(Note: What follows
below is a support request and reply support e-mail sent out on the
topic of the unsupported Moog Prodigy application which, though
unsupported, has somehow managed to take up about 200 hours of company
time in 11 years.)
hello, i recently bought a midijack (stocked in a
prodigy), no matters what i do, transpose etc etc, my midi keyboard is
never in tune with the synth
i tried calibration, transposing, sacrified a goat, nothing to do,
never in tune, i read all the faq and i found a couple of thing to do,
like transpose and setting up the external keyboard, but the result is
any help is REALLY apprecciated, i used midijack since ever and never
had a problem, just cant figured out this thing
Sorry for your troubles.
What you are experiencing is exactly why the warning mail and extra
information was sent to you.
It doesn't always turn out this way, but it does sometimes.
The times it caused trouble here, the tips in the third mail (all were
just sent to you a second time) solved it, although it still didn't work quite as
well as, well, as well as a good synthesizer.
First, a little preliminary history is in order. Moog synthesizers do
not play in tune. We have known that now for 40+ years. If they ever
seem like they are playing in tune, wait five minutes, change the
temperature, or just play up five octaves, and it will be totally out
of tune. They have bad response, poor linearity, and a lot of
Second, among Moog synths, the absolute worst is the Prodigy. In a lot
of ways, it doesn't really resemble any other Moogs, and it cost 1/4th
of what another Moog monosynth cost at the same time. The MG-1 is
terrible, too, but in other ways, mostly due to the parts of it that
just crumble and fall apart. The Prodigy doesn't fall apart so much as
it is just inherently unstable. The MG-1 usually plays in tune a lot
better, but nowhere near as well as an SH-101 or any ARP.
Now, if you have done all you can, you might want to seek a little
point of reference. You have a fair amount of experience with MIDIJACKs
I think, so you probably know how to calibrate the intonation as
described in the manual. Be sure you understand it, and know that you
are doing it correctly, then you can try two things:
1) Turn the MIDIJACK off so it is in bypass mode, and play your digital
MIDI keyboard with one hand and the local Prodigy keyboard with the
other hand. Tune them together, then play scales all over in unison.
Does it play in tune perfectly all by itself? Normally, someone will
say yes, but the truth is no, it does not. If it did, Moogs would not
have the reputation for poor intonation that they do. If not, then it
needs calibration. If you can't calibrate the Moog VCOs perfectly, that
is okay, they couldn't do it at the factory, either, they are Moog
synths, that's how they are. Anyway, on to the next step.
2) To get your point of reference, calibrate the MIDIJACK with a DMM.
Make sure it is exactly 1.00v/octave, and tops out at 10.58v. Now,
disconnect the white MIDIJACK wire and put your meter on that, and see
that it is still adjusted properly. If not, adjust it while
disconnected, and play all the way up, and notice that every single
note is precisely in tune and no note is even 1/25th of a volt off. The
output of the MIDIJACK is absolutely perfect in all cases and does not
drift with temperature. This should give you a real life
demonstration that the MIDIJACK is good and the synth is not. Reconnect
it and see if it plays in tune, and see if the voltage is the same, or
if the Prodigy is somehow loading the voltage down, or pulling it up,
then engineer whatever modification you can to make the synth work
properly with that perfect control voltage.
Analog User Support
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