The pioneering synth that forever shook up music resumes production.
In the world of vintage synths it doesn’t get much better than the Moog Minimoog Model D. Produced from 1970 until 1981, in its original run a Model D would set you back the price of a new family sedan. But they sold well anyway thanks to their famously fat sound and performance-friendly design.
Before the Minimoog, synths were a nightmare to transport, cost a bundle and sprouted snakes’ nests of patch cords. The Model D changed all that, leading prog-rock keyboardists such as Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman to take their Minimoogs on the road.
Long after production of the original Minimoog ceased, it continued to win over musicians of every stripe with its easy-to-master control layout, pulsing basslines and searing leads. From disco to hip-hop to avant-garde jazz, keyboardists found the Minimoog offered a flexible sonic palette with which to paint their musical designs.
So when Moog installed a pop-up factory at Moogfest 2016 to handcraft a pilot production run of a newly revived Minimoog Model D, it caused a big stir among fans of vintage synthesis. Especially when those fans got to look and listen to this latest iteration of the Model D with its significantly upgraded capabilities.
Click the image for a close up shot of the top panel
The Back Story
In reintroducing the Model D, Moog’s design team went to what’s universally considered the sweet spot in the company’s original production run—the so-called “Rev 2” with its substantially redesigned oscillator board. Basing the 2016 update on a particularly sweet-sounding vintage unit from that middle-era production period, the team went far beyond the original’s capabilities
Nods to 21st-century music making aren’t so obvious at first glance. The new Model D retains the look of the original’s easily understood control layout. But the new LFO controls go far beyond the original in sound-shaping potential. And speaking of that new LFO, it reaches into the 200 Hz range for astounding audio output. It also means that unlike the original, you no longer have to tie up Oscillator 3 as your modulation source, giving you more ways to shape waveforms.
Moog’s Nick Montoya demos the reintroduced Minimoog Model D.
The original Model D had CV input but no CV outputs. With the reintroduced version you finally get those CV outputs to control other synths as well as gear such as the Moogerfooger pedal family. There are CV outputs for Velocity, Aftertouch, Pitch and Gate, giving you the power to create unique textures like never before. Combined with the advanced Fatar TP-9 key bed and new pitch and bend wheels, this synth will excel onstage. And of course, Moog has added MIDI I/O to bring the Model D fully into the present.
Moog remains firmly rooted in the past when it comes to specifying the transistors, circuit boards and components of the vintage oscillators and the revered ladder filter in the new Model D. All are custom manufactured with assembly happening in Asheville, North Carolina. But Moog wasn’t above tweaking those things that deserved a second look. For instance, tougher circuit board connectors address the realities of touring with a synth.
As of this writing, the Minimoog Model D was scheduled for delivery in early September, 2016. You can reserve yours here.