The one and only Minimoog is the epitome of innovative musical instrument design. We take a look at its heritage in music history and find out how to recreate its iconic sound with the best Minimoog plugins.
If you’ve listened to records released any time between 1970 and the present day, chances are you’ve heard the Minimoog. Its unmistakably warm organic sound is responsible for countless earworms over the years.
That Minimoog magic
At first, synthesizers were seen as obscurities rather than commodities. However, as more music began featuring synth sounds the demand became greater. Bob Moog was one of the engineers that realized the potential early on.
He imagined a tool with diverse sonic potential and was even against using a keyboard in the early Moog designs, as he felt it could limit the user. A natural progression on this journey, the Minimoog was designed as an instrument for any musician to truly make their own.
More than its commercial success, and even its role in music – it was the highly intuitive design that would have a profound influence on music instrument manufacturing and sound synthesis. The Minimoog brought accessibility to a scientific instrument you might have thought you needed a lab coat to play.
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Which Minimoog plugins to use?
The Minimoog is still such a popular sound. So, it only makes sense that there are numerous software instruments with which you can accurately recreate its characteristics. Everyone wants something different in a plugin.
Some softsynths offer huge patch libraries, built-in effects, and expansive interfaces. Others have simple layouts modelled on the hardware and just sound great. Let’s take a look at the benefits of each plugin and find one that fits your workflow:
AAS Ultra Analog VA-3
Those in the know will be familiar with Applied Acoustics Systems(AAS) and its reputation for creating extremely high-quality software instruments. The Ultra Analog VA-3 is a comprehensive virtual analogue workstation with a detailed interface.
When it comes to analogue modelling, this is one of the better softsynths available and not just for creating Minimoog sounds. Here, you have access to a whole range of specialized features for serious analogue sound sculpting.
Ultra Analog gives you a completely modular interface, an arpeggiator, an effects rack, and macro controls. In addition, the patch library has presets from some great sound designers like Richard Devine.
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Now available through the UAD Spark subscription, the UAD Minimoog is one of the most realistic emulations available. It captures the raw character of the original incredibly well and there are a few extra features that make it worthwhile.
Overall, the sound of the oscillators, the tone of the filter, and the responsiveness of the envelopes all come across realistically. Moreover, the preset library also has some great-sounding patches and a few additional modulation parameters modeled on the unique customizations of well-known Minimoog owners.
UAD plug-ins are now available natively, so you can get the UAD Minimoog within the UAD Creative Edition.
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Native Instruments Monark
If you’re a Reaktor user, you’ll be familiar with Monark. It might not be the most hyper-realistic Minimoog emulation around, but it’s still a great sounding softsynth.
The interface is slightly simplified in areas like the envelope section, however, you can still tune and mix your oscillators to achieve detailed sounds. The layout is presented in a way that gives you great sound manipulation tools without being too technical.
Even if you’ve never seen a real Minimoog, you can get great results. Monark is also available in Reaktor Blocks, which gives you the flexibility to build your own modular synth designs.
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Arturia Mini V
The Arturia Mini V is one of the original Model D plug-ins. On the surface, it looks identical to the classic, but as you start diving into the features you’ll find it goes far beyond what the Minimoog was designed to do.
Up to 32-voice polyphony, an extensive mod matrix, and a versatile effects section make the Mini V useful for far more than just basic Minimoog sounds. Like every Arturia plug-in emulation, the Mini V is meticulously modeled on the original and comes with a great bank of patches.
Apart from the affordability, what’s great is the addition of unique sound design features like the motion recorder gives you powerful time-based synthesis capabilities.
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IK Multimedia Syntronik 2 Minimod
The Minimod is one of 33 classic synths recreated in Syntronik 2. It brings together characteristics from the Model D, the Voyager, and the Moog Modular.
The interface is simple enough and the patches are instantly gratifying, but if you want to dig deeper there are plenty of added features to keep you busy. Apart from the basics like the effects rack and the arpeggiator/sequencer section, the actual synthesis tools are extensive.
With banks of single and multi-oscillator waveforms and four patch layers, you can quickly build your own sounds without needing much experience with analogue synthesis.
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Moog MiniMoog Model D app
The Model D app is a really great software iteration of the Minimoog. The phenomenal sound engine reproduces the warm analogue goodness with ease and the touch-optimized interface allows easy navigation.
As you browse through the patches, each one seems to sound more gargantuan and tonally detailed than the last. Meanwhile, the app runs on iOS version 10.3 or later, as well as MacOS and supports formats such as AUv3, Ableton Link, Inter-App, and Audiobus.
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More Model D plugins worth checking out:
We haven’t mentioned every plug-in version of the Minimoog Model D, but here are some more options to investigate.
More about Minimoog Plugins:
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- AAS Virtual Analog VA-3: AAS
- UAD Minimoog: UAD
- Native Instruments Monark: Native Instruments
- Arturia Mini V: Arturia
- IK Multimedia Syntronik 2 Minimod: IK Multimedia
- mini_v_ui_pluginboutique: Plugin Boutique
- pb: Plugin Boutique