The Moog Dfam is one of the best synthesizers on the market. It offers a wide range of sounds and features, making it perfect for any producer. If you’re looking for a synthesizer that can do it all, then the Dfam is worth checking out.
The Dfam offers plenty of synth sounds, including all the standard waveforms you would expect from a Moog synthesizer, including sawtooth, triangle, square, and noise. There are also over 20 of Moog’s classic analog oscillators and a few digital oscillators.
Dynamics range from soft to heavy, creating various percussive sounds, while the modulation menu offers five modes: mod wheel, LFOs, ADSR envelope, and CV modulation. The filter section offers the LFO, ADSR, and CV control in addition to an optional band-pass or high-pass filter. The LFO control offers frequency, pitch, amplitude, and time, while the ADSR offers Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release rules. The filter has five modes: resonant, low pass, high pass, band pass, and notch.
Acoustically, DFAM is of pure quality and has very distinct characteristics. With a wide range of oscillators, sync and FM options, noise sources, and punchy envelopes, it’s great for creating synth percussion with various tones. From deep kicks with sharp attacks to satisfying crunchy noise snares, raspy square wave percs, and bell-like FM tones, its bow has a lot to offer, especially when patchbay is thrown into the equation.
However, it certainly lends itself more to experimentation than pre-planned sound design. Moog asserts that “people of any age need no experience synthesizing new and unique rhythmic compositions quickly.”; This is true because anyone who can find power buttons or trigger the sequencer can get some audio from DFAM. However, this statement seems a bit misleading; In fact, DFAM is an esoteric tool, even if you ignore the normative side of things. Good synthesis knowledge is essential to generate specific rather than random sounds.
- Huge range of sounds
- Powerful modulation options
- Excellent build quality
- It can be not easy to create specific sounds without a good knowledge of synthesis
- The lack of MIDI hampers studio and live use.
Moog Dfam: The Defamation Game
No one thinks of outlandish product names like Moog and Drummer From Another Mother doesn’t need any more commentary. Fortunately, DFAM rolls very well on the tongue, so let’s leave it at that!
In its quest to deliver customizable electronic drum sounds, this synthesizer somehow integrates two VCOs, three envelopes, a classic Moog filter, a step sequencer, and that nearly gapless 3×8 patch bay. Although billed as a nicely angled desktop unit, the DFAM fits in a Eurorack case (where it needs 60 horsepower) or one of Moog’s Mother rack mounts.
The quality is of a high standard, and all the regular buttons are pleasantly smooth and nestle in ample space. The switches have a bit of play, but the only real hint of a penny adjustment is when you press down on the sequencer – the sixteen buttonless stalks are subpar compared to the other controls. I can almost tolerate this downsizing in the mixer department. Still, it leaves the step sequencer unfinished, so I can understand why many owners install their knobs, pushing them as a Moog should.
The rear panel is as simple as anywhere. It only has a 1/4-inch audio output (which doubles as a headphone jack) and a connection for an external power supply. If you want to mount it in a Eurorack case, DFAM draws 230mA and is only powered from a +12V supply.
Drum Synthesis Made Easy
VCOs produce triangle or square waves, and a suitable white noise source is available. So while DFAM doesn’t cover all the sounds of your dreams, it is well-tuned for the role of synthetic percussion. In the oscillator section, we are faced with the first envelope of three simple envelopes, each of which consists of a decay handle. Since the pitch modulation values for each VCO are independent and bipolar, you now have a great starting point for analog bass, tom, treble bass, and a full range of dink, bass, and treble.
The oscillators cover a wide range of tones, each reproducing a frequency control of 10 octaves (!); This isn’t the whole story either, as the sequencer and patch panel can further raise the pitch from the starting point set by the frequency knobs. For reference, it’s worth noting that the center frequency position is equal to the center of the sequencer pitch knobs.
In one of the included modulation paths, the frequency of VCO2 can be modulated by VCO1 – revealing a world of sharp, quiet, and often distorted FM tones. The last role of the oscillator is complex synchronization – flip the switch, and VCO2 is out of phase on VCO1. Not only does traffic synchronize with a rich palette of fundamental waves, but it also becomes even more interesting when combined with FM. These nasty oscillators don’t know where to turn, especially if the start tones are so far away, but their screeching cries are the source of our complex sound!
Moog Dfam Sequencer
Some of us are filled with nostalgia and anticipation of Moog’s footsteps. After overcoming the slight disappointment of getting your hands on it, the possibility of a two-eight series looks promising. A pitch levels the top row, and the bottom row is designed for speed.
Pitch and dynamics are effective pairings even before exploring more exotic options with Patchbay. The switch in the oscillator section lets you decide whether the step arranger for both VCOs only controls VCO2. I mentioned earlier that the organizer could send the oscillators from the starting frequencies and quickly take you to areas bothered by bats or clicks and low-frequency noise as you create.
Analog sequencers may not be as sophisticated as their digital counterparts, but their power usually lies in their ease of manipulation during playback. As you explore the available options, you will notice some shortcomings. Most importantly, the two rows are fixed in eight steps. There is no way to do what most step organizers like, which is to dynamically change the pattern length or send “Reset in Step 1” from an external source. Also, to create a 16-step pattern, playing two lines in a row is impossible, which is a deviation from the machine drum contract.
