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Review of the
MiniMoog V

Lets face it, software synths that emulate analog synths are everywhere.  It was not till I heard there was an update of the MiniMoog V to version 1.5 that I became even remotely interested.  My first synth ever was a Moog Prodigy, a synth that made a lasting impression on me on how an analog filter should sound.  And that is the reason why you might be interested.  See, analog tones are nothing special, they are simple, fat waveforms. But on the original MiniMoog, they had a slightly different character, as anyone who tries to reproduce the famous ELP "lucky man" lead on a non-Moog synth will learn.   Also, the way a filter cuts through the waveform gives it character.  The MiniMoog is perhaps the best representative of Moog's famous filter.



The MiniMoog V does not disappoint in terms of sonic integrity to the original, and heck, in terms of overall expressivity as a musical instrument.  Not only does it sound authentic, and immediately put me in a Moog mood, it sounds beautiful and voltage driven.  The sound has a sticky, granular feel when the filters are given "emphasis", the Moog term for resonance.   The filter will self-oscillate with a pleasing hi whistle, not an ear destroying digital tone like other analog models.  Perhaps that is what I enjoy the most.  Even when you create a patch of utter mayhem, the sound has a kind of soft malleability.  

The MiniMoog V does some things that the original could not on its best and brightest day.  First there is a switch called "polyphonic" which, yep, lets you play chords and pads on it.  Second there are vintage sounding chorus and delay effects which really do add a 70's character.  With these switches on, a single note on some of the Mini's presets creates a dripping landscape of lovely analog sound.  Third, the MiniMoog V comes with plenty of presets to get you going, but not too many to overwhelm you with redundancy.  You might note that synths of this era had no presets at all.   Finally, there is a nice arpeggiator will sync to tempo.  The Mini speaks perfect EuroDance when it is on and it made me smile.

I sure am glad they had a free update at the Aturia site.  I always start the program after installing from CD just to see how many bugs there are.  Heh, if you are on Mac OS X Tiger, just go update.  For me, version 1.0 would not even launch.  It crashed a half second after clicking its icon.  1.5 worked great right away.  Logic 7.1's AUVAL saw it, passed it and opened it up as expected.  My first act was to go into record, press a single note and tweak the knobs.  Logic's automation system tracked it all, perfectly, as far as I could tell.  That was a joyful moment as I realized how easy its going to be to add a really flappin fat analog track.  For me, it's niche is carved.  None of my other analog soft synths can enter this zone.  The Pro 53, while quite nice and authentic, sounds thin next to the MiniMoog V.  The Emagic ES2 an meet it on its ground of texturality and beefiness, but does not sound like a Moog.  My Ms20 can rival it, but its more of a bite your head off synth than a creamy smooth operator. 

CPU usage is better than I expected.  A big fatty will consume 25% of its brain.  Lol.  Time for the freeze function a little earlier, but its worth it.  And if you do run the MINI in a song, there's not going to be that much else going on as in its glory it will take half your audio bandwidth easily.          

Is it worth it?  I think so, and if you love old analog synths, its a must have.





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