Moog Matriarch Gets NAMM TEC Award For Outstanding Technical Achievement

As part of the 2021 NAMM Show, Moog Music was awarded the TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement for the Matriarch Synthesizer.

“We are humbled to accept this award for Matriarch — an instrument designed and built by our employee-owners here in Asheville, NC and shipped to musicians all over the world,” says Mike Adams, President of Moog Music.

Matriarch is a patchable 4-note paraphonic analog synthesizer, based on classic Moog module designs, with a built-in sequencer, arpeggiator, stereo ladder filters, and stereo analog delay. The synth’s internal connections can be customized using 90 modular patch points.

Here are examples of the Matriarch in action by Paris Strother, Sarah Schachner, Lisa Bella Donna, and Max Ravitz:

Details on the Matriarch are available at the Moog site.

53 thoughts on “Moog Matriarch Gets NAMM TEC Award For Outstanding Technical Achievement

  1. well deserved, one of the most beautiful sounding and looking instruments for the past 5 or maybe even 10 years, a joy to tweak

  2. Can someone please tell me how this keyboard is worthy of this award? Just a four voice paraphonic synth based on their old modules with some patch points? Surely, there are other keyboards or products out there that deserve this award more.

    1. It’s like, you like vanilla ice cream. Pretty much everyone does, right? Hence the other usage of the term vanilla. There are a lot of makers of it and they’re all good. I mean, nobody screws up vanilla ice cream, right? You take it for granted. Then, one day you have that one ice cream. You know the one. Everything changes. Vanilla is somehow more magical, less mundane. You crave it.

      The beefy sounding oscs, the cp3 mixer that overloads so magically, the stereo filters with the magic offset knob that changes how you think of synths, that stereo reverb that also has the magic offset knob. There are tricks there that few other synths do, and none do quite so well. Then you add in the fact that you can patch it up with other gear.

      I ended up with two of them.

        1. I’m sorry, but I owned one for about 6 months and while its a good 4 voice paraphonic synth, I certainly think its not worthy of a tech award. Some of you guys sound like you’re having an orgasm over this synth because it has Moog on it. Some people read the book “War and Peace” and think it just an average book. Others, read it and unlock the secrets of the universe. To me, its just another book. The subharmonicom should of gotten the award for originality.

          1. I have both the subharmonicon, the matriarch, and I’ve read Tolstoy and Dostoyevksy. Comparing them all, the matriarch is just sublime — as is Dosty. You have to play them to hear it.

    2. Have you tried it? Most people that have used it would not question how well it is designed.

      This synth does a fantastic job of revisiting old module designs – from the late 60’s – and revising them to work with modern voltages, with reliable tuning and features like MIDI and Euro connectivity – and putting them into a semi modular design for the first time.

      But the bottom line is that it’s really musical – more than the sum of its parts.

      1. Modern voltages: they are the same voltages. Electricity is electricity. That hasn’t changed ever.

        Euro connectivity: is the same as an 1/4″ connectivity only smaller. 1/4″ and 1/8″ jacks ane plugs are identical in function

        Reliable tuning: It’s VCO – how reliable it is depends entirely on the components used. If it’s the same components as the original modules then it’s the same as the original modules.

        And semi modular synths have been around a lot longer than the Matriarch. To even suggest Moog did it first is pretty ridiculous

        Design: It has bunch of cheap feeling plastic on there. My Grandmother felt like a big hollow plastic box that would have cracked like an egg if it hit the floor

        They’re cool synths and sound good. But they aren’t any more particularly interesting or well designed than any other synths

        1. Read up sometime on the power supplies of Moog modulars, their signal levels, triggers, etc.

          You don’t need to know this stuff to have an opinion, obviously, but being informed might give you a greater appreciation of this and other synth designs..

          1. But not worthy of that award. Mike Adams must be in his office laughing his butt off about receiving this award. Next time, they’ll put lots of blinks lights on the to receive NAMM’s “cosmetically pleasing” award.

            1. Mike could get smart and sell the modules alone that went on the Model 10 and 15 reissues, etc. It is brain dead to let Behringer and higher quality boutique makers take that money.

          2. Given that all the signals, triggers and power in their recent line of synths are eurorack compatible then arguably they aren’t doing anything different than anybody else making eurorack

    3. The feature set is not easily matched, and even if you can find the features, the sound in Matriarch is magic.

      And I am a man of science and don’t usually believe in supernatural, but in 30 year synth experience I have not heard such a sweet spot….no, there is not just sweet spot in Matriarch, it’s all sweet! It a safe heaven of sweet goodness! My true love! I can always trust it sounds amazing. No matter what I do, it never lets me get lost in cold sounding desolate place. The Matriarch is the best instrument for improvising gigs! You cannot make it sound bad even if you tried. It truly encorages creativity and always rewards you with love.

