Look past the plug-ins and controllers and hosts that work with controllers and iPads sitting in docks and such. If you like dedicated, analog monosynth hardware, life is actually pretty darned good.

Okay, so for those of you without deep pockets, you may not know some of the back story here. Moog’s limited-edition Taurus 3 was a brilliant update of the classic Taurus bass pedal, complete with luscious foot pedals. And with a street dipping down near US$1699, it’s honestly not a bad deal. The problem is, not everyone has that cash, or the ability to lug around a big, heavy pedal.

So, let’s change that equation. Leaked on the Web and then formally announced today, the Minitaur is just a little Taurus. And it’s kind of nothing but awesome. It’s got the footprint of a small-ish book, weighs less than 3 pounds, and will cost US$679 when it ships in the spring.

This isn’t Moog’s first adventure in the sub-$1000 range. But for the first time since the Rogue, you get a truly entry-level Moog synth with a one-knob-per-function interface – something that the Slim Phatty, while it sounds fantastic, lacks.

And you get a lot of goodness for your $700 or so: a steel case, two saw and square waves, the Taurus-style ladder filter, and envelopes a la Minimoog. That gives you Moog-y sounds, and then you add in modern Moog-y control: MIDI DIN, MIDI over USB, and analog inputs for pitch, filter, volume, and gate.

The beauty of all of this is that now, in 2012, your choices for analog monosynths you can actually afford are numerous. The Minitaur sits nicely next to rivals from smaller names – the Doepfer Dark Energy, Vermona Mono Lancet, and DSI Mopho. (Thanks to reader Philip Viana for pointing that out – and yeah, I hope to see all these four compared soon. I’ll get on that.)

Now, if only Moog could put this in a strap-on and call it the Minitar, my life would be complete.

I hope to go visit the new creation at Moog. That is, assuming there isn’t a dart board with my face on it – yes, I did sort of get some flack for admitting to liking hardware synths better than iPads on a certain site paradoxically with “digital” in the name. But consider this: you and a friend each spend just under $700 on an iPad 2 and a Minitaur. (We’ll include tax and the cost of some apps.) Apples to oranges, yes, but – considering the invariable release of an iPad 3 right after you buy the thing and your battery will be shot in a couple of years, come back in 2016 and look at these two purchases, and I’d ask, how do you like them apples?

I mean, seriously, what a*****e would be pushing all that digital technology?

Okay, I’ll go sit in the corner now.

Let’s look at more pictures. And stay tuned for some hands-on time when this is out.

  • Kaden

    This flagrant sullying of CDM's mission statement with an all analog signal path is gonna cost you serious street cred… I mean… seriously… How. Dare. You.

    • peterkirn

      MIDI DIN. (and even USB) We're saved!

    • Kaden

      But is there iOS editing software? IS THERE??

    • peterkirn

      Oh, and those are *digitally-controlled* analog VCOs. Whew.

  • Marsha Vdovin

    Oh, you are funny  Peter Kirn!

  • Don't Buy Moog

    Having owned a Micro, Mini, Rouge, and a few others I care not to remember and now a Slim Phatty I will speak to those people who know synths well : Don't buy Moog.

    Every unit was/is cheap in build, lacked innovation (yeah, Mini was the only innovative unit and that squeaked by), and the current models are riddled with operating system errors, low quality construction, poor preamps, and parts so particular to the unit you need to pray nothing ever breaks. Total nightmare. Bob shoulda' quit in '71.

    Peter, thx for posting you are the best. But producers or synth fans who are able to discern quality will be very disappointed. All of the Moogs since late 1990s are retail and not professional. (Remember Big Briar? Bob could not keep control on his last name much less the quality of the units…)

    Other options : None. The synth market has been destroyed by big box stores selling synths at cost (my shop was put out by one of these). Modular is the way to go, but there are a select few who control the modular market as both wholesaler and retailer (ethics anyone?). As Peter said : Modular is like meth for musicians – that is correct.

    • Then buy what?

      that is rich.

