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Moog Grandmother

Semi-modular Analogue Synthesizer
Published September 2018
By Gordon Reid

‘What a big front panel you have, Grandma’ — the Grandmother measures 55 x 36 x 14cm. And granny’s no lightweight either, weighing in at a substantial 7.25kg.‘What a big front panel you have, Grandma’ — the Grandmother measures 55 x 36 x 14cm. And granny’s no lightweight either, weighing in at a substantial 7.25kg.

Don’t be misled by the colourful panel and eccentric name — the Moog Grandmother is a serious and capable synthesizer.

As a keyboard-based semi-modular synth, the Grandmother is a new departure for Moog Music. Nonetheless, many of its innards are based upon pre-existing Moog technology, some from the 1960s and 1970s, and some more recent. Physically, it’s contained in a surprisingly sturdy case that isn’t just reminiscent of the Realistic MG-1 (which was designed by Moog Music in the late 1970s), it’s an almost exact recreation, albeit a couple of inches wider and deeper than the earlier model.

Musically, a great deal can be achieved using the Grandmother without patch cables, although the possibilities increase hugely when you start to patch it because this allows you to create all manner of new audio and control signal paths that greatly extend its capabilities. What’s more, it almost begs to be placed in front of a panel of Eurorack modules and, when I did this, it sprang to life in a way that... but now I’m getting ahead of myself. So let’s start, in the usual fashion, by looking at the technology within the Grandmother itself.

Synthesis

Moog’s web site states that the Grandmother’s dual oscillators are derived from the Minimoog’s. Given their sound and the facilities on offer, this seems a little odd, so I asked for more information and it transpired that they are based upon the oscillators from the Minimoog Voyager, not the original Minimoog or the more recent Model D. Each offers four waveforms; triangle, sawtooth, square, and a pulse that I measured to have a duty cycle of about 16...

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Published September 2018