Moog is one of the biggest names in the synthesizer world today. This is no secret seeing how their synths are all over modern productions in the music world. With the Moog Matriarch, we get a chance to see another great synthesizer.
With the announcement of this keyboard, there are definitely some questions to be answered, and luckily for you, I have most of them!
It is my opinion that the Moog Matriarch is for true synth junkies and sound designers. I wouldn’t suggest this for novice players since this is not the easiest synth to navigate for beginners. If you are a fan of Moog synths, you are going to love this keyboard. Because it is a semi-modular synth, it is going to be a lot more complex than others.
Packed with paraphonic playability and 90 modular patch points, this synth is every sound designers dream at a moderate price.
For fans of the following bands:
Let’s get into the full review below.
Moog Matriarch Overview
The Moog Matriarch has everything that hardcore Moog lovers enjoy. Dual ladder filters, extremely pristine oscillators, huge arpeggiators, in-depth sequencing, and my favorite: true stereo analog delay.
This is a synthesizer that you will be using 20 years from now.
- Keys: 49 keys with aftertouch that are velocity-sensitive
- 4 rich analog oscillators
- True stereo analog delay
- Semi-modular capability
The Matriarch comes with 4 rich analog oscillators. True analog junkies will love this about it. On this note, I personally love analog, but I also don’t mind digital oscillators the way others do.
These oscillators were inspired by the mini Moog oscillators, which were inspired by the System 55 Modular. You will see that a few things were inspired by the System 55 Modular.
Each of these has pitch in, wave out, PWM in and linear FM in. All of these have their own separate outs. This means that can be run independently. You can sync enable any of these and set them to triangle, square or pulse.
For live music, pumping through a stereo PA, it’s really hard to make out a difference between analog and digital. However, some people will swear that they can make out a huge difference. With all of this being said, 4 analog oscillators is never a bad thing.
Oscillator sync is a fantastic feature here. You can have 3 oscillators slaving against one oscillator.
To put it in short, this thing sounds spectacular. I could honestly play it all day and not get bored. This is the type of synthesizer that has so many features that you can dig into.
Attenuators Of The Matriarch
We have 2 attenuators on the Matriarch located in the middle. These can invert, meaning you can go from no signal at all to full-on upside down. This allows you to turn your envelopes and LFO’s upside down.
A huge bonus here is that you have control voltage in so you can sweep these knobs. This is something that hardcore synth players are going to love. It truly allows advanced players to go crazy on their favorite playground.
The arp sounds nostalgic to me. It has the classic up and down and random. This comes directly from the Grandmother.
You can have the octaves of the arp be 1, 2, or 3 octaves. This means that the arp can go between any of these octaves depending on what you want it to do. I might get some hate for this comment, but for new synth players, you will find this to sound like the “Stranger Things” intro.
We get 4 sequences with 3 banks of 4 sequences. Each one of these can be 256 notes with each having the ability to do 4 notes of polyphony.
Controls Of The Arp
There’s a ratchet button that is new to Moog. It allows you to repeat per step a certain number of times. It also has rest and tie which are from the Grandmother.
Inspired by the 904 A. It is like the Voyager, where you can have a separate high pass and low pass with spacing in true stereo mode. They each have their own resonance as well.
The two envelope generators are based on the 911 envelopes. One comes dedicated to filter and one to amplitude. You can run with them a VCA mode or a multi-trigger switch.
Note: You can split these oscillators left and right
My favorite part is the stereo delay because it is a true analog stereo delay. It has ping pong and spacing, so you can do various effects here. This truly sounds crazy to me.
Probably one of the best features of this synth in my opinion, especially for sound designers. You will get so much use out of this one feature on the Moog Matriarch.
Aftertouch & Velocity Sensitivity
This is a dream for true synth lovers. Aftertouch is taking the keyboard world by storm and it’s for good reason. It’s such a nice feature to have. You have control voltage outs on the back interface for pitch, gates, aftertouch, and velocity.
I personally love the colors of this synth. It looks like a larger version of a recent synth from Moog, the Grandmother. It has some serious 70s colors going on with yellow, lime green, and blue. It instantly transports you to this period of nostalgia.
It is laid out similar to other Moog synths and this is a good thing. You will have a decent grasp on this once you have an owner’s manual if you’ve had experience with other Moog’s.
I am a huge fan of Moog products and I always have been. The Matriarch is another huge win for them as a company and I am so pumped on it. Are you excited about this keyboard? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
If you are a true synth junky, find a way to play this bad boy. I’m not sure where you will be able to find it, but I know that serious stores will be carrying it. However, make sure you have a lot of time to play on it, because you’re not going to want to stop playing it.
Novation recently put a crazy cool synth that I think you will like. Check out my Novation Summit Review.
If you think I missed anything, also let me know!
Note: All images are courtesy of Moog.