At the moment when synthesizers are getting more economical, Moog are firmly establishing what the synth as luxury item looks like – and it’s this. The Minimoog model D is an exact recreation of the iconic original monosynth, starting production of that machine for the first time in three decades, down to even tiny details of circuits. And it’ll cost you – US$3499, limited run in America only.

That means we now have essentially two iterations of Moog Music. One is making luxury recreations of its original history, in their original form. The other is making new products and new designs – and for a larger audience (especially because of price).

Price alone isn’t really the issue. In fact, it’s easy to get hung up on the price and forget just how much more efficient production is now. The Minimoog model D Moog Music have just introduced is nearly a part-by-part recreation of the original. It even uses accurate through-hole rather than surface-mount production (which allows it to be more true to which parts are used). Yet it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the original.

Get ready for some sticker shock. The 1970 Minimoog price, adjusted for inflation using the USA Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index is…
US$61,356.88.

Even deadmau5 would have trouble spending that much money.

The best part of the demo video is you get to hear Bob Moog himself talk about his creation:

But forget about the price for a second. What’s remarkable about the model D, like Moog’s Keith Emerson modular that came before it (at the last Moogfest, no less), is that it is an exact recreation. Think about that for a second. No other major brand is doing this. The closest is KORG, but their recreations are more modernized approximations – not unlike classic car reissues. And as such, their ARP and MS-20 were downsized and added features like MIDI; even the limited run full-sized MS-20 was modernized from the original and still kept a fairly low price tag.

The model D and Emerson modular are recreations, not approximations. They’re effectively starting up the old production line as if nothing happened.

The new model D at least gives you that recreation with extras. So there’s added modulation and CV, aftertouch, and MIDI. These you get in addition to the authentic instrument – meaning you can still imagine it as the original, but with some modern niceties. It’s a bit like owning a Minimoog mod. And those things I think move the appeal from eccentric to practical, if pricey.

But even with those changes, this is Moog Music as museum. And I think as a result not only the price but the peculiarity of what you get is likely to keep the model D’s appeal to a specific breed of musicians.

As historical curiosity, it’s fascinating. But it does, to me, represent something of a step backward – if an intentional one. Bob Moog himself didn’t repeat the Minimoog; he re-conceived it with the Minimoog Voyager, the very synth that launched today’s Moog Music.

Of course, that’s why I say there are two Moogs. The other Moog continues to imagine new instruments, like the Mother-32 and even new iOS apps. And these matter not just because they’re more practical or cheaper – they matter because they’re genuinely new. If you know the sound of the Minimoog already, you can find new sounds in their latest creations.

But I sure I’m not alone in saying this: the model D, while fascinating, still makes me long for a new Voyager — or Moog Music’s take on a polysynth.

Maybe what’s compelling about the synthesizer is that it does constantly transform. The history of the violin and the piano were eventually stunted (something even some acoustic builders what to change). The synthesizer can be an instrument that’s perpetually reinvented. And so that means I’ll keep looking forward to the new creations from Asheville, North Carolina – even as I marvel at the achievement of historical recreation.

For more:

Synthtopia shot some photos.

And our friend, the wonderful Nick, talking about the reissue to Synthtopia:

Plus they take a look inside:

And another take on this instrument:

  • itchy

    first vid just makes you miss bob moog . awesome creator!

  • Yoni Mazuz

    They did add MIDI to this though, and a toggle/pot for the LFO, and a few other things that I forgot after a super friendly Moog employee explained them to me.

  • MG

    It’s not an exact recreation though. There’s obvious things like the lfo, midi, aftertouch, and additional CV. Not sure as far as components go but they sold it to me at Moogfest almost as a revision not a 1 to 1 remake.

  • Evan Arnett

    Perhaps instead of thinking of the reissue as “Moog as Museum” it would be more appropriate to consider “Moog as Institution” akin to Steinway or Fender. The synthesizer is now old enough that, like the Cristofori piano or Stradivarius violin, its novelty no longer needs to ALWAYS be its defining draw: we can and should celebrate the most effective forms the instrument-genre has taken.

    In fact, rather than considering Moog in just two binary terms, old and new, we can appreciate the fact that they have completely sidestepped the forever-raging forum debates of analog vs digital, self-contained instrument vs modular, modern vs vintage or even hardware vs software.

    Somehow, they have managed to (re)build a company that proves there is a place for all of these in the modern music landscape. They’ve done it all, and, almost oddly, done it all pretty well. They benefit as a business from the strength of their brand and the diversity of instruments. And we benefit as musicians and sound designers by having access to tools that fit our given budget, niche, and workflow.

    Disclaimer: I had a Minimoog Model D groom’s cake at my wedding, which probably qualifies me as a fanboy, and the above sentiments as gratuitous commendation.

