Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
Post Reply
User avatar
Neonlights84
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:28 am
Gear: Moog Minimoog Model D
Behringer DeepMind12
Novation UltraNova
Korg MS20 mini
Korg EMX-1
Band: Winter's Glow
Contact:

Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Neonlights84 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:30 pm

First i will start off by saying Happy New Year!

In this new year,to celebrate getting engaged :D and new employment, I am looking to buy myself a synth present. I am looking at adding another analog mono, and I have been batting around many ideas. The Minimoog OS is very intriguing, and it is at the ceiling of my price range. So i am a bit hesitant to move forward on getting one before i heard from some of you guys.

I have read some reviews, but they didn't strike my fancy. So for any users/owners out there, how do you like the sound? How does it differ tonally (if at all) from a standard Voyager? I am also curious as to how it sounds compared to an old Model D.

Do you guys think this machine is worth the price? Or would i just be better off buying something more affordable like a Prodigy? Obviously interfacing ability is of no consequence. I can MIDI my LP and play whatever else by hand.
Thanks for your input in advance. Have a great long weekend!
Gear: Novation Ultranova, Korg Monotribe, Korg Electribe EMX-1, Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy, Lexicon MX200.

User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:52 am
Location: Burlington, Canada, eh.

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Christopher Winkels » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:42 pm

I took delivery of mine on Wednesday.

I can't accurately compare it to a Model D as I've never owned one, and there are a lot of studio sweetening tricks that can be applied to a raw sound, so listening off a record is hardly the best comparison. What has impressed me in the last 48 hours is the quality of the audio-rate FM. Setting one oscillator at a fifth or an octave plus a fifth above and using it to modulate another yields really glorious sounds. Having now owned several synths that offer linear analogue FM, I honest don't feel I could ever go back to buying those that don't have this facility.

I think the biggest improvment you'll get vis-a-vis a standard Voyager is that there won't be any apparent staircasing as parameters are changed. To me, that's golden. I can live without the touchpad and MIDI (like you, I own an LP, so I can always MIDI that up). The only drawback is the lack of presets, but I find it so easy to tweak on the fly that this is not an issue. I would also prefer that modulation to waveshapes was not done globally, but I understand that with only two assignable mod busses some sacrifices must be made.

Overall though: great tone, absolutely quality feel, and a real keeper.

User avatar
drsynth
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:57 pm
Gear: Arrick 88 modular Blofeld MicroWaveXT MicroQ Matrix6 VirusTI Prophet8 Lead 2X DX7II TX816 Arp Axxe PAIA P4700J R3 Drumtraks FIZMO
Band: Kindred Lost

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by drsynth » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:34 pm

Never owned a Moog but played them. I am familiar with the sound and have been playing synths since the early eighties.

IMO you could get a lot more synth buying a modular. No preset program storage, but neither is the Old School.

For instance, if you have a keyboard with midi out (or a controller) then a Synthesizers.com entry level modular with a few additions to make it like a minimoog would run about $600.00 cheaper.

http://www.synthesizers.com

I figure it this way. A 22 space entry is $1440.00. Add another Q106 oscillator, a Q110 Noise source, and a Q130 Clipper/Rectifier module for $1800.00 total. The Old School is $2400.00. This still leaves a few more expansion modules like the Q118 Instrument Interface, or a Q125 Signal Processor to give even more flexibility. Heck you could even get a Q150 Transister Ladder Filter for a little more and that would give that wonderful Moog sound for sure.

The other thing to consider is the ability to pay it out in installments or get it all together at once. The portability issue is the real difference. I've opted for portable cabs and I love them. Very sturdy and light weight.

How does it sound? That will certainly require an objective analysis and I couldn't make a straight up comparison for you. The advantages to the modular are many and the Q107 State Variable Filter gives you tons more features and sound capabilities. The oscillators are full spectrum with Hard and SSoft synch, exponential and linear modulation capabilities and double as low frequency oscillators. Modulation routing is endless but has to be hard patched. In the Minimoog everything is switch routed so that is a big difference for performance aspects. Once you get the hang of patching it is no big deal. Most of the time if you are using it as a lead/bass instrument then the patching stays pretty much the same.

For sound analysis you can see some YouTube videos.








Oh, and buy the way, the DotCom stuff is completely compatible with all MoogerFooger modules and the new and old minimoog stuff. There are several good manufacturers making compatible modules that do things too. Once you get a minimoog, that's pretty well the end of it. The modular biz is never-ending expandable and fun.

Sumpin' to think about.

-David
-I was a teenage synthaholic-

User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:52 am
Location: Burlington, Canada, eh.

