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The Road Goes On Forever…. The Return ( Yet Again ) of the Minimoog Model D

May 07, 2023

In 2004, the Mix Magazine TECnology Hall of Fame was established to recognize inventions that had changed the Pro Audio world. Surprisingly the second class inducted in 2005 included a musical instrument – the Moog Minimoog Model D. Not the first Moog synthesizer nor the most powerful, this unassuming monophonic synthesizer had an out-sized influence on the world of music, shaping multiple genres of music performance and production for decades after its relatively brief production run of 1970-1981. More than one writer has described the Minimoog as the most famous synthesizer in music history for it took the synthesizer out of electronic music laboratories and recording studios and brought it into music stores and live performances.

Such a remarkable product, but its life in the marketplace was book-ended by failure at its origins and again at the peak of its popularity. The Minimoog was birthed at a time when its’ inventor’s company was on the brink of failure, resulting in ownership changes in 1971. The company had been deeply in debt and only a single year (1969) was profitable. Even with the considerable popularity of the Minimoog in 1972, the company remained mired in debt. Production had ramped up from a few instruments a week to a peak of 300 Minimoogs a month at the end of 1973, but the company could barely afford to meet demand for its star product. Moog Music was sold to Norlin Industries in 1973. Battered by debt and increased competition, the company’s “success” would appear to be short lived.

After 1974 a glut of analog synthesizers hit the market and Minimoog sales began to decline. ARP Instruments soon began to outpace Moog in popularity. By the mid-1970’s Robert Moog was thoroughly disillusioned with the company’s management. Norlin moved the company’s manufacturing for a third time in 1976 and by 1977 Robert Moog had left the company that bore his name. Microprocessor controlled polyphonic analog synths came to dominate the market and with that Minimoog production ceased in 1981.

Realistic MG-1

The struggling company had even tried marketing an analog synth to the home market through Radio Shack ( the surprisingly decent Realistic MG-1) in 1981-1983. They were forced into using the factory for contract work with manufacturers in other industries. Interest in analog synthesizers continued to decline dramatically in the mid-1980’s as digital synthesizers and samplers took over their popularity, enhanced by the MIDI interface. Affordable products from Roland, Korg and, Yamaha occupied center stage and with the huge success of the affordable and powerful Yamaha DX7, the golden age of analog synths and drum machines came to an end in 1984.

Moog Music declared bankruptcy in 1987, many of the patents and other rights for the modular circuits expired in the 90’s and all production at the factory had ended by 1993.

Having escaped death by a narrow margin in 1970-1971, and again in 1973, the company and its products now seemed to have finally expired for good. At the end of the 1980’s you could buy used Minimoogs for under $ 300, less than 1/5th of its 1974 selling price.

But as Mark Twain was said to have written: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” --- these words could certainly apply to the Minimoog Model D.

So rather than ending with these premature pronouncements of its death, let’s’ take a look back at the origins of this product to get a better idea of its genesis, which in turn will lead to a better understanding of its multiple resurrections.


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Robert Moog in the Finger Lakes region, Paul Ketoff in Rome and Don Buchla in San Francisco were all working on developing analog synthesizers in 1963 and 1964. Moog’s great innovation was taking the ideas of voltage control and using readily available transistors to create circuits and modules that organized the creation of sounds in a way that was both accessible and interesting to musicians. He created a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) which generated a waveform whose pitch could be adjusted by changing the voltage – a standard of one volt per octave change of pitch. He also used voltage to control loudness with a voltage-controlled amplifier (VCA). His 1964 paper “Voltage-Controlled Music Modules” – which initially proposed the idea – invented the analogue synth as we know it.

The prototype had two VCO’s and a VCA. One VCO could modulate the output of another creating vibrato and tremolo effects. After a demonstration at the University of Toronto’s electronic music studio, Moog was invited to present his paper to the Audio Engineering Society at its convention in the fall of 1964. Much to his surprise, customers immediately began to place orders at the show.

