The clue is in the name — Moogfest, the music festival set up to celebrate the works of the sonic pioneer Robert Moog, is always going to provide an irresistible opportunity for the company he founded to unveil new products, as they've done in the past with the limited-edition Minimoog reissue, the Subsequent 37 CV, and the Grandmother. And sure enough, on the opening day of the 2019 show at the end of April, Moog Music gave the public their first look at the new Matriarch.
The synth itself isn't due until later in the Summer, but we already know most of the spec. It's a 49-key, four-voice paraphonic synth — in other words, whilst it can play up to four notes simultaneously, the Matriarch's oscillators don't each have dedicated tone-shaping components, but instead share these facilities. Here, there are two ADSR envelopes, VCAs, and multi-mode filters, so a sound can be four- or two-note paraphonic, and pass all of the oscillators through stereo VCAs and filters, or stack all four of its oscillators in monophonic mode.
Despite this simple architecture, and its clear debt to previous Moog designs (apparently the oscillators are based on the original Minimoog's, while the rest is derived from various classic Moog Modular components: the filters from the classic 24-dB-per-octave Moog 904A low-pass, the envelopes and VCAs from the 911 and 902, and the mixer from the CP3 module) the Matriarch goes pretty deep. For one thing, it's semi-modular — so while it doesn't have to be patched before you start playing, there are 90 mini-jack patch points on its top panel that allow you to get creative with signal and modulation routings if you wish: 49 inputs and 33 outputs, plus 2x4 Mult connections. There's also a main audio input so that the Matriarch can be used purely as a signal processor.
Nor is the synth short on other goodies: there are two LFOs (one with six waveform options, the other a simple switchable triangle/square affair) and three voltage-controlled attenuators with built-in ring modulators, plus a built-in 256-step, 12-pattern sequencer, a multi-mode arpeggiator, hardware USB and five-pin MIDI connections, and a built-in stereo analogue delay, which can be synchronised to MIDI and runs to 700ms if required. Outputs are provided on 3.5mm jacks for easy Eurorack integration as well as quarter-inch connectors, and there's a dedicated headphone out with its own level control. In short, there's more to the Matriarch than meets the eye!
We even know the US price: the Matriarch is set to retail for $1999 (although UK pricing hasn't been set at the time of writing — contact the UK distributors via www.sourcedistribution.co.uk for more details). To hear what it's capable of, check out the video below. If you like what you hear, on-line pre-orders open on April 30th.