As the industry trends toward digital sound and plug-ins (or so we were told), we increasingly have . . . wha? More hardware emulating old analog classics? And now at prices under US$1000?

Believe it. Creamware has previewed two new hardware boxes, the Minimax ASB and Profit-5 ASB. They don't mention the Minimoog or Prophet-5
by name, but the boxes rip off knob layout and even the typefaces of
these classic analog synths. Creamware's plug-in versions of the same
have earned some kudos, but the company is now packing the sound into
compact, inexpensive hardware.

Availability: June (Minimax); August (Profit-5) projected
Cost: US$899 (Minimax); US$999 (Profit-5)
Compatibility: Remote control software appears to be Windows-only, but USB and MIDI interfaces should make them universal
Specs: 6 voices, 128 factory presets, 128 user presets, stereo analog audio I/O
(PDF info)

That's right — a Minimoog clone with USB under a grand. This is all-digital emulation, not real analog, but the price is right.

So what's next for Creamware — a lawsuit? Roland has already sued Behringer over cheap clones of its Boss effects pedals (see Music Thing story),
but Creamware appear to be erring on the careful side. Not to mention, this is no Minimoog Voyager — though it's also half the price. Your landlord would prefer you get the Creamware, thank you.

What's weird here is that, swapping one German manufacturer for another, this story
was almost exactly predicted by Music Thing's April Fool's joke.
Tom at Music Thing tells us "I had to read the date on the Harmony
Central story three times." Tom's imagined product wasn't far off, though Tom's Synthi clone and US$475 price tag won't be out any time soon. Next year, Tom, go more absurd. Or, er, watch out, Cakewalk; Toyota may well be hungry. (And Bob Moog better hope no one rips off his brilliant silence generator.)

  • Guest

    You think $999 for emulated analog sans keyboard is a decent price? I'm not sure. It seems high to me, consideing you can get a Korg MS2000 for $499 these days, not to mention the Alesis Ion thing is only 800ish as well, and has an actual keyboard attached. And I can get a 2nd-generation Nord Lead keyboard for $999 at Sweetwater now, and that offers significantly more than 6 voices.

    $600 seems more reasonable. $500 would really make me sit up and take notice.

    Maybe they're saving up for the lawsuit…

  • admin

    I don't think you could make this for $500. And while the Nord and Alesis are nifty, they don't have this kind of direct knob control over parameters. So I see the appeal. I won't be getting one, myself; nothing here I really need. But I'm sure they will be popular.

    Naw, I'll be busy playing with Ableton Operator. Long live FM. đŸ˜‰

  • Guest

    It's genuine enough to satisfy people who are flush enough to afford the toy, but not flush enough to track down and pay for real thing. That makes sense sort of doesn't it?

  • Guest

    I have the MINIMAX synth already in my PULSAR system which is essentially the same as this but without the new box with twiddlers on. All I can say is that IT IS a MOOG. You will not here a better emulation of a MOOG anywhere. Sticking it in a box with a newer DSP chip than the PULSAR/SCOPE system and making it the same "interface" as the original MOOG is a killer app in my opinion. The Prophet is of similar quality. If they could figure out how to do the Modular III from SCOPE as well they would be rocking…

  • Guest

    By the way these synths have been out for about a year in software already so with a bit of luck they won't be pursued by Roland etc… Just to reiterate these synths actually sound as good (if not better) than the originals. SOS did a massive review of thr MINIMAX and couldn't believe it either…

  • admin

    I agree, lawsuit unlikely. Moog might have to sue, oh, the entire synth industry anyway, given the influence of his instruments. When I say "laugh off" it's because Bob Moog has been a bit of a snob about emulated analog; he doesn't buy it. But that doesn't mean the rest of us can't!

    And yes, I think this is a pretty great deal, personally. I haven't gotten to hear the Creamware stuff, but with what I keep hearing from Creamware users, I certainly want to hear this beast!