Because of this early start, Robert Moog is generally credited as the inventor of analog sound synthesis and by 1966 Moog began to call his electronic music modules “synthesizers”.

He also recognized that most customers would feel comfortable approaching a keyboard and his decision to feature keyboards with his modules helped many to visualize that the synthesizer could potentially create music, not just electronic sounds.

Vacuum Tube Synth

More modules were added in the years to come: filters, noise generators, ring modulators, envelope generators and more. Telephone exchange style patch cords allowed for various combinations and configurations which could create remarkably complex sounds. Prior to Moog’s modular designs, vacuum tube synthesizers could take up an entire room and cost a hundred thousand dollars or more. They could not be played in real-time and some had to be programmed with punch cards, like early computers. Moog modulars were much smaller, at the time cost around $10,000 and were playable in real-time using joysticks, pedals, ribbon controllers and keyboards. By the end of the 1960’s most of the modules (including a distinctive “ladder filter”) had been finalized. The familiar keyboard invited users to consider the synthesizer as a musical instrument, not a sound-effects generator.

In his book Analog Synthesizers, Mark Jenkins noted “Despite the fact that Moog himself was a non-musician, this turned out to be no dry technical achievement: the sound of the Moog synthesizer, beyond offering the relatively easy control that had been desired for some years, was actually surprisingly rich, powerful and flexible. The impact of the Moog sound is well-documented, and to some extent has remained the standard for which to aim….the basic tone is rich, strong and powerful; the Moog twang is distinctive (no instrument having previously offered such marked tonal changes through the course of a single note) and the cutting quality of a Moog lead line sound has yet to be excelled.”

Moog modular synths were machines for creating new sounds that were distinctly electronic. Few of Moog's earliest customers – sound artists, choreographers, and studios interested in electronic sound effects - were interested in playing conventional melody on the instruments, so making the things stay in tune seemed a low priority. Large, fragile and near-impossible keep in tune, the modulars were designed and built to order for a select group of customers, often associated with experimental composers and electronic music laboratories at universities. They were not a profitable enterprise.

That all changed in 1968 when Wendy Carlos, a student at the Columbia-Princeton electronic music center, began using a Moog modular to record Bach. When Moog previewed some of her work at the 1968 Audio Engineering Society convention, it received a standing ovation from an astonished assemblage of audio professionals. The resulting album “Switched on Bach” went on to sell over a million copies, receiving three Grammy awards. It was the first classical album certified Platinum and it sparked an immediate craze for the new electronic sounds..

*1. Wendy Carlos – Switched on Bach

Suddenly in 1969 every producer in New York seemed to want a Moog on their next record.

Soon people would begin to call any synthesizer a “Moog” leading to a slew of novelty records with Moog in their title, even if the synthesizer wasn’t always a Moog.

Commercially, the market for synthesizers was still quite limited with most being owned by universities or record labels. As late as 1970 it was estimated that less than 30 Moog modulars were owned by musicians. Modulars were expensive, sensitive, and inconvenient to use. In time, the market for them began to dry up. Ordinary musicians had no access to synthesizers and usage was really locked into a fixed market of studios and a dozen or so major musicians. But given the unique Moog sound, the popularity of Moog modulars was out of all proportion to their limited numbers. Their usage quickly spread in 1970 from novelty records into soundtracks and jingles, and then to the leading rock bands and progressive jazz musicians of the day.

A real breakthrough came when newly popular progressive rock artists such as Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman began to feature the instrument. Emerson, Lake and Palmer released their single “Lucky Man” in December 1970. It was originally a filler when they needed one more song for their debut LP. The solos were recorded with electric guitar but in overdubs Keith Emerson was jamming on a newly arrived Moog synthesizer in the studio, and the group replaced the second solo with a one - take Moog solo that began as a low drone, and then leaped and glided upwards through two octaves.

The solo rescued an undistinguished song that Greg Lake had written when he was twelve and it became Moog’s huge entry into the exploding popularity of 1970’s rock music.

