Backlash!

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years, there have been many criticisms of the Polymoog. Some claim that it was Moog's "white elephant" and was an overweight, overpriced and unreliable relic that is best forgotten. The problem seems to be that many of the current Polymoog critics are keen to dismiss it without actually having heard one! They simply look at the sound generating architecture on paper and dismiss it as "a glorified organ".

 

 

 

Polymoog US Price List: 1 Oct 1979

Polymoog UK Price List: 1978

 

 

 

 

Polymoog 203a (including legs)

$ 5,295.00

£ 3,195.00

 

Polymoog 280a (including legs)

$ 3,995.00

£ 2,295.00

 

Polypedal 285a

$ 375.00

£ 225.00

 

Polymoog Legs

$ 175.00

£ 100.00

 

 

 

 

 

US Prices courtesy of Kevin Lightner at www.synthfool.com

UK Prices lifted from an old Sound on Sound article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sound architecture certainly has its limitations, but the same can be said of all synthesizers, (including the revered Minimoog of which I'm also a huge fan - aren't we all?) and we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the Polymoog had a genuine Moog ladder filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Luce made the Polymoog with the Minimoog in mind. The original concept was that the Polymoog would be used to accompany a distinctive Moog lead synth such as the Minimoog. That is why the top was designed as it was, specifically for a Minimoog to sit snugly. It would make little sense to have the same sound on both machines so the Polymoog sound was tailored to produce different timbres to the monophonic lead sound and maybe that is where "retro reviewers" have taken exception. They may well see the word "Moog" and expect Kraftwerk "Autobahn" like sweeps, buzzes and whooshes, assuming that all Moog's have to sound similar in some way. To quote Dave Luce himself… "To criticise it for not sounding like a Minimoog is missing the point!"

As a Polymoog owner and enthusiast, you might expect me to say "they're all wrong you know", but lets look in detail at these criticisms...

 

 

 

 

 

Was it overweight?

Of course! At 82 Ibs (37 Kg), (nearly 6 stones) requiring two people to lift and almost 4 feet long and 2 feet wide… by today's standards it was a monster!

Back in the mid 70's, to the roadies accustomed to hauling Organs and Electric Piano's, with nightmare memories of the dreaded modular systems of a few years previous, it was child's play. If you ever see one taken apart, you can see it is rammed to the gills with components, many of which would be miniaturised to insignificant proportions today but that just wasn't possible in 1975. By comparison, the mighty Yamaha CS-80 which appeared two years later weighed an astonishing 220 lbs (four times the weight of the Polymoog) but with similar dimensions.

 

 

 

Was it overpriced? In 1976 it was horrifically expensive (around $5000 compared to just under $2000 for the Minimoog). Seemingly out of reach for most musicians, surprisingly the price list hardly changed from 1976 to 1980 and it sold very well during its fleeting moments of fame. Back in 1975, the Polymoog really was every keyboard players "dream machine" and the fact that Keith Emerson, Chic Corea, Herbie Hancock and a host of

 

 

 

 

luminaries were all being seen with one didn't hurt. For those with huge album deals it became a popular instrument because of its great keyboard action, the facility to edit the onboard presets into unique sounds and it really did give the players of the day what they wanted. To bring back the comparisons, the Yamaha CS-80 was selling for $7000 in 1977 so it was pretty well positioned within its price bracket...