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How good of a starter synth is the Moog Grandmother?

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:54 am
by Ceylon
So for a few years now I've been increasingly fascinated with the synth as an instrument. It took me a while to warm up to it, but I now think it's something I'd like to try out. My guitar playing has been in a bit of a rut for a while now, and maybe another instrument would be a good way to get back to being creative.

For reference, artists that use synths whose sound I really like range from Suicide to Tangerine Dream, The Horrors, Devo, Black Moth Super Rainbow, obviously Nine Inch Nails, so on, so forth. I know the Behringer synths get good reviews all over the place, but I really don't mind spending 100-200€ more on something that'll hold it's value better, and that comes with the phenomenological reassurance of being the real thing.

I really like pretty much everything about the Moog Grandmother. It sounds great in the demos, it's all analog, got an arpeggiator and a spring reverb, good sequencer and it just looks FUN with the coloured panels and the patching possibilities. I suspect I have a bit of ADD or something and things being inviting and fun to use is definitely a factor in how much time I'm willing to put into them to get past the initial learning curve. For about the same money I could get a Moog Subsequent 25 that I also thought sounded great, maybe more suited for modern sounds, but it lacked the arp, had a more limited sequencer and overall looked more dense to get into.

I've gone through the synth thread on here a bit and there seems to be a bunch of people who have and love the Grandmother. There's a couple of reports about quality control issues, pots going scratchy and keys not working, but given how good reviews they mostly get, I figure that's not that huge of an issue really.

So, if you were just starting out on synth, and you had the money, is there any reason you wouldn't get a Moog Grandmother?

Re: How good of a starter synth is the Moog Grandmother?

Posted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:10 am
by Zork
The Moog Grandmother sounds really good and has a nice layout that makes it very clear what's going on. It is expendable with Eurorack gear due to it's semimodular architecture. A patchable synth is also good for understanding the important concepts of synthesis.

Still, I would recommend to try out the Novation Bass Station 2 and if it was me, I would choose it over the Grandmother as my first synth. Why? First of all: you can store and recall preset sounds, which is a huge plus in my book if you play live. Also, it is paraphonic, so you can play two notes at the same time if you need it. It is also very well built, sounds phenomenal and it's only half the price of a Grandmother.

If you don't want/need presets and like a semimodular analog synth, I think the Arturia Minibrute 2 is very interresting, too. It might not look as good as the Moog, but soundwise it's certainly much more versatile. Arturia has a very good quality as well.

That said, the Grandmother is an excellent starter synth and it absolutely is damn sexy.

Re: How good of a starter synth is the Moog Grandmother?

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:59 am
by redchapterjubilee
Short answer, yes. The manual is excellent and all the controls for basic subtractive synthesis are right in front of you. Plus there's room to grow with it, what with all the patch points. When my bandmate recently wanted to buy his first synthesizer I recommended the Grandmother and Arturia's Micro or Minibrute. He opted to go for the Grandmother and has been very happy. I have one as well.

Re: How good of a starter synth is the Moog Grandmother?

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:53 am
by mgeek
Ceylon wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:54 am

I really like pretty much everything about the Moog Grandmother. It sounds great in the demos, it's all analog, got an arpeggiator and a spring reverb, good sequencer and it just looks FUN with the coloured panels and the patching possibilities. I suspect I have a bit of ADD or something and things being inviting and fun to use is definitely a factor in how much time I'm willing to put into them to get past the initial learning curve. For about the same money I could get a Moog Subsequent 25 that I also thought sounded great, maybe more suited for modern sounds, but it lacked the arp, had a more limited sequencer and overall looked more dense to get into.
I've got ADD and very much not interested in any kind of learning curve... synths that work for me are ones with ZERO presets, programming, any of that stuff. I've got an MS10 and that's perfect. One knob to select the basic waveform, then a bunch of others to modify it... very simple.

Not sure what the Grandmother is like, but I'd just stay away from anything with patches, recall, built in reverbs, presets that sound terrible and have terrible names. I just find them baffling. Good basic monosynths should barely feel more complicated than a guitar, after a few minutes fiddling

Re: How good of a starter synth is the Moog Grandmother?

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:09 am
by Maggieo
I've got one and it's hands down my favorite synth to play with. Way more fun than the Berhinger D- maybe it's the patch chords?