Convincing a generation of keyboard players that they finally had a solo instrument that could compete with heavily amplified lead guitars. Within a decade the analog synthesizer had reshaped all types of popular music.



The breakthrough in rock and jazz coincided with the introduction of a portable self-contained synthesizer, the Minimoog Model D, in late 1970 at the same A.E.S. Convention where ARP unveiled their Model 2600 synthesizer. Within a few years ARP products were outpacing Moogs in sales and by 1975 ARP boasted 40% of the synthesizer market share. But numbers aside, the sound and influence of the Minimoog on music was so unique and out-sized, that it stands above all others as an iconic classic..

Arp 2600

Initially Bob Moog had in mind developing a compact synthesizer that session musicians could carry with them to studio dates, allowing the synthesizer to be used on sessions outside of the fortunate few major studios that owned their own modular synths. Moog’s goal was to put the essential features of the modular into a portable instrument that was quick to set-up and easy to play. These portable synths would be sold like the modular synths – as pieces of professional audio equipment. In 1969-1970 there was not yet a concept of selling synthesizers through any other channel. Bob Moog “figured we might sell as many as a hundred Minis before it would be time to update the design.”

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Initially, he had no idea of what a small portable synthesizer should look like. The Moog team consulted with industrial engineers who gave them many futuristic looking drawings. They then polled musician friends to see which of the designs they liked. Robert Moog noted “Were we in for a surprise. Nearly everybody shot down the sculptured plastic in favor of natural wood and simple lines.

We simplified one of our designer’s concepts to the point where we could actually make the cabinets in our own modest wood shop, then proceeded to create the Minimoog.”

After prototype Models A, B and C, the Model D was put into actual production. Moog and his team of three other engineers adapted some of the circuitry (filter section) from the modulars but designed other circuitry ( oscillators, contour generators) from scratch. Moog’s first temperature-compensated oscillators were designed for the Minimoog.

Moog Minimoog Model D (Vintage)

It was a portable, sturdy and powerful keyboard synth. Eliminating the patch cords that so distinguished the modulars, the instrument would be quick to set-up and easy to use, requiring no programming skills. It could reliably perform as either a melodic lead or propulsive bass instrument – a far cry from its complex, sound-generating predecessors-- and at its initial price of $1495, it was finally an affordable proposition for working musicians.

The Minimoog Model D was the first product to really solidify the synthesizer’s popular image as a “keyboard” instrument and it became the most popular monophonic synthesizer of the 1970s, selling approximately 13,180 units between 1970 and 1981

It would also prove to be the salvation of the R.A. Moog Company and its successor Moog Music. In 1970-1971 three forces had converged to drive Moog to the brink of failure. The market became saturated with all those “Moog Records” and once the back-orders from 1969 were finally filled, there was only weak demand for more modulars. ARP had emerged as a powerful competitor with a complex synthesizer that had no patch cords and oscillators that stayed in tune. Finally, the deep recession in 1971 dried up the order book. Moog was facing near zero sales for modulars, big bills, lots of inventory and little capital. The distressed company reorganized, moved to Buffalo and out of necessity turned towards music industry retailers in a desperate attempt to get Minimoogs into the hands of musicians. At that time there was still no such thing as a synthesizer being sold in music stores.

When the Minimoog was exhibited at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in June 1971, the reception was less than enthusiastic.

Many of the dealers had never seen anything with so many knobs and strange words like Oscillator Bank and Filter on the front panel.

With few exceptions, music stores had never stocked anything this complex, so it was a hard sell. But the company had to find a way to get the synthesizer out of specialized electronic studios and into general music stores. Moog hired a persuasive marketing manager who knew how to get stores to stock these strange new keyboards. But Robert Moog came to realize that no amount of salesmanship would be enough to really make the synthesizer a best selling, go-to item in music stores. Moog and his associates could explain how it worked but none of them, had the skills to demo the units with convincing musicianship.

