Moog Sub Phatty vs. Grandmother: (Synthezizer Shoot Out IN-DEPTH)

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Regardless of your instrument’s cost, is it worth it if it does not sound good due to poor sound producer, analog synthesizer, or associated components?

Is spending thousands of bucks plainly on the fancy design of an instrument without considering its internal build a smart decision? We don’t think so, and here’s why…

Components such as analog sound synthesizers play a significant role in the type of performance your machine or instrument delivers.

If you get a good-quality guitar, piano, or speaker, with a low-quality sound synthesizer, your product will not even perform half its best.

However, if you bring home a moderate-quality product with excellent internal components, you can almost turn the game around completely.

Moog Music is a well-known and established sound synthesizer company based in the United States. It has added two brilliant analog sound synthesizers to its collection, the Moog Sub Phatty and Moog Grandmother. 

Now, several professionals and beginners are using these analog sound synthesizers, but there are still several doubts and questions to be answered. Is selling A Little Phatty for Grandmother worth it?

Is Moog Grandmother limited edition? Which sound synthesizer works better, Moog Sub Phatty vs. Moog Grandmother? Moog sub 37 vs. Grandmother, which is a better option?

However, it is time to clear all your doubts as we have compiled all the essential information for you in a single article.

Learn all the important specifications and functions of both the Moog Sub Phatty and Moog Grandmother and pick the sound synthesizer that best suits your needs.

Moog Music- Plight to Light

Moog, short for Moog Music, is an American sound synthesizing company with its headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. It was founded in 1953 by Robert Moog and his father and was initially named RA Moog Co.

The name, however, was then updated to Moog Music in 1972. Moog Music has introduced several remarkable products, including the Moog Synthesizer, the first commercial synthesizer.

In 1970, they came up with Minimoog, another influential yet economical instrument that was commonly used in its time. 

After a recession, Robert Moog sold Moog Music in 1971 to Norlin Musical Instrument. Robert Moog continued working here as a designer until 1977, after which he founded a new company, Big Briar.

After this, Moog Music was declared bankrupt in 1978, and it was returned to Robert Moog in 2002. He then decided to combine the two brands, resuming Big Briar operations under Moog Music’s name. 

Currently, Moog Music is a well-established organization that also manages Moogfest; this is an electronic and technology music festival in Durham, DC.

After its transfer and stable formation at Asheville, Moog Music began releasing incredible products, including the Minimoog Voyager, Moog Sub 37¸ Mother 32, and Little Phatty. Some of these products are in use even today!

Moog Music has seen tremendous development due to the industry’s increasing interest in analogs.

Apart from Moog Music, numerous big names, such as Arturia, Korg, and Dave Smith Instruments, have brought analog sound synthesizers to the commercial markets.

Since the 20th century, sound synthesizers have gained considerable popularity. Unfortunately, 2005 saw the demise of Robert Moog due to medical complications.

Consequently, his collaborator, Michael Adams, took over Moog Music as president. Since then, the company has mainly been employee-owned, with about 62 employees owning over 45% of the establishment. 

However, it has primarily escalated in recent years due to increasing demand. Moog Music is emerging with the release of several products, including semi-modulator synthesizer, DFAM, Mother 32, Matriarch, Grandmother, and Subharmonicon. 

Moog Grandmother Review

Moog Music is often seen announcing products coinciding with their annual Moogfest celebrations. This time was no different, as they revealed yet another analog sound synthesizer a few days before their traditional get-together. 

Since the 1960s, Robert Moog’s large modular systems were the first viable synthesizers. In recent years, they have introduced their semi-modular DFAM and Mother-32 modules to Eurorack and other desktop crowds. 

The Moog Grandmother is Moog Music’s first semi-modular sound synthesizer that features all high-quality components and a 32-notes velocity-sensitive keyboard- courtesy of Fatar.

The Moog Grandmother also comes with a pair of wheels, one for modulation and the other for pitch-bend. The latter allows it to return to the root note while playing, hence the spring-loaded nature. 

The Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer also showcases bright backlit buttons on the left-side control section.

They perform multiple actions, including shifting of octaves and sequencer controls, such as hold, play, and tap tempo. 

You can also use these colorful buttons to record sequences. Moreover, the button trio, along with the oscillator sync button, comes in handy for numerous other functions discussed further in the topic. 

A glide knob is also present on the left, which offers an obligatory Emersonian pitch sweep. The legato mode can be activated by pressing the hold button while simultaneously turning the knob.

With a retro-chic look, the Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer boasts a panel divided into multi-colored modules, including modulation (black), sequencer (yellow), oscillator (pale blue), utilities (both black), mixer, filter (green), spring reverb (red), and VCA (black).

Each module provides the expected controls and comes with a total of 35 3.5 mm (1/8th inch) jacks that allow re-routing of the internally wired signal path. 

The Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer’s color scheme is a source of some division when it comes to synthesis circles.

Apart from offering a unique design, the sound synthesizer also has a multi-color design, making all controls easy to identify and practice. 

Around the back is an audio section with a 1/4th inch output jack and a similar sized instrument input for directing external signals through the reverb and filter.

It also has a 1-8th inch jack for Reverb output and another output for maintaining appropriate levels of audio signals to Eurorack modules. 

There is another quartet measuring 1/8th inches in the Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer, solely dedicated to interfacing the sequencer and arpeggiator, including the reset input, clock in and out, and on/ off input.

Furthermore, the connectivity is in the form of DIN-style MIDI in, out, and Thru, along with the USB MIDI. An additional red LED indicates the incoming MIDI signal; this LED is between the MIDI Out and the USB ports. 

