Moog Slim Phatty Review – Modern Electronic Dance Music Production

Posted: December 9, 2012 in hardware, Music Production, Reviews
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Due to the complex nature of the bass lines I write,  I often use soft synths such as Native Instruments Massive. The soft synth realm allows you to modulate and twist up sounds to your hearts content, with DAW’s such as Ableton Live providing ultra flexibility. So I surprised myself, just over a year ago when I bought my first hardware synth, the Moog Slim Phatty.

I was in my local synth store (Production Room, Leeds) and one of the guys said “Hey Keith, check this out, you will love it”, and there it was, a Moog Slim Phatty. I must admit at first I was thinking “Are these guys nuts, it’s a Moog, it’s just for prog rock guys, have you forgot that I do dnb?”. Once I played it though, and the speaker cones started shaking, I was like “Wow I need one of these!!!”.

So now back to the current time line, I want to share with you my experience with this synth for Modern Electronic Dance Music production. 

Moog Slim Phatty

First thing is the sound, all I can say it, it sounds like a Moog, and you will either love or hate the sound. But before you go running away screaming and worrying that you are going to change into a Prog Rocker, I have got to say it is an excellent bass machine, and you can get some really modern sounds out of it. The raw oscillators sound fantastic, and you can make a very heavy, dirty and phat sounds extremely quickly. In the context of modern music, I think it is very well suited to making Electro style basses and leads (Deadmau5 sounds comes to mind) , and of course, phat basses for drum n bass. You can also make some very nice sub basses, with plenty of movement.

The interface is based around four large knobs and lots of buttons. It looks a bit clunky, and I would like to have more direct controls, but the interface panel does work very well. It is very intuitive and the lights around the knobs show you your current settings. The knobs are a bit wobbly, but overall the build of the machine feels good. As you can program big sounds very quickly, the small number of knobs does not bother me that much, and I find the knobs to be a great size for tweaking and live usage.

For me what makes this machine different to say, a Moog Voyager, is the Overload function. The overload function, does what it says on the tin, overloads the filter and adds more dirt. You can add loads and loads of dirt, and if you are playing a very low frequency noise, it can soon distort and totally break up. I find that the overload function really allows you to make the Slim Phatty sound very aggressive and modern, which I particularly like. Keeping on the filter theme, you can also choose different filter poles, which can change the sound a lot, it does require a bit of menu diving though.

You get a lot of modulation choices to mash up the sound, but don’t expect the same sort of modulation possibilities you get in a soft synth. You can do the usual dubstep wobbles with the LFO, perfectly midi synced to the filter cut-off, but you also get some very interesting modulation destinations such as the Waveform of both oscillators. Modulating the waveform allows you to add some really nice movement to the sound, and just like the overload, you can soon push it to the point of extreme distortion. The Slim Phatty when pushed can even sound industrial.

So why pay out for a slim phatty rather than use software? Well I find the workflow is fast, and you do feel like you are playing a real instrument. Playing the Slim Phatty feels a very organic experience, it’s as though it is a living and breathing thing, a totally different experience to using software. Expect each time you play it, for things to sound subtly different, yes you have saved a patch, but this is real analogue, it’s oscillators slightly pitch drift.

Overall I think it’s an awesome machine, if you like the Moog sound. It can go very low, scream like mad, be creamy or aggressive, what else do you want?

Ohh and did I say, it’s got lots of flashing lights on it, come on, we all need more flashing lights in our life!! Thats a good as reason, as any, to buy it.

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