Moog Music has launched an iOS app version of the Minimoog Model D, giving the hardware synth that was used by artists like Kraftwerk, Trent Reznor, and Gary Numan a faithful digital reproduction. The app launch comes just months after Moog said it was discontinuing building new Minimoog Model D synths due to it “being consumed at a much higher rate than anticipated.”
The main portion of the app is an accurate visual analogy to the hardware counterpart, down to the mimicked wood cabinetry and metal hinge above the keyboard. But the company has taken some liberties and added capabilities exclusive to the app. While the hardware Minimoog Model D is monophonic (produces only one note at a time), the app has the option to play chords with up to four notes at once.
There’s also an arpeggiator module, a real time looping recorder with unlimited overdubs, a tempo-synchronizable stereo ping-pong delay module, and something Moog calls the Bender — a new wide-range time modulation effect module. All of these effects modules are tucked underneath a button labeled “FX” at the top, and then tapping on each one reveals a drop down menu of adjustable parameters. It also works with mobile DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) via AUv3, meaning it can be used within apps like Apple’s GarageBand.
I spent some time with it on my iPhone and while it is a time sucker in the best possible way — an hour breezed by while I rummaged through presets, and played with changing patches via the new effects which are incredibly expressive — I can imagine it would be better used on an iPad. Trying to adjust the tiny knobs and press the right keys on a phone screen at times became an exercise in frustration. That said, this Model D app comes fully stocked with 160 lush and thick hallmark Moog sounds, from buzzy and delightfully harsh leads to squelchy and echoed square wave keys.
The Minimoog was originally released in 1970, with production stopping in 1981. It was then re-designed in 2002 and released as the Minimoog Voyager. The Minimoog Model D reissue was introduced in 2016, a version that combined most of the original design and components from the original 1970 version, but with a few modern updates like MIDI and a keyboard with velocity and aftertouch.
Moog’s first app, called Animoog, was released in 2011. It was the first professional polyphonic synth designed for iPad and features an X/Y space where sounds can be physically manipulated. Since then, the company has released numerous pieces of software including numerous plugin editors for their hardware instruments that can be used with DAWs and Filtatron, an iOS app that lets you process and modulate sounds through things like an LFO and delay.
The Minimoog Model D app is available now for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Buying a hardware Minimoog Model D will set you back $3,500, but the app can be had at an introductory price of $4.99.