MATRIXSYNTH: New MOOG SUB 37 Paraphonic Polyphonic Synth Coming to NAMM?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New MOOG SUB 37 Paraphonic Polyphonic Synth Coming to NAMM?

Click the pic for the full size shot.

Some discussion on The MATRIXSYNTH Lounge and MATRIXSYNTH Facebook.

Update: [see Update4 below] for those not familiar with Paraphonic synths, a definition via wikipedia followed by a couple of notes:

"Paraphony is the property of an electronic musical instrument that can produce multiple notes or voices, but falls short of being truly polyphonic because the voices are not fully independent since they share at least one common element. For example, there might be just one single filter working on all voices collectively rather than the one filter per voice of truly polyphonic instruments; or there might be only one envelope generator.

One well-known paraphonic synth is the Korg Poly-800, which had 8 oscillators and could produce 8 voices (or 4 2-oscillator voices), but had just one filter."

Notes: Another way to look at it is that in a true polyphonic synth, each voice is an individual synthesizer, albeit with parameters in sync so the patch for each note is the same, unlike say an Oberheim four or eight voice where you have to manually sync up parameters.  Some paraphonic string synths and organs have full polyphony across the entire range of the keyboard. They implement this with what's commonly referred to divide down technology which is a way of essentially dividing down the frequencies of the main oscillators to map the full range of the keyboard. In short they share the same oscillators for all notes.  All of the above will impact how the synth responds to polyphony.  For example if all notes share a single filter and you apply an envelop modulation to that filter then the modulation will be shared across all notes triggered vs. being applied independently for each note.  It's like running a polysynth through a single external filter with shared inputs - each note either takes over the input or responds to the first input (think mult vs singl trigger modes).  The same would apply to modulations to a divide down oscillator.  Any modulation applied would be shared across all notes.  It will be interesting to see how things are implemented in the SUB 37. Waldorf's Rocket and new Pulse 2 has a paraphonic mode for selectable eight or four note polyphony. Analogue Solutions new Polymath is also paraphonic.  The Polymath has four oscillators that can be triggered independently much like the KORG Mono-Poly.

Update2: Looks like it will be two voice paraphonic. via Amos Gaynes of Moog on Facebook: "...the new Moog synth is '2-note paraphonic' -- it can play two independent pitches from its two oscillators, in response to two keys played at once. Paraphonic still seemed less misleading than 'Duophonic' (to me) because of the single VCF, VCA, and their respective envelope generators. Although ultimately I had very little to do with what got written on the panel"

This reminds me of the ARP Odyssey which can play two notes at a time.  It's implementation is a bit interesting though.  The Odyssey plays its two oscillators until you play another key.  It then plays one for the new note while holding the other for the prior held note.  This means if you don't cleanly transition between notes you'll end up with the two notes playing. There is no way to disable this on the Odyssey. If you look at the screenshot above you'll notice there is what looks like an area for a Duo Mode switch in the Oscillators section. This implies unlike the Odyssey, you'll be able to force the SUB 37 into either mode.

Update3: There will be another new instrument from Moog. Via the Moog forums: "This year we are unveiling two new instruments at NAMM. Since many of you will not be able to attend the show, we want to give you a sneak peak at what you will miss. We appreciate your feedback, words of encouragement, and support."

Update4: Polyphony and Paraphonic explained by Atomatic Gainsay aka Marc Doty of The Bob Moog Foundation:


It's one of my pet peeves, actually. There seems to be some extensive confusion about what these terms mean, and what they mean in relation to each other.

Even the Wiki page states something ridiculous about "true polyphony."

So, I'm here to set the record straight (in regard to synthesizers).

Monophonic/Monophony: This synthesizer, triggered from a keyboard, can only play one note at a time. Now, depending on the amount of oscillators, more than one note may be heard... but all of these notes will move in tandem when different single notes are played on the keyboard.

Duophonic/Duophony: This synthesizer, triggered from a keyboard, can only play two notes at a time. This term came into being in regard to synthesizers at the point where synthesizer oscillators were modified to be either "low note priority (the lowest voltage is played, all others are ignored)," or "high note priority (the highest voltage is played, all others are ignored)." Synthesizers like the ARP Odyssey, the Moog Sonic Six, and some versions of the ARP 2600 are duophonic. You can play two notes at a time, one for each voltage. Of course, you also need at least two oscillators.

Polyphonic/Polyphony: This synthesizer, triggered from a keyboard, can play two or more notes at a time. Yes, I know... that overlaps with the term "duophonic," but these things can't be helped. "Polyphonic" is a very general term.
In regard to analog synths, there are two types of polyphony.

There is top-octave divide-down polyphony, where the top octave of keys has its notes provided by 12 fixed-pitch oscillators and those frequencies are divided in half to aquire each subsequent descending octave. That means the synthesizer has 12 oscillators, and 12 dividers per octave after that. Every SINGLE note can be played at the same time on this synthesizer. This is, by definition, "true" polyphony. It started in 1939 with the Hammond Novachord, and has been used extensively in a variety of synthesizers up until the 1980s.

