Moog DARK SERIES GRANDMOTHER and MATRIARCH Semi-modular Analog Synthesizers

Moog Music has announced the new version of the Matriarch and Grandmother keyboards.  Moog goes back to black with new Dark Series Grandmother and Matriarch semi-modular analogue synths.

The Moog Grandmother and Matriarch are excellent semi-modular synths and both instruments are now available in new Dark Series liveries that pay tribute to the design of the classic Moog modular systems that inspired them.

If you dislike the patchwork styling, fear not, because it simply means that both the new monophonic Grandmother and more capable paraphonic Matriarch are now available in a sleek black finish, with none of the pastel coloring of the original models. In fact, the coloring made it easy to see the divide between each module.

In addition, as the Dark Series editions, Moog has also released new exploratory patches, and firmware for both synths, and protective cases, too.

On the opposite side, it appears that you will pay slightly more for the Dark Series models: the new Grandmother and for the  new Matriarch.

Moog Grandmother Dark Synthesizer


Moog Matriarch Dark Synthesizer and Step Sequencer

Sequential PROPHET-5 and PROPHET-10 Synthesizers

Sequential has announced a new Prophet-5, a faithful reboot of one of the greatest synthesizers in history. Well, it is also confirmed the return of Prophet-10, which doubles the voice count.

Timed to coincide with Sequential founder Dave Smith’s 70th year, the new synth takes the iconic synth designer back to his roots.

Those said to be faithful to the original, the new Prophet-5 features five voices with two multi-waveform analogue oscillators, resonant analogue low-pass filters and amplifiers, and a filter and amplifier envelope per voice. Modulation is provided by a multi-waveshape LFO and Poly Mod, which allows the filter envelope and oscillator B to be routed to a variety of destinations, including filter cutoff frequency, oscillator A frequency, and oscillator A pulse width.

And, for those with an eye on authenticity can also be assured that the Prophet-5 features original, genuine Curtis VCOs and filters – as used in the Prophet-5 Rev3, as well as the Dave Rossum-designed SSI 2140 filter, the modern counterpart of the original SSM 2040 Rossum designed for the Prophet-5 Rev1 and Rev2.

“It’s not often that you get to revisit your past, retrieve some of its magic, and give it new life,” says Dave Smith

“We made the new Prophet-5 the best of all Prophets by embodying all three revisions of the original,” says Smith. “We did this by adding a Rev switch to the front panel, so you can choose your preferred filter.

“We also researched what made the original P-5 sound the way it did – organic and alive – and found that a lot of that desirable character was due to fluctuations and differences in the response times and frequencies of the individual oscillators, filters, and envelopes from voice to voice. So we also added a Vintage knob that loosens all of them up like they were in the old days.

“You can dial in progressively more vintage character as you go from a very stable “4,” as in Prophet-5 Rev4, all the way to “1,” as in Prophet-5 Rev1, which was the most temperamental of all Prophet-5s. We’ve even included the original factory soundset for the full vintage experience.”

Other modern enhancements include velocity sensitivity and aftertouch on the keyboard, as well as MIDI and USB connectivity. Control voltage and gate ins/outs are also present for connecting modular synths and other gear.

The new Prophet-5 is housed in a steel and hand-oiled sustainable black walnut heartwood body, and has a five-octave, semi-weighted Fatar keybed.

Explaining his decision to also release the Prophet-10, Smith said: “I originally designed the first Prophet in both five-voice and ten-voice versions. But the five-voice model was the one that achieved mass production. We thought it would be fun and fitting to reintroduce the ten-voice as well, to make the circle complete.”

Sequential is simultaneously offering the Prophet-10, a ten-voice version of the synthesizer with the same sound engine and design. “I originally designed the first Prophet in both five-voice and ten-voice versions. But the five-voice model was the one that achieved mass production. We thought it would be fun and fitting to reintroduce the ten-voice as well, to make the circle complete.”

