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Sound On Sound UK

Sound On Sound UK April 2020

Sound On Sound is the world's best recording technology magazine, packed full of in-depth, independent product tests, including music software, studio hardware, keyboards and live sound (PA) gear. Every issue also includes SOS's unique step-by-step tutorial and technique columns on all the leading DAW programs, as well as insightful interviews with leading producers, engineers and musicians.

United Kingdom
Sound On Sound Ltd
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40,52 kr(Inkl. moms)
305,04 kr(Inkl. moms)
12 Nummer

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2 min
the modular mindset

I have to admit that on occasions I think the modular synth concept is a bit bonkers. It takes ages to set up a sound with little chance of being able to repeat it, and then there are all those cables to deal with. Surely programmable synths were invented specifically to get around that shortcoming, and they probably save money into the bargain? However, when it comes to guitar effects pedals, I realise I actually have a lot in common with the modular synth brigade. Multi-effects devices are widely available, you can program them so as to make it easy to call up favourite setups, and they are capable of delivering high-quality results at a fraction of the cost of a board full of individual pedals — so why then…

12 min

Return of the robots: the Moog vocoder is back! Moog Music (whose Matriarch synth we review on page 16) have reissued their classic Vocoder, originally released in 1978. The vocoder was invented in the late 1930s as a means of encrypting telephone signals; it maps the tonal qualities of one sound onto the amplitude and frequency content of another — usually a human voice. When analogue synths became affordable in the 1970s, producers used them in conjunction with vocoders to produce vocals with an icy, electronic sheen, and such ‘robot vocals’ have subsequently become a sonic staple for virtually every techno, hip-hop and house producer. The new Moog Vocoder is modelled on the original design, but incorporates a modern power supply and higher-quality connectors. As on the original, there are 16 bands for…

16 min
moog matriarch semi-modular synthesizer

Two years ago Moog launched the Grandmother — a fine entry-level monosynth with a name that we’ve learned to live with. But, even then, the company were thinking about adding a more powerful instrument to the range, and I was asked how I would enhance Granny to create a flagship synth for the post-Voyager era. Apart from insisting that it not be called the Great Grandmother, I suggested that it would need a wider keyboard with aftertouch, plus obvious upgrades such as more oscillators, more powerful filtering, a second contour generator and improved modulation. But I also made a right pain of myself by banging on about additional mixers and patchable VCAs because, in common with other semi-modular synths, the Grandmother has far too few of these (zero in this…

1 min
moog matriarch £1889

PROS • It sounds fabulous. • Its panel is clear and friendly. • It’s fun to use and most things fall to hand very quickly. • It has a wide, velocity- and aftertouch-sensitive keyboard. • There’s no menu diving. CONS • There’s a bug in the paraphonic frequency response. • The velocity response needs tweaking. • There should be legends for the rear panel sockets on the top panel. • It’s not cheap. SUMMARY Whether you use it as a conventional monosynth or place it at the core of a modular setup (or both), the Matriarch is a very fine synthesizer with many interesting facilities and a superb sound courtesy of some weighty oscillators, a mixer that distorts euphonically, and a pair of powerful and flexible filters. You can probably obtain more bangs for the buck elsewhere, but this is a real…

2 min
the rear panel

The rear panel of the Matriarch is much more crowded than that of comparable monosynths. It starts to the left with a fine-tuning knob and a Kensington security slot (the kind that you’ll find on laptop computers) to stop someone absconding with your pride and joy. Mind you, I can’t see anyone slipping a Matriarch out of the studio in the inside pocket of an overcoat! Next come the quarter-inch connectors: balanced and unbalanced audio outputs, a headphone output with an independent volume control, and an external audio input. Alongside these, a pair of 3.5mm audio outputs duplicate the main outputs to maximise compatibility with Eurorack equipment. The next panel is dedicated to the delay units, with audio outputs, a CV input to control the amount of feedback in Delay 2,…

1 min

In addition to its extensive analogue connectivity, the Matriarch has a comprehensive MIDI specification covering pitch-bend, tuning, velocity and channel aftertouch. It also accepts Program Changes but, since it has no patch memories, values 1 to 12 select the appropriate sequences. Timing is taken care of by MIDI Clock, Start, Stop and Continue messages, the last of which is received but not transmitted. In addition, 36 MIDI CCs are recognised, with the most important having 14-bit rather than 7-bit resolution. Some of these don’t follow the MIDI 2.0 specification, but it’s unlikely that the differences will cause the synth to do anything unexpected. However, you may occasionally have to check which MIDI CCs are doing what at the other end of the cable to make sure that everything works as…