MOOG MINIMOOG VOYAGER
LIST PRICE: $3,395.00
If you’ve ever heard Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”—specifically the opening solos of Part I and Part VI (and again at the 2:00 minute mark of Part VI when Richard Wright doubled David Gilmour’s lap steel with a synth sound)—then you’ve heard what a Minimoog sounds like. (See also: albums by Kraftwerk, Rush, Devo, Yes, Rick Wakeman, etc.)
Since its introduction in the early 1970s, the Moog analog synthesizer has been a staple of modern music. Though originally designed to be a “road-friendly” synth, devoid of extra patch cables and dramatically smaller in size, the Moog inevitably found its way onto countless recordings. Capable of sounds ranging from swirling pads to horns, bass sounds and beyond, Moog gave musicians freedom to create and perform custom synth sounds with much less equipment.
The original Moog synth was the Moog Model D. It’s been retooled and re-released with modern upgrades as the Minimoog Voyager. The new version does a great job producing that classic Moog sound, and with the upgrades, it can interface with today’s performance and recording equipment with ease.
Like many of the high quality synths today, the Voyager has many features to get acquainted with. First off, there are 128 presets. You can create, recall and tweak sounds using the touch screen control surface and then trigger them using the 44 key, three-and-a-half octave (F-C) keyboard. There are also pitch bend and modulation wheels adjacent to the keyboard. The Voyager has MIDI capability, and one neat feature is using the MIDI connectivity to control other synthesizers directly from the Voyager.
Sounds can be generated from any combination of five sound sources: one external audio input, three analog, variable waveform oscillators and one noise source. A mixer section allows level control of each source to your main mix/output. After the sounds are mixed together, the filter section controls the harmonic content of the combined sound sources by limiting the high or low (or both) frequencies in the sound.
There are two separate modulation busses; one controlled with the mod wheel, and the other via an input on the back panel. The modulation busses enable modulation of most of the sounds’ parameters. The dedicated LFO (low-frequency oscillator) can be assigned in these modulation busses. Additional modulation can be performed through the touch screen surface on the front of the Voyager. Using the touch screen pad, users can modulate the sound based on how they touch, or move their fingers along the surface of the screen.
The envelope section controls the attack, decay, sustain and release of the sound. The envelope is essentially the dynamics of the sound between when it starts and ends. In addition to the preset sounds that can be recalled, users can create their own sounds, and save them as their own preset sounds for use at any time.
In a time when virtual instruments are more and more commonplace, it’s incredibly refreshing to put your hands on a real analog synth, especially one with the rich history of the Minimoog. If you’re looking for that vintage synth sound, you’re more likely to find it here than in the form of a plug-in.