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MOOG MUSIC

April 1, 2005
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Moogerfooger MuRF MF-105

Moog Music''s Moogerfooger MuRF MF-105 combines an outboard bank of eight bandpass filters with an assortment of modulation ­possibilities, delivering a wide palette of ­authentic analog effects that you won''t find ­anywhere else.

Most stompboxes attempt to either re-create vintage effects or offer slightly original variations of existing effects. Moog Music's new Moogerfooger, the MuRF MF-105 ($449), gives you something unique. The MuRF (Multiple Response Filter Array) contains eight resonant bandpass filters, each with its own level slider, and with its center frequency silk-screened below the slider. Front-panel knobs and numerous control inputs let you modulate the filters for a variety of distinctive effects.

The MuRF offers hard bypass (often referred to as “true bypass” on guitar pedals). When bypass is engaged, the audio input is passed directly to the output with no tone-altering components in the signal path. The input accepts instrument and line-level signals, and the output is mono or stereo. A Drive knob and an Output knob let you adjust the input response and output level.

Animation Festival

The filter complement is only the beginning of the MuRF's features. Perhaps its most arresting attribute is its Animation section, comprising a Bank switch and the Pattern, Envelope, and Rate knobs. The Pattern knob selects from 12 patterns that trigger envelopes for the eight filters at a speed determined by the Rate knob. The Bank switch toggles between two filter banks, for a total of 24 available patterns. Bank B activates an LFO that subtly modulates filter frequencies, and Bank A patterns are unmodulated.

The Envelope knob is very dynamic, completely changing the shape of the envelopes affecting the filters and generating completely different effects depending on the setting. With settings from 1 to 3, the Envelope control closes the envelope quickly, resulting in very percussive, staccato sounds (see Web Clips 1 and 2). Between settings 3 and 7, the Envelope control blurs the various pattern steps, resulting in less staccato, more phaserlike effects (see Web Clip 3). Settings above 7 reverse the envelopes sent to the filter, resulting in staccato effects that sound backward. The Mix knob adjusts the balance of dry to processed signal sent to the outputs.

Like existing effects in the Moogerfooger line, the MuRF MF-105 offers extensive real-time control by means of control inputs that accommodate expression pedals, synths with control-voltage (CV) outputs, or MIDI-to-CV converters. There are control inputs for Rate, Mix, Envelope, and LFO/Sweep. In fact, a control input is the only way to control LFO/Sweep, which sweeps the filters' center frequencies by ±15 percent in Bank A patterns and changes the LFO rates in Bank B patterns.

When using a control input, the control range is centered around the current position of the relevant knob, and the controller's range can never exceed the range of the knob. For example, if you use the optional EP-1 expression pedal ($40) to control the rate, and the Rate knob is set at 5, the control range of the EP-1 will be the full rate range of 0 to 10. If the Rate knob is set to 3, however, the EP-1's range is only from 0 to 8. I discovered that using a continuous controller to sweep the MuRF's LFO resulted in clicking artifacts at extreme values. Fortunately, Moog says that the problem occurred with no more than 30 of the first units shipped, and it has been fixed.

The MuRF MF-105 is the first Moogerfooger to offer a tempo-tap option using a momentary switch such as Moog Music's FS-1 ($39). The MuRF interprets the time between taps as half the tempo; if you are tapping to quarter notes, the resulting rate will be in eighth notes. When you use Tap Tempo, the Rate knob is ignored. If you subsequently adjust the Rate knob, it supersedes the tempo set by tapping.

Stage or Studio

I used the MuRF MF-105 as a live guitar pedal and as an outboard processor for prerecorded synthesizer tracks. As a guitar effect, the MuRF MF-105 quickly became an inspiration. By adjusting the filter volume sliders and Animation section controls, I was able to create mind-bending step-sequencer and arpeggiated filter effects. Add a continuous controller and a momentary pedal for tapping the tempo, and the options are almost unlimited.

Although stereo outputs would make the MuRF MF-105 more useful as an outboard processor, I was blown away by its fun and creative processing options. It is definitely on the expensive side of boutique effects boxes. If you are looking for an unusual and creative filter bank, however, the Moogerfooger MuRF MF-105 won't disappoint.


Overall Rating (1 through 5): 4.5

Moog Music
www.moogmusic.com

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