There is "limited, but individually-articulated" polyphony. This is polyphony where a microprocessor scans which notes are played when, and applies that information to the available oscillators. This type of polyphony came about with advances in microprocessor technology that made microprocessors less expensive and more available in the 1970s. It allows you to have more control over the articulation of each note, but severely limits the amount of notes that can be played at once. The Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 and the Yamaha CS-80 are examples of this method. The limitation comes in because each note needs a variable oscillator... or even two. And those are expensive.

Of course, with digital technology, polyphony increased from 2 notes to 4 notes to 8 notes to 16 notes, and etc. More powerful computers means more powerful voice allocation and less expensive digital oscillators.

[Note: there is actually a type of polyphony that was created by Harald Bode back in the 1930s which allows electric note allocation, but apart from the Warbo Formant Organ, I don't think it has been implemented anywhere else... I'm really curious about it]

Okay, and that's it. That's the end. Those are the types of polyphony.

"But wait!" You say... "What about PARAPHONY! Isn't that a form of fake or not true or not-quite-real polyphony?"
No, it most certainly IS NOT. It really has NOTHING TO DO WITH polyphony. In fact, every monophonic is ALSO paraphonic.

I know you're running to your favorite online dictionary right now... but I'm going to plow ahead.

"Paraphonic" is a term that has to do with articulation... not a term that has to do with how many notes a synth can generate. A "paraphonic" synthesizer is one where all of the notes generated... from 1 to 1,000,000... go through a single filter and VCA combination. That's it. That is what "paraphonic" means. It's just more noticeable when you're trying to articulate polyphonic passages.

A synthesizer like the ARP Omni is paraphonic. It has a divide-down polyphony scheme, but all of those notes, and every triggering of those notes, is forced through a single filter and VCA. What does this mean? It means you can't have each new note played featuring new filter articulation without having that same articulation occur on the notes you're holding. Or, it means that new notes get articulation, but old notes get nothing. Is that awesome? Well, not really. In fact, people kind of hate it, sometimes. They want each note to trigger a filter and VCA. Which is, I must point out, just like a piano. People really like how each note played has its own volume and filter articulation.

Just like, say, a Prophet 5 or a Memorymoog. But the problem with those is that you run out of notes quite quickly. In the Prophet 5, you only have 5 notes to play before you run out of polyphony. What kind of polyphony is that? SEVERELY limited polyphony. But... people tend to favor it because they like the articulation more than they like the note-count.

Of course, you could always go the route of the Korg PS-3100. It is divide-down, but instead of going the paraphonic route, it has A FILTER AND VCA FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF ITS NOTES. Yeah, that gets expensive fast... which is why most manufacturers didn't take that route.

And that is what it comes down to. "Polyphony" is how many notes a synth can play at once. "Paraphony" is the instance where those notes are directed through a single filter/amp combination. Synths can be polyphonic AND paraphonic. Synths can even be monophonic and paraphonic. But the only "real" polyphony is when every note can be played at once... whether you seek individual articulation or not. Instead of saying things like 'real polyphony,' we should describe full polyphony with full articulation with a term like 'ideal polyphony.'"

Update5: via Trademarkia:

"SUB 37
By: Moog Music, Inc.

Downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for composing, playing and recording music; sound frequency filters for controlling audio parameters by raising or lowering the gain of specific audio frequencies using a multiple resonant filter array and animating those frequencies using a built-in pattern generator

Electronic musical keyboards; music synthesizers; electronic musical instruments...

Status Update! On Thursday, January 9, 2014, status on the SUB 37 trademark changed to NEW APPLICATION - RECORD INITIALIZED NOT ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER.

On Monday, January 06, 2014, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for SUB 37 by Moog Music, Inc., Asheville, NC 28801. The USPTO has given the SUB 37 trademark serial number of 86158359. The current federal status of this trademark filing is NEW APPLICATION - RECORD INITIALIZED NOT ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER. The correspondent listed for SUB 37 is CHRISTOPHER M. THOMAS of PARKER POE ADAMS & BERNSTEIN LLP, 150 FAYETTEVILLE STREET, SUITE 1400 RALEIGH, NC 27601 . The SUB 37 trademark is filed in the category of Computer & Software Products & Electrical & Scientific Products , Musical Instrument Products . The description provided to the USPTO for SUB 37 is Downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for composing, playing and recording music; sound frequency filters for controlling audio parameters by raising or lowering the gain of specific audio frequencies using a multiple resonant filter array and animating those frequencies using a built-in pattern generator."

Update6: Proposed renders. I have no idea if these are legit:


New pics, via Tim on Facebook

"From Moog's Instagram. Sub 37?"

Update8: NAMM 2014 Moog Sub 37 - Prototype 1st Look Published on Jan 22, 2014 sonicstate·601 videos

"We got a sneak look at a prototype of the just announced Moog Sub 37- a two oscillator paraphonic synth with a very similar voice architecture to the Sub Phatty from last year.
What makes this different also is the fact that it has more front panel functions and status indicators than the Sub Phatty making it a more programmable and intuitive synth to use. There's a lot of routing and modulation features which take it to a new level."

