The MF-104 Analog Delay from Moog Music




Ahhh... Heaven.

There're a lot of things that go into the "feel" of an analog delay. All too often in a digital delay you get a TON of bandwidth on the repeats, and while that is a sound to be had, it's not a natural echo which will tend to destroy the high end.

A number of modern digital delays (e.g., Lexicon, T.C. Electronic, etc) provide algorithms which work to emulate the high-end loss, but it's not the same sound as you will get from a bucket brigade (analog) delay line.

There's a lot to the "feel" of an analog delay. Most of them allow you to have a large amount of freedom with input level and how the input level will affect the end sound of the delay. You can easily play an analog delay as part of your instrument and extract different responses based on input levels and harmonic content. In a digital delay, "many times" the algorithmic magic is done after the input signal is sampled and there isn't a lot of attention paid to listening to the input to allow it to affect the output.

But, in general you will not find things in an analog delay such as rhythmic ping pongs (there are exceptions to this!), reverse slap, delay levels that climb on odd repeats, perfect chromatic detunings, etc. These are features that are best left to the digital brethren and the world of DSP coding.

What you do get in an analog delay is a VERY smooth character, and a handling that is VERY different than a digital machine.

There is CERTAINLY a price to pay for this, but given the proper windfall, or putting off the purchase of that MicroModular, the fun can be yours. :)



Everyone together now...

"Thank you Unka Bob" :)


The following link is a 6 minute audio babbling of the MF-104. This is a variable rate MP3 (240kbps max) and checks in at around 5 meg in size.
    MP3 file - 5 meg

    (If you find that after you download this MP3s that they sound scratchy, or have a lot of clicks and pops and are basically unintelligible, then you've been attacked by the "downloaded a binary image in ASCII mode" demon. You need to "uncook" your files)

      Uncook95 a Windows 95/98/NT/2000 app
      MusicVac a Mac app that's said to take care of some MP3 wierdness.

Most of what you hear is the MF-104 itself, just caught in a feedback loop and me not letting it fade out. The following can help as a guide of sorts to what you're hearing:

  • 00:08 - The delay shows up as doubling
  • 00:23 - feedback loop starts
  • 00:36 - "Loading up" more audio to catch in regen
  • 00:41 - This is all feedback
  • 01:28 - Manual delay knob spinning
  • 01:45 - I flip to "short" delay time and spin the knob full CW
    The delay doesn't go away here, I did "catch it" before it died away... :)
    All through here I'm delay time flipping and feedback mangling
  • 02:41 - "Loading" more audio. Manual knob spinning.
  • 03:28 - Solid single note drone and light touches of delay time - there are no synth manipulations!
  • 04:18 - Live playing and knob twiddles
  • 05:32 - S&H from the CP-251
Any clicks and pops you hear have nothing to do with the delay. That's just me clipping the daylights out of the frontend of the Mac I recorded it on.


Click here for more info on the MF-104.


Presentation, performance and sounds are Copyright 2001, Mark Pulver - mark@midiwall.com