  • About the price of the original adjusted for inflation: I know of a pop band that was not hugely famous and that toured with SIX Minimoogs on stage for use by three keyboardists — and they had other keyboards as well. This was circa 1976 through 1980. The cost must have been staggering. The band was Starbuck: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starbuck_(band)

  • Also about the price of the original. I heard this story from Bob Moog himself. He said that at an early Los Angeles public demo of the Minimoog (it may have been NAMM), a famous session drummer (whom he did not name) tried out the Minimoog and said, “Oh, no, there goes my Jaguar.” At the time a new Minimoog cost as much as an imported sports car.

  • William Busch

    Not sure where you came up with that inflation-based 1970 price.
    The Minimoog was sold for $1495 (list) with $1200 being pretty typical discounted price.

    $1495 in 1970 = $9,218.95

    • Bob

      That seems more plausible. Especially given that one of the ideas behind the minimoog (aside from portability) was that it would be more affordable to the average musician compared to the big modular systems. I wouldn’t call $60k affordable. Maybe the price quoted here was for a modular system…?

  • Daniel

    Still cheaper than a second hand model d. 🙂

  • Yanakyl

    I’m glad they do both!

  • Freeks

    Model D is by far the most interesting current Moog synth. While new Moogs have more “features” they do not do anything that other synths do, but have higher price. Even the cheaper Moogs are not cheap for what they do. While Voyager is great synth, it’s not classic. there is no such thing as classic Voyager tone. You can get used Voyager for $2000. That’s $1500 less than what it was sold as new. It tells a lot of how classic it is. Even Virus keeps value better.

    I doubt that you can find Model D for $2500 anytime soon. Why? THE Sound. If you want THAT sound you need Model D. IF you don’t need THAT sound then there is gazillion alternatives with superb features.

    Other Moogs like Sub 37 are still quite conservative synths.

    • Dave

      Well the aim with the Voyager was to produce a modern Minimoog with new features.
      There are no classic Voyager tones because it was a Model D with new shoes. Everyone compared it with the Model D and while it wasn’t a recreated Model D it was close enough for what people used it for.

      However resale value isn’t always an indication of the true value or how “classic” something is. Back in the 80s you didn’t have to pay more than a few $100s for a Model D as nobody wanted them. they were considered obsolete and thought of as junk. (even the Voyager held it’s value better than that)

  • Matt Jackson

    Still go out of tune (all the time) like the original? (could have at least used tempoco resistors in the in oscillator tuning section, but then I guess maybe the unpredictability would be compromised which is a big part of the sound)?

  • Will

    This one is very different to the Emerson modular to me. That one was indeed ‘synthesizer as deserving of luxury item status’. This is more like Moog a) reminding the world of their pedigree and b) undercutting the used market, which is still pretty active for the Mini and generally sell for a good chunk more. People still want the thing so why not make more of them?

    This is almost the DSI school of ‘why would you want a p5 that is always on the verge of death, when you could have this lovely new p6 for less money?’.

    And, speaking of, while it’s way outta my league, this isn’t much more than some of the DSI and Nord instruments. Those are selling just fine.

  • Serios sam

    Dumb stupid article, its like saying there are two coca cola companies because they have a new product, Did yiou get paid to write this crap. what a waste of time, money, and pot scrubbing talent.

  • Willow Valley

    This article seems to contradict itself. The new model D seems to have more new additions than the korg reissues, anybody notice that? Not that I’m complaining. But it is a “new minimoog”, Very exciting!

  • Tekknovator

    Working in the MI industry myself, there is one thing I would like to point out reading all the “should have done this or should have done that comments”: The guys and gals at Moog I met are all very enthusiastic about what they do, it really is a from musicians for musicians affair. Regardless of the fame the brand has gathered. So some ppl seem to think Synths are a mega business, it is not. Music is a niche. Electronic music is a niche in a niche. Classic Synths are a niche in a niche in a niche. Never forget that before starting a post about something you could never afford anyway and which was probably never built to meet your specs at all, but to cater to the creators vision. Some ppl might share that vision or will be touched emotionally by it. Those will buy it like a piece of fine art and not as a tool. If you need a tool, go and buy software and a controller 🙂

  • Joe Gerardi

    Dunno where the author gets his numbers from, but 2 grand in 1970 is 12 grand (and change) today, NOT 61 grand.

    ..Joe

  • zerobeat

    The original price of a MiniMoog in 1970 was US$1500. That’s about U$9,400 now. Maybe what the author did is take this new number ($9400), and wrongly assume it was the original sticker price of the MiniMoog, because if it was….. then $60,000 with inflation would be accurate!