The Moog Voyager vs. the old Minimoog D
a quick comparison by Lutz Wernicke, 2004
Here I'd like to give You a few personal hints, if You should ask Yourself, if to go for an old vintage Minimoog from the second hand market or to purchase a new one like the current Minimoog model, the Voyager. I am quite familiar with the multiple considerations concerning the options and the quality of the Voyager compared to the original Minimoog, because I had both instruments at home for 5 weeks, enough time to check it all out.
So, which one to go for? Here are my personal considerations:
Besides stepping through the Voyager's presets (You do it quite automatically, if You have presets) I tried to handle it as intuitive as I do with the old Minimoog. Just being and moving in one sound. Yeah, good! Smooth working of the potis, quite easy to follow the routing, wonderful sound results. Nice to have the additional LFO, and so the full option of all 3 oscillators. The keyboard's Aftertouch is not working properly (yet?), nor are the velocity-functions. Is it really only a software-problem? Hopefully. But these are functions, the old Minimoog doesn't have - and therefore not comparable.
And: “My“ Voyager had a strange noise in the very background, not definable what the actual source might be. Operation system 1.5 is upgraded now to 2.x, and somewhere I heard that the noise problem is also solved now. But I'm not sure, if we are talking about the same accidents.... I just tell, what my careful ears are experiencing.
The Minimoog is sort of limited, while having a certain character of it's own. You just play the sound, without thinking about saving or archiving it, 'cause it's simply not possible. You just play and enjoy.
There is s.th. the Minimoog has, that is not continued in the Voyager:
1. the sharktooth-waves in osc1+2
- in my opinion the Voyager's continuously adjustable waveforms are more important and can easily replace the sharkwave
2. the sawtooth upwards (was it called “ramp“?)
- to be used as 3rd osc or as LFO. Particularly the LFO-option I find VERY inspiring, and I can't understand, why this waveform was discontinued.
3. Compared to the Voyager the Minimoog's resonance sounds more uneven or lively, and it can be adjusted more extremely. Also the Pink+White Noises sound better. The Minimoog has more of this fine dirtyness. Access to sound is more direct.
Filters are wonderful in both, really. Typical Moog quality. In my opinion the nice raw oscillator-sound of the old Minimoog is it, what makes the slight difference. But don't get me wrong: If You want to rebuild a Minimoog-Sound on the Voyager, You'll get it pretty close. But switch the Voyager to mono before and be sure not using the “spacing“-setting of the Voyager's filter frequency in order to keep the directness of the instrument's sound.
If I wouldn't own this old Minimoog, that once came to me by chance, being in very good condition and inspiring me directly, nowadays I could imagine to go for the Voyager model, a wonderful rich synthesizer. And I'd always look for the latest software.
I wish You all good luck finding Your personal Minimoog! Sometimes it takes a while....
Lutz Wernicke (Berlin, Germany)