Big synth sounds in a small package – the Moog Minitaur

Written by Robert Griffiths. Posted in Synths, Videos

Published on April 23, 2013 with No Comments

The latest in the Taurus series, Moog’s Minitaur is the first model in the series without pedals, the first apparent advantage it holds over the previous models is size and portability; at less than 3lbs and measuring only 8.5″ x 5.25″ this should easily fit into any stage or studio set up, options available for rack mounting, taking up 3U rack space. Also, retailing at a fraction of a price makes this a highly affordable piece of kit.

Each of the two oscillator’s are switchable between square and sawtooth waveforms, with independent volume controls and a pitch control for the second oscillator for tuning up to an octave below or above the other oscillator, with a separate dial to fine tune the whole instrument with a range of one semitone up or down. A useful feature when detuning the Moog, designed to prevent cancellation of frequencies; is the ‘under the hood’ software option for note sync, which when selected forces the phase of both oscillators to reset to zero degrees when a midi note is received.

The Minitaur features a single LFO generating a triangle wave, this modulates both VCO1 and VCO2 equally and can be synced to MIDI Clock anywhere from 4 semibreves to 64th-note triplets. For me the addition of the ADSR controls were a great selling point over the Taurus 3; although the hardware controls only appear to have switchable Decay and Release controls, the USB software controller “rev 2” has the very useful option to assign independent Decay and Release times, using the front panel. The Minitaur also retails at a fraction of the cost to the Taurus 3, making it a more affordable option.

Another fantastic feature of the Minitaur Editor/Librarian software control is that the Minitaur itself can later recall these presets from the front panel controls without the software running. Additionally, ‘under the hood’ controls allow you to reassign CV and Gate inputs, so for example you can assign the pitch and modulation keyboard controls to LFO rate and level (perfect for syncing dubstep ‘wubs’ in a live set).

The Minitaur also has capabilities as an external filter, lending the same rich analogue tones it has as an instrument, to any audio of your choice and really bringing home the insanely good value for money this kind of gear offers. The number of applicable uses the Minitaur has, combined with the high quality bass sounds you can create with it makes this equipment a must have for any studio, or live set up.

It’s well worth getting your hands on one of these little tinkers:

 

List of Front Panel Controls:

•VCO2 Frequency – Sets the frequency offset of VCO2 from VCO1 from -1 Octave to +1 Octave. Center is unison with VCO1.

•Oscillator 1 & 2 Saw/Square Waveform Selector – Selects a Sawtooth wave (LED OFF) or Square wave (LED ON) Signal for VCO1 and 2.

•VCO1 Level – Sets the level of VCO1

•VCO2 Level – Sets the level of VCO2

•VCF Cutoff – Sets the Cutoff Frequency of the 4-pole Moog Lowpass VCF from 20Hz to 20KHz

•VCF Resonance – This sets the gain for the amount of signal from the output of the VCF fed back to the input of the VCF. This creates a peak in Frequency response at the Cutoff Frequency that can be increased all the way to self-oscillation.

•VCF EG Amount – Bi-polar control sets the (+) or (-) Amount of Envelope Generator modulation of the VCF. Center is no Envelope Generator modulation.

•LFO Rate – Sets the frequency of the LFO. Range is from 0.01Hz to 100Hz

•LFO VCO Amount – Sets the Amount that the LFO modulates the VCO

•LFO VCF Amount – Sets the Amount that the LFO modulates VCF

•VCA EG Attack – Sets the attack Time of a Minimoog-Style ADSR Envelope Generator used to modulate the VCA. Time ranges from 1 msec to 30 seconds.

•VCA EG Decay/Release – Sets both the decay time to the sustain level and release time of a Minimoog-Style ADSR Envelope Generator used to modulate the VCA. Time ranges from 1 msec to 30 seconds. The Release segment of the EG is enabled by the Release On/Off switch.

•VCA EG Sustain – Sets the sustain level of a Minimoog-Style ADSR Envelope Generator used to modulate the VCA.

•VCF EG Attack – Sets the attack Time of a Minimoog-Style ADSR Envelope Generator used to modulate the VCF. Time ranges from 1 msec to 30 seconds.

•VCF EG Decay/Release – Sets both the decay Time to the sustain level and release time of a Minimoog-Style ADSR Envelope Generator used to modulate the VCF. Time ranges from 1 msec to 30 seconds. The Release segment of the EG is enabled by the Release On/Off switch.

•VCF EG Sustain – Sets the sustain level of a Minimoog-Style ADSR Envelope Generator used to modulate the VCF.

•Release On/Off Switch – Enables (LED On_ or Disables (LED Off) the Release segments of both Envelope Generators.

•Glide On/Off Switch – Enables/ Disables the Glide function

•Glide – Sets the rate of Glide when the note controlling the MINITAUR changes.

•Volume – The Master Volume of the MINITAUR’s synth Engine.

•Fine Tune – Adjusts the frequency of the VCOs +/- 1 semitone.

•MIDI Indicator LED – Indicates incoming MIDI activity

•LFO Rate Indicator LED – Indicates the rate of the LFO.

Back Panel:

•Audio Out – 1/4″ Unbalanced jack.

•Headphones — Jack for stereo headphone output.

•Audio In – 1/4″ Unbalanced jack accepts  line-level input.

Analog CV Inputs:

•Pitch CV – 1/4″ TRS Jack accepts 0 to +5V signal (internally processed for 1 V/Octave) via passive Expression Pedals or CVs.

•Filter CV – 1/4″ TRS Jack accepts 0 to +5Vsignal via passive Expression Pedals or CVs.

•Volume CV – 1/4″ TRS Jack accepts 0 to +5Vsignal via passive Expression Pedals or CVs.

•Gate – 1/4″ Jack accepts a 0 (Off)/ +5V(On) Gate signal to trigger the unit’s EGs.

MIDI:

•MIDI (DIN) – Standard DIN MIDI input for MIDI Control of the MINITAUR

•MIDI (USB) – Type B USB connector for connecting MINITAUR to host for USB MIDI.

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