The Tempo knob is rated between 10bpm and around 10,000bpm, making the DFAM a standalone crazy noise generator to its limits. You can also insert one of the sequencer’s rows into the CV input to create insanely choppy and choppy patterns. You can reach the sound rate by running the sequencer at max. The resulting waveform can be treated as a filter by connecting the tone row to an external sound.
When the sequencer is not working, you can activate the envelope manually with one button. Another button pushes the organizer forward but does not activate it. If you want to synchronize your DFAM model with other equipment in your studio, you can use your favorite original clock source.
The external clock received at the ADV/Clock input is sufficient to lock the DFAM to it. You are being enslaved increases both the tempo knob and the CV input speed. So I couldn’t imagine how interesting it would be if Moog used them to control the sequence length and reset it in the presence of external clocks.
Regardless of the clock source, the sequencer will start running when you press play, or there is 5V on the play input. But oddly enough, this external way of beginning the sequencer doesn’t precisely mirror the on/off button because the envelope isn’t active.
Moog Dfam Patchbay
The neatly designed patch bay tool helps record sequencers and offers the possibility to run the entire DFAM assembly engine externally. Any connection at speed input bypasses the second line of the sequencer, which can then be redirected to whatever you want. Similarly, each VCO has 1V/Oct. Step Input is ready to accept input from an external keyboard, sequencer, etc.
This ability to override default paths is what brings DFAM to life. Moog includes five jumper cables and many fun examples to try, but it’s also worth noting that the patchbay voltages are a bit of a mess. For example, the sequence controller’s step row is calibrated to have a range of -5 to +5 volts, but the speed row only transmits 0 to 5 volts. While some termination points expect a range of -5 to +5 volts, others range from 0 to +5 volts or 0 to +8 volts. External tinkering will reap many rewards without built-in multipliers, mixers, or attenuators.
In particular, a voltage input’s value controls the attenuation of each envelope. You can easily add motion to a static loop sequence by sending one of them from an external source or LFO. Another great advantage is that you can change the sound level and amount of FM from an external voltage source or regulator on the board. This level of control makes it possible to offer a simple monophonic drum synthesis with great versatility.
The external audio input is scaled to the Eurorack level, so you must upgrade all lines or signals at the DFAM filter processing tool level. Sending a total VCA output at this point does not fully reflect the trick with overdrive Minimoog, but there is no reason not to increase it first if your goal is granularity. I found that the loop and transposed sample in the mountain stream (taken from Make Noise Morphagene) created a remarkable hi-hat combined with a high-pass DFAM filter and a sequencer going into the VCA envelope decay time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Moog DFAM?
The Moog DFAM is a standalone, semi-modular synthesizer that adds percussive elements to the Mother-32 sound palette. The DFAM is an innovative tool for expanding the functionality of the Mother-32 and Moog synthesizers and expands the Mother-32’s creative potential into the attractive new sonic territory. A key feature is using the Moog DFAM for generating complex percussion sounds using the DFAM’s four independent sound generator modules.
A DFAM can be used to emulate drums, but this is only part of the story. The Moog DFAM expands the Mother-32’s sound palette and allows the musician to create and manipulate complex percussion with multiple rhythmic elements. By combining four of the Mother-32’s DFAM modules, you can create rhythmic patterns with different pitches, pitches and note onsets, and rhythmic events with or without note onsets. The DFAM can also add complex sequences of effects to produce new sounds.
Is a Moog DFAM worth the money?
The Moog DFAM is an excellent investment for anyone who wants to expand their Mother-32 sound palette and create complex percussion sounds. The DFAM is also a perfect tool for developing the creative potential of Moog synthesizers. The DFAM is an excellent addition to any Mother-32 or Moog synthesizer setup.
Is the DFAM a drum machine?
The DFAM is not a drum machine, but it can be used to generate complex percussion sounds. The DFAM expands the Mother-32’s sound palette and allows the musician to create and manipulate intricate percussion with multiple rhythmic elements. By combining four of the Mother-32’s DFAM modules, you can create rhythmic patterns with different pitches, pitches and note onsets, and rhythmic events with or without note onsets. The DFAM can also add complex sequences of effects to produce new sounds.
How many HP is Moog DFAM?
The Moog DFAM is 60 HP. An “HP” is horsepower, a measure of energy. 60 HP is more than many of the Moog DFAMs, but the actual amount of power available can vary widely depending on the gear ratio.
The DFAM experience is direct, fun, and above all, broad. Time flows at a very different speed in the outside world. I’ve often just chased the sky to catch a sharp ring, especially in my Elektron Octatrack (before it was integrated into anything else); This is a drum synth from which impressive sounds are easily heard. Indeed, this is a challenge in the service of nausea. However, that doesn’t mean Moog completely fixed it.
The step sequencer is disappointingly close to cooling, but removing a reset input or other way to shorten templates is a significant limitation. It’s eight steps and still eight steps. Fortunately, you can use an external sequencer if needed, and PatchBay is always ready to do more than the basic architecture promises. So I doubt Moog will sell many of these, especially to someone who already owns a Mother-32 or is interested in Euroracks but looking for a smooth introduction.