Images and specs of the Moog Grandmother semi-modular synthesizer leaked over the weekend. But now we have some official videos that explore the sound, the ethos and the construction of this cool new monosynth.
Check out the videos below but just to pull out some of the details. The modules in the Grandmother are indeed based upon the Moog modular heritage rather than the more recent synthesizer technology. They went through their modules piece by piece to find bits which would be useful in terms of “character and magic” and also things that they could improve for this new instrument. Moog wanted to build something that looked like it came out of the legacy modular era and was “fun and approachable and encourages people to put their hands on the product and give it a try.” I think they aced that.
The oscillators are interesting in that they have separate 1volt/octave inputs, separate tuning and a sync button. One oscillator has pulse width modulation for the square wave, the other has a linear FM input. The mixer section is based on the modular CP-3 mixer which has asymmetric clipping behaviour. The filter is based on the 904a with cutoff in and envelope controls. On the envelope side there are two, the main one based on the 911 module and a second one for keyboard release. The VCA is based on the 902 module. There’s an LFO, which they call a Modulation Oscillator, which is normalled to exponential FM on the two oscillators, the cutoff and the PWM. It also has 1volt/octave and multiple waveforms as well as a sample-and-hold. The arpeggiator/sequencer comes from the Sub 37 and can store up to 3 sequencers. The Spring Reverb comers fro the 905 module and is completely analogue and clangable. Everything can be patched out to other modular gear.
Watching the Grandmother in action is appears to be a much more substantial chunk of synthesizer than I got from the images. A welcome sight in the current trend of small desktop synths. It’s also fascinating to witness the way it’s put together – the human factor, the testing, the calibration, the attention to detail. You get the impression that every Grandmother will get played with by a musician before it goes in a box. Disappointingly the Grandmother is based upon one main PCB so these are not ready-to-go Eurorack modules. Although there’s still no reason why they couldn’t break it up.
These are videos designed to demonstrate why these instruments are worth the value Moog places upon them. And I think they achieve that perfectly in an honest and non-cynical way.
- Moog website.