Moog voyager drifting

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Seqpro3
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Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

I have a moog voyager I bought in 2015 used. I bought it from a music store were the moog voyager was returned. I asked why it was returned. I was told the person said it drifted. I know analog synths drift it is thier nature although there’s a difference between reasonable drift and a synth possibly needed to be recalibrated. I was wondering if this drift is common for other voyager owners. I also know that it’s recommended to warm up the voyager for 20 minutes before playing. I tune it up before I play it seems to stay in tune while I play. I know some patches are programmed to sound out of tune on purpose. I don’t believe this is the case though. Also if I change patches the new preset is out of tune as well. I tune each oscillator to each other and use the fine tune knob as well when tuning. I tune each oscillator to the same frequency first then change one of the oscillators to 16 and one to 32 and 1.
I always tune all three to the same frequency and same octave before assign the oscillators to different ranges this way making sure thier in tune before assigning different ranges. I was told by a salesman moogs drift. I have a sequential pro3 that doesn’t drift at all. Rock steady. In fact I would have to add slop and purposely tune it to sound out of tune it’s that good at staying in tune. Just curious if other voyager owners have tuning drift and how bad it might be. Thanks
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Just me
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Just me »

My Voyager Signature (early model) is stable patch to patch. It's actually pretty stable even with only a few minutes of run time.
There are some settings in the menu that may be causing your issues. Very carefully check ALL of the routings to the controllers.
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The Real MC
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by The Real MC »

I bought a Voyager SE in 2003 and it has been rock steady.

In 2018 I bought an RME from the Moog Store and it drifted, was not as rock steady as the SE.

So I peeked under the hood and found that the VCO timing caps C63 C66 and C81 were the wrong dielectric in the RME. Refer to the pic below. The image on the left is the SE with correct caps, polystyrene 3900nf (specified by the schematic). At some point Moog must have had a supply issue with the polystyrene caps becoming unavailable so they substituted mylar caps (example red one in the image on the right). The substitution is the cause of tuning problems.

Tech stuff: The temperature compensation of the VCOs that keeps the tuning stable is dependent on the dielectric of the timing caps, among other things. Different dielectrics have different variations of capacitance value, and the temperature compensation is designed to offset/cancel the variations of polystyrene caps. The incorrect caps don't match the design thus the variations don't get cancelled, resulting in tuning drift.

I replaced the mylar caps with the the correct polystyrene caps and the tuning was much better. However the correct caps were indeed hard to find, I had to source them from the UK.

I do not know what serial number the substitution was made.

Image
Last edited by The Real MC on Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SynthBaron
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by SynthBaron »

The Real MC wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 8:15 pm missing image
Your image doesn't load for some reason directly. I'll attach it here:
moog-voyager-vco-timing-caps-correct-vs-incorrect.jpg

I can't believe they substituted that, lol. The tuning stability of my 2002 Voyager with polystyrene caps was rock solid.
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Grinder
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Grinder »

That is really great information and easy to check for thank you for sharing.
To the OP I think the behavior you are describing is way out of bounds of normal. Voyagers on tour would not be acceptable with that amout of drift and I have seen many on stages around the world.
Have you reached out to Moog about this? They may be able to help you troubleshoot and calibrate as well, manufacturers can be very helpful with things from time to time
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

I’m not sure if it just needs recalibrated or if it’s the electrical components you mentioned. I would hope it just needs recalibrated. My voyager is the lunar impact performer model. I bought in 2015 used . I have reached out on the moog forum asking the same questions. I wouldn’t attempt to recalibrate it myself. I’ve read the process posted on the moog forum. I’m afraid I would make it worse. Wish I lived down the street from the moog factory then I would just take it to them to have a look at it.
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

You know a lot about electronics that stuff is way over my head.thanks for the information none the less
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The Real MC
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by The Real MC »

Just realized that left/right references were reversed in my post - corrected
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Peake »

The Real MC wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 8:15 pm I replaced the mylar caps with the the correct polystyrene caps and the tuning was much better.
Weird! Also, why does the silkscreen have polarity markings, polystyrene is non-polar, correct? It's not an outer layer/inner layer cap winding thing is it.
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Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

Are Moog Voyager’s and other Moog synths infamous for pitch drift ? Noting what you said about the electrical components and how you improved your synth by using different components and how you said my voyager seemed to not be acceptable. I talked to a sales person inquiring about the 2022 minimoog, told him I had a Voyager and about the pitch drift and said Moog are known for that. Which makes me think are there a lot of Voyager’s with the wrong components that lead them to drift. Or even with the right components do they still drift?
I don’t have any other Moog synths to compare it to. I knew someone that had a Voyager that lived local a few miles away but they didn’t play keyboards much so I never got any feedback. I believe they had the anniversary edition . They but it used with some used moo Folgers as well thanks hope I’m not to redundant just not sure what the norm is
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

Not sure what year their voyager was although it did have the touch screen I believe. It seemed that he got his used voyager and the used Moog Foogers for less than what I payed for my 2015 used. Thanks
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

If My tuning problems cause were the caps what do you think it would cost to fix it. I wouldn’t be able to do that kind of work myself. I’m thinking maybe I should just leave it alone. It’s just such a contrast from my pro3 that has no drift at all. Two different extremes. Thanks again I’m just a player and don’t understand all the electronics
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SynthBaron
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by SynthBaron »

It's pretty easy to fix, but I think you'd need to recalibrate the tuning and scaling on the oscillators.
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

