Those familiar with envelope generators know there are usually four sliders involved: attack, decay, sustain, and release. The MIDI MuRF’s single-knob approach is different, but it isn’t bothersome at all, and it actually made adjusting the envelope easier and more intuitive. The Rate control speeds up and slows down the rate of the pattern. Using the Rate knob can produce everything from slow volume swell patterns to fast, pulsating rhythms. The Rate can also be clocked via MIDI, allowing the MuRF to be synced to a sequencer, drum machine, or other MIDI device.

The LFO (low-frequency oscillator) is a sine wave that shifts the frequencies of the filters up and down as a group. The LFO rate is selfadjusted by the pattern when using the MuRF without CV or MIDI, which still adds extra modulation to the MuRF, even with the lack of control over the LFO speed. Adding an expression pedal, such as the Moog EP-2, will provide more user control over the tremolo-like effect— or you can send a CC (control command) message via MIDI controller, which will change the LFO/Sweep rate from .08 Hz to 20 Hz.

Control Voltage and MIDI
The ability to use control voltages adds even more expression to the MIDI MuRF. You can sync the MuRF’s Animation to the tempo of a song, or tap the tempo yourself using a footswitch. There are also CV inputs to control the rate of a pattern, or the attack and decay of the envelope, and you can also adjust the mix and the LFO speed using an expression pedal. Every single parameter available on the MIDI MuRF can also be controlled via MIDI using CC messages. Plugging in a MIDI foot controller, I was able to immediately change the patterns of the MuRF while enjoying the freedom of playing rather than reaching to turn knobs. The MuRF also accepts MIDI note-on messages to play the filters from a keyboard. Or, imagine playing the filters using a guitar-to-MIDI pickup—the possibilities are endless.

Moog has also developed free software called Pattern Editor for MIDI MuRF owners, and it is available on both PC and Mac platforms. Connect a computer to the MuRF and control every parameter of the pedal. Pattern Editor enables you to create, save, and load custom patterns as well. I tried this out, of course, but there is a learning curve involved when using the software for the first time. After reading the PDF manual provided with the download, I was able to quickly create and save my own sequences. Advanced features are also available with the Pattern Editor, such as adjusting the LFO rate, which comes in handy when you don’t have an expression pedal around.

The Final Mojo
The MIDI MuRF can seem daunting at first, especially with all the MIDI features, but the manual is well written and easy to follow—it helped a lot when learning the features. I improvised with the MIDI MuRF live during a few shows before completing this review. It was inspiring to play both live and at home; it added a whole new dynamic to my sound. The Midi MuRF is an instrument in itself, and it will add enjoyment and imagination to your music. Considering its ability to handle multiple instruments, the MIDI MuRF could be an essential unit to anyone’s rig, especially multi-instrumentalists. It’s not only a unique effects unit for guitar players, but a useful tool for professional and home studio use.
Buy if...
you’re tired of the same old effects and want a musical companion.
Skip if...
sequencing isn’t your thing—it’s pricey for just straight-ahead filtering.

Street $459 - Moog Music -