Minimoog Model D App Recreates Classic Moog Sound On iOS

Moog today introduced the Minimoog Model D app – a software synth, designed to bring the classic Minimoog sound to iOS.

The Minimoog Model D app was created by Moog for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It’s hardware-intensive, so it requires a 64-bit iOS device.

It’s based on Moog’s recently reintroduced Model D hardware synthesizer, but also incorporates some capabilities not available in its hardware predecessor. New features include four-voice polyphony, a flexible arpeggiator, a real time looping recorder with unlimited overdubs, a tempo-synchronizable stereo ping-pong delay module, and a new time modulation effect, Bender.

Here’s the official video intro:

The Minimoog Model D app is designed to work standalone or within mobile DAWs. With AUv3 Audio Unit extension support, multiple instances of Model D can be used simultaneously within iOS apps like Apple’s GarageBand.

Geert Bevin

We talked with Geert Bevin, Senior Software Engineer at Moog Music, about the new Model D app, why it’s for iOS only and how he sees the app being used in electronic music workflows:

Synthtopia: There have been previous software recreations of the Minimoog. Why is Moog bringing out the Minimoog Model D app now?

Geert Bevin: One of the things we really wanted was for it to sound incredibly good – to sound very, very close to the real hardware Minimoog Model D.

One of the reasons that this is coming out now is because we needed the horsepower to do that. It needs 64-bit devices. We tried it out with Model 15 and then moved on from there, to trying to really nail the sound with the Model D.

The other reason is, given the status of the Model D, we really wanted to give everyone the opportunity to experience it. Both in visuals – so staying close to what the original emanates, down to the grain of the wood, to how the reflection of the surface behaves under the light that’s falling on it, to really bring that legacy of the synthesizer across – and then to bring it further, with what is possible in mobile devices now. So, it’s polyphonic and we’ve added a bunch of effects that make sense for it. You’ve got patch sharing, which was not possible before.

And it’s really accessible. So it’s going to be $4.99 at introduction, which is a really low barrier. And it runs on all devices, from the small iPod touch to the big 12″ iPad Pro.

Synthtopia: What was your process for getting the Minimoog sound right as an app?

Geert Bevin: We decided to make a new Model D, not a vintage one, but to base it on the reissue we did in 2016, which added a few new features, like the LFO modes and a different way of handling the modulation.

It all starts with measurements and analysis: just focus on individual components in a real analog Model D, measure it all, put it through an oscilloscope, get spectrographs. Have it all laid out, so you see what happens.

This revealed quite a few things that were surprising to me. Like how the envelopes behaved, like how some of the oscillators are actually reversed when they come back through the modulation path. So getting a view of how it actually behaves, as opposed to how you think it happens.

A lot of people in the company pitched in, because they know the Model D very well, obviously. So listening to it, comparing various iterations of the instrument.

One thing that took a completely different approach was the actual feedback path – where you have the external audio which is normalized to the output of the mains. That’s really, really hard to do in DSP, because you have a buffer size which prevents you from having a real feedback path. Because of latency, you don’t get the same behavior.

If you would naïvely just hook it up at the end of the sound and put it back into the mixer, you’d get the latency of the buffer, which gets you into phase problems, comb-filtering and things that don’t sound like the original at all.

So we reevaluated how that behaved and tried to capture what makes that external normalization feedback path interesting. Part of that is that the sound starts to saturate in a very pleasing way, where the bass stays present. It also thickens the sound a lot, sort of spreads it out a little bit, so it becomes stronger but more pronounced.

So what we actually did was design a whole separate signal path, that runs in parallel, but behaves slightly different and very close to what would happen if it were routed in analog. It’s almost like you’ve got two synthesizers, running next to each other, just for that external feedback path.

Synthtopia: What can you tell us about MPE in the Minimoog Model D app?

Geert Bevin: MPE support is currently two dimensional, individual pitch for each touch and individual timbre control. It’s based on the implementation in Model 15. It does all the per-channel stuff of MPE, so whenever a note comes in on a MIDI channel, all the expression on that channel will be tied to that note.

What it doesn’t do is the master channel that MPE has, where you’ve got one main channel where any changes you have there are pushed to all channels. If you have like a global pitch bend, it doesn’t do that. It also does not support the MPE activation message, because the spec is not published yet.

In practice, if you have an MPE MIDI controller and turn it on to MPE mode, Model D will get the NRPN pitch bend range message and automatically set up the pitch bend range. Then you have to manually select the MIDI input channels and set it to MPE, instead of Omni or a specific numbered MIDI channel.

Synthtopia: Moog’s iOS synths are some of the most professional ones available. Why aren’t you making them available for desktop computers?