Bob Moog credited the acceptance of the Minimoog as a bona fide musical instrument to the super-talented musicians who first played the Minimoog in public, demonstrating the instrument‘s capabilities and enormous potential. He gave particular credit to Keith Emerson, Jan Hammer, Chick Corea and Rick Wakeman for taking a box full of knobs and making it an expressive musical instrument.

*2 Jon Hammer

Jan Hammer created a signature “guitar sound” with masterful use of the Minimoog’s left hand wheels, often supplemented by a Oberheim SEM module. A typical review of Hammer in the 1970’s read:

“Hammer burns the roof down with some magnificently jagged Moog lead work, wailing like a guitarist and modulating & pitch-bending liberally.”

Rick Wakeman said the Minimoog allowed keyboardists to give even the flashiest guitarists a run for their money, driving them to look for eleven on their volume controls. Wakeman said the Minimoog “absolutely changed the face of music.”

The groundbreaking efforts of progressive rock and jazz artists and memories of the extraordinary success of “Switched on Bach” finally earned the synthesizer a place in the music industry’s retail outlets. With sales channels in place, the industry embraced the electronic keyboards with the same enthusiasm that had propelled electric guitar sales in the 1960’s. The impact on retail sales of keyboards was profound. Bob Moog quipped “In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s you could put 5 pounds of *#@%& in a box and if it made a sound you could sell it.” Synthesizers were flooding the market by 1973, as more and more artists found that their sound was an essential ingredient in their artistic self-expression and creativity.

It’s not always easy to identify which landmark artists and recordings should be credited to the Minimoog, as more than a few artists used both Moog modulars and Minimoogs, along with other contemporary synths. Pink Floyd is closely associated with the EMS VCS-3 synthesizer but on Wish You Were Here the iconic bass line of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” is Richard Wright’s Minimoog. Tangerine Dream used both Minimoog and ARP synths. Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer’s use on her early hits is likely a modular, although later recordings featured the Minimoog. Gary Numan used a Minimoog extensively but his breakthrough effort, The Pleasurer Principle, is mainly a Polymoog. Keith Emerson was best known for his use of a custom giant Moog modular synth, but ironically his main patch was essentially an emulation of the tiny Minimoog.

Some other landmark uses of the Minmoog are clearly established. It had a huge influence on both jazz, funk and even disco in the 1970’s.

Pioneering avant-garde artist Sun Ra was perhaps the first musician to perform and record on a Minimoog using a pre-production sample in 1970, closely followed by Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.

*3 Sun Ra

Stevie Wonder’s masterpiece, Songs In The Key of Life made liberal use of the Minimoog. James Brown and the JB’s introduced the Minimoog to soul music in 1974. The Bee Gee’s brought it into disco followed by other charting artists including Abba and Gloria Gaynor. Bob Marley brought it to reggae. The phat, propulsive Minimoog bass line became a staple of funk music with groups such as Parliament -Funkadelic and Earth Wind and Fire. EDM pioneers Kraftwerk definitely made use of a Minimoog on Autobahn and The Man-Machine.

Advances in music technology quickly impacted the sales of monophonic synthesizers. While the Minimoog did see some internal improvements such as a more stable oscillator, the basic design remained unchanged and sales began to decline after 1974. By 1978 newer polyphonic synthesizer models dominated the market. Yet, long after Moog ceased production of the Minimoog in 1981, its distinct sound was still all over the charts, notably gracing hits by Hall and Oates, Devo, Phil Collins and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The rhythms, beats and hard bass lines that distinguished Thriller were forged on the Minimoog. It was an essential tool for that near perfect blend of funk, rock, disco and pop. Then came Hip-Hop – and Dr. Dre and Biggie Smalls would both use the Minimoog to create their beats. And at the turn of the century it was still propelling hits by Outkast and Beastie Boys.

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So why did the Minimoog Model D become The classic analog synth?

