It’s been a while since Moog produced a keyboard synthesiser, so we were pleased to see the Moog Grandmother debut at this years Moogfest. This latest product follows hot on the heels of Moogs recent DFAM drum synthesiser, Minimoog for iOS, and the Moogfest workshop build-opportunity Subharmonicon.
The 32 key desktop format Grandmother is a semi-modular analog synthesiser with a built-in arpeggiator, sequencer and spring reverb tank. The sound engine, modulation engine and spring reverb are completely analog. The first 500 Grandmother units were released to the public at Moogfest 2018, marked with a limited-edition Moogfest badge and supplied with a custom denim jacket. Those units quickly sold out and we expect the Grandmother to hit UK shores in a couple of months.
The strikingly-coloured retro design not only harks back to Moog’s MG-1 (produced under the Realistic brand as the Realistic Concertmate MG-1) it also serves as a reminder of the semi-modular nature of the synth. Whilst the Grandmother can be used standalone straight from box without further ado, the front panel is reconfigurable and patching can be used to override internal connections allowing each section to function as an independent module. With it’s flexible routing, the Grandmother is a capable standalone synth, analog audio processor for external sound sources, and can serve as a powerful keyboard front end for expanding a Mother-32, DFAM or Eurorack modular system.
The synth features two oscillators with selectable wave shapes and hard sync, an analogue LFO, a classic 4 pole ladder filter, patchable -6dB/Octave high pass filter and bipolar attenuator. The arpeggiator and 256 note sequencer are easy to use, and the 6″ spring reverb adds character and tonality, whilst allowing users to get physical with the synth (gently please!). The expansion possibilities are immense. There are 41 patch points with 21 inputs, 16 outputs and a parallel-wired 4 jack mult. It’s pleasing to see full sized DIN for MIDI in, out and thru, accompanied by a USB MIDI socket, 1/4″ audio in/out sockets, full size keys, and good spacing between control knobs.
Inspired by the heritage of classic Moog synthesisers, the provenance is more than just a passing thought. Numerous circuits are derived from classic Moog synths and modular components. The oscillators are based on the Minimoog. The mixer is based on Moog CP3, filter based on Moog 904, Envelope Generator based on Moog 911, VCA based on Moog 902 and spring reverb based on Moog 905. We fully expect the Grandmother to live up to Moog’s typically high standards of build quality and workmanship.
A crude listing of the feature set doesn’t do justice to the vision Moog have set out. The Grandmother is more than the sum of it’s parts, it is an extremely adaptable sonic playground. A very capable standalone synth, creative patching is key to appreciating fully Moog’s vision of providing the user with a journey, an experience of sonic exploration and discovery.
We hope you enjoy artist-composer Adrian Younge’s brief Thesis On Sound :