Look past the plug-ins and controllers and hosts that work with controllers and iPads sitting in docks and such. If you like dedicated, analog monosynth hardware, life is actually pretty darned good.

Okay, so for those of you without deep pockets, you may not know some of the back story here. Moog’s limited-edition Taurus 3 was a brilliant update of the classic Taurus bass pedal, complete with luscious foot pedals. And with a street dipping down near US$1699, it’s honestly not a bad deal. The problem is, not everyone has that cash, or the ability to lug around a big, heavy pedal.

So, let’s change that equation. Leaked on the Web and then formally announced today, the Minitaur is just a little Taurus. And it’s kind of nothing but awesome. It’s got the footprint of a small-ish book, weighs less than 3 pounds, and will cost US$679 when it ships in the spring.

This isn’t Moog’s first adventure in the sub-$1000 range. But for the first time since the Rogue, you get a truly entry-level Moog synth with a one-knob-per-function interface – something that the Slim Phatty, while it sounds fantastic, lacks.

And you get a lot of goodness for your $700 or so: a steel case, two saw and square waves, the Taurus-style ladder filter, and envelopes a la Minimoog. That gives you Moog-y sounds, and then you add in modern Moog-y control: MIDI DIN, MIDI over USB, and analog inputs for pitch, filter, volume, and gate.

The beauty of all of this is that now, in 2012, your choices for analog monosynths you can actually afford are numerous. The Minitaur sits nicely next to rivals from smaller names – the Doepfer Dark Energy, Vermona Mono Lancet, and DSI Mopho. (Thanks to reader Philip Viana for pointing that out – and yeah, I hope to see all these four compared soon. I’ll get on that.)

Now, if only Moog could put this in a strap-on and call it the Minitar, my life would be complete.

I hope to go visit the new creation at Moog. That is, assuming there isn’t a dart board with my face on it – yes, I did sort of get some flack for admitting to liking hardware synths better than iPads on a certain site paradoxically with “digital” in the name. But consider this: you and a friend each spend just under $700 on an iPad 2 and a Minitaur. (We’ll include tax and the cost of some apps.) Apples to oranges, yes, but – considering the invariable release of an iPad 3 right after you buy the thing and your battery will be shot in a couple of years, come back in 2016 and look at these two purchases, and I’d ask, how do you like them apples?

I mean, seriously, what a*****e would be pushing all that digital technology?

Okay, I’ll go sit in the corner now.

Let’s look at more pictures. And stay tuned for some hands-on time when this is out.