  1. The Minimoog possessed a particularly cutting sound. The oscillators would overdrive the filters lightly giving a pleasantly warm and smooth distortion to the sound. The voltage controlled ladder filter allowed for unique sound shaping providing fat, propulsive bass tones and cutting leads
  2. It had a logical design and friendly layout. It was an inviting and comfortable performance instrument with attractive wood trim and a control panel sloping towards the player. The signal path was simple and logical: oscillators to filter then through envelopes to an output amplifier. It was the first synthesizer to feature a pitch wheel allowing for musicians to bend notes and play with an expressiveness that was previously the province of guitarists and saxophonists
  3. It was pre-patched. No need for an untidy mass of cables and a sheaf of patch diagrams in order to create and replicate the desired sounds. 

Twenty years after its introduction Bob Moog was asked to explain its continuing appeal. He wrote: “Like the Hammond B-3, the Gibson Les Paul, the Fender precision bass and the Rhodes electric piano, the Minimoog has become a venerable instrument. Why is this so ? How can an instrument assembled entirely from standard electronic parts have the sort of unique character that is generally associated with hand-crafted instruments? The correct answer is, ‘Nobody knows for sure.’ The Minimoog’s sound sets it apart from all other brands, but no scientist or engineer can pin down the sound to something that can be measured. I believe that the Minimoog sound comes from a balance of several factors: the warm, low-order distortion introduced by the VCF and the VCA’s, the rapid attack times of which the contour generators are capable, the small amounts of noise in the oscillators that keep them from locking together at very small frequency differences, and the frequency response of the instrument as a whole”

Looking back at its enormous popularity and influence, Bob Moog offered this additional assessment:

“For those of us who designed the Minimoog over two decades ago…. Our own intuition and discretion were the most important tools. In this respect we performed like artists rather than engineers.”

*4 Robert Moog



The Minimoog remained a sought-after instrument for producers and recording artists, and it continued to be used extensively on electronic, techno, dance, and disco recordings into the 1980s due to its distinctive tonal qualities, particularly that of its patented Moog “ladder” filter. The signature sound of the Minimoog, in particular its fat three-oscillator bass sound, had become firmly established in popular music, yet it seemed as if the instrument itself was becoming a bit of a museum piece, much revered for its massive popularity and influence in the 1970’s, but no longer an essential piece of gear for working musicians.

Sequential Circuits Prophet-5As mentioned previously, synthesizers with polyphonic capabilities began to be developed in the mid-1970’s and with the introduction in 1978 of the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, it became clear that the future belonged to polyphonic synths with microprocessor memories. Affordable and highly reliable synths from Japan -Yamaha, Roland and Korg- would soon come to dominate the market. Programmable drum machines, sequencers and samplers captured the attention of musicians and with the introduction of the MIDI interface in 1983 the fate of the older synths was sealed. The monstrous success of Yamaha’s DX7 digital synthesizer in 1983-1984 ended the first golden age of analog synthesizers.

In “History of House” Chris Kempster described how FM synthesis spelled doom for even the most popular Japanese analog synths: “The DX7 offered a range of incredibly life-like sounds that made analogue synths sound very one- dimensional. While a Roland synth could make a vain attempt at imitating a flute, the DX7 managed an almost perfect rendition of that instrument—plus a hundred others, too. The clean ‘sparkling’ sound of digital, seduced a thousand musicians’ ears and you’d no more want to be seen on Top of the Pops with an analogue synth as you would with your grandmother.”

Yamaha DX7

In the rush to embrace the potential of affordable digital technologies, the older analog devices quickly became curiosity pieces, no longer relevant to the present-day needs of performing musicians.

By 1988-1990, many of the classic analog pedal products had vanished from manufacturer’s catalogs, along with so many of the classic studio signal processing effects devices. Use of analog recording tape began a steady decline. The same trends profoundly influenced the market for synthesizers and rhythm machines. By the end of the decade you could buy used Minimoogs for under $300 while pawn shops were filled with once popular and expensive drum machines like the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 going for under $100.

