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Moog Mother-32

Moog Mother-32
« on: December 10, 2015, 11:07:18 AM »
Not to take away from an otherwise excellent little synthesizer, but these videos - produced by a very knowledgeable synthesist - give a good example of the Mother-32's poor tracking that I referred to elsewhere on this forum.  Even within a very limited range, the tuning is just terrible.  I can't stand listening to it.  Perhaps a potentiometer can adjust this, but why is it that so few owners have done so?  I've found many other videos that show the same tuning problem.  I wonder if any M-32 owners here can tell us for certain if the tracking is adjustable?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FicsoscQS4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdszMgkfdkQ
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 11:39:54 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2015, 12:26:17 PM »
I have listened to the two demos, and yes... there are some tuning problems, especialy in video no. two... but I really don't think that this tuning problem is the fault of the Mother 32, but rather the user... He is using three separate Mother32s, and he is not tuning them very well to each other.... but if you listen to the sound of a single unit, using it's built in sequencer, then the notes are on target tone wise... you do not hear any note tuning problems in relastion to individual notes from the sequencers at all.... at least I don't hear any, and I have a rather fine hearing when it comes to that... I almost returned my new Sub37 because I heard deviances in it within a +/- 10 cents... just showed out to be the Sub37's "Slop" parameter in action.

I'm pretty certain that the tuning errors you hear is from unit to unit, not being tuned well to each other... it's just a matter of finetuning the "Tune" knob on each.... but other factors can introduce tuning problems, like extreme Pulsewidth modulation, and even a resonant filter can sometimes sound a bit "off"... especialy when the filter is almost closed.

I hardly believe that a quality company like MOOG would let such a product get away with tuning problems... it would render the device useless...
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 12:34:13 PM »
Another thing about tuning on MOOGs is, that sometimes, if you want to detune one oscillator to another, you only have positive tuning... so if you, say; have three oscillators going, and you want them detuned, then it will sound a bit off in relation to other sounds simply because oscillator two is for example, tuned +10 cents, and the third at +20 ... that will make the whole combined sound, sound like it's pitched with a fundamental that is the average of the three... at +10 cents... on other synths you can have one tuned at 0 cents, and the two others at -10 and +10 cents, leaving the fundamental to be at 0 cents ... the average.

I don't know if Mother 32 has both positive and negative tuning on the tune knob... if not, this could have some influence... even if the Mother32 does have both negative and positive tuning, the user may have tuned them only in the positive direction.

I have this problem with Sub37... simply because oscillator 1 cannot be detuned at all.... only oscillator 2 can be detuned... even though it can be detuned both positive and negative, then detuning oscillator two will also move the average tuning with it... I cannot choose to tune oscillator 2 to +20 cents, and oscilltor 1 to -10 cents.... which would be the best.... instead I will have to use the main detune knob to shift the average back down to 0 cents... makes it a bit more complicated...
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 12:39:11 PM by Razmo »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2015, 01:05:52 PM »
Even I could detect some "bagpipe feel" in the first video (before I got bored), Sacred Synthesis! :o

What you could do Razmo is to look for the global detune and set that to -5 to -10 cents depending on what you want to archive. So its doable. If there is no global detune but MIDI Tuning Standard support then that is an option too!
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Re: Moog Mother
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2015, 01:07:37 PM »
I'm not at all concerned about the tuning of one instrument or oscillator in relation to another.  That obviously would be a non-issue.  The instruments are out of tune as well, but I'm referring only to the keyboard oscillator tracking of an individual instrument by itself, even within a single octave.  Maybe I could find other videos that make it clearer than these two.

I would normally attribute the problem to a particular unit or a particular synthesist, but I've heard the same problem now in a number of M-32 videos.  I've never noticed such a problem in other synthesizer videos to this extent.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 09:49:59 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2015, 01:17:12 PM »
One option could be to send Moog a support request on this and ask if this is a general problem and if there is an adjustment option inside the box? Hopefully you will get a useful response.
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2015, 01:17:39 PM »
Even I could detect some "bagpipe feel" in the first video (before I got bored), Sacred Synthesis! :o

What you could do Razmo is to look for the global detune and set that to -5 to -10 cents depending on what you want to archive. So its doable. If there is no global detune but MIDI Tuning Standard support then that is an option too!

That was exactly what I wrote in my comment  :D ... but it is a bit circumstancial to have to do it this way, as you have to constantly adjust two knobs to even it out... but there is no other way around it really, and it usualy is like this on MOOG synths... Minitaur has the same problem, and the Slim Phatty too...
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2015, 01:27:38 PM »
I honestly do not hear any tracking problems... but your ears could be more sensitive than mine... but if there are a tracking problem, it could very well be down to simple heat... it's a 100% analog device as far as I know... I'm not sure about the sequencer though.

