The Moog Matriarch paraphonic analog synthesizer has a lot to offer. In this video Stefan gives you an overview of this synthesizer, and demonstrates how it sounds.
A new Moog always excites me, as they are well known for their sound and build quality. So when i unpacked the Matriarch it already felt good! Now that is totally subjective way of judging it, but to me it just looks and feels good. So what is the Matriarch? It is a semi-modular analog synthesizer, with a 4-octave keyboard. There are no presets, instead it comes with a set of patch cables, as there many control voltage patch points to be found on this one.
Let’s take a look at the panel. It is, according to Moog, based on their 70s modular designs, and all the sections have different colors.
Let’s take a look at how the oscillators behave. The Moog Matriarch is paraphonic, and it has settings for 1,2 or 4 note voicing. In that case you will hear a single , 2 or all oscillators when pressing a key. This can be combined with multi-triggering. In that case each new note press triggers the gate of the oscillator. When switched off, all gates respond only after all keys have been released. Combined with the modulation section and sync option, this creates interesting sounds.
The Matriarch focusses more on stereo sound than many other monophonic analog synthesizers. Looking at the signal path, it becomes stereo at the filter stage. These can be set as two filters for left and right, and after the filter, the signal is fed to the delay section with two channels finally goes through the 2 vca’s at the end stage. the vca’s can be set to envelope mode, split or drone. in envelope mode, they both respond to the amp envelop, in split mode vca 2 responds to the filter envelope and in drone mode, there is a continuous sound, which can be controlled with the vca cv inputs. Let’s take a look at the spacing option, both present in the filter stage and the delay stage. For the filter, this controls the offset of the cutoff, so you can create different cutoff frequencies for the 2 filters. In the delay section, the offset determines the time setting for both delay lines, resulting in different echoes for the left and right channels.
So what do we think of the Matriarch. I must say I was pleasantly surprised! The oscillators and filter produce a very warm, rich sound that really reminds me od the modular Moogs. But Moog have also really thought about the control voltage possibilities. every section has a complete set of cv options, so you could really look at this being seprate modules, that you can integrate with, for example a eurorack modular setup. But even if you don’t use the patch cords, the matriarch has a lot to offer. In that case it performs well using the integrated arpeggiator and the sequences, and the paraphonic modes create very nice layers of sounds. In the drone mode, you can use it for proper sound deisgn, ambient soundscapes and much more. So an excellent, versatile musical instrument.
I forgot to mention that the Matriarch comes with a nice, well written paper manual in which all functions are clearly explained. And there is a nice patch book available digitally. In a future video, we will build some of those patches and create some of our own, to show you more of the nice sounds this synthesizer makes.