The Moog Minimoog Model D is one of the most iconic synthesizers ever made, and it's making a surprising comeback. Here's all you need to know...
If we were to compile a list of the most legendary and influential synthesizers ever, then the original Moog Minimoog would certainly sit at the top. After all, it was THE synth that sparked a musical revolution, in the Seventies! The Minimoog Model D is considered the very first ever synthesizer "for musicians", because it was compact and relatively affordable, basically a simplified version of the massive and very expensive Moog modular synths. The Minimoog quickly became one of the most popular synth of all time.
Before the Minimoog, modular synths had been used in popular music, by bands such as The Who and The Beatles, for instance, but it was the Minimoog that truly made synths popular. It was perfect for live performers, and Keith Emerson (from Emerson, Lake & Palmer) was the first musician to take one on tour, and it was used by countless others. Even though manufacture stopped in 1981, many top musicians still use one, such as Oscar-wining Hans Zimmer, Air and Junkie XL.
What Does "Model D" Mean?
Before the Minimoog Model D, Moog made the models A, B, and C prototypes, each with slight differences, and not sold to the public. The Model D was the one that was released to the public (in 1971) and which was used by countless artists. When people talk about "the" Minimoog of the Seventies & early Eighties, this is the one they refer to.
For a classic example of the Minimoog in use, listen to Gary Numan's 'Are Friends Electric':
Moog Minimoog Model D Returns at Moogfest 2016
Naturally, Moog's surprise announcement that they'd reissue the Minimoog got musicians everywhere very excited at Moogfest 2016! After more than 30 years, the Minimoog Model D made a spectacular return, with a pilot-production run showcased at Moogfest in Durham, USA. Handcrafted in the Moog Pop-Up Factory, the pilot-production units built during the festival was only available for purchase on-site in the Moog Store.
Watch: Moog Minimoog Model D Demo
As the video shows, the new Minimoog is NOT an exact replica - but in fact an improvement on the original, with slight updates such as better keyboard, an LFO and new control voltage routings.
What are the differences between the Minimoog Model D Reissue vs. the 1971 Original?
Aesthetically, the new Minimoog Model D is a perfect replica of the original, but it features a few improvements that make the 2016 model actually better than the original!
The new Fatar TP-9 keyboard has features that have long been desired by Minimoog Model D owners, and has been implemented with the ability to transmit both After-Pressure and Velocity control voltages, and can now transmit MIDI information. While these signals are not hard wired to any specific parameter, the expanded Top Patch Panel allows Velocity and After Pressure signals to modify the Filter Cutoff Frequency, Loudness and Oscillator Pitch.
DEDICATED LFO (LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR)
Traditionally, OSCI LLATOR-3 could operate independently of the keyboard and be used as an LFO. Now, a dedicated LFO has been added to the Left-Hand Keyboard panel. In addition, Filter Contour(FILTER EG) is now also available as a modulation source.
EXPANDED PATCH BAY
The new Minimoog's extended patch bay makes the 2016 version even more versatile than the original:
- OSCI LLATOR
- EXTERNAL MODULATION SOURCE
By holding down specific keys as the Minimoog Model D is turned on, you can select a MIDI Channel, transpose the instrument, choose the note priority, and set other global functions.
MIDI Five-pin DIN MIDI In, MIDI Out, and MIDI Thru jacks have been added to provide basic MIDI connectivity:
- MIDI IN: The Minimoog Model D can receive MIDI Note, Velocity, and Pitch Bend information, as well as SysEx commands.
- MIDI OUT: The Minimoog Model D can send MIDI Note, Velocity, and Pitch Bend information, as well as Aftertouch.
- MIDI THRU: This jack rebroadcasts the signal arriving at the MIDI IN jack, and passes it along to other MIDI equipment.
EXTERNAL POWER SUPPLY
The Minimoog Model D now features a universal (100~240 VAC; 50/60 Hz) external power supply, reducing the weight and heat created by the internal power supply, and improving stability of the instrument. This also makes it easier to travel with your Minimoog Model D.
With all due respect to Moog's amazing current lineup, no modern synth can quite capture the same mystique as the legendary Minimoog Model D! If you were to only own one synth - make it this one. And even if you own lots of other great synths, no collection is complete without the Model D. A stone-cold classic... but much more than that - it's still a fantastic instrument for the modern musician, still a portal to discover new sounds you never imagined existed.
"All the sounds you've ever heard are like a second. The Moog is an eternity..." David Van Koevering, 1971
The Limited-Edition Minimoog Model D is priced £3,249 SRP, and is available now to pre-order.