Back in September 2012 when we picked the Moog Prodigy at the top of our list of the most underrated synths, it was still possible to pick one up for £350. A little over two years later and those prices are long gone; you’ll have to pay nearly double that to find a fully functional example, putting the Prodigy beyond the budget of most first-time vintage synth buyers. Instead, if you want a vintage Moog on a budget, the best option is now the Rogue. We don’t like it as much as the Prodigy, but for a little over half the price we’re still happy to recommend it.
To Moog purists, the Rogue and its very similar cousin, the Realistic Concertmate MG-1, built by Moog for Radio Shack, sit in the shadow of the Minimoog. But that’s a slightly unfair comparison given the relative prices of the synths. As the even cheaper successor to the budget Prodigy, the Rogue was never going to be a world beater. Instead, it’s a solid but limited synth: two VCOs, an LFO, a 24dB Moog ladder filter and a very basic ASR envelope generator.
The addition of an oscillator sync option and a mixer designed to overdrive at higher levels make the Rogue a little more versatile than it might first appear, but there’s no denying this is bare bones analogue synthesis. Nevertheless, it’s still more than capable of churning out some meaty basslines and leads.
With so many of the classic American monosynths – Minimoogs, Pro Ones, Odysseys, SEMs and the like – now out of reach of most first-time vintage synth buyers, the Rogue remains one of the few affordable options with a link back to the first wave of synth pioneers and iconic brands.