Late last week, Moog outed its LEV-96 sensoriactuator prototype and offered a glimpse at its latest R&D unit. Even though it's still in the early phases of beta-testing, we were able to stop by the Moog Music factory for a closer look and a brief glimpse of the gear in action ahead of its appearance at Moogfest. While the unit is installed on acoustic guitars for the time being, the company says that similar tech can be used on other acoustic instruments and eventually to other surfaces -- this is just the current manifestation. Since the tech modifies the guitar's natural harmonics and string vibrations, the LEV-96 is getting cozy on both traditional acoustic guitars and those outfitted with pickups in its present state.
As far as controls go, the entire unit is capacitive touch-enabled from the moment a finger swipe powers it on. Sliders allow for adjusting the intensity, harmonics and note duration while the other buttons enable arpeggio presets and modulation that includes tremolo and random harmonic tweaks. Those sliders remain in play when a preset is activated, serving to enable further adjustments on selected There is a lock button, too, so that you don't accidentally make a switch mid-strum. All of these finger-friendly surfaces work alongside two pairs of electromagnetic pickup channels per string to wrangle the 96 simultaneous harmonics. Magnets work to either increase of decrease the string's motion, bringing out vibrational modes that have always been in-play on acoustic instruments, but have never been offered the power needed to make 'em sing. The folks at Moog are quick to remind us that the LEV-96 is still in its infancy, but you can rest assured we'll be keeping an eye our for what develops. For a peek at the tech in action, head on past the break for a really quick demo that we kept brief due to that fact that this is an early prototype.
Moog LEV-96 prototype eyes-on