basses, percussion, filter sweeps and synth fx the sub phatty will do it for you. Many of the voyager patches used a similar setup from and oscillator point of view and I think for those who don’t geek out on complex modulation routings the sub will do 90% of what the voyager will. I realize this doesn’t have the voyagers potential but my point is if your not going to push it you won’t notice. My only negative is the name…this synth doesn’t sound anything like my little phatty and should’ve had it’s own unique name IMO.

  11. I don’t think I’ve seen another review showing quite as much love for a new synthesizer as Mr. Batt has for the Sub Phatty!! Synth <3 😉

  12. I love the way Nick pronounces ‘Moog’ shaping the vowels like the ones in ‘Moon’! –no disrespect intended–it’s just an adorably idiosyncratic moment!

  13. I own both the MiniBRUTE, and the Sub Phatty. Nothing will touch Moog. Nothing. Build quality, Timbre range, the filter, etc. There is no comparison.

    The Minibrute is very limited in it’s personality do to the single oscillator.

    The Sub Phatty is just quality. You absolutely get what you pay for. That being said, I still love my Minibrute!

    …But Moog is the best.

  14. I’ve played a few analog synths in this price range, none of them sound half as good as the sub phatty. It’s built so solid and has such a rich fat sound. And having the ability to overload into the filter and the multi drive after the filter produces some of the heaviest bass I’ve heard in my studio. Also the librarian/editor makes for a seem lees transition into any daw set up, automation is just as easy as it would be with a vst synth. Couldn’t live without this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *