So last week we got an artist's rendition of what the new Moog Mother 32 might look like, and to be fair it was pretty close, but now the day has arrived and the Mother 32 has been officially announced.
This is Moog's first foray into the world of Eurorack synthesizers, a tabletop semi-modular built into a rugged aluminium enclosure with wood sides, built in 32 step sequencer and 32 point patchbay.
The Voice It is a complete patchable Moog voice, so as you've probably guessed it will have that distinctive "Moog Sound" (lardy and fat bottomed), it is also semi modular so it requires no patching to get sound.
The classic Moog Ladder filter is given to us in two different flavours; High Pass and Low Pass with a huge range of 20Hz to 20KHz. It has modulation for both cutoff and resonance.
A single VCO gives simultaneous saw and square waves with modulation inputs for linear FM, exponential FM (1V per Oct) and also pulse width. We also get noise which is normalled to the external audio input, a VC mixer crossfades between the VCO and Noise/Ext Input.
A second VC crossfade/mix is included to allow mixing of two DC coupled signals.
One single variable Attack Decay envelope and a single LFO are here to provide the modulation duties. The AD envelope can be toggled to include a sustain section, dependent on the length of the gate. The LFO has a wide range from .1Hz to 600Hz
We have one VCA which can either be normalled to Envelope Generator or opened fully to drone the output of the voice. CV input is provided on the patchbay as well as an output volume control.
There is also a built in MIDI/CV convertor.
The Sequencer This is probably one of the most interesting things about this synth, especially as (we're being presumptuous here) this machine is aimed squarely at modular newbies. The sequencer is a great addition to make the Mother 32 a gateway drug for Eurorack modulars.
It is a dual-mode 32 step sequencer with 64 sequence locations. In KB mode the built in keyboard is used to play the instrument, enter sequence data and transpose sequences. In Step Mode, the keyboard functions as the step sequencer interface and is used to enable and mute steps, update note data and select sequence banks.
Each sequence step includes: Note Value, Gate Length (Tie), Rest On/Off, Accent On/Off, Glide On/Off and Ratchet count (up to 4 note-repeats occurring in the duration of a single note)
On the front panel we have tempo, swing, run/stop, hold and reset and on the patchbay we have inputs for tempo, run/stop (also used for sync), reset and hold. Outputs for KB (pitch), Gate and accent pulse are also provided on the patchbay.
The sequencer can be clocked by either analogue clock or MIDI.
The Patchbay 32 patch points on 3.5mm jacks, gives you all the usual modulation inputs and outputs as well as sequencer controls. In addition a buffered multiple is also provided.
There is also an assignable multi purpose output giving access to 16 functions: Sequencer Accent, Sequencer Clock, Sequencer Clock /2 Sequencer Clock /4, Decimated "Ramp", Decimated "Saw", Decimated "Triangle", Stepped Random, STEP 1, MIDI Note On Velocity, MIDI Channel Aftertouch, MIDI Pitch Bend, MIDI CC1 Mod Wheel, MIDI CC2, MIDI CC4 and MIDI CC7.
The Case The Mother 32 comes as a fully standalone semi-modular synth with a built in power supply, but it can also be extracted and fitted/powered in a standard Eurorack modular case. It has a current draw of 230mA, which means the full voice and sequencer will run on a modest Eurorack power supply.
Multiple mothers can be stacked together in Moog's two and three tier rack kits. Or the cases can be purchased blank and the second or third row can be used to start you off down the Eurorack modular rabbit hole!
The Cables So in their full and glorious entry into the modular market Moog have also given you option to purchase their very own Moog cables. Bought 5 per pack in either 6" or 12" lengths, in grey black and white.
These cables can obviously be used in any other 3.5mm equipped instruments, but what we don't know is whether they will improve the fatness of your other gear (our guess is obviously yes!)
The Verdict As a first entry into a market that seems to be getting larger and larger by the minute, the Mother 32 couldn't have come at a better time. People have been crying out for a Moog Eurorack synth for years and now it is finally here.
It seems as though the design will be easy and fun to get to know quickly, but the sequencer and the patchbay allow it to get much deeper when you need to. A proper modular synth.
We are waiting with baited breath to get our hands on this machine and see if it will live up to the legendary, if not daunting heritage..