But after looking at pictures of the Mother32, I can see that there are no pitch tracking knob... this hints me that there must be some sort of callibration routine in a micro controller somewhere under the hood for the sequencers notes, with some button combination to initiate this callibration, because if not... then I'll consider this device pretty useless...

Heat would certainly be able to make tracking a little unstable I'm sure...
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 01:29:21 PM by Razmo »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2015, 01:38:08 PM »
Allright... I checked the online manual... the Mother32 has 4 small holes in it's front plate, that hold callibration pots beneath them... these are used to callibrate the VCO, so I'll bet that the guy in the video needs to perform such a callibration.

Heat will allways be an issue with analog gear, we all know that... you need to leave the device on for about half an hour, in the environment it is supposed to be used in, so that it has reached operating temperature... then do a callibration.

I recallibrate even my Prophet 12 quite often, simply because the resonant filter gets out of tune... I often play the resonant filter as a sine oscillator, and it's often out of tune, either because I've moved the P12 from one place to another, or simply because the ambient temperature has changed.
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2015, 02:06:57 PM »
Allright... I checked the online manual...

Hey, that's cheating! . o O ( :-X )
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2015, 03:03:48 PM »
That certainly could explain it, but it's still surprising.  I listen to VCO synth videos all the time - including Model D and modular videos - and I never hear such tracking problems.  I mean, who owns a VCO synth and doesn't know about the warm-up issues?  And then there was my own Voyager with less than stellar tracking.  I'm no longer the Moog fan that I used to be, so I'm cautious with their instruments.

I still would like to see comments from some one who owns an M-32 and can comment on the issue, including how stable the instrument is after 30-40 minutes of warm-up time.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 09:50:51 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2015, 03:16:11 PM »
I've seen tuning problems with other MOOG products before... Slim Phatty for example... The Sub37 though is solid enough to my ears... My SLim Phatty was also fine, also my Minitaur... I don't know if there are a problem specificly related to the Mother32, as I do not have one to test myself... but the Mother32 IS quite inexpensive, compared to being a MOOG product... maybe they have cut some corners in the curcuit design, though I hardly believe so.

Maybe the best way to find out is to ask MOOG directly about it... they should know.... or ask in the MOOG forum... this is a DSI forum afterall, so you'll probably have a better chance at the MOOG forum, getting the answer you seek...
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Re: Moog Mother
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2015, 05:50:20 PM »
I'm not registered with the Moog Forum, nor do I see a specific discussion there on the topic.  Maybe I'll ask the video-makers about it.

I'd agree that Moog did a stellar job with the Sub 37.  If the keyboard were just a tad longer, and if the instrument had a means of delaying vibrato by some means other than after touch, I'd probably buy one.  If Moog makes a module version, then I'll be all-the-more interested.  I really do like the sound and lay out of it. 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 07:39:56 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2015, 11:06:45 PM »
I have a few Voltage control based oscillators and they all need calibrating every so often, it's the nature of the beasts.

As long as the tuning discrepancy is linear then it is simple to calibrate them with a pot.

If it is not linear then you need some form of voltage mapping, I don't know of any hardware that can do this but there is CV control software on computers that can do this (like Volca or SilentWay). I have knocked up some Reaktor stuff for controlling CV Oscillators that works in this way by creating a tuning map by sweeping the oscillator over its voltage range while "listening" to the oscillators frequency to work out the voltage offsets to keep in in tune. The tuning map is then used to map the ideal CV to the correct CV for that oscillator.

I would guess the Mother problems are linear so people just need to tune them.


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Re: Moog Mother
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2015, 02:50:11 AM »
I'm not registered with the Moog Forum, nor do I see a specific discussion there on the topic.  Maybe I'll ask the video-makers about it.

I'd agree that Moog did a stellar job with the Sub 37.  If the keyboard were just a tad longer, and if the instrument had a means of delaying vibrato by some means other than after touch, I'd probably buy one.  If Moog makes a module version, then I'll be all-the-more interested.  I really do like the sound and lay out of it.

Every parameter in the Sub37 can be used as a destination for the modulation sections 1 & 2 ... You could potentialy set up mod bus 1 to use an envelope as it's source, and route that to mod bus 2's Pitch amount parameter... that would give you not only delayed vibrato but also faded in vibrato, since the envelopes of the Sub37 have a hold parameter... even a Peak Hold parameter too.

Alternatively you can use a mod.bus with it's source selection set to an envelope, and then just switch on the envelopes loop function, so it will act like an LFO.

