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…

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: