Moog seems to be at it once again folks! As if it hadn't been enough reissuing some things nobody really ever expected, like the System 55 wall modular system which was a bit of a shock; especially the price tag of $35,000 US for a limited run of 55 units! But now there is this, the Minimoog Model D. History is almost repeating itself here and in perfect sequence. Released back in 1970 as a scaled-down version of Moog's coveted, but megalithic modular designs, the Model D gave the world the gift of hard-wired synth portability; thus spawning generation after generation of not just other portable keyboard synthesizers, but musical evolution that still to this day relies on the mammoth sound of the 3 oscillator Minimoog Model D.
Here back again as a faithful recreation, yet obviously improving on up-to-date practical features essential to today's studio, but in no way changing or omitting anything from the original design that would otherwise take away from its essential beauty. The machine is handcrafted by the employee-owners at the Moog factory in the mountains of North Carolina, from locally-sourced Appalachian wood, and encased in the originally designed aluminum chassis. All circuitry remains intact, and the sound itself is a testament of that: very warm and fat, edgy; retro when you want it to be, but incredible spacey and futuristic when pushed to its ever-shifting boundaries that seem unending.
What gives the Minimoog its sound, is the 3 oscillator design that while powering an otherwise rather simple machine, combines into a monstrous sound with much depth and detail. The original concept was really just your proverbial basic synth: oscillators for sound generation, a mixer to blend all 3 of them, a filter with a dedicated 3-parameter envelope (ADS); and an Amp Envelope with the same controls as the filter one. Aside from that, the best you could do was route the sound back in through its inputs, to overdrive the sound, while re-filtering it, but there was no LFO, and of course, no MIDI.
This time around, Moog has thankfully added a dedicated analog LFO with Triangle and Square waves. One great for haunting leads and basses, the other a must for sequenced-styled modulated sounds. A Fatar TP-9 keybed that can incorporate velocity and after pressure via CV jacks on the top of the panel is also now part of the machine, as well as a new "Mixer Overload" feature, which mimics the sound of re-routing the signal the old school way, by means of a button that activates this. Other CV additions include output for Pitch and Gate, and an input for external modulation sources. MIDI has been added, and includes I/O, and yes...Thru! Finally someone remembers why with more hardware, we need more Thru and not less. Pay attention Roland and the rest of you! Aside from all that, the company states on their website that the Model D's resistors are military grade, not to mention improving on circuit board connectivity for touring reliability, and "Precision Linear System" JFETs, or "Junction Field-Effect Transistors", used in the oscillator modules for tuning stability I suppose.
While these retain the higher prices of most Moog equipment, they are also way cheaper and better than any old Model D you might find second hand. Known as the "Rolls Royce" of synths, Moog and these handcrafted machines are always a welcomed addition to the market, and of course, to anyone's ever-expanding rig. If you can swing it, and have been thinking of adding a Moog to your collectiion, this might be the one. You wouldn't just own a great synth, you would own a part of history!
Written by: Santino Fernandez