The Moog Mother 32 is Moog Music’s first foray into the Eurorack modular synthesis world. The Mother 32 is billed as “the first tabletop semi-modular synthesizer from Moog.” By now you may have seen Mother 32’s posted up just about everywhere and for good reason.
As described by Moog the Mother 32 “features a voltage controlled 32-step sequencer with 64 sequence locations, definitive Moog low pass and high pass Ladder Filter, 2 voltage controlled mixers, a classic Moog oscillator with dual outputs, wide-range LFO with audio-rate modulation capability, MIDI input and MIDI to CV conversion, white noise, a modular patchbay with 32 patch-points for extended synthesis complexity and an assignable CV jack with 16 assignable sources.”
Major Features include
- Semi-Modular design requires no patching for swift, inspired music creation
- Voltage Controlled 32 Step Sequencer with 64 Sequence Locations
- Low Pass & High Pass Moog Ladder Filter (20Hz–20kHz) with voltage controlled resonance
- External audio input for processing outside sound sources
- Definitive Moog oscillator with Pulse and Sawtooth wave outputs
- 5-pin MIDI input and MIDI to CV converter
- 32 Modular Patch Points (Includes 5 patch cables)
- 2 Voltage controlled mixers
- Superb companion to Werkstatt 01, Minitaur and other synthesizers
- Main module can be easily transferred into a Eurorack skiff or case
- Mount 2 or 3 units vertically with optional 2 and 3 Tier kits
- Complete solution for new Eurorack users – no other items required
The Single VCO with simultaneous Sawtooth and Pulse wave Outputs (+/-5V) is nice and Moogy. How’s that for descriptive? I had slim phatty flashbacks one night while using it like a monosynth. Albeit, the slim has two OSCand has a bit of a diff tone, the Mother 32 satisfied my need for moog vibes.
The Mother 32 allows for a great range of sounds without a doubt. The noise generator, Linear FM and pulse width control widens the range even more. That description may make sense if you are familiar with Moog synths. But to put it in perspective the Oscillator is more akin to the Werkstatt than it’s bigger brothers such as the phatty range. It sounds great but it’s definitely worth realizing where the Moog Mother 32 sits in the family of Moogs. That said, Mother 32 is by no means a synth to sleep on. I recommend it pretty often to those that are modular curios but desktop synth safe, so to speak.
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You may have even seen the Mother 32’s stacked in groups of 2 and 3. There is where things get really fun. At that point is where you get the rich gooey goodness of 2 or 3 Moog oscillators and filters.
Essentially, the Mother 32 sounds good on its own but it sounds great when you add another Mother 32 or two into the mix. Moog even encourages it from the start with their double and triple tier Moog Mother 32 stands. Plus there is the added bonus that a set up like this multiplies every feature accordingly.
The filter on the Moog Mother 32 is as classic as classic can get. The famed Moog Ladder Filter comes in two flavors on the M32, Low Pass & High Pass with voltage controlled resonance.
The patch bay has 32 patch points and allows for self patching and inter-connectivity between the Mother 32 and other modules in your eurorack rig. This is where is gets really fun. Patching particular M32 points to other Moog Mother 32 points can take the sound in a completely un-imagined and unexplored direction.
The Moog Mother 32 Sequencer is a Dual-mode 32 step sequencer with 64 sequences. The convenient little keyboard on the top surface of the Mother 32 allows for easy playability in keyboard mode. The built-in keyboard also allows for entering sequence data and transposing sequences while in keyboard mode. In step mode the keyboard is used as a way to ” enable and mute steps, update note data and select sequence banks.” The real punch here is that this sequencer can sequence your other modular gear as well. Pair the sequencer and tone of Mother 32 with a nice delay and you have beautiful soundscapes for days.
As described on Moog’s site;
- Each sequence step includes: Note Value, Gate Length (Tie), Rest On/Off, Accent On/Off, Glide On/Off and Ratchet count (up to 4 note-repeats occurring in the duration of a single note)
- Sequencer Panel Controls: Tempo, Swing, Run/Stop, Hold, and Reset
- Sequencer Control Inputs: Tempo, Run/Stop (also used for sync), Reset and Hold
- Sequencer Control Outputs: KB, Gate, Accent Pulse
Size and build quality? The Moog Mother 32’s dimensions are 12.57“W x 4.21“H (with knobs) x 5.24“D. It weighs in at less than 4 lbs. The package is small but the punch is mighty. As with any Moog Music product the build is always top-notch. Moog describes its casing as a “rugged extruded aluminum enclosure with wood sides ” The black case has clearly defined and easily readable white silk screening.
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The lay out is ergonomic and very comfortable to move about. The knobs are solid and stable with no wiggle or wobble. The knob size is uber important in my opinion too. I think Moog got it right with this one being so compact but the ergonomics are top shelf with regular sized knobs and great spacing. Best of all the unit is the perfect on the go size with knobs that don’t require a tweezers and a magnifying glass to tweak parameters.
For eurorack modular heads…
Moog Mother 32’s Eurorack specifications
• Current Draw: 230mA (+12V – from 10-pin header)
• Mounting Dims: 60HP (.69” 26mm Module Depth)
To rack or not to rack? Well, Moog makes that pretty easy for you. Mother 32 can be used as a desktop synth with convenient and rather extensive patch-bay. Otherwise, it can be used as eurorack mounted module that is just as at home, useful and inspiring.
Check out the video review for more details on the Mother 32;
There will be pros and cons to having a sort of hybrid desktop synth / eurorack synth that can live in your eurorack and stand alone on your desk. For instance, as a desktop synth, I don’t like the 5 pin din MIDI connection being on the top of the device. It’s such a distraction and I can never get used to any synth having it located there. But, I understand why it’s there. This a eurorack mountable synth module too. If the Midi jack was on the back it would be inaccessible when racked. So, ok. Nevermind that then!
A power switch would be nice. But I’m sure that there is no power switch for purposes of making the Mother 32 more eurorack friendly with less hassle for the end user to rack it themselves. Ok, so never mind that one as well.
But the sequencer, the patch bay and ability to be used in or out of the rack at an affordable price are huge pros. Given Mother 32’s seamless duality as a desktop synth and eurorack synth, I think its safe to say the pros have it.
As for the Midi implementation. It’s rather basic. So there is no midi out, limited midi cc messages, no after touch and there is 1 channel via midi. That may work out for those that don’t use midi much or for those that are looking for the Mother 32 to handle much robust heavy lifting via midi. Otherwise, this is for all intents and purposes a erurorack module with a generous CV patch panel that will handle most of what you need to do.
Conclusion? Well, the Moog Mother32 is just as at home on your desk as a desktop synth as it is racked in your modular rig. It packs in an awesome amount of features in a small package. It looks great. The sonic palette sounds great unpatched but it’s easily elevated when incorporating the patchbay and employing some simple patch work. Moog Mother 32 comes to life with self patching and even has an input that allows you to use that classic Moog ladder filter to process external signals. Still as great as it sounds I found myself craving a certain deep sub bass that I become familiar with from earlier Moog synths. While the sound is dope, I had to come to terms with the fact that Moog synths all have the classic ladder filter in common but the oscillators differ a bit. Mother 32 has a similar character to the newer Moog synths and not so much the classic Moog synths. That said, it get’s plenty deep enough and it has its own character. Mother 32 excels with leads and efx while doing a decent bass. I must say I’ve come to really enjoy this joint. I wish I had two.
All in all, Moog Mother 32 is an easy recommendation to anyone getting into the Eurorack Modular game. But fret not Modular heads, I think its evident from all of the Mother 32 sightings that the M32 is a dope addition to any eurorack system.