Moog and Arturia Bring Mini-Monster Analog Synths to NAMM!

NAMM Music

NAMM 2012 just keeps rolling … and more and more great products are appearing. Given that I grew up with analog synthesis and all of the good (the sound) and bad (everything else) that went along with it, I have always been amused by the fascination younger folks have with analog synthesizers. I still have a 90’s sound module that used a combination of digital sampling and waveform manipulation to provide analog-like sounds, but recently we have seen and heard much greater use of the massive bass waveforms by artists in electronica and dance music.

This week at NAMM we have seen two awesome analog syths for under $750 that take different approaches but deliver top-notch sound with loads of control – the Moog MiniTaur and Arturia MiniBrute.

Moog MiniTaur

Moog is a name that has been around forever in synthesizers, and they continue to bring the classic sounds to modern technology with the new MiniTaur.

Minitaur is a powerful, compact Analog Bass Synthesizer that features a classic one knob per function design. It is the first instrument in the Taurus family that does not have foot pedals. At only 8.5″ x 5.25″ and less than 3lbs, the Minitaur puts legendary analog Moog bass into a package designed to fit seamlessly into today’s performance and production environments. There are no confusing or convoluted menus to dig through. Plug in a MIDI controller or hook it up to your computer and start playing immediately.

Don’t be fooled by it’s size. Minitaur delivers all the growl, snarl and low end assosiciated with the Taurus family of Bass Synthesizers in a rugged performance package that is small enough to take with you anywhere.

• One knob per function interface for tweaking and creating new sounds on the fly. It also makes live performance a blast.
• Two oscillators with Sawtooth (Original Taurus) and Square wave-shapes for each VCO. Recreate sounds of the original Taurus with sawtooth waves, or create new sounds with square waves or a combination of both.
• 2 Mixer VCAs for VCO levels control of Oscillators 1 and 2.
• Moog Ladder Filter with adjustable resonance delivers classic Taurus 1 and 3 bass and boom.
•Two Minimoog style ADSR Envelope Generators for modulating VCF and VCA. The Decay and Release segments are controlled by the Decay knob, while the Release segment is enabled or disabled via Release On/Off switch.
• Midi-syncable LFO with Controls for Rate, VCO LFO Amount, and VCF LFO Amount
• DIN MIDI and MIDI over USB offer complete control of the Minitaur’s sound engine.
• Analog Control inputs for Pitch, Filter, Volume and Gate. Use an EP2 or CV to connect and control MInitaur with everything from Modulars to Moogerfoogers.
• External audio input for processing external audio through the Mixer and Filter section of Minitaur.
• Headphone output with 1/8″ connection.
• Compact rugged steel chassis that is built like a tank.

Here is a highlight video of the MiniTaur:


And here is a much more in-depth look:


The Minotaur is expected to release in spring 2012 for $679. Head to for more details!

Arturia MiniBrute:
Arturia is a company that started off making recreations of classic synthesiers like the Prophet V, then moved on to virtual analog software modules, and has now introduced a mini-keyboard based analog synth that is small and nexpensive … but feature packed!

Arturia describes the MiniBrute: “The pure analog, multi-wave oscillator combined with a huge sounding classic multi-mode filter, and wide range of modulation capabilities will bring new life into your recordings and stage performances. Add to that outstanding features like the Ultrasaw, Metalizer, Brute Factor, Arpeggiator, LFO with sample and hold, full USB / MIDI / CV connectivity; all of which are housed in a rugged metal enclosure and it is almost too brutal to think about!”

MiniBrute Features and Specifications:

•Monophonic synthesizer
•100 Percent analog audio signal path
•Steiner-Parker 2-pole Multimode Filter (Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass, and Notch)
•Voltage Controlled Oscillator with Sub-Osc (Square, Sine, -1 and -2 oct)
•Oscillator Mixer (Sub, Sawtooth, Square, Triangle, White Noise, Audio In)
•Signal Enhancers:
•Pulse Width Modulation
•Ultrasaw generating shimmering sawtooth waveforms
•Metalizer bringing extreme triangle harmonics
•Brute Factor delivering saturation and rich harmonics
•LFO1 with 6 waveforms (Sine, Triangle, Sawtooth, Square, Random Square, Random Sine) and bi-polar modulation destinations (to PWM and Metalize, Pitch, Filter, Amplifier)
•LFO1 clock syncable to Arpeggiator (Arpeg, or free)
•LFO2 with selectable rate and 3 vibrato modes (trill up, trill down, sine)
•Two ADSR Envelope Generators with selectable slow / fast speed (from 1 millisecond to more than 10 seconds)
•Keyboard Tracking on the VCF Cutoff
•25-Note semi-weighted keyboard with aftertouch (assignable to Cutoff or Vibrato amount)
•Mod Wheel (assignable to Cutoff, Vibrato, or LFO amount)
•Pitch Wheel (with selectable bend range)
•Octave selector from -2 to +2 octaves
•External Analog Audio Input
•CV In / Out controls: Pitch, Filter, Amp
•MIDI In / Out with 5-pin DIN connectors
•USB MIDI In / Out
•CV Gate source selector (Audio / Hold / Keyboard)
•1/4″ Audio Output and 1/4″ Headphone Output
•Full Function Arpeggiator:
•4 Modes of arpeggiation
•4 Octave range control
•6 Step divisions
•6 Swing positions
•Hold function
•Tempo knob
•Tap tempo
•MIDI Sync
•Rugged aluminum enclosure
•12V DC 1A power

Here is a video of the Arturia showing functionality all wrapped up in a polished commercial:


And here is a much more in-depth look:


The MiniBrute wasn’t given a release date but the plan is for a $549 price point.
Head to Arturia for more details!

About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

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