Roland TR-808

In the early 1990’s a textbook on electroacoustic music pronounced the analog synthesizer to be nearly extinct: “by the time of this writing, the techniques of analog synthesis have been almost entirely supplanted by those of digital synthesis. Even so, it is important that everyone who is interested in electronic music find an opportunity to spend at least some time with an analog synthesizer. Many of the concepts and paradigms that were introduced with analog synthesis continue to be important.”

But even as those words were penned, a great analog revival was already taking shape that would profoundly alter professional audio equipment, musician’s synthesizers and effects, and consumer media in the new millennium.

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As quickly as the analog age had expired, so quickly were the great devices and technology of the past resurrected towards the end of the decade. The seductive qualities of digital’s clean, sparkling sound wore off quickly.

Writers more attuned to audio technology could see the handwriting on the wall as early as 1992. It was clear that vacuum tubes, transformers, discrete circuitry and even vinyl records were all beginning a slow but steady comeback. New attention was focused on the deficiencies of digital recording in the acquisition stage and on the limitations of the CD as delivery media. Leading recording engineers and equipment designers spearheaded what would later become a movement for “High Resolution” audio.

A new generation, raised with computers and digital technology, discovered the rich analog sounds of the earlier era, and sampling them became an essential tool in their creative process. This fed a growing realization that many of the popular digital recreations fell short of the mark, despite their undeniable practicality. So the desire for “the real thing” became a major force in the music industry, even as digital technology continued to provide an astonishing variety of new ways to create and distribute music.

Moog Moogerfooger

In the 1990’s analog enthusiasts began to acquire and modify mint condition used Minimoogs, adding new features and even MIDI.

Demand pushed prices back up above $1000 and the modified MIDI versions went for twice that. But given a rather modest production run that had ended over ten years earlier, it was not all that easy to acquire units suitable for an expensive restoration. Minimoogs still seemed destined to be an instrument for the fortunate few and over time their value on the used market doubled and then tripled. By 2002 it was not uncommon to original Minimoogs in top condition going for $3500.

Responding to the renewed interest in analog designs, Robert Moog’s Big Briar company released a notable new product in 1998. The Moogerfooger analog effects pedals brought many of the effects from the old Moog modules into the pedal format. Their popularity over a 20 year production run helped prove the viability of new Moog designs and it enhanced Robert Moog’s ability to bring those designs to market.

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Moog Music’s trademark and other rights to modular circuits had expired in 1994, just after the Moog company had ceased all production at its factory. Clones and emulations of the Moog modules began to attract renewed attention. In Germany Dieter Doepfer had been developing analog modules and Midi equipment since the late 1970’s and in 1996 he released his Doepfer A100 – the first modular synthesizer in the new “Eurorack” format.

Moog Modulars

More modules followed in 1997 and 1998. Seeing the renewed interest in modules, other manufacturers began designing compatible Eurorack modules after 2000.

The growing popularity of analog designs spurred two of the greatest names in 1970’s analog audio – Rupert Neve and Robert Moog - to reclaim the use of the names they had sold in the 1970’s and bring new products to market.

Rupert Neve had launched his new 9098 line of products for AMEK consoles in 1993. Moving to the US in 1994, he continued to advance the analog state of the art culminating in his founding Rupert Neve Designs in 2005. That year he issued his first new products with a Rupert Neve nameplate-- the Portico series of outboard equipment which took many of his classic concepts and his vision of high-fidelity audio into a contemporary modular format.

Robert Moog reclaimed the rights to the Moog name in 2002, after two years of litigation. He bought the company, Moog Music, continued production of the Moogerfooger pedals and theremins, and almost immediately released a 21st Century version of the iconic Minimoog, the Minimoog Voyager.

The Voyager range of Minimoogs certainly proved to be a landmark product that helped jump-start the modern Renaissance of analog synthesizer production. Voyagers, from the stripped down Old School to the feature rich XL, were expensive but that didn’t hinder sales-- with 14,000+ units sold over 13 years of production they actually exceeded sales of the original Minimoog. Prices started at $3000 and ranged upwards to over $4500. 