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Christopher Winkels » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:37 pm

drsynth wrote:Once you get a minimoog, that's pretty well the end of it. The modular biz is never-ending expandable and fun.
While I agree with many of your other points, there are lots of interfacing possibilities with the OS:

http://tinyurl.com/yj4etda

Not nearly as many patch sockets are there as one might find on a good modular system, but a lot of the important bases are covered - and that's without adding a VX-351 expander or a CP-251, the additon of which narrows the gap even further. Also worth mentioning to those interested: the Dotcom system doesn't include a keyboard. Granted, 99% of people already have one of those, but I'm just pointing that out.

User avatar
Neonlights84
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:28 am
Gear: Moog Minimoog Model D
Behringer DeepMind12
Novation UltraNova
Korg MS20 mini
Korg EMX-1
Band: Winter's Glow
Contact:

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Neonlights84 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:41 am

Christopher Winkels wrote:
drsynth wrote:Once you get a minimoog, that's pretty well the end of it. The modular biz is never-ending expandable and fun.
While I agree with many of your other points, there are lots of interfacing possibilities with the OS:

http://tinyurl.com/yj4etda

Not nearly as many patch sockets are there as one might find on a good modular system, but a lot of the important bases are covered - and that's without adding a VX-351 expander or a CP-251, the additon of which narrows the gap even further. Also worth mentioning to those interested: the Dotcom system doesn't include a keyboard. Granted, 99% of people already have one of those, but I'm just pointing that out.
Hey thanks for all the input so far. It really seems like the way to go. It costs a lot, but I am thinking this could be the end all be all for my setup. The sticker shock is enough to make me think about other things, but it seems worth it.
Gear: Novation Ultranova, Korg Monotribe, Korg Electribe EMX-1, Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy, Lexicon MX200.

User avatar
cornutt
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2117
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:03 am
Gear: 6th
Location: Rocket City USA
Contact:

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by cornutt » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:24 am

Christopher Winkels wrote:I took delivery of mine on Wednesday.

I think the biggest improvment you'll get vis-a-vis a standard Voyager is that there won't be any apparent staircasing as parameters are changed.
Interesting... I've read that the OS is really the guts of the Voyager with a different UI. This suggests that that is not true. Did I hear wrong?
Switches, knobs, buttons, LEDs, LCD screens, monitors, keys, mice, jacks, sockets. Now two joysticks!

User avatar
Neonlights84
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:28 am
Gear: Moog Minimoog Model D
Behringer DeepMind12
Novation UltraNova
Korg MS20 mini
Korg EMX-1
Band: Winter's Glow
Contact:

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Neonlights84 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:41 am

cornutt wrote:
Christopher Winkels wrote:I took delivery of mine on Wednesday.

I think the biggest improvment you'll get vis-a-vis a standard Voyager is that there won't be any apparent staircasing as parameters are changed.
Interesting... I've read that the OS is really the guts of the Voyager with a different UI. This suggests that that is not true. Did I hear wrong?

I think you did hear wrong. The Voyager has a digital intermediary for knob usage. The user is not actually interacting with the circuit board. The OS has all analog guts.\, and the knobs and potentiometers are connected directly into the analog board. If you watch this, you can hear Amos talk about it.

Gear: Novation Ultranova, Korg Monotribe, Korg Electribe EMX-1, Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy, Lexicon MX200.

User avatar
Synthaholic
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1206
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:43 pm
Gear: Motif XS6, TX802, D-550, A6
Location: NH

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Synthaholic » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:20 am

The Voyager and OS use the same voice architecture/components and probably boards so from a raw sound perspective, they (should) sound more or less the same.

The difference is where the control voltages come from. The Voyager has a CPU that generates the control voltages based on the patch memories or the read positions of the knobs. Thus, the voltage from the knob gets converted to digital and then back to analog before it hits the voice board. The upside is that this allows for patch memory; the downside is there will be some stairstepping when a knob is turned.

In the OS, there is no digital section (except to read the keyboard and generate pitch CV and gate signals) and the knobs on the front panel go directly to the corresponding circuit on the voice board.

So, on the V'ger, when you turn the filter cutoff knob, a CPU reads the knob position, stores it in an edit buffer, and then converts it into a control voltage that gets sent to the filter's cutoff CV input. On the OS, the filter cutoff knob's output voltage goes directly to the filter's CV input, just like on an old Minimoog.

P.S. I thought Moog had a patent on a technology that allowed the knob's analog signals to be sent directly to the analog circuits, eliminating the stair stepping while still allowing for patch memory/edit buffers. Maybe that technology is only in the LP, not the Voyager?
Two VCO: thanks to the push rods, one can choose several forms of waves at the same time!
(from a Babelfish translation of a Jupiter-6 site)

Yamaha: Motif XS6, TX802 Roland: D-550 Alesis: A6 Andromeda

User avatar
Solderman
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 1799
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 5:43 pm

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Solderman » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:09 am

This topic was discussed at some length on another thread. The original Voyager also beat the OS in a poll thread.

