The Minimoog synthesizer is a monophonic analog synthesizer, invented by David van Koevering and Robert Moog. Released in 1970 by the original Moog Music, it was among the first widely available, portable and relatively affordable synthesizers.
Minimoog was first exhibited at the National Association of Music Merchants convention in June, 1971. Minimoog was the first commercially mass produced synthesizer. Thus it is sometimes said that the Minimoog took the synthesizer out of the studio and put it into the concert hall.
Vital facts about Minimoog
The Minimoog is incased in a wooden frame. It has a hinged, swing up control panel that can be set to different height angles. It has a three and a half octave keyboard with 44 keys, a pitch bend wheel, a mod wheel, 3 sturdy oscillators, glide, extensive modulation capabilities, and best of all, an external input for running any audio signal through the filters.
The process by which it works
The external inputs are not designed for external keyboard control as the external pitch control does not pass through the glide circuit, and is also not presented to the VCF tracking switches. The modulation and pitch-bending wheels in the Minimoog synthesizer are an innovation that many instrumentalists found to be extremely playable. The pitch-bend wheel is on the left of the modulation wheel. It is normally kept in the centered position.
The Minimoog has six sound sources. Five of these sound sources which include three voltage-controlled oscillators with switch able waveforms, a noise generator, an external line input, pass to a mixer with independent level controls.
The mixed output of the sources is then passed through the voltage-controlled filter VCF and a voltage-controlled amplifier VCA, each of which has its own ADSD envelope generator. There is also a switch above the pitch bend wheel and modulation wheels to engage the final decay stage as well as a switch for engaging the glide circuit.
The noise generator can also be routed to the control voltage inputs of the filter and oscillators. The amount of pitch or filter modulation thus created is controlled by the modulation wheel. The modulation wheel is the right one of the two plastic disks located to the left of the keyboard. Thus, the third oscillator is frequently used as a low-frequency oscillator to control the pitch of the synthesizer.
Despite the advent of low-cost digital synthesizers and samplers, the Minimoog synthesizer remains in high demand with producers and performers of electronic pop and electronic music. It was highly popular in 1970s and 1980s electronic music and has been used by several pop and rock artists of that era.
The Minimoog could produce an extremely rich and powerful bass sound because of the design of its classic moog octave filter, its three oscillators, and tuning instabilities which would tend to keep the oscillators moving against one another. It is one of the first synthesizers that were compact, portable and available to most musicians.