      The only thing that has been as safe impro synth has been MS-20, but it is much simpler. Never ever has there been synth with such versatile possibilities, that lets you create how ever complicated patches you want, and it always maintains its beautiful smile and loving presence.

      1. You and your relationship with your Matriarch paraphonic synth is really creeping me out. Have you considered therapy?

        1. You seem a bit worked up over something trivial. “Best of” awards are always subjective and the TEC rewards aren’t Consumer Reports ratings. The important thing to get out of this is that a semi-modular synth is receiving this award. That underscores the importance of modular in the modern music-making environment. And, honestly, when you compare this instrument to the cost of buying a powered euro rack and a bunch of modules, it’s a bargain.

          1. There’s nothing subjective in this case though. The award is an obvious troll or joke to anyone that pays attention to music tech.

            Remember: it’s a boring paraphonic synth with CV. in 2021….

              1. You seem angry. I didn’t belittle the instrument, nor the people that own it. It’s only a synthesizer, you shouldn’t let differing opinions ruin your day!

  3. How does Outstanding Technical Achievement 2021, 60s analogue tec and paraphonic fit on the same page?
    This award is obviously not worth a penny.

      1. Do they, really? I am curious about this since last year Moog did not even have a booth at the NAMM Show. (They might have had a meeting room.)

        1. I know Moog has had plenty of booths and sponsorships through NAMM over the years. Checkout the price just for 1 square foot of space in the basement ($31.25/ft). Who knows how much Moog has paid NAMM over the years, but for sure it’s 6 figures plus.

      2. This is not true. Especially compared to other companies. Moog had a meeting room only last year and the year before. Moog doesn’t donate to NAMM or pay for TEC award sponsorships either.

  4. Hey Moog how about update your 500 series Delay APP THAT IS useless because you won’t update it ,not good for a $1000 module and the App is a very important part of the advertisement sale that open up new delays times etc…

  5. Hey Moog how about update your 500 series Delay APP THAT IS useless because you won’t update it ,not good for a $1000 module and the App is a very important part of the advertisement sale that open up new delays times etc…

  6. I had an opportunity to play this synth once.. Frankly to my fingers the chasis felt cheap, somehow plasticky. Sound was still the same I have heard since 70’s and keyboard itself was underwhelming… It just was not inspiring at all. Outstanding? Wow… No way. Good synth? Definitely for some. Bad synth? Nope, but could be improved on different fronts to be outstanding.

  7. Awards are nice, but the point of this one was to be a central Moog that would interface like mad. Everything but my toilet has CV/Gate jacks now, partly because Eurorack. This was a smart move because it serves that interest while offering you a circuit-bent Minimoog.

  8. moog haters are on their fence, but why? Matriarch is such a well designed instrument, the interface is a joy to use, very inspiring, and the sound blows most if not all of the competition out of the socks. Yes, it had problems with Midi and sync, but they are fixed now. Technology is not about having the most functions and the most complicated setup. its about simplicity, ease of use and stimulating creativity.

  9. I’m with a lot of you guys here. It’s a real “Head Scratcher” why this synth got this award. “However, my life will still go on and I can be reasonably happy” Albert Ellis

  10. Who gives a crap about awards?

    Great synth though. The Matriarch is one of their most fun synths and really has its own flavour.

    Would be nice if they released a smaller desktop (eurorack) version at half the price.

  11. yeah, a lot of haters here, and none of them suggesting a synth that deserve more to win the award, why is that? because there is no better synth that came out the last 2 years…

    1. Nick, think you’re a bit wrong on this one. I love the older Moog products. I still own a Sonic Six and Minimoog, but I think that award for the Matriarch is much ado about nothing. I think the Artiria Polybrute deserved it more!

  12. i mean, motor synth started shipping 2020, which is undoubtedly the most innovative… all the digital synths are just vst’s in a box and all the analogs are reissue stuff. personally, i think syntrx is cooler than matriarch, but only cuz i’ve been dreaming of sinking your battleship since the first time i laid eyes on a vcs3.

    1. I think it’s just a matter of “technical achievement” being a subjective thing. No doubt the matriach is top of a line of semimodulars that goes back many years. It is technically very competent, no doubt.

