Moog Mother-32

Moog enters the Eurorack arena by introducing the classy "Mother-32" Semi-Modular synthesizer, a beautiful patcheable machine almost resembling a keyboradless MS-20; but bringing in the menacing raw power of the Monophonic Moog analog synth engine. Featuring MIDI connectivity (In, MIDI to CV conversion), as well as a powerful 32-step sequencer, the Mother-32 offers up massive sonic sculpting power to both amateurs and pros who are looking to truly be part of the creative process. 


Driven by a single (dual output) Voltage Controlled Oscillator (-5/+5V) design, the Mother-32 offers Saw and Square waves to feed the signal, along with a knob dedicated for Pulse Width, and one for the VCO mod, that can be toggle switched to designate the Destination, which includes PWM or FM, as well as another switch for Source (Envelope or LFO). Glide is also on the panel along with the Frequency Intensity knob for even greater sculpting power. 


The filter here gives you the power of the legendary Moog 4-Pole Ladder Filter, along with Voltage Controlled Resonance, and the ability to switch between Low Pass and High Pass (with a range of 20hz/20khz) filters. Modulation via the envelope or LFO is also available, and switchable by another conveniently placed toggle switch, and driven by a nice sized intensity knob to help you get some nice enveloped filter sweeps. Another toggle switch right next to it also lets you choose the polarity of the intensity, in case you want some inverted envelopes for example.


The Amp can be left on for droning purposes, or can be switched to the envelope, which on the Mother-32 is modified by Attack, Decay, and a Sustain switch. Another nice big knob for Volume is located right next to the VCA switch, to help you balance out your signal with ease.


Before we get into the pattern sequencer, and patch bay, it should be noted that the LFO on the Mother-32, is a straight-forward, Square or Triangle wave driven modulation source, allowing for rate setting of course, and as mentioned, brought into the mix either at the VCO or VCF section or in a much more complex manner through the patch bay; where its two waves can be separately routed to various locations on the synth.


The Pattern Sequencer on the Mother-32 is really a treat, only next to the Patch Bay of course, allowing for 32-steps total (unless chained to other Mother-32 units), that can be programmed via Keyboard Mode; which allows for the notes to be input via the keyboard while the sequencer rests, giving you more time to think about the complete layout, or Step Mode, which like many conventional Step Sequencers, have each step programmed one by one via the buttons on the keyboard as well, but with the sequencer running. Both modes can be switched back and forth easily for greater control over the sequence, and each step allows for the setting of Gate Length, Glide, Accent, and even the super cool "Ratchet Mode"; which allows up to 4 notes to play within the duration of a single step, to create stutter type effects. The sequencer obviously lets you choose the number of steps to work with, and allows also for steps to be moved, or "nudged" back and forth with the arrow keys; which is useful when the sequencer is running, and certain steps seem off-beat. Up to 64 patterns can be stored, and accessed quickly for intuitive live performances, making this a really nice, useful, sequencer with lots of power to back it up whether on the stage or in the studio. Near thew VCO section we find the Tempo/Gate Length knob, which allows for setting of the tempo while using the internal clock, or for setting the length of each step on the sequencer.


The Patch Bay, where we can really get into the fun allows for the connectivity of internal parts otherwise not already connected. For example, we can run the LFO straight to the Cutoff only, or perhaps the Resonance of the VCF. All in all there are 18 inputs, and 14 outputs, using 3.5mm patch cables to let you push the limits to achieve maximum sonic results. With options like a MIDI to CV converter, as well as a Voltage Controlled Mixer (with its own dedicated 'Mix" knob) that let's you mix White Noise and/or External signals to combine with the VCO of the Mother-32, as well as your basic output of LFO waves or envelopes to further control the Voltage Controlled Oscillator, Filter or Amplifier like on synths such as the MS20; the Mother-32 is a fairly complex synthesizer in regards to Modular Synthesis, giving you all you need to learn this style of sound design, or at the least make it a challenging and capable enough machine for any seasoned pro.


Connectivitywise, as mentioned the Mother-32 features MIDI In along with MIDI to CV conversion, as well as a 1/4" TRS Output, 3 1/8" Inputs, and can be mounted to any Eurorack style cabinet you may have, or can be fitted along with 1 or 2 more Mother-32 units, using Moog's 2 or 3 Tier stands. At just over 3 lbs, and including a wall Power Supply of 12v (also can be powered by a rack of course), the Mother-32 is a ready-to-go monster waiting to be unleashed to the masses of unsuspecting partygoers.


Overall the Mother-32 is a great introductor to the Eurorack world, or a mighty companion to the rest of your rig never before seen in this scene by Moog. Very cool of them to continue to evolve and adapt recently, ironicaly enough, to a changing world it itself in many ways helped invent. Not long ago a company trying to keep the spirit of classic synthesizers alive, now finds itself in the middle of a wonderful revolution that is gonna help music return to originality and drive artists to truly pursue their craft with passion and understanding. If you wanna get deep into analog synthesis, then consider the Mother-32 as your weapon of choice. Available now at Sweetwater, or wherever you buy instruments!




Written by: Santino Fernandez

January 2016