A small fine-tune knob is also present on the Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer with a détente center.

It adjusts the oscillator 1’s master tune, taking the shape of a power switch and a jack for the power supply from the external barrel plug. 

The Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer’s cord connected to the power supply connects to the barrel plug.

However, the silver shaft remains slightly exposed, but fortunately, it doesn’t cause any issues. This does make the Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer susceptible to accidental disconnection. 

Often called slightly heavy at 16 lbs. the Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer has decent-quality pots and knobs. It also showcases capped toggle switches for various controls.

The synth and power supply box contain a printed manual, a plastic slinky toy with the Moog logo, and six patch cables of variable lengths. 

The Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer takes about ten minutes to reach its optimal temperature. So, you can play with its other controls while the oscillators stabilize.

Once done, you can relax to the familiar Moog sound that you can alter with the mixer module. 

Although the modules utilize the same traditional circuits used by Minimoog, VCA, Mixer, Envelope Generator, Filter, and spring reverb, Moog Grandmother sound synthesizer’s circuits work on the principles of the 1960s models.

The oscillator on the Grandmother is divided into two, each pumping out sawtooth, triangle, and pulse waves.

However, the pulse widths must come from a modulation source. Oscillator 1 features a range between 32 and 8 inches, while oscillator 2 offers ranges between 16 and 2 inches.

Moog Sub Phatty Review

Next, we have the Sub Phatty sound synthesizer. It is an addition to the Moog Music family of instruments. It was unveiled at the Winter NAMM alongside the Korg MS-20 Mini. It is known to be efficient as well as affordable. 

It offers a monophonic 25-key unit with two different waveshape oscillators littered with ample knobs. 

Weighing 15.8 lbs, the Sub Phatty sound synthesizer has many knobs, including the power, CV inputs, audio in and out knobs, MIDI port, USB port, and patch points. These are all located on the left panel close to the instrument’s rear.

Its default angle has been described as extremely easy to work with since the entire unit carries the solid Moog tradition.

The compact design, along with the reduced footprint, is undoubtedly something to boast about. Moreover, the large cutoff knob atop the filter section is another eye-catching detail. 

Two free-running VCOs, featuring pitch ranges of 2, 4, 8, and 16 inches are also present. The oscillators have variable waveshapes, adding character between the distinct borders.

The Sub Phatty sound synthesizer’s VCOs are quick to reach the playing temperature even in a cluttered studio with poor ventilation. 

Other sound sources associated with the Sub Phatty sound synthesizer include a pink noise generator, the Sub OSC, that uses a square wave sitting at a full octave below OSC 1, and an external input jack that processes sound via the Sub Phatty. 

Similar to the Voyager Old School, the Sub Phatty sound synthesizer does not harbor a digital display, accommodating 16 onboard presets only.

Its software library/ editor, available in Audio Unit, VST, RTAs, and standalone versions, allows users to store, make, as well as retrieve personalized creations whenever they prefer.

The Sub Phatty sound synthesizer’s editor resembles the Moog Minitaur in the integration and design aspects. It also utilizes a shift mode that gives you access to the functions you cannot manage via the front panel. 

After pressing Bank 4 and activating panel buttons together, you have access to 51 additional controls, including physical control assignments as well as other parameter adjustments.

They include the Keyboard Transpose, Glide Type, Waveform Modulation Destination, along with Amplifier Envelope Gate. If you are only starting out, it is better to first go through the Sub Phatty sound synthesizer’s manual. 

You enter shift mode by pressing the activate panel buttons along with bank 4. And then, you can switch between 4-pole/ 24 dB-per-octave, and the 1-pole/6 dB-per-octave, 3-pole/ 18 dB-per-octave, and 2-pole/ 12 dB-per-octave options.

It also has Minimoog Model D and a multi-drive circuit. It outpaces the older models by adding post and pre-filter saturation in the mix. Furthermore, Sub Phatty has flat-bottom basses, lead lines, and an approachable interface.

Moog Grandmother vs. Moog Sub Phatty

Although both the Moog Sub Phatty and Moog Grandmother analog sound synthesizers are excellent options, some distinguishing features set them apart.

While the Sub Phatty is more affordable, the Grandmother sound synthesizer is known as the more intuitive option. It has better sound quality, is easier to use, and features ample controls. 

The Moog Grandmother’s architecture is another remarkable point that gives it leverage over the Moog Sub Phatty.

Although it will take some time till the sound synthesizer reaches its optimal temperature, it will produce tunes that are in sync and almost never noticeably unpleasant. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I get a Moog Grandmother or little Phatty?

While both are good options, most users recommend Moog Grandmother if you are planning to use the modular options. Otherwise, Little Phatty is also a reliable choice.

2. Is the Moog Sub Phatty discontinued?

Moog Music announced the discontinuation of the Moog Sub Phatty stage ll sound synthesizer. However, some models may be released till the materials and other parts last.

3. Should I get the Moog Grandmother or matriarch?

The Moog Matriarch is a newer model after the Moog Grandmother with 42 keys, a stereo signal path, 4 note para-phony, and numerous other features.

4. Can the Moog Sub Phatty handle higher octave leads well?

Most users have reported that the Moog Sub Phatty sound synthesizer can handle higher octave lead levels well. It is more often used for higher register tones than for bass.

5. Is Moog Grandmother mono or poly?

The Moog Grandmother analog sound synthesizer is among the most popular models across the American states.

It has the superb sound quality along with numerous useful features. It features a spring reverb tank, inbuilt arpeggiator, sequencer, and a monophonic semi-modular synth.