The Monkees & The Moog

Hi all! I’m pretty new to modular synthesis but I’ve always been fascinated by it ever since I was a young kid watching The Monkees. I’m primarily a singer/songwriter with a strong Monkees influence. But what a gigantic world of music I was missing before I found VCV Rack. What a great community here too.

Anyways. As some of you may know, The Monkees were one of the first groups to use a Moog on a pop record in 1967. Apparently this was the first Model III with portable cabinets. I was wondering if anyone has built something in VCV Rack like these first Moog synths that Micky Dolenz played?

Paul Beaver was asked to play the Moog part on this tune from the same LP, btw.



Additionally, in the Mac App Store, there’s a Moog Model 15 for $29.99. Would that probably be the most accurate virtual re-creation of Micky’s Moog?

I have no idea how authentic, but the Model 15 app is a hell of a lot of fun, as is Moog’s other instrument app, the Animoog. That said, they are very much simplified versions and you won’t get anything like the number of modules to play with and patch as you would in the real thing.

One plugin version of a Moog I play with from time to time is by Arturia, named the Modular V

It isn’t identical to the Moog Synthesizer III you are talking about, but unsurprisingly seems to share a lot of the same layout.

Recreating Moogs and other synths in VCV Rack seems to be pretty popular. There was a video this week for a Mother 32 recreation and there’s even a cheap set of Subharmonicon style modules in the store now.


Hi! Thanks for the reply! I’ll probably have to grab this. It looks pretty cool and just about all that I could afford at the moment. I have the iPad MiniMoog V app and I can get lost with that thing for a while. The Arturia plugin is a beast. I’d love to be able to get something like that, but it’s a bit out of my price range at the moment.

Omri’s videos are what prompted this post actually. It’s so fun to watch how these modules interact. Are the Subharmonicon modules new since Omri’s video on that?

I found this on the Moog forums on a post from a decade ago discussing Micky’s Moog.

So I suppose if there are modules in the VCV library that could be matched up with this list, we could build one. 10 oscillators total in a Model III?

A couple more pics!


Here’s the other track that Micky played Moog on from the same LP. For the video, they filmed it in Chicago while they were on tour so it’s obvious that he didn’t bring his Moog with him. So what’s he “playing” here? It was originally supposed to be the single for this LP. Dig that 7/4 groove.

For a long time there has been a free clone of the Subharmonicon VCO in the library. I made it, and it’s called “Substitute”.


Forgot to say I do love the Monkees, they were probably the first ‘band’ I ever noticed as they used to show reruns in Britain on kids TV in the seventies when I was growing up.

Still stick on their music once upon a once in a while.:slightly_smiling_face:

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and the answer to one of my favorite rock triva questions: name three “rock stars” who each played the artful dodger in the original london production of oliver twist. and, yes, davy jones was one of them :wink:

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Indeed! He appeared with the Oliver cast on the same episode of Ed Sullivan when the Beatles debuted in America. I think more people tuned in for The Beatles, lol.

Oooh thank you!!

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I think the ones @main.tenant meant are from @slimechildaudio , and they are awesome. @Squinky did a great subharmonic VCO but the paid set has the sequencer, etc. together. Great stuff.

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Oh, for sure there is lots of good stuff in that paid module. Many things.

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The first modular cat picture? :slight_smile:


I’m looking at these details and trying to recreate old Moog modulars in VCV much like you are.

  • What is an oscillator controller? I would assume this is a keyboard, but at the bottom it says there is a keyboard controller?
  • Difference between VCOs and just Os?
  • What is an envelope follower and how is it different from a typical ADSR generator?
  • What is a linear controller and why would I need two of them?
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a envelope follower allow to you create a CV signal based en the envelope of a audio source , an example of application of it is a auto wah pedal for guitars, it use the input audio signal to control the filter

I don’t know in what context is used it, but there is a some types of envelopes, it can be linear , logarithmic or exponential or a combination of all of them, depending of what you use you can achieve very different results (perhaps it talk about the VCA?)

to control the waveform (?)


As I understand it, there is one main oscillator, the 901A, that has an output into three different 901B oscillators. The 901Bs have four waveshape outputs simultaneously. I think the 901A output would go into the 901B “sync” input?

This would be the ribbon controller on top of Micky’s Moog pictured above, I think the cat is stepping on it. :slight_smile: It would be more for portamento effects instead of dialing into a specific note on a keyboard. Something like that, the Tannerin or Electro-Theremin, was used on The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”. I assume we would need two of these to create the most chaos possible. :smiley:

Check out and then you can use the menu on the left to navigate to “Instruments” and then “modular systems” or “modules”. There are detailed descriptions of each module.

I started building a 3P patch last night. I’ll post it here if you want when it’s a bit more playable, it’s a bit of a sketch pad right now. Here’s what it looks like:

The left panel of the 3P:


I must admit I’m pretty confused, still wrapping my head around modular myself.

901-A OSCILLATOR CONTROLLER: Used to control the frequencies of two or more 901-B oscillators (see below) so that the ratio between the frequencies of the controlled oscillators remains constant. $85.00

901-B OSCILLATOR: Provides sine, triangular, pulse, and sawtooth waveforms simultaneously over the frequency range 0.1 - 15,000 cycles per second. Two or more of these can be ganged, and their frequencies controlled from a single 901-A controller. Complex spectra and note mixtures can be produced, and can be shifted over wide frequency ranges. $125.00

It says the 901A is used to control the frequencies of 901B, yet the 901B has no inputs…So does this mean the 901B outputs go into the inputs of the 901A? I have a hunch this is why the 901A has three inputs and they pair it with only 3 901B oscillators.

How does the 901A get control voltage from a keyboard so it can play proper notes? Or was that handled differently in the 60s?

hey guys once we’re done getting the model 15 and the system 3 we should figure out this one Leonard Bernstein used


I just glanced at the spec sheet–interestingly, the 901A connected behind the panel to up to three 901Bs. The front panel jacks on the 901B output the four waveforms it generates. No modern modular would communicate pitch this way, but if you wanted to be interface-authentic to the Moog, you would need a bespoke set of modules using the Rack expander protocol (since that’s how Rack models behind-the-panel connections).

The 901A front inputs are for control voltage, and are presumably summed. So (for example) a CV keyboard output could go into one, a LFO into another, and a sequencer into the third.

Fascinating stuff!


It’s a Moog lip syncing to a tape. :wink:

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