Moog Taurus 2 Controller pedal CV controller



Last Update 06-14-2014

Moog released the Taurus II in 1981 which comprised two separate units consisting of bass pedal unit and monophonic synthesizer module.  The synth module was suspended above the pedal unit via a microphone stand.  The synth module circuitry was a duplicate of the Moog Rogue and is not highly regarded for bass timbres compared to its famous predecessor Taurus I bass pedal synthesizer.  The lesser known and rarely seen cousin is the Taurus II Controller.  This was the base pedal assembly without the synthesizer module, strictly a CV controller with no synthesizer circuitry whatsoever producing CV and trigger outputs only.  The trainspotting differences are the rear panel and the "CONTROLLER" legend on the front panel under the "Taurus II" label.  Some were labeled in white, some in gold.  Most of the units I have seen with gold labels tended to fade or wear off.

For years I have coupled the Taurus II to my Moog Source via the factory modification known as service bulletin 853B (scans of page 1, page 2, and page 3), which modifies the Taurus II controller to serve as a remote controller for the Source.  The reason I did this was when I routed the Taurus II control outputs to the CV/trigger inputs on the rear panel of the Source, you cannot get multiple trigger and the CV input is not processed by the glide processor.  This modification corrects that.  I used the Taurus II/Source combination to great effect for many years, and Mike Rutherford of Genesis adopted the Taurus II/Source system in the last years of the band.  You can catch glimpses of the Taurus/Source in their 1992 Genesis Live video (not sure it ever got released on DVD). 

I really liked this combination as long as the Source was my bass synthesizer.  When I owned an Elka DMP-18 bass pedal MIDI controller and tried it with my MIDI devices, I really liked the options offered by using my feet to play timbres other than just bass.  Alas the Elka was disappointing so I sold it, and I began to look into retrofitting my Taurus with MIDI.  My Source already had a MIDI retrofit so it was ready.  The best retrofit I found was the Highly Liquid MIDI CPU which unfortunately is no longer made.  You have to rewire the key contact system to use the retrofit but it allows you to use the Taurus II as a polyphonic controller for your MIDI devices so you can play two-note chords with your feet.  If you males want a three note chord you'll have to use your third appendage - if you can (if you dare...).


The Taurus II Controller is an 18 note control voltage (CV) controller that contains no synthesizer circuitry.  It generates CVs for keys pressed and V-trig/S-trig signals for controlling old analog synthesizers.  It includes range and scale pots for transposing the CV output so it will work with vintage analog synthesizers that have CV/trigger inputs and with modular synthesizers.  The Taurus II is monophonic and single trigger only.  It requires a hefty 24VDC "wall-wart" transformer that is hard to find so be sure it is included when you buy one.  The one stupid feature is the DC input for the wallwart - it is a 1/8" jack.  There is a danger of shorting out your wallwart because the tip and sleeve will short circuit briefly as you insert it, so be sure the wall wart has no power when you insert or remove the plug.  This is often why these things turn up missing in auctions or classified ads.

The DIN jack pictured on my unit is not factory - I added that jack to interface with the Moog Source using factory bulletin 853B described above.  I eliminated the wallwart on my modification by routing power rails from the Source, which was much safer and more goof-proof.  That's why I used a 5-pin DIN jack.  I always like the 18 note range better as the more common 13 note one octave range was never enough.  The keyset is comfortable to play, I always liked the Lowrey organ keymolds that were used on vintage Taurus synthesizers.  Back in the 1970s/1980s, Moog Music was owned by the huge music conglomerate Norlin Corporation which also owned Lowrey organs, Gibson guitars, Pearl drums, Maestro pedal effects, Lab Series amplifiers, and many other brands.  It was not uncommon to use components between brands as they were essentially the same ownership (hence Taurus using keysets from Lowrey organs), and the Moog factory did build non-moog products such as the Lab Series and Maestro lines.  One thing that annoyed me about the Elka pedal controller is it was too easy to bump neighboring keys and it would "shut off" the note you were playing.  The Taurus II didn't have that problem, which was why I kept it and sold the Elka.

contact info