Geert Bevin: We get a lot of requests for it. The main thing there is that we’re still getting into the software aspect of things. We are a small company. We have limited resources. And we try to deliver quality products every time.

By focusing on one platform (iOS), it is a walled garden, but it has the advantage that it is a known walled garden. We know exactly what we have to test.

So, we have all of the devices. We actually open it up on all the devices and see if it behaves right, if it feels great, if it responds correctly, if it loads quickly. Everything about the app, we test on the actual device, because that is how the user will experience it.

It’s going to be a lot of work, if we go to other platforms. It doesn’t meant we won’t do it, but we’re going to need a lot of additional resources. We’re in the process of discovering how we can move through this software world, while building synths in the way we build them, which is with a lot of love and care and attention to detail.

Using Minimoog Model D App In Music Production Workflows:

We also talked with Bevin about using the Model D app in music production workflows. He said that there are now a variety of options for integrating the Minimoog Model D app into your workflow:

  • Treat it like a standalone hardware synth – you can use it as you would use any other standalone synthesizer, connecting it with your audio or MIDI interface.
  • Inter-Device Audio & MIDI (IDAM) – is part of the latest iOS & MacOS operating systems and delivers bidirectional audio & MIDI over a standard USB to Lightning cable.
  • Use iOS-friendly interfaces – iConnectivity and Apogee devices are designed with iOS workflows in mind.
  • Record the track on an iOS DAW – mobile DAWs like GarageBand and Cubasis let you complete tracks on your mobile device, or transfer it to the desktop to complete.

Features:

  • Over 160 presets (Hundreds more available in the Minimoog Model D App Store)
  • Up to 4-notes of polyphony
  • Easily share presets and audio recordings with friends
  • Arpeggiator module with note-hold capability
  • Stereo ping-pong delay effect
  • Bender time modulation effect
  • Real-time looping recorder with overdub and immediate sharing
  • Selectable envelope shapes and triggering behavior
  • Effortless MIDI CC mapping
  • Seamlessly backup presets to iCloud
  • Play mode for easier panel and keyboard interaction
  • A new take on the classic feedback/overload path
  • AUv3 Audio Unit Extensions (Including GarageBand)
  • Ableton Link
  • Inter-App Audio and Audiobus

Pricing and Availability

Minimoog Model D is available for iOS with an introductory price of US $4.99. In addition, Moog Music’s other apps are also currently on sale:

  • Model 15 – $14.99
  • Animoog iPad – $4.99
  • Animoog iPhone – $1.99
  • Filtatron – $1.99

40 thoughts on “Minimoog Model D App Recreates Classic Moog Sound On iOS

    1. I see what your getting at but their have been software clones of Moog synths for years, if people really wanted them then the Behringer clones would not be selling like hot cakes. People just want to have the physical interface and the hardware analog sound, at a reasonable price.

  1. Did they just take IMINI from Arturia? Just ass moogerfoogers to the interface and call it a day? Good stuff. Imini is awesome btw.

    1. This Moog version actually sounds a little livelier (and I’m not much of an audio snob). Probably something to do with new algorithms and more headroom in the 64-bit-only environment.

  2. I’m glad the video shows all the clothes and little things around the apartment in great detail so I have an idea of who I should be to want this.

  3. If this is as good as Model 15, it’s going to be my new favorite iOS instrument. They handled the UI so well for such a deep synth; the comparatively simple Minimoog should be a breeze.

    Also, how amazing is it to get a Minimoog for the price of a beer? It’s literally 0.1% the price of the hardware!

  4. This doesnt sound like a Minimoog, or even an analogue synth. It sounds like what it is – a soft synth. For 6 euro its good fun. But the Animoog, which is brillaint, is far superior. Worth the momey for sure, its a bargain, but dont think you’re getting the minimoog sound, you’re not.

    1. Except you are.

      Is the Model D app a perfectly nuanced sonic clone of a classic or reissue Minimoog? No. And a reasonable person shouldn’t expect it to be. Is it a ridiculously inexpensive app that gets you 90 percent of the way to the classic Minimoog sound? Absolutely. The app is a solid performer that sounds brilliant – especially through studio monitors.

      1. I copied some of the patches on my Model D reissue, and one soudned like an analogue synth the other soudned like a soft synth approximation of the same sound. So we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

        A great little soft synth, which sounds similar to a minimoog..

          1. Of course they will. That’s not my point. I’m not saying comparable patches aren’t identical. I’m saying comparable patches, though mainly which using richer or brighter sounds, sound like a soft synth. No real Model D ever sounds like a soft synth.