Synthesist Julian Pollack, aka J3PO, shared;

“In this video, you will hear a bunch of sounds I created for the Prophet 5. Some are included factory, while others will appear in a sound bank I will release in due time.

It is important to note that the Prophet 5 reissue, like the original, does NOT contain any onboard effects. In this video, I used combinations of chorus, delay, and reverb and other FX to create the best ambience for the recording. I used the Strymon trifecta: Mobius (modulation), Timeline (delay), and Big Sky (reverb). Some folks may ask, “don’t you miss having onboard FX?” The answer: not at all. Like all of the great vintage synthesizers, all the weight and effort was put into the synthesizer components. To me, it’s almost better to have your signal processing separate. Then you have the best of both worlds.

The Prophet 5 reissue (or “Rev 4”) has been built to the same specs as the original, with a few subtle additions for stability, patch memory, and extended features. For all intents and purposes, this IS the original Prophet 5, but built in 2020. I can tell you, it is a gorgeous instrument. The way it sounds, the way it feels, the way it looks, the nostalgia…everything!

Not only is the Prophet 5 being reissued, but also a 10 voice version is being reissued: the Prophet 10! Yes…a 10 voice version!

 

Both models will be available in October. The Prophet-5 priced at $3,499 and the Prophet-10 priced at $4,299.

 

Behringer PRO-800

Behringer has officially announced a Sequential Circuits Prophet synth knockoff, the PRO-800.

Behringer has taken the Sequential Prophet-600 synth to the next level with the Pro-800 reboot. Back then in 1982, this tweaked reboot had the distinction of being one of the first synths to be released with MIDI.

The PRO- 800 loses the keyboard but gets extra voices and new features. While the Prophet-600 was a six-voice instrument, the dual-VCO Pro-800 has eight voices, and many other new features as well. As on the Prophet-600, which was a more affordable version of the Prophet-5 – there is a patch selection section over to the left, though there is no keyboard on Behringer’s version, as you can see.

The Pro-800 has been created with the help of synth designer GliGli, who specialises in mimicking and improving the Prophet-600. Behringer says that, together, they have “taken this beautiful synth to the next level”.

Behringer is hoping to ship the Pro-800 in January for less than $600.

Here is what Behringer says about the Pro-800:

“Some time ago we started a wonderful journey with the famous synth designer GliGli who rose to fame for his highly respected improvements around the Sequential PRO-600.

Together with GliGli we have taken this beautiful synth to the next level. The PRO-800 is now a fully polyphonic, 8-Voice Dual VCO synth with many new features.

We’re working hard to get it to you below US$ 600 while shipment is targeted for coming January.”

Arturia POLYBRUTE Analog PolySynth


Arturia Polybrute Powerful 61-Key 6-Voice Polysynth Analog Matrix Synthesizer with Stereo Dual-filter Architecture

A mightier morphing Brute with a massive sound!

The Arturia PolyBrute looks like a beast of an analog polysynth with infinite control.

The launch of the Arturia PolyBrute – a 61-key, 6-voice instrument, should not come as a surprise, though – we always felt that it would only be a matter of time before Arturia released a large-scale analog polysynth.

The new flagship has a flexible mod matrix, a unique 3D touchpad and a selection of digital effects. The PolyBrute incorporates a 32-note arpeggiator, a 64-step sequencer and a 16-step ‘matrix arpeggiator’, and all the data that define each of these are saved on a per-patch basis. The 3D touchpad to the left of the keyboard, known as the Morphée. This gives you three-axis control over patch morphing, sequence/arpeggiator randomization or up to 32 assigned Matrix modulations per axis.

Each of the six voices features two Brute waveshaping VCOs, a full-spectrum noise generator, enhanced Steiner multimode filter, custom low-pass ladder filter, three LFOs, three Envelope Generators and more. The voices can be used polyphonically or in splits and layers, with a fully-loaded Unison mode also an option. In addition, each of the 768 presets exists in two states, and you can seamlessly morph between them using a dedicated knob. Other hands-on controls include pitch and multifunction wheels and an assignable touchstrip.