      But for some, the phrase “technical achievement” suggests that there was a feeling of “interesting, how did they do that?” around the synth, so the Super6 or the motor synth might be a good candidate.

      And since you mentioned UB, some people might think that “technical achievement” should go to the company with a very efficient production line and supply lines, which is a different kind of technical achievement.

      1. The production line by Behringer is still just cheap and breaks quickly.
        When it breaks and returned they sent a new one cause repairs cost them more.
        Moog gear is build much better and will last you longer.
        Behringer = quantity over quality while Moog = the exact opposite.

        1. Moog is also very fair on their repairs. I plugged in the wrong DC adapter and fried my DFAM. A small fee later it was all fixed and back in my hands. Support matters.

          1. I own a Behringee Deepmind 12 and had several issues with it, but after after contacting warranty support, was able to get a replacement rather quickly. Never had any problems with them. My biggest complaint is with Roland. I won’t get into it here. But everyone I believe has had good and bad experiences with all companies concerning repairs in or out of warranty. As I said before, I have several pieces of Moog equipment and Behringer also. Its fun to include a little of everything in your setup. Still think the Matriarch’s award was uncalled for.

  13. To me, technical achievement is an inspiring instrument with tremendous capabilities that sounds great. The Matriarch checks those boxes, especially for those of us who integrate it with Eurorack. Do not underestimate the work that went into the Matriarch to make it sound great for almost every purpose and to also give it 90 patch points. I’d also like to give a shout out to the Arturia Polybrute, that is going to check different boxes more important to people other than me. We are all fortunate to have so many sound-making options, these days!

  14. I own(ed) a pretty wide amount of hardware, from, analog to digital, from mono to workstation and to me the Matriarch is a refreshing, modern take on classic hardware. I agree it’s not innovative in the sense of new technology, but It strikes the right balance of features, sound, interface and price. A balance often missing in other instruments. Yes price too. It’s not cheap but compared to other premium instruments a.o. from Moog itself I think they saved where they could (no wood end Cheeks, full midi) but didn’t where it matters most. I for one love the bold color scheme and prefer the (Imo quality) plastic housing. It’s lighter and more durable than e.g. my voyager. It’s not flawless. The aftertouch is not that good, the switches feel flimsy and I would have preferred slightly different envelopes. And personally I hope there will be a true polyphonic version some day. Still, I love it for what it is. I always felt the need for that knobby instrument that combines good warm analog sound with sweet overdrive and (some kind of) polyphony. A ‘more classic sounding sub 37 successor’ so to speak. I had my hopes for the Moog One but that sorely disappointed (me). I also owned and returned the deckard’s dream. But when I heard the Matriarch, I found THAT sound I was looking for. It sounds right in a way e.g. the polybrute does not in my ears. And I really wanted to love the polybrute because of it’s amazing interface, it was my first choice, but I didn’t feel it. The Matriarch I alway enjoy playing and it sparks my creativity. It’s flexible yet limited enough to enhance musicality. Yes, awards are often bought. I cannot judge if this was the case here. Is it worthy of the award? Maybe. To me it is.

  15. Try to put together a similar system for $2000 and see how far you get. Also, you know, like, try to make it sound really really good and work cohesively so it feels like an instrument when played.

    The Matriarch is, beyond any reasonable doubt, an outstanding technical achievement. Even if you don’t like it.

  16. The Matriarch is a stellar synth by any measure, with the exception of what many here seem to be looking for- the number of “bells & whistles”. Do you know what also won Tech Awards? A Neve preamp, Genelec monitors, an AKG microphone, etc. Apparently for many of you a mic pre should have more of something that a mic pre has never had before. I don’t think you bashers understand what these awards signify. They are for the BEST sounding musical instruments, which in the hands of capable people make stellar music.

  17. The Matriarch is far more than the sum of it’s parts. It is a magnificent achievement, an absolute joy to play, endlessly deep, simple as hell, unique, authentically vintage and simultaneously modern, sonically superior to anything in its class I’ve heard in the last couple of years, and it’s affordable. It bloody smokes anything silly crybabies try to throw at it. There isn’t another synth that comes close to deserving this award, which is entirely accurate and appropriate. Anyone with ears can hear the unmistakable Moog class and character, even in compressed online audio format. Anyone who has spent time with this instrument has effortlessly created sound that made their hair stand on end. It does far more with far less and that’s why I’ll still be playing mine long after all the here today soon-to-be-boring obsolete flavors of the moment end up in the landfill pile. Moog haters are ridiculous, silly children.

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