    2. I’ve had three different Minimoogs since 1978, and they all sounded slightly different, this one easily sounds like my real Minimoogs played through tiny little speakers (I don’t play my iPads through my desk or studio monitors)

    3. You could place 10 different Moog Minimoogs beside each other and none of them would sound the same. So what is your point Minimoogs does not sound like Minimoog, but as Minimoog sounding like Minimoog?

  5. I’m digging the not-so-subtle nods to famous MiniMoog innovators of the past in the promo vid: Parliament (“Flashlight”), Kraftwerk (“The Robots”), Devo (“Whip It”), NIN (“Head Like A Hole”) and Dr. Dre (“Nuthin But a G Thang”)…
    Nicely done, Moog!

  6. I have a Model D reissue, a Voyager XL and a Sub37. I just got the Minimoog app today. Running it next to my hardware Moogs is very impressive. Copying the settings from the app and duplicating them on my Model D has yielded convincing results. Of course, a Bluetooth keyboard is recommended.

    A Minimoog clone with the Moog brand name, for less than $5.00? Well played. Your move, Uli Behringer…

  7. There are a couple other Mini Moog like apps. Everyone knows about iMini, but how does this compare to Mood or Kauldron? These aren’t straight clones, but maybe that’s what might make them somewhat appealing?

  8. Elegant interface, everything makes sense and is effortless to access. Top notch without a doubt, buy it!

  9. Moog Minimoog Model D reissue = $$ A kidney $$

    Vs.

    $4.99

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (tears from laughter) ha ha ha ha …

  10. “So what we actually did was design a whole separate signal path, that runs in parallel, but behaves slightly different and very close to what would happen if it were routed in analog. It’s almost like you’ve got two synthesizers, running next to each other, just for that external feedback path.”

    … That must consume a lot of extra CPU overhead !
    There’s 100’s of analog emulations of delays, reverbs, chorus, flanger etc. in VST’s and Apps that do feedback. Why couldn’t they just simply / mathmatically ‘add’ some of the (dry) output signal data back at the appropriate place in the chain ?

    1. Bevin talks about this in the interview in the article.

      It does eat up a lot of CPU, but it’s needed to get the sound correct.

      In pure analog electrical circuits, the signals travel effectively instantaneously, nearing the speed of light, so there’s no latency of the circuit.

      In digital circuits, there is some latency for the processor to make calculations, so adding a processed signal from the output of a virtual synth back in as an input would put it out of phase with the original signal, and would sound completely different than the original. That’s why Moog had to go to great lengths to recreate the effect in software.

      It’s easy to hear the latency of any digital hardware – just split a signal and run the left channel through the digital effect and the right straight to your mixer and you’ll always hear some tiny bit of delay.

    1. Why do you think this is a response to Behringer? Isn’t the Model D app a logical successor to the Model 15 app and everything else Moog has been doing on iOS for years?

      And what’s tasteless about cloning the classics? Seems very tasteful, and it’s exactly what iMini and a million other VA software and hardware synths do – not to mention many entries in the current analog hardware renaissance.

      Not to mention cheap digital clones like the Volca FM (3-voice DX7 “clone”), or Roland and Yamaha making cheap clones of their own D-50 (as D-05 Boutique) and DX100 (as Reface DX) respectively. They’re all great sounding instruments that are compact, inexpensive, and fun.

      1. I suspect Moog cares a lot about Behringer releasing a copy of their flagship synth. Behringer has over 3000 employees, while Moog is a relatively small 70 person company.

  11. If Behringer do bring out a vst model D ,i will buy it immediately as it will work on pc and Uli will not make a excuse about why no ipad version.

  12. I got it yesterday and it’s excellent. I also have the reissue. By itself, it’s actually sonically more interesting than the hardware as it is polyphonic, has a great delay and bender effect plus a looper and arp. I was off creating the weirdest music with this thing in no time. You can do a lot of amazing stuff with it as is. I didn’t have an external keyboard and that would definitely be a good thing. This really is an amazing accomplishment by Moog. It’s also a great app for kids which essentially gives them the capability and sound of the real thing for a bleeding fiver!
    Now if Moog would just make a hardware and software version of the Memorymoog.

  13. Congrats on this release Geert et al.

    It’s 4 note polyphonic, saves patches and has MIDI support. So it’s actually 2/3 of a Memorymoog at well under 1% the current asking price.

    Getting the entire set of Moog synths for under $30 is such a great deal. Absurd, really.

  14. Releases like this bring much respect to Moog, Geert and all! The masters of iOS synth creation, built on top of a company who mastered analog expression. Sheer quality, and shared with ‘the masses’. No big fuss. Pure synth quality. Big thanks!

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