Deep Dive Into ‘The Radio Shack Moog Synthesizer,’ The Realistic Concertmate MG-1

This video, via Josh Is Making Music, takes a deep dive into the unique ‘Radio Shack Moog Synthesizer’, the Realistic Concertmate MG-1.

The MG-1 is one of the more unusual “Moog” synths, because it takes a lot of great Moog circuit designs, adds a cheesy polyphonic organ, ‘dumbs down’ everything for mainstream buyers, throws in some foam that deteriorates over time to goo things up, and packs it all into a funky and chunky hardware design.

It’s an oddball of synth history, but it’s also sought after because it sounds great and is so unique.

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the MG-1!

21 thoughts on “Deep Dive Into ‘The Radio Shack Moog Synthesizer,’ The Realistic Concertmate MG-1

  1. That was a nice little overview and a very reasonable opinion regarding their worth in today’s market.

    He mentions Cherry Audio’s freebie MG-1, and says it compares very favorably.

  2. I bought one of these back in the 80s new. It was fun to play with for a very short while, but as a serious musical instrument, NO, it was not. Minimalistic is too big a word for this. Sold it rather quickly.

    1. Is the Moog Rogue not a serious musical Instrument? The Radio Shack MG-1 is like the Rogue, except the Radio Shack version is better. The MG-1 has an added organ-like polyphonic section that the monophonic Rogue does not have.

      I’ve watched reruns of the Flintstones numerous times over many decades, probably well over a thousand times. I never noticed until today that the carhop who brings the giant rack of ribs to the Flintstones’ car during the end credits is wearing black shoes. That is just so wrong, and I never noticed it. No one wears shoes in the Flintstones. It’s a good analogy with synthesizers. Think about it.

      1. Did you watch the video? It makes a good point – that you can get a lot more synth new from Moog than what you get with the MG-1. The prices reflect collectors now rather than its value as an instrument.

        Unless you’re really into that organ sound.

  3. The MG-1 was a Moog design, and was originally intended for a synth called the “SK.” It was not a “Radio Shack” product until it was, and then some changes were made. It should be noted that the synth in the Moog Liberation is this same synth, and yet no one talks about a “cheesy organ” in regard to the Liberation.

    It’s only a “cheesy organ” if you’re a person who thinks that paraphonic synthesizers are “cheesy organs.” They are not. Anyone who has even a basic understanding of operating a synthesizer can get perfectly good polyphonic synthesizer sounds out of the MG-1. It’s ridiculous that this “cheesy organ” myth continues. It’s merely a somewhat limited and basic paraphonic fully-polyphonic synth section. Which, by the way, adds a third oscillator to monophonic lines.

    1. Wow you act like having a cheesy organ is a bad thing.

      It sounds like you’ve never paid attention to Baba O’Riley, which starts with a cheesy organ through a synth filter.

  4. Ten minutes is hardly a deep dive… well, maybe for the MG-1. But, Marc Doty managed to strangle out a six part video examination of the MG-1 several years ago. I really don’t think anyone else has anything else to add.

  5. a friend had one and it was fun to mess around with, with the de-tuned osc’s it made a fat sound that was fun. brassy sound was cool for back then and cheap compared to other synths.

  6. Missed opportunity there not sweeping osc 2’s pitch with sync engaged. That’s one sound I’ve never heard a soft synth pull off convincingly.

  7. From Wikipedia: Although manufactured by Moog, the MG-1 design was done by Paul Schreiber (then employed by Tandy Systems Development).[1] David Luce of Moog was involved with the creation. Schreiber later founded Synthesis Technology and invented the MOTM modular system.

  8. I owned both the Realistic Moog as well as the Rogue. I purchased the MG-1 because I deeply regretted selling the Rogue. Sadly for me anyway, the MG-1 was no Rogue. Nor actually was the Prodigy. The Rogue imho, was one of the best monophonic synths Moog made bar the Mini and the Micro. I wish Moog would rerelease the Rogue.

  9. clip was ok but when people start telling you not to buy something my eyes begin to roll involuntarily.
    The only reason not to buy or not buy an MG-1 on reverb or anywhere else that it is being sold is because you can or cannot afford to do so…. the premise of this video is suspect and corny.

  10. I owned this synth back when I was a Marine in the early 80’s. It was my first synth. I remember not being thrilled with it because it was not polyphonic.

  11. I own one of these though it is broken right now. Hate to bang the drum for it because the used prices of these are already too high, but I don’t like to see it’s name dirtied! It was built by Moog, but not designed by them. It was designed by Paul Schreiber who later started Synthesis Technology and founded MOTM. With some input from David Luce of Moog.
    Contrary to what you may have heard elsewhere, the MG1 came first, then Moog adapted the cheap design to a series of other instruments including the Rogue and Taurus II.
    The MG1 has some faults. The black foam which devolves to goo. I have PTSD from all the solvents and Q-Tips I used to repair mine. It’s keybed action feels sluggish due to the odd way that it reads the key press using the polyphony section. (there is a mod to make it more lively). But it has a unique sound. The filter is narrower and sharper sounding than the regular Moog ladder filter. The oscs also sound different than those on a Minimoog or similar. It’s overall a much sharper, brighter more nasal sounding synth than most of the Moog lineage. It is also capable of some really great sounds when you combine the poly section with the mono oscs. Especially the sync!
    I own a Moog Grandmother and that is no MG1. They are miles apart. The Grandmother has sync but it sounds polite and discreet compared to the MG1, which has a more piercing quality to it’s sync tones. The MG1 while being more unstable and electric sounding than the Grandmother does not go into overdrive the way the Grandmother does. It can get driven sounding, but not as much. The Grandmother sounds like a guitar amp whenever you turn up the OSC mixer past 5. Grandmother has much more patch possibility, but it can never nail the same timbres as a MG1. The filter and OSCs are just too nice!

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