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Moog Mariana

Software Bass Synthesizer By William Stokes
Published March 2024

Moog Mariana

Moog’s new bass soft synth goes deep. Really deep...

Available for macOS and Windows in VST3, AAX and Audio Units formats, the new Mariana soft synth has been described as “the Moog that never was”. It is dubbed a ‘bass synthesizer’, hence it being named after the deepest place on Earth.

Back To Bass‑ics

Mariana has more than a few tricks up its sleeve, but it is at its core a fairly simple subtractive monophonic synthesizer. The SYNTH 1 page presents two oscillators offering sine, triangle, triangle‑saw (or ‘sharktooth’), sawtooth and square waves — with the chosen shape only applicable to both oscillators together. The oscillators’ mutual waveshape can have its shape edited by a Duty Cycle knob, which is essentially a pulse‑width control, but for all the wave shapes, not just the square wave.

Familiar territory so far, but there are a few particularly well‑suited controls for bass here as well. One such is a Key Reset button, which helps maintain a consistent phase relationship between the two oscillators by having them reset with each new key, hopefully ensuring that different notes and pitches sound as similar as possible. There’s also a knob to adjust oscillator 2’s phase relationship with oscillator 1. There’s a sub‑oscillator with variable octaves and three simple waveforms to choose from (sine, sawtooth and square), as well as a control to adjust its own phase relationship with the primary oscillators. There’s also a variable noise generator, with an accompanying knob to cycle through red, pink, white, blue and purple noise variations. The sub has its own multimode filter, while the other oscillators have the useful pairing of both a high‑pass and low‑pass filter, which can be routed in series or parallel. The noise can also be high‑passed by itself to float above the rest of the synth voice: a nice touch for adding a percussive edge to otherwise murky low‑frequency information.

Next along is the CNTRL 1 page, for all things movement and modulation. It contains three fairly simple LFOs and three envelopes, including an assignable MOD envelope that has additional Delay and Hold stages compared with the other two’s ADSR stages. Finally, there are two random generators for rate‑variable or sync’able stepped or smooth random values; the latter uses a Perlin noise generator, so named for its inventor Ken Perlin, and is comparatively natural in feel. The random sections also have optional slew, which is...

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