It really changed my perspective on things. There are a couple dozen people there who design, assemble, inspect and repair everything right there in that little shop. Sure, you can get a reproduction Korg MS-20 for $600, but there was something charming about seeing exactly who puts together a Moog Voyager or Sub 37 - the latter of which I pre-ordered this year, and I never pre-order anything.
It's well worth seeing if you're ever in Asheville - but the tour is typically only open during the week, during regular business hours.
(Disclaimer: worked in the synth business for decades.. its a truly heinous world if you peek beneath the covers for too long. Smoke, mirrors, deceit .. its all there, being applied, in the never-endless pursuit to 'market to the cool and gullible..')
Moog also happens to do bass sounds better than anybody else. You'll find Moogs in most serious hip hop and dance music studios.
Also it's a question of generation. Today's Moog synths sound a little different to the older generations, generally are more precise, cripy compared to warm vintage tones.
Two things concerning Moog:
* It is pronounced /ˈmoʊɡ/ mohg.
* They did monophonic synths only besides the Polymoog.
Personally I'll go for a Moog if I need a guaranteed huge, warm bass sound though.
 http://synthesizers.com -- the plural is important!
I had the pleasure of taking a class by Mort at NYU and learned a lot from his philosophy of music. He provided the musical philosophy behind the design of Don Buchla's eponymous electronic sound platform . Mort is responsible for the Buchla's lack of a familiar 12-key per octave keyboard. Mort felt that as long as they were synthesizing sound from scratch, there was no reason to box themselves into traditional scales, which result from the harmonic nature of sounds produced by resonant instruments (like winds and strings).
By contrast, Bob Moog created a synthesizer that is very much within the tradition of classical music. I imagine that this continuity, exemplified by Switched On Bach, is probably why the Moog is the far more famous instrument today. It's a much easier on ramp for musicians used to traditional instruments.
And by Raymond Scott, who had been using custom electronic circuitry for ads and commercial music since the 1950s.
Scott was a genius because he realised that you could not only make sound electronically, you could build hardware that would compose music. Everyone else is still playing catch-up with that idea.
There was also a fully electronic score by Bebe and Louis Barron for a film called Forbidden Planet.
Moog basically made the technology self-contained and sort-of affordable. With a Moog you had a complete keyboard synthesizer in a box, and you didn't need a room for it.
My favourite Moog music is the classical albums made by Isao Tomita in the 70s. I don't think anyone else has come close to the inventiveness, poetry, and sheer programming genius in the sound design.
History will record the 21st century as a time when artists stopped trying to emerge from obscurity and started trying their best to disappear into it.
Prepare to spend all of your money.
History of the Minimoog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLx_x5Fuzp4
My favorite Moog products might just be the whole suite of effects pedals, sold under the Moogerfooger brand (http://www.moogmusic.com/products/moogerfoogers). I have a bunch of them and a CP-251 and it's audio mayhem in the best way.
They also could have done more to make it accessible to people who didn't already know a lot about music synthesis.
> For about ten years, from roughly the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, the small but rapidly growing market for synthesizers was dominated by tiny U.S. start-ups, most notably Moog and ARP (a Massachusetts-based firm best remembered as the maker of the synthesizer used to communicate with the aliens in the movie /Close Encounters of the Third Kind/). People were going apeshit over these funny electronic sounds," Moog recalled.
> "I heard Walter Carlos doing /Switched-On Bach/," rock keyboardist Keith Emerson said, "and on the cover of the album was this thing that looked like a telephone exchange." Fascinated, Emerson made enquiries, and managed to borrow a Moog synthesizer for a live rendition of the theme music from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
> The extraordinary noises the synthesizer made baffled the audience to such an extent that Emerson decided he had to have a Moog synthesizer of his own to play on stage. So the rock star called the inventor and told him what he wanted to do. Moog replied that he would not recommend it—his synthesizers were only meant to be studio equipment. Nonetheless, Emerson insisted, eventually shelling out £30,000—a princely sum—for a massive, modular system. He was very proud of his new acquisition. "Trouble was it arrived with no instruction book—three oscillators, a reverb unit, trigger controls, filters, mixers, and a load of strange wires and plugs, and I couldn't even switch the damn thing on. You needed to be a rocket scientist."
> Such problems were typical of products made by early U.S. synthesiszer firms, all of which suffered from bad management and chronic underfinancing. "We were always in the red," Moog lamented, "we had no capital. None. Zero." They would stumble along from one National Association of Music Manufacturers show (where instrument dealers gather to place orders) to the next. If you didn't have a hit at one year's show, then you had better have one at the next, or you were dead."
> A second problem was quality. According to Moog, "In the late sixties and early seventies, you could put five pounds of shit in a box, and if it made a sound you could sell it." In addition to poor manufacturing, another recurrent vexation was the inherently unstable nature of these early, analog synthesizers.
> The oscillators that generated the sound were controlled by electrical voltages. To boost an oscillator's pitch up an octave took a corresponding increase in voltage. The trouble was that the damn things wouldn't stay in tune—their pitch was notorious for drifting. A ripple in the power supply, a change in temperature as the hall heated up or as the components themselves became warmer, almost anything was enough to set them adrift, necessitating a retune.
> "The tuning was a nightmare," Emerson recalled, "I had a frequency counter built into my system which I had to keep an eye on, plus I was playing the Hammond and two other instruments. When I look back now, I don't know how I got through it, I really don't."
> An expanding market, undercapitalized firms, poor manufacturing, and unreliable components—this was a scenario that was virtually tailor-made for the Japanese, with their deep pockets, superb production skills, and long-term commitment. Japanese firms began to make their presence felt in the synthesiser market from the mid-seventies on.
Or Abba, or the Beatles, or Coldplay, or Deadmau5, or Brian Eno, or any of the literally hundreds of other artists here:
Daft Punk are important to the history of Moog the way that Daring Fireball is important to the history of Apple. Notable users, worthy in their own right, certainly not entitled to an automatic mention.