One can sense the strength of the Minimoog‘s renewed appeal when you consider that for half the price you could acquire a multi-timbre virtual analogue synth that offered multiple voices, huge modulation matrices, and powerful multi-effects units, and which sounded pretty close to a vintage, analogue monosynth. And of course, as expensive as it was, the Voyager still remained a Minimoog meaning that it lacked step sequencers, quantisers, inverters, ring modulators, analogue effects, and many other facilities that users of modular synthesizers so appreciated.

But the Voyager was not simply a Minimoog with preset memories, integrated digital controls and MIDI capability. It was a re-imagined version of the classic, capable of producing a wide palette of new sounds that went far beyond what the original offered. There were other improvements including a dedicated LFO, an additional transistor ladder filter, improved modulation capabilities and a semi-weighted Fatar keyboard. The strongest selling point was the traditional true analog signal path from oscillators to output which retained the essence of the original Minimoog. An English reviewer made exhaustive comparison between a vintage Minimoog and an early Voyager and concluded:

Moog Voyager

“Somehow, and I don't know how, the Voyager has been imparted with that indefinable 'Moogyness'; that warm growl that always set the Minimoog and its modular forebears apart from the crowd.”

Of course there were nay-Sayers who said it didn’t quite sound like the original Minimoog but to most users the differences were minor and not consequential. The sonic quality of the Voyager remained true to its lineage.

By 2010 the analog revival was in high gear. Numerous new monosynths appeared on the market. Korg released remakes of classic monosynths and a whole series of affordable analog synths and modules. Roland brought back one classic after another and in 2016 they launched a Boutique Series of modules that virtually modeled their “greatest hits” of the analog era. By 2013 there were at least 80 manufacturers offering some 700 modules in the Eurorack format, including Moog’s own Eurorack compatible, semi-modular synthesizer the Mother-32. {By 2022 there were over 15,000 Eurorack modules available from more than 1000 different manufacturers !}

Yet despite the success of the Voyager and the vast proliferation of wonderful synthesizers, both digital and microprocessor-controlled analog, from major and boutique manufacturers. demand for the humble, original Minimoogs continued to grow, with asking prices hovering the in the $ 4000 range,

Moog Mother-32

Finally beginning in 2015, Moog addressed the hopes and dreams of many with reissues of several modular synthesizers from the early 1970’s followed by a reissue of the Minimoog Model D in 2016. Even skeptics agreed that this was truly a “real” Minimoog. There were a few necessary additions –an independent LFO, MIDI capability an enhanced keyboard and assorted CV-outputs. Aside from those changes the the 2016 Model D captured the essence of the original and presented it in as true a form as possible. It came to the market at $ 3749, a price point which should have deflated demand for 30 year old Minimoogs. Unfortunately demand for the new unit outstripped even Moog’s most optimistic projections and parts became scare. Moog was forced to halt production after just one year.

The story might have ended there had not the COVID lock-down pushed the musical instrument industry into overdrive. Demand in 2020 quickly elevated the asking prices for the 2016 reissue to well over $ 6000 by year end. In the second half of 2020, the prices for mint condition original Model D’s began a similar upward climb and 2021 began with their asking price hovering around $ 6000.

So 2022 brought us the most extraordinary rebirth of the Model D to date. More than a half-century after its invention, the Minimoog Model D went back into production at the Moog factory in Asheville, North Carolina. Extraordinary care had been taken to retain the exact component placement and through hole-design of a 1970’s era Model D.

Moog Minimoog 2022

Hand- assembled with uncompromised materials and carefully sourced components, the new version is built to its original factory specifications.
The 2022 Minimoog is a true reincarnation. The legendary ladder filter, the powerful oscillators and the rich saturating mixer sound true to the original
design. Cosmetically the sole major change is a locally sourced Appalachian cherry cabinet with a walnut stain.

