Moog LEV-96 Prototype
To hype up the upcoming annual Moogfest, Moog Music unveiled the LEV-96 sensoriactuator concept prototype pickup.
This prototype is said to activate and control the naturally occurring harmonics and resonant frequencies of ferromagnetic mediums or strings.
To better understand this new gear, we have to look back at the basic physics of how string vibrations create sounds. The LEV-96 has electronics that intervene behind the core sound, and it works to "bring out hidden modes of vibration that have always been there, but were never energized".
The string resonates and produces various pitches and harmonics depending on the where you fret on the board. The LEV-96 is designed to artificially "play" the natural harmonics of your guitar, covering every natural harmonics produced by each integer division of the string's length.
The current prototype places 2 pickup channels under each string. According to Moog - "a pickup channel is capable of controlling any combination of 8 harmonics within each string simultaneously." With a total of 96 individual control systems, the LEV-96 can handle up to 96 harmonics at any given time.
Moog describes the prototype further by saying that: "This unique system is managed by a powerful processor that takes artist input via the touchpads, while continuously monitoring a strings harmonic content and vibrational behavior".
Since there is no official video demonstration yet and the information is still somewhat vague, all we can do is speculate on what this gadget can actually do. From the information we can gather that the LEV-96 can receive and process harmonics, and it is controlled via the touch pads that protrude along the top portion of the pickup. It could probably have both the features of a synth and a pickup along with intuitive real time MIDI control features through the touch pads.
Although the current prototype is designed for an acoustic guitar, this is said to just be the first phase of development. Moog Music is planning to make the LEV-96 compatible with other instruments, they want it to be easily affixed to any surface material in the future.
The LEV-96 is still in beta testing, you can get exclusive updates from Moog Music by signing up on their site.
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When you consider how much time and effort you put into getting your rig to sound just the way you want, it makes sense to ensure your guitar cables are also up to the job - after all they're an important part of the tone chain. Also remember that occasionally things will go wrong, so always carry at least one spare cable to gigs and rehearsals.