About the Matrix, it is the PolyBrute ‘digital brain’ – a hands-on interface that can be used in various guises. As well as enabling you to select presets, you can also use it in Mods mode, which turns the Matrix button grid into a digital patch bay. You can use it to route any of your modulation sources and controllers – there are 64 connections and up to 32 modulation destinations. In Sequencer mode, the Matrix enables you to record not only notes, but also synth parameter changes. For example, you has created a 64-step sequence, you can add the likes of velocity, accents, slides and randomization, and also generate complex arpeggios.

This emphasizes the ‘hands-on’ nature of the PolyBrute – everything is there in front of you in the form of dedicated knobs and switches. Almost all of these generate MIDI, too, so your movements can be captured in your DAW.

The Arturia PolyBrute comes with left and right unbalanced 1/4-inch jacks for the master stereo output, with stereo displacement of voices controlled in the output section. You can pan each of the six voices left and right to varying degrees, giving you full control over the width of your sound.

About the Effects, Arturia has included some of the best algorithms from its collection of FX plugins, including some new reverbs and delays that are designed to take advantage of the stereo architecture, including certain effects, parameters can be modulated with the mod matrix for ‘animated space and texture’.

The Arturia PolyBrute is really, really deep…but it is simple to use. The Polysynth is remarkably flexible and fun and, the amount of performance control is exceptional and sound superb. That does not mean that this new Brute looks in any way underwhelming.

The PolyBrute is expected to ship in November 2020.

Features:

  • 6-voice analog morphing polysynth
  • 61-note velocity/pressure-sensitive keyboard
  • 2 Brute waveshaping oscillators per voice
  • Noise generator ranging from red to white noise
  • Dual filter design: Steiner multimode and Dr. Bob Moog’s 24db Ladder
  • Master filter control and filter FM
  • 3 LFOs and 3 Envelope Generators
  • Matrix interface for modulation, sequencing, and preset control
  • 64 Matrix points for modular-style patching
  • Each preset has 2 states, seamlessly blended with the Morph control
  • Split or layer the keybed with the morphable sonic states
  • Select Poly, Mono, or Unison modes for the keyboard
  • Revolutionary 3-axis Morphée controller for real-time tactile expression
  • Assignable ribbon controller above keybed
  • Pitch wheel and assignable multi-function mod wheel
  • 64-step sequencer with motion recorder and automation
  • Multi-mode complex arpeggiator
  • Built-in stereo digital effects including reverb, chorus, and delay
  • Left and right unbalanced 1/4″ output jacks
  • MIDI In, Out and Thru DIN connectivity, plus USB MIDI
  • PolyBrute Connect software for Mac/PC for easy library and workflow management
  • Optional wooden legs extras

M-Audio KeyStation 88 MK3 MIDI Controller


M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3

The M-Audio KeyStation 88 MK3 is designed to be used both on stage and in the studio.

The new KeyStation 88 MK3 features 88  full-size, semi-weighted and velocity-sensitive keys. The new USB-powered keyboard controller sports additional controls include octave range buttons, pitchbend/mod wheels and a volume control. You also get transport controls and a sustain pedal input.

Additionally, the KeyStation 88 MK3 is class-compliant and can be powered over USB, while USB-MIDI is also supported. There is iOS compatibility and include a dedicated 5-pin MIDI output as well. Bundled software includes Pro Tools First – M-Audio Edition, MPC Beats and Ableton Live Lite, and a range of virtual instruments and sound expansion packs is included as well.

If you are looking for an affordable full-size MIDI keyboard to sit at the centre of your studio but is also lightweight enough to be carried to a gig, then M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 looks like it.

The M-Audio KeyStation 88 MK3 is a full-size MIDI keyboard with a small price tag. At a price of $229 and is now available, which does not seem much to pay for a keyboard of this size.