Moog Sonic Six

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davebr
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Moog Sonic Six

Post by davebr » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:24 pm

I restored a Moog Sonic Six and took the opportunity to take some photos of the insides. Although the brochure comments on the PCBs saying "They can be quickly and easily removed for convenient servicing" what they mean is they can be swapped out easily. Working on this is a pain because you have to lay the top panel over the keyboard to access the signals and trimmers but then have no access to the controls. To replace any components you need to remove the PCB (at least it's easy) to access the component side. Of course they had exploded instruments at the factory for service but without them it is a real pain.

Anyway, just getting around to putting the images on the web. They are on my Sonic Six page. I grew to appreciate this synthesizer after playing with it restored.

Dave

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Post by EMwhite » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:43 pm

'doze were the days. Where is the synth museum that I can go to to play with all of these wonderful statements of synth history.

That thing looks great... Don't make me start doing all sorts of internet research, followed by YouTube followed by building gaaasssss....
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Post by NYMo » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:15 am

I remember mine fondly...but I'm a total sucker for blue synths :hihi:

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Post by jazzbo58 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:57 pm

I've always wanted to play one of these. Unfortunately I've never had the chance.

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Post by jazzbo58 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:57 pm

I've always wanted to play one of these. Unfortunately I've never had the chance.

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Post by freeyerheel » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:42 am

those circuit boards are gorgeous!

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Post by The Real MC » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:53 am

I played a new one in a store many many years ago. Definitely not a minimoog. I couldn't get my head around it but back then I was just getting started in synths. Knowing what I know now, it's a good machine for modulated sounds. Just don't expect minimoog sounds.
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Post by radams » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:06 am

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Sonic Six
In Jr High I got to bring one home from school during a holiday break
I find myself wanting one for sentimental reasons

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Moog Sonic Six Kebed restoration

Post by markustg » Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:05 pm

I have a 1972 Moog Sonic Six which I think it about as old as they get. I had some professional restoration done and it now works just great.

However, the key bushing are old and hard.

I have a new set of bushings, but am balking at the restoration job myself. ( I don't want to mess up the J wires or anything else)

Anyone have some advice on restoring a Pratt Whitney keybed?

And/or how much should I expect to pay to get the work done?

Thnx

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Post by Audiohub » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:25 pm

I absolutely love my Sonic Six. It was the first Moog I ever got to play up close, back in the early 70's in a music store in Champaign Illinois. I was stationed for school at Chanute AFB in nearby Rantoul, and would often make the trip to the store just to play the Sonic Six. The built-in speaker made it easy and attractive to mess around with, and the staff at the store were gracious enough to put up with my noodling around for hours on end. I never could talk the AF credit union into loaning me any money to buy it though (they viewed it as a "toy organ").

Years later, I bought one in the hallway at Leo's Music at Oakland from a former member of Country Joe and the Fish. He was trying to sell it, they offered him $50, I offered him $75, and a deal was made.

I've added a number of useful mods to it over the years such as keyboard tracking for the awesome XY generator and PW modulation, and it produces some incredibly huge and creamy sounds as well as some of the best "sci-fi" type effects ever. I'll certainly be detailing it in my blog at some point in the future.

Mine also needs to have the key bushings replaced, and I have the replacements ready...I just need to find the time to do it. The keyboard is the Pratt Read J-wire type (just like the Modular two voice keyboard which shares similar electronics) and is much easier to do if you take it slow and do it a few keys at a time.
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Re: Moog Sonic Six Kebed restoration

Post by doombient.music » Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:47 pm

markustg wrote: [...] Anyone have some advice on restoring a Pratt Whitney keybed? [...]
They make jet engines, I would have thought?

Pratt and Read is what you are looking for, I guess :) .

Stephen

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Post by grombleglop » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:59 pm

Does anyone know what signal the cv and gate inputs take. Trying to figure out if a roland sh-101 cv and gate out can control it.

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Post by mmp » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:43 am

Not sure what the CV is, but when I owned one I built a foot switch that would trigger it by connecting one pin in the multi pin connector to ground.

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Post by calaveras » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:55 am

IIRC old Moogs use S-Trig, a quick short to ground, not a gate. So you need an S-Trig to Gate pulse converter.
Sometimes you can get two synths to fake it by using a polarity inverting cable. But this is super flaky.

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Post by BugBrand » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:32 am

Here's how to DIY the gate converter: http://www.retrosynth.com/docs/trigger/index.html

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Post by Audiohub » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:17 am

Because of the design of the two-note keyboard circuitry, the Six uses an arcane CV input that is scaled at 5 volts per octave, making it useless with just about everything else.

This is casually mentioned in the service manual, along with the documentation for the resistors inside that need to be changed to make it conform to a standard 1 volt per octave scheme.

I'm not sure if Moog ever produced any units with that modification already done. It certainly confused the heck out of me when I tried to build and calibrate my own copies of the oscillators many years ago.
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Post by grombleglop » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:21 pm

Thanks for all the responses! However, I pretty much know nothing about electronics, so does anyone have a morons description of what the difference between short to ground and gate signal is?

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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by markustg » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:19 am

I did end up buying a set of new key bushing and I replaced them. They make a world of difference with the feel of course. It's time consuming but a satifying result. $60 in parts but if I charged my self labor it would have been a small fortune. One thing to note is that you should take the keybed all the way out buy desoldering the connections. Trying it with the bed partilly in is too clumsy.

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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by doombient.music » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:46 am

markustg wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:19 am
[...] One thing to note is that you should take the keybed all the way out buy desoldering the connections. [...]
I would have thought there's a multi-pin connector to unplug, not unlike the one used for the Minimoog keyboard?

Stephen

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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by markustg » Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:59 am

I wish. :-) though mine is from 1972 so maybe they did that later?

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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by doombient.music » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:00 pm

No idea, the Mini was introduced in 1970, and I don't think there has ever been a different arrangement.

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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by dubonaire » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:05 pm

This was the first synthesizer I ever touched - in high school. And it remains the only Moog I have ever touched.

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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by cscairney » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:27 pm

Got to play one once. Insane, very different from the other moogs, west coastish...?

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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by Hyberus » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:15 am

cscairney wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:27 pm
Got to play one once. Insane, very different from the other moogs, west coastish...?
It's very different from other Moogs, because it wasn't designed by Bob Moog, and doesn't use 'Moog' VCOs, VCFs etc. More information can be found on Wikipedia, which also quotes my mate Mark Jenkins' book on analogue synths. Mark should know what he's talking about as he's had one since the early 1980s, and it still works . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moog_Sonic_Six
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Re: Moog Sonic Six

Post by markustg » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:50 am

This is by far the best I have seen on the Sonic Six. A great read.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/moog-sonic-6

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