Everything You Need to Know About Minimoog: The Minimoog is an analogue synthesise that was first made by Moog Music from 1970 to 1981. It was the first synthesise that could be bought in stores.
It was made to be a cheaper, more portable version of the modular Moog synthesise. Progressive rock and jazz musicians were the first to use it, and since then disco, pop, rock, and electronic music have all used it a lot.
Progress in Development
RA Moog Co made Moog synthesises in the 1960s. These machines added electronic sounds to music but were still out of reach for most people. It was hard to use these modular synthesisers because you had to connect parts by hand using patch cables in order to make sounds.
Their price was tens of thousands of dollars, and they could sense temperature and humidity. In 1970, only 28 were owned by musicians. Most were owned by universities or record labels and were used to make soundtracks or jingles.
Moog engineer Bill Hemsath made a prototype by cutting a keyboard in half and wiring several parts into a small cabinet. He wanted to make a synthesiser that was smaller and more reliable. Robert Moog, president of Moog, thought the prototype was fun, but he didn’t think there was a market for it at first.
Moog and the engineers made a few more prototypes, this time adding features like the suitcase shape to make it easier to carry.
the team thought they could sell “maybe 100 of them” as session musicians. A former evangelist and musician named David Van Koevering became friends with Moog. Van Koevering was so impressed with the Minimoog that he started showing it to musicians and music stores.
As a friend, Van Koevering was able to use a building on a private island in Florida that Bell owned. Bell is the founder of the restaurant chain Taco Bell. Island of Electronicus was the name of an event that Van Koevering put on there.
He called it a “pseudo-psychedelic experience that brought counterculture (minus the drugs) to straight families and connected it with the sound of the Minimoog.”
The later models
In the 1980s, Alex Winter of Caerphilly, Wales, bought the rights to use the Moog Music name in the UK. In 1998, he started making a limited number of the Moog Minimoog 204E, which was an updated Minimoog. MIDI and pulse width modulation were added to the Model D by the 204E.
Robert Moog bought the company and owned the rights to the Moog name again in 2002. Moog Co. updated the Minimoog and released it as the Minimoog Voyager in 2002. It sold more than 14,000 units, which was more than the original Minimoog.
Shortly after, the Welsh branch of Moog Music went bankrupt, but Winter kept the rights to the Moog name in the UK. This meant that the Minimoog Voyager was released there as the Voyager by Bob Moog.
The Minimoog was the first synthesiser to be called a “classic,” according to TJ Pinch, author of Analogue Days. Wired called it “the most famous synthesiser in music history…a ubiquitous analogue keyboard that can be heard in countless pop, rock, hip-hop, and techno tracks from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.”
It was also important that it could be moved around. Someone who works for Moog called David Borden said that the Minimoog “took the synthesiser out of the studio and put it in the concert hall.” The Guardian said, “The Minimoog changed everything… the Moogs oozed character.”
This meant that the synthesiser could now reliably play as either a melodic lead or a propulsive bass instrument, not just as a complex sound-generating machine. One could always tell a Moog sound by how strange, kitsch, and cute it was, or how harsh it was.
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