I have a Voyager RME myself, and was quite startled at the sonic similarities with a late 70's Minimoog with the updated, more stable, oscillator board. This is, of course, only when using one Voyager output in 4 pole lowpass mode, taking care to use the original waveforms and modulation limitations of the Model D. The biggest difference to me, from the late era Model D, was the older one had brighter sounding oscillators at full cutoff, and a bit rounder in the lower mid-range. I solved that issue by putting an EQ pedal in the Voyager's Mix-Out Insert. The other biggest difference is that, since the Voyager's filter uses matched-pair transistor arrays, it becomes less easy to overdrive it like nearly all of the 70's models.(except for the first pre-Norlin batch, which also had matched-pair transistors.) Naturally, the early 70's oscillator design drifts like a mofo, and most people seem to like that better. The tone of the Voyager's filter might be described as Moogy, but politely so. The Voyager definitely can still sound funky though.

Someone mentioned staircasing on the standard Voyagers, which actually isn't usually noticable when directly turning the knobs. (Synthaholic, the Real Analog Control was designed for the Little Phatty.) My RME model steps badly with pitch-bend, but I'm told this is because most controllers don't actually transmit 14 bit data. Also, my model produces faint clock noise when cutoff is tweaked for higher pitched notes. I'm told this problem may have been fixed in later models. Neither would be an issue with the OS.
An interesting thing about the digital control is, for some settings, like oscillator fine tune, Mod bus depth and filter cutoff, you sometimes get a change "between" the displayed value on the LCD, depending on whether you finely turn the knob clockwise or counter-clockwise. This is because the Voyager's external control Midi resolution of 14 bits(a pair of Midi CC's are transmitted to the Midi Output from the knobs) is less than the internal resolution of the digital memory control value. The LCD display only shows 8 bits of resolution. The OS frees you of worrying about such nonsense, but the tradeoff is needing outboard gear for Midi to CV.

Also mentioned was Oscillator FM, and the OS has the distinction of having Osc 1 and Osc2 as modulation sources, and LFO Rate as a destination, but I found a very interesting side-effect when Osc3 modulates all 3 oscillators on the standard Voyager, naturally including itself. The auto-tuning of all 3 oscillators drift in unison, occasionally. The sound itself is great for Prophet-like crossmod basses. Here's one sound I recorded like that:
That clip also shows how subtly growly the Voyager basses can be.

Only other thing I know of that the OS sonically lacks is the 1, 2 and 3 pole filter settings. That 1 pole is actually good for some edge when just barely overdriving the filter input with drums. Here is my TR606 into the Voyager filter, with some biting resonance in 1 pole mode:
I am no longer in pursuit of vintage synths. The generally absurd inflation from demand versus practical use and maintenance costs is no longer viable. The internet has suffocated and vanquished yet another wonderful hobby. Too bad.
--Solderman no more.

User avatar
shaft9000
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 2042
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:13 am
Real name: Dave
Gear: Whips chains waxes oils dildos DMT TNT the LHC, and a black rubber duckie
Band: moneymoneymoney
Location: VanNuys, CA USA
Contact:

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by shaft9000 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:31 am

I nearly bought one last week - I had a go for about an hour on one.

Being a 3-year LP tribute owner of frequent usage, I can say that the OS has much nicer knobs, a wee bit nicer keybed(than mine at least, but most LP owners had worse luck i guess) and the low/high-pass mode is quite cool, as is the 3-way osc FM.
The 2 mod busses and the extra osc add a good deal, but i really missed the LP's supreme overdrive and ESPECIALLY the X-pole....1-pole mode positively rips on the LP.
A marvellous synth, though. pocket change in 70's $$'s.
I would have bought it for $2300 out the door, but they wouldn't budge on 2395+tax.
2600.solus.modcan a.eurorack.cs60.JP8.Juno6.A6.sunsyn.volcakeys.jd990.tb303.x0xb0x.revolution.
999.m1am1.RY30.svc350.memotron

shaft9000.muffwiggler.com <- singles & mixtape
shaft9000.bandcamp.com <- spacemusic album
youtube.com/shaft9000 <- various synth demos and studies

User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:52 am
Location: Burlington, Canada, eh.

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Christopher Winkels » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:44 pm

I'm really surprised they won't let the VOS go for much under $2,400 in the US. I got mine for $2,440 Canadian, (about $2,340 in US dollars as I write this), but US musical gear prices always seem much, much better than Canada - for reasons much too involved to get into here. Weird that the Us vs. Canadian prices are so close to one another for this instrument.

