Episode 012 - Moog Mother-32
Published: Apr 08, 2016 by Adam Anderson
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What it is
The Moog Mother-32 is a semi-modular monophonic analog synthesizer in a eurorack form factor. It can be used as a standalone synth or in conjunction with a larger eurorack modular setup.
The Mother-32 offers a single voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) which produces pulse and saw waves. One wave shape can be selected at a time, although both are available at the patch points which allows both to be used simultaneously if desired.
The sound of the VCO passes through a voltage controlled filter (VCF) which can operate in low-pass or high-pass mode. Familiar cutoff and resonance controls provide shaping controls. The VCF can be modulated by either the envelope generator or the LFO in either positive or negative direction.
The simple envelope generator (EG) offers attack time and decay time with switchable sustain (either on or off).
The onboard low-frequency oscillator (LFO) can take on either triangle or square shape. Its rate is controlled by a dedicated knob and also offers a patch point for control from some other source. Pre-wired destinations for LFO modulation include VCO frequency (vibrato-like), VCO pulse width (PWM), and VCF cutoff.
Glide offers a wide range of portamento from subtle to ridiculous.
The final step of the signal path passes through a voltage controlled amplifier (VCA). The VCA can be set to “on” which enables an always-on “drone” mode. Or, it can be set to be triggered with the envelope.
Either way, the 1-octave on-board keyboard can be set to control which musical note is generated. The range of the single octave is set with up/down buttons and results in a full 8-octave on-board control. You won’t use these push-buttons for complex soloing, but they’re handy for trying out sounds.
The keyboard is also used to enter notes into the on-board step sequencer. Each step can have its own duration, accent (on/off) and glide amount. The step sequencer has advanced features for swing and ratcheting as well.
Finally, notes can be triggered from an external MIDI controller connected to the MIDI input on the front of the Mother-32.
Moog includes 5 small patch cables to get you started connecting any of the 32 patch points. Ins and Outs are clearly labeled making it easy for a beginner like me to experiment. The user manual includes example patches and a complete explanation of each connection—again, making it easy for beginners.
Get one. Now.