      The idea that a product is worthless if it's not innovative is sort of silly, and the notion that there are no alternatives is just so wrong it's sort of endearing, but nothing compares to recommending _modulars_ as a solution to poor build quality. Really?

      A world of incompatible power standards, flaky power supplies, modules that explode when plugged into the power bus a certain way, that show harsh noise in the triangle out because of some ju-ju related to the Earth's magnetic field, or leylines or whatever? Really?

      Envelopes that go up to 10V that can fry some modules that can only take CV up to 5V? Really?

      Maybe you're thinking Behringer or Edirol – those are cheap. But in your trolling, you fail to mention which manufacturers would be doing a better job than Moog. Aside from Cwejman, there really aren't many.

    • http://www.lazytrap.com Aaron

      Absurd statements in general. I also seriously doubt the validity of your claims to what you've owned. Try visiting VSE and posting the same argument.

    • You sir, are an idiot.

  • https://www.facebook.com/bubblescum Heba

    Dubstep demo. Standard.

    Gotta. Get. One.

  • http://rucyl.com Rucyl

    swoon

  • kim

    “Now, if only Moog could put this in a strap-on and call it the Minitar, my life would be complete.”

    er, you might want to re-phrase this! ;)

  • Jeff

    done forget the all analog paia fatman

  • http://rhythminmind.net/1313/ Eric Beam

    2012 maybe not the Mayan end of the world, but the end of digital creation being the hipster focus. Well I can speculate anyways, the never-ending secretion of iPad apps isn't ending anytime soon.

    • peterkirn

      I don't know whose hipster focus you mean, but this site is still in the business of manufacturing a digital monosynth. Don't take this too seriously.

    • BirdsUseStars

      Peter, stop trying to lighten the tone. Someones opinion about something on the internet is slightly different from that of others. ITS SERIOUS BUSINESS.  

  • http://iamri.com ritec

    I'd buy it…. sounds FAT.

  • http://www.document02.com Document 02

    Hey, find a iThing/Android app that sounds like a big analogue & reactive like hardware and you can stop bashing the new digits. Meanwhile, Haven’t seen one portable app that comes close to the minitaur.

    Computers compete with hardware (each have their own pros & cons), tablets/phones are today’s computers of the early 90′s, they work, they have great potential, we’re just not there yet.

  • donkey

    did anyone else think that demo was pretty weak?

    • eman

      Yep.. a bit disappointed by the wobble bit. Took away from the unit in my opinion which looks rather nice.

    • http://www.inoutfest.org active

      yea, i am on shitty speakers but still, meh? rather save for something bigger, better, more expandable. we shall see, can't wait to try it either way!

  • Seadweller

    NOT.ANOTHER.DUBSTEP.DEMO. !!!

    (please Moog, you don't need it)

  • dbell

    I'm buying it just for the orange buttons.  Too bad it's got all those knobs and no MIDI out, though… a "controller mode" combined with its size would have made it a great deal IMO.

  • http://www.parliament.uk/business/lords/ Rt. Hon. Charles Arthur Arbuthnot-Rigby

    Tasty. But I’d still get a Dark Energy first. If I wasn’t skint.

  • http://www.sourcedistribution.co.uk SourceDist

    To bring this right on-message, I think we're going to have to simply produce a Lemur control surface for it. Job done?

  • http://xfader.com regend

    i like this product but i wonder if this is just a repackage of the little phatty minus some the square/sine OSC.
    i used the little phatty on a record and i liked using it in live settings.  
    here's a video of me playing one:&nbsp ;http://youtu.be/pN70PGMRoFI
    what i am realizing with a product release like this, and who i would sell it to, is the new generation of computer music creators who are new to the brand and want a desktop synth like the DSI Mopho but what a brand they can grow with instead of a boutique product. this makes a great first synth. 

  • http://www.scarkord.com ScarKord

    You would have thought they could at least do a demo were the clap sound was in time! Looks great – demo sounds awful though!

  • GeDe

    Absolute lame demo.  and that's not dubstep. seriously.