A few popular modifications have been made to improve functionality, playability and integration. The dedicated LFO and Fatar keyboard have been added and velocity and after pressure are available via top panel CV jacks with trimpots. MIDI integration has been improved, there is a mixer feedback modification which allows this D to overdrive and scream with a turn of a knob. The pitch wheel is now spring loaded with a center deadband. The mod wheel now responds to and sends MIDI and the pitch wheel is calibrated to a perfect fifth interval up and down.

Gordon Reid’s review of the 2016 Reissue in “Sound on Sound” summed up the case for the reissue very nicely and his words are just as appropriate for the 2022 version: “It looks like a Minimoog...It sounds like a Minimoog. It IS a Minimoog......with extras!. Don’t be a numpty and claim that you tried one and it sounds nothing like the real thing. You might think you’ll sound knowledgeable, but you won’t, and you’ll be wrong. It’s a Minimoog with extras. What’s not to love?”

Moog Music is now an employee owned company and their enthusiasm for the legacy of Robert Moog and his designs has more than the usual credibility. So while company pronouncements usually pour out with an air of propaganda, I believe there is a strong measure of sincerity in this statement from Moog Music’s VP of Product Development;

“This attention to detail in materials and build allows us to connect directly to the legacy and character of this legendary instrument. The Minimoog Model D is more than just a collection of circuits in a box—it’s a true musical instrument that is a joy to program and play. Bob [Moog] always recognized the importance of an instrument’s feel, and we’ve gone to great lengths to honor his practices through the re-introduction and manufacture of this beautiful synthesizer.”

Over the years there have been so many fine products emerge from Asheville. Bob Moog’s last design, the portable, affordable Little Phatty analogue synthesizer; its sucessors the Sub-Phatty and Subsequent 25 and 37, the Mother 32 semi-modular along with the Grandmother and Matriarch and most recently the Mavis build it yourself semi-modular analog. And of course there have always been Moog Theremins.

But in the end, we expect that few offerings will ever quite rival the Minimoog Model D—the ultimate classic synthesizer that outlived an entire generation of manufacturers, artists and consumers and simply refused to die.

Often imitated, never quite duplicated, this small, simple keyboard still inspires with its signature sounds and inviting, comfortable feel. After 50+ years, it has transcended novelty and fashion and it continues to earn its place in both the keyboard Hall of Fame and in the annals of professional audio and recording technology.

FOOTNOTE: It all began with Theremins. A teenage Bob Moog heard Clara Rockmore play one and was inspired at age 14 to build his first theremin. Five years later he founded R.A. Moog Co. with his father, selling theremin kits to finance his college education. His theremins made their way to experimental composer Herbert Deutsch and eccentric genius composer and inventor Raymond Scott. Young Moog began a long friendship with both men which contributed greatly to his eventual design for the Moog synthesizer in 1964... This writer first saw a theremin performance when the pioneering rock band “Lothar and The Hand People” began playing at Greenwich Village nightclubs in 1966-1967. They also did concerts with the Lovin’ Spoonful. Lothar was the group’s affectionate nickname for their theremin.


  1. Wendy Carlos:
  2. Jan Hammer: 
  3. Sun Ra: 
  4. Robert Moog:  

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Release Radar: Alexander Luminous | Empress Heavy Menace | Keeley Super AT
Release Radar: Alexander Luminous | Empress Heavy Menace | Keeley Super AT

May 13, 2023

We get heavy with Empress and their Heavy Menace. Keeley collaborates with Andy Timmons on the Super AT. And Alexander Pedals gets phasey with Luminous. Learn more in this week's edition of Release Radar.
Cornerstone Music: Imperium | Gladio | Aquarium | SC
Cornerstone Music: Imperium | Gladio | Aquarium | SC

April 23, 2023

Cornerstone believes in simplicity, which is found in each of their designs. Each pedal has been conceived and built out of passion, out of Italy. Learn more about Cornerstone!
BASTL Instruments BESTIE Stereo Mixer
BASTL Instruments BESTIE Stereo Mixer

April 14, 2023

A mixer with muscle and grit?? That is what BASTL just created.. The BESTIE is much more than just a simple 5-channel stereo mixer. Learn more!