And I have to confess a love for the 1-pole filter setting on the LP as well. I've never understood the fascination with 4-pole filters as the end-all-and-be-all of soundshaping. The 2-pole versions on my XS and Oddy sound lovely, I tend to favour the 2-pole switch on my P'08, and the 1-pole option on the Phatty is great for extracting a bit of high end but retaining most of the glossy sheen.

User avatar
Neonlights84
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:28 am
Gear: Moog Minimoog Model D
Behringer DeepMind12
Novation UltraNova
Korg MS20 mini
Korg EMX-1
Band: Winter's Glow
Contact:

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by Neonlights84 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:28 pm

shaft9000 wrote:I nearly bought one last week - I had a go for about an hour on one.

Being a 3-year LP tribute owner of frequent usage, I can say that the OS has much nicer knobs, a wee bit nicer keybed(than mine at least, but most LP owners had worse luck i guess) and the low/high-pass mode is quite cool, as is the 3-way osc FM.
The 2 mod busses and the extra osc add a good deal, but i really missed the LP's supreme overdrive and ESPECIALLY the X-pole....1-pole mode positively rips on the LP.
A marvellous synth, though. pocket change in 70's $$'s.
I would have bought it for $2300 out the door, but they wouldn't budge on 2395+tax.
Yea, I know what you mean about the LP. I have had mine for 2 years now, and that just so happens to be the longest I have owned any single synthesizer. This is because the sound is just fantastic, and it has lead me to desire an OS. Thus, the reason for this thread. With the way I work, the OS would complete my rig (once I also acquire some kind of vocoder).

It is funny that you mention you tried to talk them down a little; something I have also been pondering. You would think that dropping a hundred bucks off or the tax wouldn't be a deal breaker. I am sorry they wouldn't budge for you. Outside of the knobs and mod busses, what did you think of the sound compared to your LP Trib? Are the oscillators just as stable, or are they a bit more deliciously drifty? Have you ever used a model D? Sorry for the questions, I am trying to live vicariously for now. :oops:
Gear: Novation Ultranova, Korg Monotribe, Korg Electribe EMX-1, Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy, Lexicon MX200.

User avatar
shaft9000
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 2042
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:13 am
Real name: Dave
Gear: Whips chains waxes oils dildos DMT TNT the LHC, and a black rubber duckie
Band: moneymoneymoney
Location: VanNuys, CA USA
Contact:

Re: Virtues of the Minimoog Old School

Post by shaft9000 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:41 pm

Neonlights84 wrote: what did you think of the sound compared to your LP Trib? Are the oscillators just as stable, or are they a bit more deliciously drifty? Have you ever used a model D? Sorry for the questions, I am trying to live vicariously for now. :oops:
-sound vs. LP trib - not a proper comparison since i never had them side-by-side.
but i CAN say for sure that the Voyager OS's VCO's sounds more like the tributes than the LP stage VCOs, which are buzzy/treble-boosted. EQ to the rescue, I guess.
When doing 1:1 patches common to both OS and LPte(4-pole lowpass, no OD) to me the OS sounds like a tribute x 1.5 in a sense, that the same deep round sound is there... there's just that much more of it at your disposal. Like an extension instead of something altogether different, wheras the LP stage just makes me go..."uh, OK". I was spoiled by the WOOD i guess :lol:

- didn't play it long enough to notice much drift, but the OSC's seem to "roll" better than the LPs. The phatty phases a little differently from all other VCO synths I've had, and my 2600 phases (by far) the most obviously - like a tidal wave. The OS seemed somewhere in-between, on the more subtle side.

- i've played a few different model Ds - when in L.A. I'm usually jamming with some friends and their friends. So goofing around live/pratice many times but only for a couple times in the studio. They are more brash and 'blast-y' vs. the newer ones are better-mannered"in control", generally. They all sound different, too.
[hint: A transistor distortion can help put some bite back into new Moog sound. Whereas, for sake of comparison not accuracy: say, the LP can "do the sound of Model D 90-96%'" The distortion can, but not always will, enable you to add a couple percentage points to that comparison.(Sherman filter works great for this, or try different fuzz pedals for more varied tones - i think it's boring to try to copy another synth outright)
2600.solus.modcan a.eurorack.cs60.JP8.Juno6.A6.sunsyn.volcakeys.jd990.tb303.x0xb0x.revolution.
999.m1am1.RY30.svc350.memotron

shaft9000.muffwiggler.com <- singles & mixtape
shaft9000.bandcamp.com <- spacemusic album
youtube.com/shaft9000 <- various synth demos and studies

Post Reply