Introducing the Moog Grandmother: the sub-$1000 synth that took us all by surprise.

It’s small, it’s colourful and it came out of nowhere. North Carolina analogue synth originators Moog have announced the immediate release of a new keyboard, the Grandmother (the name presumably being a nod to their Mother-32 desktop module). Available immediately, it’s a semi-modular, analogue, monophonic synth with a built-in sequencer, arpeggiator and spring reverb.

The basic feature list is simple but enticing:

  • two analogue oscillators with selectable waveshape and hard sync
  • classic Moog low-pass ladder filter and patchable high-pass filter
  • analogue ADSR envelope generator and LFO (up to audio rate)
  • 41 patch points for semi-modular use
  • 32-note keyboard
  • arpeggiator and sequencer
  • DIN and USB MIDI
  • built-in spring reverb

As you’d expect from a brand with such strong heritage as Moog, many of the circuits are based on sections of classic instruments or modules. The oscillators are said to be based on those of the Minimoog, while the rest of the synth follows suit, with the VCF based on Moog’s original 904 series modules from the early 60s, the VCA based on the 902, the mixer based on a CP3 module and the reverb based on a 905 – all iconic units with classic Moog sound.

It’s safe to say the Grandmother came out of nowhere; it’s been a long time since Moog released a new keyboard, but we assumed that the Subharmonicon (announced just a few weeks ago and set to be unleashed at this year’s Moogfest event later this week) was the only new product on the horizon. As Moog explain, the Grandmother will even come as a limited-edition model celebrating the event: “To celebrate Grandmother’s debut at Moogfest 2018, the first 500 units have been marked with a limited-edition Moogfest 2018 badge and include a custom denim jacket from Moog. Get your Grandmother Moogfest 2018 Edition before they’re gone!”

Moog Grandmother

The looks may prove divisive but the consensus around our office is that it looks cool as fuck, with those bold, acidic splashes of colour bringing a retro-modern look to the whole thing and breaking away from the black and silver monotony we see on most synths. There’s a hint of the Realistic Concertmate MG-1 to the design – that’s the basic synth Moog designed and built for Radio Shack in the early 80s, mostly notable for its low price and Minimoog-derived circuits but also featuring splashes of colour to define the different sections of the front panel.

At a $999 MSRP, the Grandmother is priced down towards the bottom end of the Moog range. For reference, a Sub Phatty is $839 while a Subsequent 37 is $1,579 and the reissued Minimoog Model D is $3,749.

The Grandmother is available immediately in the US priced at $999, although retailers have already discounted that price to $899. There’s no word yet on pricing for the rest of the world, but based on other Moog products you’d expect to see the Grandmother land somewhere around €1,100 MSRP in Europe with a street price somewhere around €1,000/£900.

Further information on the denim jacket is yet to be released.

Check out Adrian Younge’s Thesis On Sound featuring the Moog Grandmother below:

Author Greg Scarth
14th May, 2018

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