But it IS circumstancial, and I aggree that it would be better, if MOOG created a simple delay function.... but I think that this should be very well possible in software... I'll try and ask Amos about it when he gets back to me.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 02:52:27 AM by Razmo »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2015, 03:05:44 AM »
A small edit to my post above... you cannot use a looped envelope for delayed vibrato, simply because the delay part is part of the loop.... but I tried the other solution of routing the filter EG via mod.bus1 into mod.bus2's Pitch Modulation amount parameter, and it works fine... I get both delay, and fade in with that technique.... the only drawback is that you loose either the VCA or VCF envelope, or at least you have to share them, and also you loose one of the mod bussses, as it needs to route the envelope to the other mod.bus'es pitch mod amount parameter.
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2015, 07:06:24 AM »
You can control LFO modulation depth with an envelope?  See these clips: https://youtu.be/QaiB7WRxxCk?t=14m55s and https://youtu.be/QaiB7WRxxCk?t=17m33s.  After hearing these comments, I didn't bother to check the manual.  So, you can delay a vibrato with an envelope, but the delay parameter doesn't apply?

« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 08:02:11 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2015, 08:36:05 AM »
You can control LFO modulation depth with an envelope?  See these clips: https://youtu.be/QaiB7WRxxCk?t=14m55s and https://youtu.be/QaiB7WRxxCk?t=17m33s.  After hearing these comments, I didn't bother to check the manual.  So, you can delay a vibrato with an envelope, but the delay parameter doesn't apply?

The delay parameter of the envelope applies... I checked it here with my own Sub37... ALL of the envelopes parameters apply, as it's the envelope output that is routed to modulation bus 2's input (instead of the normal LFO)... so all envelope parameters will have an effect... delay, attack, hold, decay, sustain and release... even the triggering modes and the looping function... anything the envelope does will go to the input of modulation bus 2's input. (when modulation bus 2 is set to use the EG, the LFO is effectively bypassed).

In fact it's not just the envelope you can choose as an input source to a modulation unit... there are many more input sources... even a digital noise generator! ... and the destinations available are staggering... more than 80! ... you can even route modulations to filter slope, sequencer clock divisions... basicaly EVERY PARAMETER in the Sub 37 is a candidate for modulation destination.

Actualy... when you route the filter EG to mod2's input, and then route mod2's output (in this case the filter EG) to the pitch modulation amount of mod1, then the mod wheel function as another attenuator, so that the whole vibrato amount can be controlled via the mod wheel.

The Sub37 is quite capable... problem is that it's not been advertized very well in my opinion... the mod source/destination engine is much MUCH more advanced than any previous MOOG synth in this price range.... kudos to Amos for making this!



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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2015, 01:04:52 PM »
Thanks for the clarification.  It only makes sense, which is why I was surprised the Sub 37 didn't have such a basic feature.  Batt's comments were a bit confusing. 

I really do like the sound of the instrument, and I like the parameter-packed control panel.  My only remaining objection is the keyboard size.  If Moog made a module version, I could use a Prophet '08 as a controller.  But I haven't heard many stirrings about such a module.  Or else, imagine a Sub "37" module controlled by a Prophet 6.  Now that would be a powerful analog synthesizer!
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Re: Moog Mother-32
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2015, 03:25:16 PM »
Thanks for the clarification.  It only makes sense, which is why I was surprised the Sub 37 didn't have such a basic feature.  Batt's comments were a bit confusing. 

I really do like the sound of the instrument, and I like the parameter-packed control panel.  My only remaining objection is the keyboard size.  If Moog made a module version, I could use a Prophet '08 as a controller.  But I haven't heard many stirrings about such a module.  Or else, imagine a Sub "37" module controlled by a Prophet 6.  Now that would be a powerful analog synthesizer!

It is doable... but as I stated earlier, it's circumstancial, and not really the best way to get so basic a feature as LFO delay... it takes up both mod busses, and one envelope... of course you can share these, but it does limit you, especialy if you wanted to also use the filter envelope for the filter.

About the keyboard size... I don't need more than 3 octaves, but of course at least 5 would have been much better... I'd be glad if only the 3 octaves it has, actualy had a better feel to them... I find them stiff and spongy, and they take too much pressure to work in my opinion... makes it really hard to do fast playing and still have your timing tight... so I'm using it with another 5 octave keyboard instead, and actualy use the Sub37 as a module.... sure I'd like a module too, but I don't think it will happen... it would take up more space than any other module I've seen, or they'd have to diminish the interface, like they did with the Slim Phatty.

IF a module comes one day, I may swap it... it depends on how used I get to actualy edit it via all the controls... something I've never really done much in the past... I've been using my editors on the computer, but I'm now getting used to using the physical knobs of the Sub37... so I'm not sure I'll be able to live without them... there is something nice about sitting in front of a fully selfcontained instrument, rather than having it split between a computer for editing and the physical device itself... but only if the physical controls are nicely laid out, without too much menu diving.

SO I'd say... IF you decide on getting one... do yourself a favor, and try one out first... you really have to feel the keybed before you buy... just some good advice. Some people like it, others hate it... I'm in the middle of that.
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