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Best new synth 2022: Moog Mavis

As 2022 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2023, we’re bringing you our picks of the best new gear this year, from drum machines to turntables.

We’ve seen a huge variety of exciting new synth releases this year, from the wave morphing ASM Hydrasynth Explorer to the old-school analogue Dreadbox Nymphes, the incredible value Cre8audio East Beast and West Pest, to the nasty-sounding PWM Malevolent and exotic AnalogFX SER-2020.

But the best synths aren’t always radical in their approach. Sometimes it takes a simple tweak of an existing formula to make something new which captures the imagination. In Moog’s case, the formula is already well established: the North Carolina company’s iconic analogue instruments build on synth heritage stretching back nearly 60 years. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

With the Moog Mavis, the brand’s classic sound is delivered in an affordable, Eurorack-compatible semi-modular design, requiring a small amount of self-assembly. The patchable synth architecture is mainly quite familiar from other Moog synths, including the classic low-pass ladder filter circuit, but there’s also Moog’s first ever wave folder, giving a fresh twist on classic East Coast sounds. From deep, weighty bass sounds to funky leads, all the Minimoog staples are there, with the added bonus of new, slightly experimental territory from the wave folding.

The Mavis is by no means Moog’s first self-assembly instrument. Legendary founder Bob Moog started his career selling theremin kits as far back as the early 1950s. In this case, however, the DIY approach is simple, easy and apparently cost-effective, offering a more professional finish than the excellent Werkstatt kit synth released a few years ago. The option to remove it from its case and use it as a Eurorack module is a nice added bonus.

With the Mavis, Moog have captured most of what makes the brand’s more expensive instruments so popular, presenting it in an affordable but professional format which will appeal to experienced synth heads just as much as complete beginners. At well under £300, it’s a bargain for a genuine Moog.

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