One synth to rule them all. Or simply yet another more machine in the ever increasing synth avalanche that has been going on the past years. Or maybe this new baby from Moog has some tricks up its sleeves that makes it stand out in the crowd. With a definitive retro look and bright colors on the panel it sure is something that will light up the studio. But apart from that, the new Moog Grandmother is also interesting since it has not just the classic Moog filter, but also an onboard spring reverb, and easy to use arpeggiator. What’s more, is that it has an “external audio input”, which allows one to plug mics, guitars, drum machines, or other synths to make use of all the effects. Check out the Grandmother in action below.
The Grandmother is a $999 semi-modular analog instrument that can make sound with or without the use of patch cables. According to Moog, the synth is inspired by Bob Moog’s classic modular synths of the 1960s and ’70s. The synth shares many qualities with Moog’s Eurorack-compatible Mother-32 synth – mainly inputs and outputs for patching the synth’s different functions to itself and other instruments – but the design of its body and keyboard is more reminiscent of the Realistic Concertmate MG-1 synth from 1982, which was made by Moog and sold by Radio Shack.
Furthermore, it sports two analogue oscillators with selectable waveshape and hard sync, a patchable single-pole (6dB/oct) high-pass filter, an analogue ADSR envelope generator, an analogue LFO with audio-rate capabilities, a 32-note Fatar keyboard with velocity and MIDI I/O via 5-pin DIN and USB.
There are no presets memories, but you can save up to three sequences in the Grandmother sequencer, each of which can be up to 256 steps in length. The sequencer is joined by the arpeggiator for creating instant movement.
Some “module” components based on vintage Moog modular systems:
CP3 Mixer with asymmetrical clipping behavior
905 Spring Reverb
Oscillators based on the Minimoog w/ additional hard sync
This is how Moog themselves describes their new machine:
“Grandmother is a sonic playground that harkens back to Moog’s modular roots, where synthesis is not only about the end result, but the journey of discovery and experimentation. While capable of highly complex sounds and modulation, Grandmother’s semi-modular design requires absolutely no patching, ensuring that human beings of any skill-level can easily explore and experience the joys and magic of analog synthesis.
Inspired by the classic Moog modular synthesizers that came before it, Grandmother’s sound engine, modulation engine and onboard spring reverb tank are completely analog, resulting in an unrestricted sonic vocabulary of immeasurable beauty and power. In addition, Grandmother also features an easy to use Arpeggiator and Sequencer for added enjoyment and programmable syncopation.
Though not required, creative patching and exploration are the keys to discovering exciting new relationships between modules and to truly unlocking Grandmother’s infinite expanse of auditory inspiration. Patching can also be used to override internal connections, allowing each section to function just as an independent module would.
In addition to its standalone function, Grandmother is also an ideal analog audio processor for external sound sources, and a powerful keyboard front end for expanding a Mother-32, DFAM or Eurorack modular system.
The synth will make its official debut at this year’s Moogfest in North Carolina, but the first 500 units have already been shipped and are available exclusively from Guitar Center. The Grandmother is the second synth to be unveiled at Moogfest 2018. The first was the Subharmonicon, an unreleased instrument based on the Trautonium, the Rhythmicon and the Schillinger System. These are exclusively available to Moogfest Engineer VIP pass holders.