  • Spazmatron

    Looks pretty sweet, but I’m wandering if I wouldn’t rather have a slim phatty for just a little more cash?  I like one knob per function, but you get quite a bit more with the slim phatty. Don’t get me wrong, I like this design, but I think more like $550 would set apart from the slim phatty. You can even find second hand little phattys for $800-$900 if your patient. 

  • Randy Piscione

    I'm trying to figure out how all this analog stuff was at first wonderful, and then became crap when digital started coming in, and then became wonderful again. So which is it? Is this (or any of the other little analog monosynths) really that much thicker/better/whatever than digital, and are these things really worth $700.00 per voice? Have blind tests been done? Oh, and why is this a bass synth? Can't it be used for lead sounds? Does it blow up if you play a note above, say, middle C?

    • mckenic

      From what I read on Muffs – It just wont play above middle C…

      Looking forward to this & wont really judge it by Youtube vids. Heveta see/hear one in person!

  • J

    First impression: the Dark Energy seems so much more inspiring. Patching baby, yeah!

  • dezombie

    GeDe… agreed! their demos have really gotten lame. A bunch of fluff and special effects. All that cool CV, MIDI and USB connectors and in the 2 or 3 videos I've seen, not one is used. Then they trot out Geddy Lee to whip up the proggy nostalgia. At least it wasn't the bland indie-pop bands from their "sound lab". Geddy has actually played a Moog before ;) Minitaur has only been out a couple of days and Sweetwater has the best demo of it. What happened to Moog? Have the engineers left the building. I want to learn from Moog, not listen to a bunch of cooler-than-thou hype.

  • orange julius

    it looks like the bulls has testicles hanging out of his mouth

    • Adrian

      Hmmm, I don't see it. Are you talking about the snort lines or the front hoof?

    • electronic

      hah, i see what you mean. very funny. : )

    • datafromsng

      bahahaha

  • youngcircle

    You’re in Berlin now right Peter? You shouldn’t have any problem picking up a nice (analog) strap on next time the mood hits you. And if you’re broke, I’m pretty sure you can get one on loan from one of Berlin’s numerous and well-stocked libraries :)

    My familyis from Bavaria, the very …German part of Germany. That’s why I love Berlin
    So very un-German in lots of ways, the people are basically liberal fascists! Free thinkers in the very best sense. I’d move there in a heartbeat.

  • youngcircle

    Oh, and I love Moog, I love my iPad, and I especially love my fellow often bitchy and ever picky fellow CDM one-uppers (btw one-upmanship is So last year, I just read that in a thing). Can’t wait cause its gonna be a stellar year for new products and complaints, anything to keep us privelidged 10 percenters from thinking about 3rd world misery, impending global warming doom, god vs evil (skrillex) and other boring stuff let’s do this!!!! 

  • ChuckEye

    So an extra $200 buys you presets? (And a audio in, MIDI Out & Thru in the form of the Slim Phatty…)

  • DBM

    To add to the sub 1k  Desktop Mono synth round up …. Ken Macbeth just let it be known the MicroMac is still happening and done (development part anyway ) .    

  • http://audiotecna.info/ Alfredo bicho Vargas

    Wonderful synth this one! With a sound almost as pleasant as the original minimoog and more flexible than the original Taurus, this will surely stay in the studio way longer than the tablet trend. Audiotecna has them available right now at a really good price, if you live in Colombia ;)

  • BARF

    "A world of incompatible power standards, flaky power supplies, modules that explode when plugged into the power bus a certain way, that show harsh noise in the triangle out because of some ju-ju related to the Earth's magnetic field, or leylines or whatever? Really?"

    Um. I'm kind of a n00b when it comes to modular synths, but I think your assessment of their "poor build quality" is a tad extreme. Power standards appear to be pretty stable if you stay within specific "genre" (eurorack, 5U, Buchla, etc). Modules can be damaged if you plug them into the bus wrong (i.e. +12 going to -12 and vice versa). But this "problem" is easily solved by reading the manual and checking the PCB. Hot modules frying other modules? I have no experience with that, but if you're really concerned READ THE MANUAL and know what your gear is doing.