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The Ultimate Guide To The Moog Grandmother – How It Works, Who Uses One + Where To Buy It!

Moog Grandmother – Modern, Semi Modular Analog!

Whilst Moog Music is most famous for the beloved Minimoog, this is unfortunately unobtainable for the average musician. As a result, Moog have experimented with releasing several lower budget modules, one of which is the Moog Grandmother. The Grandmother is a halfway point in other ways as well- it’s a semi modular synth, and it combines the best of analogue technology with digital precision and power, as well as being instantly playable without needing any patching- coming into its own as users begin to explore the endless possibilities of its different components. 

Whilst many who wish to recreate the sound of vintage synths have to turn to products by companies such as Behringer- who don’t have a direct link with the original conception of the technology they’re recreating- Moog’s lower budget synths like the Grandmother are all based on vintage 70s and 80s Moog technology. In the case of the Grandmother, it’s dual oscillators are based on the Minimoog Voyager, which does give a different sound to the original Minimoog Model D, but this is not a Minimoog tribute.

Where Can I Buy A Moog Grandmother?

The mixer comes from the Moog CP3. Moog know their market well as although the CP3 had artefacts and characteristics which would have been seen as flaws in their heyday, it is these idiosyncrasies which now make vintage analogue technology so desirable, with Moog channeling this rough and authentic sound in its 21st century design choices. It’s filter envelope is based off the Moog 911 and though it’s one of the simplest devices in the Grandmother, it is of the same standards and quality expected from a Moog product and from the other components. The ladder filter is based off another vintage Moog component, the 904a. This too was not used in the Minimoog and has a significantly different sound, and together these combinations have resulted in a brilliant throwback to vintage synths without milking the signature Minimoog sound for all it’s worth.

This vintage tech also has a variety of capabilities, and the Moog Grandmother has had great reception with regards to it’s capacity for interesting interplay between it’s different components. Moog’s marketing of it as a place to play around with sonic capabilities and have as much fun with the process as with the end result is completely true, and they have managed to make a synth which doesn’t cost the earth and really manages to live up to this. The Minimoog’s mixer can mix audio signals and CV, as well as the two in tandem. It is this sort of integration which is found within all of the Grandmother’s components as well as between them, making this synth a flourishing ecosystem of sonic possibilities and showing it’s not necessarily about the specs but how they are used and put together. Its oscillators have four waveforms each- triangle, sawtooth, square, and pulse- and their other capabilities have been chosen with similar good judgement to provide a good variety of experimental possibilities. Pulse width modulation is available for the square and pulse waves plus as an input for oscillator one. Oscillator two, on the other hand, allows more enharmonic timbres with it’s FM modulation input. Both oscillators have pitch control inputs in order to add CV to that generated by the keyboard. 

The Grandmother’s strength is that it can be patched but doesn’t have to be. Here are two components which do have to be patched to work- a bi-polar attenuator and a high pass filter, both found under the section labelled ‘utilities,’ but for the rest of the machine, it can operate either like a whole synth or like the collection of different modules which in some ways it truly is, and internal preset connections can be overwritten by patching, leading to the flexibility and opportunities for experimentation the Grandmother has been so well received for. In addition, the Grandmother has a modulator with such a high frequency range it can even be used like an oscillator, with users also being able to control pulse width modulation and choose from sine, sawtooth, ramp, and square waves. Overall, this is a synth with a huge range of permutations and combinations, boundless freedom for musicians to experiment with, and with Eurorack, DFAM, and Mother-32 capabilities, the phenomenal interactions between it’s separate components can also be transferred to other gear. 

How Much Does A Moog Grandmother Cost?

The Moog Grandmother is much more accessible than the Minimoog Model D and on it’s page on Moog’s official website can be found a list of all Moog dealers, both brick and mortar and online, such as Sweetwater and ZZ Sounds. 

Leading online retailers Andertons and both stock the Grandmother and it can be found at Andertons for £799, as well as new on Amazon for a considerably higher £900. As a Moog synth, gear enthusiasts’ forums and synth websites may also offer opportunities to snag a Moog grandmother for a lower price, as would Musicians groups on Facebook. Fortunately, as a synth still in production, the Grandmother is much easier to get hold of than the Minimoog Model D and for a Moog synth it’s price is relatively low, so combined with it’s huge versatility and large number of features it is very good value for money. Prices do vary somewhat though as on Sweetwater it is even higher than Amazon, at £999. 

*prices generally seen on auction sites. If you see them cheaper, you may be on to a bargain.

Who Uses Or Used The Moog Grandmother?

The Moog Grandmother, though not as famous as more iconic products such as the MInimoog Model D, is still popular amongst the professional music industry and is used by artists as wide ranging as Diplo and Youtube music personality Andrew Huang, as well as A$AP Rocky and Jay Watson of Tame Impala, Irish singer songwriter EDEN, and Peter Sagar of Montreal based project Homeshake. Overall, it’s a really versatile synth which has not only won over musicians with it’s compact design and ease of use but is an instrument which keeps developing new possibilities the deeper you get into using it, with every choice and option sparking new ideas and potential. 

Classic Moog Grandmother Videos, Tutorials & Demos

A playlist of videos showing you how to do sequencer basics, an overview to the synth, unlocking it’s secrets and learning how to create excellent leads with the Grandmother. Some great tips in here so be sure to check them out!

Other Classic Synth or Drum Machine Products?

The famous Roland synths, drum machines and effects include: SH 101, MC 202, TB 303, TR 606, TR 707, TR 808, TR 909, Juno 60RE-201 Space Echo. Behringer Deepmind 12, Behringer K2, Behringer Model D, Elektron Machinedrum, Korg MS-20, Moog Model D, Nord Modular G1, Oberheim OB-6, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha DX7.

Where Can I Find A Moog Grandmother For Sale?