The original MiniMoog became available in 1971, with production ceasing in 1981. Sales totalled around 12,000 units, making this the most popular synthesizer of that decade. In the 1980s, the Yamaha DX7 completely eclipsed this by selling more than 250,000 within 5 years. Nevertheless, for many musicians, the sound of the MiniMoog has never been equalled.
MiniMoog V has all the features of the original. It has three voltage-controlled oscillators with triangle, sawtooth, square, and rectangular waveforms, and a mixer section controls the levels of the oscillators and adds white or pink noise into the sound. This section features an external audio input for mixing in additional sounds or processing external signals using the modifiers. These modifiers include a filter section with envelope controls, along with controls for the amplitude, so that you can control the loudness contour. Envelope controls include Attack Time, Decay Time and Sustain Level – rather simpler than the envelope controls in most of today’s synthesizers and, consequently, simpler to use.
As on the original, there is a switch for an A440 tone so that you can tune the oscillators to this manually. Next to this there’s a Unison switch, a Voice Detune knob, a Polyphonic switch, and a Soft Clipping indicator light. Arturia couldn’t help but add some new features – and these are perfect enhancements to the original hardware. Polyphonic mode can use up to 32 voices. An extra panel can also be revealed above the original controls to allow access to a modulation matrix, an arpeggiator that can be synced to your MIDI sequences, and effects including chorus and stereo delay.
The modulation matrix lets you choose up to six sources and use these to modulate up to six destinations per source to produce effects such as vibrato or tremolo. A separate LFO is available for use so that you can use all three original oscillators to produce the fattest sounds while still applying LFO modulations to the sound.
But what does it sound like? The quality produced by the software should be first-rate, at up to 96kHz and with 64-bit floating point calculations – and it is. The sound of the legendary Moog 24dB low-pass resonant filter is reproduced in all its glory – delivering the closest thing to the original that I have heard anywhere. And I have an original MiniMoog here to compare it with.
The MiniMoog V is endorsed by the great Bob Moog himself, along with Jean Michel Jarre – who ought to know his synthesizers. So if it’s good enough for these guys, who am I (or you) to argue?