The 40th anniversary of the Minimoog hits this year: that’s four decades since the original reshaped the very notion of what a synthesizer looks like. Moog Music has answered with a real beast. It returns the core of the Minimoog Model D, but with the Voyager’s stable oscillators, patch storage, signature X/Y touch surface, pot mapping, and MIDI control – all while retaining a 100% analog signal path, if you’re a purist. Just like the Voyager, that means some analog-ically good sound, without sacrificing modern convenience. (Yes, even the Minimoog’s original creators recall that working without patch memory was a huge pain.)
And then it gets, well … a lot bigger. There are 61 keys instead of the original 44, plus a touch-sensitive ribbon controller, so you get more octaves and control. (I’ve long loved having ribbons on a keyboard since I first tried one on a Kurzweil.) And in an unexpected departure, the all-in-one keyboard design is coupled with patching right on the front panel, a feature we haven’t seen in a major instrument since 1970s keyboards from the likes of England’s EMS.
With raw voltage to patch in or out, the XL allows new sound customization, and unique opportunities to integrate it with other analog gear. To route out to other gear, you get 20 CV outputs, covering the keyboard, wheels, LFOs, ribbon, and more, 3 gate outputs, and 3 4-way mults. You also get inputs: 10 CV ins for the oscillators, of course, but also mod, sample & hold, LFO rate, and more, plus 4 gate inputs for envelope, LFO, and S&H gate.
In short, Control Voltage is back. At US$4995, a lot of people won’t be able to afford the XL, but that’s little matter. The instrument we’ll be gawking at in centerfolds, that boys and girls will paste on their ceiling and dream about as they go to bed at night, will be analog. Sorry, digital.
And yes, this did leak out a little bit early, but this is now fully confirmed by CDM’s contacts at the Moog Music company. And since you may not want to put CDM, Synthtopia, or Matrixsynth under your pillow – that iPad could certainly disrupt your sleep – you’ll be glad to know that Keyboard Magazine will have a feature hitting newsstands soon.
More specs than you can shake a patch cord at – plus an “add to cart” button that could make you break into a sweat:
Minimoog Voyager XL @ Moog Music
61-Note Velocity Sensitive Keyboard with After-Pressure
Ribbon Controller with Pitch and Gate CV Outputs
Touch Surface Controller with X, Y, A and Gate Outputs
Stereo External Audio Input
Effects Loop Insert
2 Active Attenuators
4-Input CV Mixer
2nd MIDI-Synced LFO
3 Four-Way Mults
20 Control Voltage Outputs
3 Gate Outputs
10 Control Voltage Inputs
4 Gate Inputs
2 Modulation Busses
Solid Oak Cabinet
Tilting Control Panel
And for a full-sized image of the front panel, enjoy:
Images courtesy Moog Music.