Update9: Full details via Moog Music:

• Perform in Monophonic or Duo-Paraphonic modes

• 37 note velocity sensitive keyboard w/ after touch

• 2 modulation busses w/ assignable source and destinations

• DAHDSR (Delay, Attack, Hold, Decay, Sustain, Release) looping envelopes with sync

• 256 Presets -16 banks of 16 patches

• Standalone and DAW Plugin editor included

• Syncable Arpeggiator and Step Sequencer

• Classic Moog Ladder Filter with resonance, MultiDrive, and selectable filter slopes.

The Sub 37 Tribute includes new features including Duo Mode, which allows oscillator 1 and oscillator 2 to be played independantly, programmable arpeggiator/step sequencer, two modulation busses with assignable source and destination options, access to 256 presets, and a 37 note velocity sensitive keyboard with after-touch.

A fully featured mixer section contains dedicated controls and mutes for each sound source, as well as a level control for External audio input and Feedback - which feeds the output of the filter directly back to the input of the mixer.

Also included are the powerful DAHDSR envelopes from the Sub Phatty with panel control of each extended function. And like the Sub Phatty, the Sub 37 Tribute includes a free standalone/plugin editor that is compatible with all major plugin formats - creating seamless integration between analog synth and DAW for total control, recall, and automation of every parameter

* Tribute edition includes Bob Moog signature panel, Wood sides, and Aluminum extrusion

** The Sub 37 Tribute is a limited edition analog synthesizer created in honor of Moog Music founder Dr Robert Moog, his passion for education, and his love of music. For every Sub 37 Tribute sold, Moog Music will donate a portion of the proceeds to Asheville Area School Music Programs.

SOUND ENGINE: 100% Analog

POLYPHONY: Selectable Monophonic or Paraphonic

KEYBED: 37 Note Semi-weighted with After Pressure

LCD: 128 X 64 pixel LCD with white backlight

CONTROLLERS:Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, After Pressure, Breath, Velocity

SOUND SOURCES: 2 Variable Waveshape Oscillators, 1 Square Wave Sub Oscillator, 1 Analog Noise Generator, 1 External Input/Filter Feedback

OSCILLATOR CALIBRATION RANGE: 22Hz-6.8KHz. Note range at 8’ = 18 - 116

GLIDE MODULE: Assign to Osc1/Osc2/Both. Type - LCR, LCT, EXP, Gated, Legato

FILTER: 20Hz-20Khz Moog Ladder Filter w/ 6/12/18/24 dB/Oct Filter Slopes and MultiDrive


ARPEGGIATOR/SEQUENCER: Up, Down, Order, Random, Latching, Back/Forth, Invert, +/-2 Range, Tie, Rest, MIDI Sync

SOURCES: LFO, Filter Envelope, Programmable Sources - Amp Env,Osc1/Osc2 Pitch

DESTINATIONS: Osc1/Osc2/Both Pitch, Filter Cutoff, Osc1/Osc2/Both Wave, VCA, LFO1/LFO2 Rate, Noise Level, EG Time. Programmable Destinations - Filter resonance, drive, slope, EG amt. Osc1/Osc2/Sub Level, Feedback/Ext Level.

LFO PANEL FEATURES: Hi/Low Range from .01Hz–1kHz, Midi Sync, KB Reset

ENVELOPES: DAHDSR Envelopes with Multi-Trigger, Reset, Looping, MIDI Sync, Latch, and Variable control of EG Delay, Hold, Velocity Amount, KB Tracking.



AUDIO OUTPUT 1xTS, 1xTRS Headphone with separate volume control

PRESETS: 256 Presets - 16 Banks x 16 presets

MIDI I/O: DIN In/Out, and MIDI over USB

CV/GATE INPUTS: Filter CV, Pitch CV, Volume CV, KB Gate

POWER: 110VAC-240VAC Universal Power Supply with IEC connector

WEIGHT: 22lbs

DIMENSIONS: 6.75H x 26.75”W x 14.75”D"

Update10: NAMM floor video:

[NAMM] Moog Sub 37

Published on Jan 23, 2014 Audiofanzine·963 videos

"Here's a presentation of the new Moog Sub 37 at the NAMM Show 2014."

One more via Future Music:

NAMM 2014: Moog Sub 37

Published on Jan 23, 2014 Future Music Magazine·345 videos

"Moog's brand new paraphonic synthesizer, the Moog Sub 37 is demonstrated to Future Music at NAMM 2014."

Guitar Center New from NAMM - Moog Sub37

Published on Jan 23, 2014

"Moog shows let's us check out the ultra prototype Sub37 at the 2014 NAMM Show.
For more New from NAMM products, visit"

Moog Sub37 Paraphonic Analog Synthesizer at NAMM 2014

Published on Jan 23, 2014

"Playing around with the new Moog Sub37 Analog Synth at NAMM 2014!"

NAMM 2014: Moog Sub 37 Demo |

Published on Jan 23, 2014 Uniquesquared·530 videos

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