I’ve read that tuning and calibration procedure although I wouldn’t attempt it myself being visually impaired. I’m not technically oriented as well. It seems involved and very exacting and would be easy to make mistakes. I’m concerned that I would make it worse or possibly not be able to safely work on it. I have what is called low vision and I have adapted in regards to certain things. But some things I realize would not be able to Do safely or correctly because of my impairment I thought about sending it to the Moog factory but thought that would be expensive and
Quite risky considering how easily it could get damaged even though I have a case for it I still wouldn’t trust it and I wouldn’t be able to replace it if it was damaged
I probably will be forced to leave it the way it is since there doesn’t seem to be a viable solution that isn’t risky
Thanks
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

I just hope that there aren’t any issues with the different boards inside. The voyager is my favorite synth and the price I paided is about $500 dollars less than what they were new, and the market for used Voyager’s is way overpriced in my opinion.
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by DMR »

Seqpro3 wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 10:28 am I just hope that there aren’t any issues with the different boards inside. The voyager is my favorite synth and the price I paided is about $500 dollars less than what they were new, and the market for used Voyager’s is way overpriced in my opinion.
The least risky thing to do would be to take it to a synth tech to check out. But how feasible that is depends on if there are any techs near where you are (or ship the Voyager to them). This video shows how the Voyager opens up. Incidentally the unit in the video seems to have the 'later' or 'incorrect' caps as noted earlier in the thread:
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by AlanC »

I have a Voyager from the final batch made, purchased new in October 2015.

It's had tuning problems right from the start, and it also goes out of calibration over time. I got perhaps two years from it after purchase before it needed recalibrating, then another couple of years, then I got a bit fed up of the tuning problems and it spent several years in its box. I got it out again a couple of weeks ago and had to recalibrate it for the third time. This time I took some photos of the analog board and can see it has the red mylar capacitors in locations C63, C66 and C81.

Are these incorrect capacitors just going to affect the temperature compensation while the synth is running, or could they be implicated in the long term drift that leaves the synth needing recalibration every couple of years?
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umma gumma
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by umma gumma »

Hey, maybe modding those cap types/values could make the voyager osc's a little looser, like the vintage moogs?

Most people seem to complain they are too accurate!

Fwiw mine has been stable for years. I bet if you got someone to put the correct caps in there & recalibrate it, it would fix the issue as RealMC mentioned above.
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by BTByrd »

If "out of tune" means that the instrument will generate off-sounding pitches when played with other instruments, mine has never gone out of tune. I never take it anywhere with big temperature fluctuations though, so maybe it's driftier than I know. If you do a lot of patches that rely on precise FM or precisely detuned oscillators, there's some drift over time and across octaves. But you just have to be aware of that and micro-tune the patch before you play or record it. I guess it'd be nice if there was a way to make it perfectly stable and then dial in the slop, but I'm happy with the instrument as it is as it never presents a practical problem for me with respect to tuning.
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by AlanC »

BTByrd wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 11:02 am If "out of tune" means that the instrument will generate off-sounding pitches when played with other instruments, mine has never gone out of tune.
Over time the oscillators of my Voyager will drift out of tune in relation to other instruments and to each other, and the octave scaling will also drift, although not as badly.

When I got it back out of its box after a couple of years of not being used oscillator 2 was about 10 cents flat with respect to oscillator 1, and oscillator 3 was about 20 cents sharp. This was made worse by the fact the keyboard scaling was also out, so at the higher end oscillator 2 was about 15 cents flat and oscillator 3 about 30 cents sharp. So, almost half a semitone between oscillators 2 and 3.

After recalibrating it, and when fully warmed up, the oscillators have a very slight drift against each other: they're not beating noticeably. The problem is that it doesn't stay that way; the tuning slowly drifts over several years until it gets bad enough that I have to recalibrate it again. During its first couple of years it didn't get moved around much, if at all, so I doubt it's vibration disturbing the trimmers - an obvious suspect because the keyboard tracking trimmer ( a single turn one) is ridiculously sensitive.
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

I was just playing mine. It still drifts but I always tune the oscillators before playing. It doesn’t drift while I’m playing it. It appears those caps are the culprit for more than one Voyager .Wonder if Moog would replace those caps for free being they put out of spec caps on the voyager. I should look up the serial number. Maybe there’s a known problem with the one I have. Maybe new caps and a recalibration
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

It’s just so noticeable compared to my seqpro3 .
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Dave Peck
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Dave Peck »

AlanC wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 11:29 am

After recalibrating it, and when fully warmed up, the oscillators have a very slight drift against each other: they're not beating noticeably. The problem is that it doesn't stay that way; the tuning slowly drifts over several years until it gets bad enough that I have to recalibrate it again.
It's normal to recalibrate the osc tracking on an analog synth occassionally. I do it to all of the oscs in my modular twice a year at least, sometimes more if I'm about to record a track that requires very precise tracking. It doesn't sound to me like there is anything wrong with your synth if you only need to do it once every few years. That's actually really good.
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by nadafarms »

I gave up on voyager ownership, I owned a couple some years back and they had horrible tuning and just strange unpredictable tuning issues. So did the little phatty…
Seqpro3
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Re: Moog voyager drifting

Post by Seqpro3 »

It seems that there are issues with tuning. I understand acoustic and analog instruments need to be tuned . I just wonder if this is how moogs are. Could be the wrong caps , recalibration, other issues just don’t know how moog can keep putting out substandard products. They have a reputation for thier sound but a reputation as well for quality issues. I bought my voyager knowing it drifts. Bought it that way knowing they were being discontinued so I thought it would be my last chance. Maybe moog should offer some kind of guarantee if there are problems they will fix , but there seems to me more widespread problems after reading posts on this forum as well as moogs forum. I wish I could A B my voyager compared to a correctly function voyager.
Shame because it’s such a great synth to have such substandard issues with drifting
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