Minimoog Model D synthesiser: the analogue legend returns

Synth completists and collectors, as well as a new generation of avant-garde musicians, hail the return of Moog’s 1970 Minimoog Model D

Moog Minimoog Model D portable synthesiser
(Image credit: Moog Music)

The dawn of affordable analogue synthesis began in 1970, when inventor Bob Moog and engineer Bill Hemsath compressed the vast cabinets and complex array of patch cables of Moog’s famed synthesisers into a smaller, portable unit: the Minimoog Model D.

Moog Minimoog Model D synthesiser, side on

(Image credit: Moog Music)

Everything about this new musical creation ticked the boxes that shaped the age; its sounds were new, inventive, and otherworldly, as well as being easy to shape on the fly. Unlike its unwieldly antecedents, the Model D was embraced by musicians from every genre, helping usher in whole new movements.

Moog Minimoog Model D synthesiser seen from the back

(Image credit: Moog Music)

The Minimoog Model D returns

Now the Minimoog Model D is back. The new model is a handmade replica of the original, built to the same specifications. Made at Moog’s factory in Asheville, North Carolina, the Model D’s return taps into a burgeoning appreciation of the quirks and eccentricities of original analogue hardware, something that no amount of digital modelling can ever quite replicate. 

Moog Minimoog Model D synthesiser from above

(Image credit: Moog Music)

Like many instruments of its era, the Model D is a tactile delight. The hand-finished aluminium chassis is outfitted with a half-size keyboard, pitch, and modulation wheels, as well as plenty of knobs with which to twiddle housed on the tilting control panel.

Detail of synthesiser controls

(Image credit: Moog Music)

The cabinet is made from dark Appalachian hardwood and there’s also a bespoke flight case to keep the reissue in mint condition. ‘The Minimoog Model D is more than just a collection of circuits in a box – it’s a true musical instrument that is a joy to program and play,’ says Steve Dunnington, VP of product development at Moog Music, the company that Robert Moog set up in 2002 once he’d regained the rights.

Close-up of synthesiser

(Image credit: Moog Music)

‘Bob always recognised the importance of an instrument’s feel,’ Dunnington continues, ‘and we’ve gone to great lengths to honour his practices through the re-introduction and manufacture of this beautiful synthesiser.’

Moog Minimoog Model D buttons and controls

(Image credit: Moog Music)

Moog died in 2005, but his company goes from strength to strength, creating new instruments inspired by the classics, like the Moog Sound Studio and building ultra-limited-edition versions of its iconic originals, like the $35,000 Moog IIIP Modular Synthesizer.

Moog Minimoog Model D

(Image credit: Moog Music)

The Minimoog Model D won't be quite as headily priced, but sonic history isn't likely to come cheap. 

Minimoog Model D, price tbc,

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.