The Minimoog Model D – Analog Bass Royalty!
Moog Music’s original Minimoog is easily one of the most famous and best beloved synths in music history. An analog, monophonic and monotimbral synth, it’s enduring appeal is a result of how revolutionary it was when it first appeared on the market, as well as well thought out design and a versatile tone which can be heard in everything from funk to prog rock.
The Minimoog’s history cannot be downplayed. At a time when most synthesizers were large and bulky machines which remained in state of the art studios and university facilities, the Minimoog took an exclusive and elite technology and made it accessible for the average musician both financially and physically. Its portability made it a gigging favourite. It is astonishing nowadays how much creativity went into the Minimoog’s design, with innovation being at the forefront of it’s manufacture and the driving force of it’s creation.
One of these revolutionary features was the pitch wheel, located towards the left hand side of the keyboard. This allowed the player to bend pitches in the same way a guitarist could bend strings, or to mimic the expression and phrasing of other instruments such as the saxophone. Surprisingly, Robert Moog, CEO of Moog Music, never patented this invention, and it was quickly adopted by other manufacturers of synths. Nevertheless, it is the Minimoog which is rightfully remembered as the synth which became available for the mass market and which pioneered this technology.
Where Can I Buy A Minimoog Model D?
The Minimoog’s significance lies in how it’s technological innovation shaped the course of popular music. With it’s portability and pitch bending technology, it finally gave the keyboardist the ability to compete with the guitarist in terms of being able to play solos and ornament notes. This opened whole new directions for popular music to go in, with the effects being felt strongly in genres such as prog rock as well as in soul, with Stevie Wonder experimenting extensively with the Minimoog’s capabilities.
With such a distinguished pedigree, the anticipation surrounding the new Minimoog Model D was huge. The well publicized sale of Moog music and subsequent lack of production of the Minimoog has only increased the significance of the company- which was then reacquired by Robert Moog- bringing out a modern version of it’s most successful product. As a result, the Model D has a lot to live up to.
It rises to the challenge of this. Moog Music has created an almost exact replica of the original, with details such as the position of screws and ornamentation in the woodwork being matched precisely to the original Minimoog. Sound wise, it has stood up to rigorous comparison tests as well. Just like the original Minimoog, the new Model D has three oscillators with a selection of waveforms: the first two have sharks’ tooth, triangular, ramp, and pulse waves, the latter in three different kinds. Oscillator three offers the same, with the sharks’ tooth being replaced by sawtooth. In both the new and the original, oscillator three can also be used as an LFO. Despite the fact that specifications wise the Minimoog offers less variety than some other synths, what it offers is of the highest standard and the fact it has endured is testament to it’s instantly recognizable sound.
Part of the charm of the original Minimoog Model D was it’s rich, warm tone which resulted from a mistake in the alignment of the oscillators. Moog Music has taken its attention to detail above and beyond with the new Model D as the tone has proven to be virtually indistinguishable between the two, with Sound on Sound running glowing reviews of the newcomer and synth enthusiasts eagerly receiving the Model D into their studios.
The new Model D also has an additional analogue LFO as an oscillator as well as the option for overdrive, alongside other innovations such as outputs for pitch and gate and an input for external modulation. The LFO can also be controlled with a knob by the pitch and modulation wheels, and the new Model D also has MIDI capabilities, which weren’t available at the time of the manufacture of the original.
How Much Does A Minimoog Model D Cost?
The happy resale of Moog Music to Robert Moog in 2002 inevitably led to the production of the new Model D later on in 2016. Despite the hype surrounding it, it is not currently in production but may be available from online secondhand instrument retailers such as reverb.com or on sites like eBay.
One of the results of the success of the Moog brand and the popularity of it’s products is a network of retailers officially licensed as Moog dealers across the world, which can be accessed on the official Moog website, as well as information about delivery. Due to the Model D’s exclusive nature, service currently operates in a price on request model, so finding a Minimoog at the right price for you may take some digging.
For those who prefer to try before buying, although it is near impossible to try the Model D in brick and mortar retailers, the annual Moogfest is a music, technology and arts festival held in a different location each year, and it was here in 2016 that the new Model D was piloted to a great reception. Although currently cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it may be possible that the Model D is present at Moogfest 2021. For everything Moog, this is one of the best bets and there is a chance you may be able to buy as well as try. Moog has also released a Minimoog Model D app which replicates the synth and can be used on all 64-bit iOS devices, available for free on the app store.
*prices generally seen on auction sites. If you see them cheaper, you may be on to a bargain.
Who Uses Or Used The Minimoog Model D?
The Minimoog Model D has truly left its mark on music history and has been used by Stevie Wonder, The Beatles (with Abbey Road being one of the first albums in the mainstream to use a Moog), Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame, The Beach Boys, Fatboy Slim, Coldplay, Trent Reznor, The Beastie Boys, Herbie Hancock, Radiohead, Billy Joel, and many more, showing its versatility and spread throughout the whole music industry.
Alternatives To The Minimoog Model D?
There are many different alternatives to the 909 whether as hardware, software, analog or digital. These are as follows: Behringer Model D, Roland SE-02, Moog Voyager, DSI Pro II, Monark in Reaktor, other emulators and VST’s.
However, when we compare it to the real thing it’s noticeable that the alternatives don’t quite stack up. They are a great option though for people with a lower budget.
Classic Minimoog Model D Videos, Tutorials & Demos
A playlist of videos showing you the oscillators, how to create a fat bass sound and multiple demos showing the Model D’s capabilities. Some great tips in here so be sure to check them out!
Other Classic Synth or Drum Machine Products?
Other famous synths, drum machines and effects include: SH 101, MC 202, TB 303, TR 606, TR 707, TR 808, TR 909, Juno 60, RE-201 Space Echo. Behringer Deepmind 12, Behringer K2, Behringer Model D, Elektron Machinedrum, Korg MS-20 Mini, Moog Grandmother, Nord Modular G1, Oberheim OB-6, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha DX7.
Where Can I Find A Minimoog Model D For Sale?