In this Warm Audio Ringer Bringer review, we take a look at the reincarnation of the legendary Moog MoogerFooger MF-102 ring modulator. Does this ambitious clone deliver the Moog magic?
Warm Audio Ringer Bringer – Standout Features
- Authentic, 100% analogue Ring Modulator based on Moog MF-102
- LFO, MOD, FREQ and RATE controls
- CV Inputs for Rate, Amount, Mix, Frequency & Lo/Hi Switch
- 1/4″ input jacks for audio in, audio out, LFO out and carrier in/out
- 9v Battery or external PSU powered
- All steel enclosure with wooden end cheeks
Warm Audio Ringer Bringer Review
Cast your mind back to 2018 and many of us in the music tech community witnessed the death of the Moog MoogerFooger series of effects pedals. Calling these units effects pedals is to do them something of a disservice. In the early years of Moog’s rebirth, back in the 1990s, Moog packaged circuits you’d expect to see in modular synth modules into stand-alone pedal enclosures.
Amongst the range of MoogerFoogers (Bob Moog once told me you had to say it really fast to get the pun) was the MF-102. A fully featured, fully analogue ring modulator with extensive connectivity. It quite quickly became something of a modern classic, used by artists such as Trent Reznor, and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.
It seemed strange that Moog should discontinue the MoogerFoogers, just as interest in all things modular was building momentum. Thankfully, Warm Audio are back again with another perfectly placed recreation. The Ringer Bringer sets out to be an authentic recreation of the MF-102 at a very attractive price point. Does it deliver that music-mangling Moog magic? Let’s find out…
Fit and Finish
Out of the box, the Ringer Bringer serves up a familiar formula and undoubtedly one that we’ve seen before from Warm Audio: Build quality is above average and entirely fit for purpose. Do the wooden end cheeks look a bit “homemade”? Is the pedal a little lighter and not quite as hefty as the Moog original? Possibly…
Does any of that detract from the functionality of the pedal, however? Well, in my experience of this pedal, and other Warm Audio gear, not at all. Fancy knobs and hand-oiled wooden end cheeks won’t make your music sound better!
One immediate criticism I have is that you’ll need a screwdriver to change the internal battery. Granted, I can see most people using a conventional 9v power adaptor to use this pedal. However, tool-less battery replacement should, in 2024, be a given option.
Like the original MoogerFoogers, the Ringer Bringer offers a huge selection of inputs and outputs. At its most basic, you can use it just like a traditional stomp-box with simple 1/4″ audio inputs and outputs. However, for those more adventurous sorts, the additional connectivity opens up more options.
Look on the back panel and you’ll find additional audio outputs for the LFO output and the carrier output. You could, for example, use the Ringer Bringer as an expander module to provide an additional LFO to your synth setup. Equally, it’s possible to use the Ringer Bringer to add an additional, tuned oscillator to your modular synth setup.
You’ll find CV inputs provided for most of the front panel knobs: rate, amount, mix and frequency can all be controlled via the rear CV jacks. Clearly, it doesn’t take much imagination to see the possibilities for real-time control. Plug in an expression pedal for real-time hands-free control, or use your modular synth to control or sequence the parameters.
Go on, I dare you not to have a go at emulating the voice of The Daleks as the first thing you do with this pedal! Dr Who nerds will be thrilled to hear that it’s very easy to dial in that classic Dalek voice. LFO set to square wave, rate full, drive mid-way, modulation mix 3/4 and frequency mod set to around 1kHz. Once you’ve spent the next hour sending Dalek-gram voice messages to all your friends, you’ll probably want to dig into the other possibilities on offer!
One of the first strange quirks I noticed is that the bypass LED lights up in an unintuitive way. It’s green when the effect is engaged, but red when in bypass mode! Taking a look at some YouTube demos of the original MF-102, it appears the original MoogerFooger units also exhibit this quirk! Authentic though that is, I’d prefer it the other way around, personally!
Bang! Clang! Kerrang! …with Warm Audio Ringer Bringer
So what’s a Ring Modulator for, if not for Dalek voices? Well, like any good ring modulator, the Ringer Bringer gives you a multitude of music-mangling possibilities. I tried the Ringer Bringer both with a guitar and an amp as well as with a hardware synth.
At its most subtle, you can use the Ringer Bringer for pseudo-tremolo effects. In this guise, it’s perhaps one of the most versatile tremolo units you could imagine. Of course, pushing the LFO speeds and controls higher brings on classic ring mod tonalities.
If you’ve ever listened to an audio signal and thought, “Nice, but I’d like it to sound a bit more like a gong or like it’s made out of shearing metal”, then this is the pedal for you! Equally, the Ringer Bringer is more versatile than I first imagined.
It’s possible to dial in everything from a gentle atonal metallic sheen through to complete apocalyptic sonic chaos. That, perhaps, is the joy of a good ring modulator; there are few effects which create such diverse sonic characters with so few controls.
A Worthy Recreation? A conclusion to Warm Audio Ringer Bringer
So, the big question: Does the Warm Audio Ringer Bringer deliver a worthy alternative to the original MF-102? I would answer that with an unreserved YES! Sure, it may not quite have the artisanal finishing and build quality of a Moog original. Equally, it doesn’t carry the price of an original, either!
Ring modulation is such an interesting effect; but equally, it’s one you’re only likely to use on occasion. Importantly, The Ringer Bringer gives you one of the best ring-mod circuits at a price point that encourages experimentation.
Pros and Cons: Warm Audio Ringer Bringer
- Authentic Recreation of Moog MF-102 Ring Modulator
- 100% Analogue Signal Path
- Possibility to create unique tremolo effects
- Subtle to extreme sound shaping
- Excellent modular integration
- Easy to use
- Battery/9V power options
- Extremely good value
- Solid build quality
- Lacks the outright quality feel of the Moog original
- Confusing bypass indicator LED
- Tools required for battery replacement
- Warm Audio Ringer Bringer 1: Warm Audio