Back in April of 2019, when the Moog Matriarch was announced I was struck like lightening by its appearance and feature set. I’d already fallen in love with the Moog Grandmother. I’d been an owner of the Moog Minimoog Voyager for some years. And I was already saving my pennies for the Moog One. Yeah, thats a lot of Moog and I am ok with your judgement.
Anyways, when the Matriarch was announced, I said screw it and I preordered it on the same day. Expected shipping date in June came and went but I held out. Updated shipping was said to be September / October and I figured I’d cancel the order and move on. But while at Knobcon 2019, I got notice that it was on its way. So… “Maybe I’ll just not open it and send it back. I don’t need another synth.”
Well, of course I had to open it up and take a look. And since its open, I may as well take a listen. Thats when it all turned around. I am not giving this thing up.
The Moog Matriarch was sort of like a Grandmother on steroids. It’s 4 oscillators of Moog paraphony, semi-modular (90 patch points), stereo analog delay, sequencer / arp and stereo filter had me sold almost immediately.
One of the things that really grabbed me about the Matriarch was the fact that it included one of moog’s classic “Stereo analog delays w/ up to 700ms of MIDI sync-able stereo or ping/pong style repeats.” In my mind this would be like having a Mooger Fooger M104 delay pedal but I’m told that this particular delay is based on classic 500 series delay design. Okay! Even better.
Here is a video where I explore the possibilities of the Moog Matriarch. It includes some exploration of the arp, a quick overview and a beatmaking example with the Akai Force.
So, my initial thoughts were, 1.) Wow a 4 voice Moog synth with a stereo filter and delay. 2. )I have to have this synth right away. 3.) Whoa! $2000 is a bit much. But once I got it, I fell in love with it for all of the reason that already intrigued me about it anyway. “
Then something else happened. Behringer announced their Poly D and it seemed to be a direct shot at Moog and the Matriarch for $1400 or so less. Well, I already owned the Matriarch by then. So, I started to take a look at what differs in all practicality. After all, they were basically both 4 voice paraphonic Moog style synths (albeit, one from Moog and one not from Moog.). To that end, one could argue that the inclusion of the Stereo Filter and Stereo Analog Delay with the Semi-modular build and 90 patch points of the Matriarch sets it apart enough that it’s worth its price.
Here is a bit more info on the parts that make the whole.
The oscillators are based on the oscillators from the Moog Voyager and not the Model D. What that means to me is that they may not have the same tone as the Model D but they will likely sound familiar to those that know the voyager. Still, to my ears they sound more vintage than most modern Moog synths with the exception of the Grandmother.
The envelopes are often over looked as a part of a synthesizers sound. But for Moog synths they often play a huge part in what we perceive as the Moog sound. The Matriarch envelopes are based on the classic 911 moog module.
The stereo filter is based on the classic Moog 904A module. It operates one of three modes; Series, Parallel or Stereo. VCF 1 can be used as either a high pass or low pass but VCF 2 is always a Low Pass filter.
The Mixer is based on the classic Moog CP3 module.
The Matriarch’s stereo delay is actually two BBD delays. It is based on the Moog 500 series analog delay.
So what makes this synth desirable for me?
For those who have considered purchasing a Moog 500 series analog BBD delay or a Mooger Fooger M104 analog BBD delay pedal at a price point of $999, having something similar included here could very well make the argument for the Matriarch. But not alone.
Still, it’s one of those things where you have to ask yourself, are the stereo delay, the 90 patch points, modules derived from classic Moog circuits (see above) and the Moog brand name worth the additional loot? Only you can answer that. The matriarch oscillators are based on the modern classic, minimoog voyager which also had a stereo filter, so the Matriarch is basically a poly voyager. Let that sink in. Another thing to consider is that the sweet stereo delay and filter make a mean combo. Also, well, CHORDS!!!! MOOG CHORDS!!!
I suspect there will be some difference in sound between the Poly D and Matriarch despite their similarities (4 voice Moog style paraphony – end). The basic idea that the Poly D oscillators are based on the model D the Matriarch oscillators are based on the voyager. Yeah… not the same to my ears. though for some it will be close enough.
Then there will be those that will have both and I ain’t mad either way. I love my Matriarch and it packs a hefty punch beyond any doubt. So, to answer the question for myself… yes the Moog Matriarch was / is worth it considering how much modular synth stuff I own (90 patch points), how much I wanted the Mooger Fooger M104 pedal (yes i know its not the same but its damn close and can be used alone as an effects processor for external sources) and just how good it really sounds with that sweet stereo filter. Yes. I think its worth it. But if you don’t care about those things, there are options.
- Semi-modular analog synth with 49-key Fatar keybed and monophonic, duophonic, and paraphonic playability
- Stereo analog delay with up to 700ms of delay
- 256-step sequencer supports up to 4 notes per steps
- Save up to 12 sequencer patterns for instant recall
- Sequencer can be decoupled from Matriarch to sequence external synths
- Arpeggiator features Forward/Backward, Order, and Reverse playback modes
- 90 modular patch points offer astounding creative potential
- 4 analog oscillators, with multiple waveforms and hard-sync capability
- Analog LFO with 6 waveforms, plus an additional “simple” LFO
- Dual analog filters with 3 modes — parallel (HP/LP), stereo (LP/LP) and series (HP/LP)
- 2 analog ADSR envelopes and 2 analog VCAs
- 3 bipolar attenuators with ring-mod capability
- 2 x 4 parallel-wired unbuffered mults for signal splitting
- 1/4″ aux input for processing instruments, synths, and drum machines
- 1/4″ and 1/8″ Eurorack-level audio outputs for modular convenience
More info? Head over to Moog’s Matriarch product page.