Continuing on the subject of separation and vinyl, I have been working diligently on voicing and polishing our new phono preamplifier, the NuWave Phono Converter. I don't want this blog to turn into a sales thing so I am not going to go into any detail about the new product - however, I do want to relay an observation I made this evening.
I have a great vinyl copy of Kraftwerk's original Autobahn andoccasionallyI pull it out to gauge the difference between our reference and a newer design; this evening I did that. On the reference GCPH phono preamplifier the opening synthesizer licks sound, well, like a synthesizer and frankly I never paid a lot of attention to them. But playing that same track (track 2) on the new product I was immediately aware (for the first time) that the main riff was being made from the low pass filter of a Moog - as opposed to any other type of synth - so distinct the sound of this filter. I had never noticed that before.
Played through the reference phono preamp it was just "there" - could have been from an ARP or any number of synths - but on the new device it was clearly from a Moog.
I happen to know the sound of the Moog voltage controlled filter very well and I'll tell you why. My very good friend, musician and reviewer Dan Schwartz has a big Moog and I have always been fascinated with these instruments. I built synthesizers in the early days before PS Audio and had a great fondness for the original Bob Moog designs. I was trying to design my own filter but could never get the sound to be big and "fat" like the Moog. So Dan sent me a Moog Low Pass filter (VCF) from this device to copy and figure out.
Even on lowly headphones, the sound of the Moog VCF was always big and fat and distinctive and, darn it, far better than my design of a VCF. Moog filters were completely discrete, based on a cascaded capacitor ladder and diff pair - while mine were always based on a chip.
I bring all this to your attention partly as a reminiscence, but also because of my utter surprise when listening to a new design that something so distinct comes into the forefront in such an unexpected way.
So sure of this sound I went and looked up the group's instruments on Google and sure enough, there was the Mini Moog right on top of the heap - and the Mini Moog uses the identical filter as does Dan's big Moog.
I was quite taken with this development - as you can probably tell.