Arturia Mini V2 Review
Going on with this amazing V Collection 4 by Arturia, I’m gonna review one of my favorite synths since I was a kid. Yeah, I know it’s pretty obvious, but, after years of playing and programming synths, the Minimoog Model D, still has something that makes it one of my favorites of all time. Arturia has made a great effort in emulating all that character and still adds some great functionality which makes the Mini V2 much more flexible than the original hardware. Let’s check it out!
A little bit of history, kids…
There was a time when synthesizers were impenetrable huge and heavy machines, full of patch cords and available only at studios, and those big machines were mostly made by a man named Robert A. Moog, AKA Bob Moog. Moog modular, although they used keyboards as controllers, were not instruments made for keyboard players (well, of course, Keith Emerson is the exception of this rule).
But then, sometime around the late 60s early 70s, an employer of Moog, started a project with spare modules and pieces and came out with the first portable synth that was meant to be used by keyboard players: the Minimoog. It went very popular among Jazz, Rock, and Soul Keyboard players, especially for solos. Think of Chick Corea, Rick Wakeman, Berny Warren, etc. More than 40 years later, the Minimoog is one of the coolest, most recognizable, and most sought-after Mono synths of all time!
I’m not gonna get very much in deep on the architecture of the Minimoog, instead, I will just describe the modules and tell you about Arturia’s added functionality.
This is a fairly simple architecture, three full range VCOs, with triangle, tri/saw mix, sawtooth, square, 75% pulse, and 25% pulse waveforms. Originally, oscillator 3 could be used as a modulation source for pitch and filter and could be disabled from keyboard voltages to act as an LFO, but, in this version, oscillator 2 can also ignore keyboard control, which is nice for some drones and experiments. Also, Oscillator 1, has a Sync switch for hard sync leads, nice Arturia! Of course, there’s the oscillator modulation rocker switch.
Moving on, there’s the mixer with volumes and mute switches for each of the oscillators, the external input, and noise (which can be used as a modulation source too, just like the original). Next, you’ll find the venerable 24dB 4-pole low pass ladder filter which sounds really smooth in here with almost no stepping, it will self oscillate, and can track the keyboard in 50% and 100% amounts with the keyboard control rocker switches, of course, above them is the filter modulation switch, an ADS envelope (with the release on/off right above the mod wheel), and an amount knob for the envelope modulation.
Below, is the VCA’s envelope, again ADS. Then, in the output section, things go crazy, cause there’s a poly switch, up to 32 voices with detune and unison mode, so, something that’s already big and fat, can get huge! Also, there’s a soft clip switch, which acts as a limiter. Then, in the control section, we’ve got a master tune, a glide amount, and a mode mix between noise (white or pink) and oscillator 3.
At left from the keyboard, there’s the usual glide and decay switches, but also a legato on/off function, and of course pitch and mod wheels. The pitch wheel can be set to off, so you can use it as a secondary mod wheel with the mod matrix (more on this later), and you can also set the bend range.
Under the hood.
Ok, when you hit the open button, is where things get nasty! There’s a four-channel motion recorder, for modulating almost anything and more, I mean, there are 29 destinations in here. Then, there’s a vocal filter with a dedicated LFO, an extra LFO with sine, tri, ramp, saw, square, noise, S&H, and it’s MIDI syncable.
Speaking of MIDI syncable stuff, there’s an arpeggiator, chorus, and stereo delay, and on top of that, there’s an 8 slot modulation matrix with 15 sources including aftertouch and 35 destinations, including everything you can think about, oh, did I mentioned that amount is bipolar? Nice, Arturia!
This thing is really powerful and you can design sounds that have never been heard out from a mini!
MIDI functionality is a breeze, you can select the MIDI channel, and you can assign every knob, switch, and button to a MIDI controller with MIDI learn and save that configuration for later. The original Mini had low note priority, which means if you hold down, for example, C3 and play any notes above that, let’s say D4, new notes won’t play until you release C3, but, if you hold down C3 and play B2, it will play B2, even if you are holding C3 down. In the Mini V2, you can set priority to a low note, high note, or last note and if the legato switch is off, it will retrigger the envelopes.
There are quick-access buttons for turning on/off delay, chorus, mod matrix, vocal filter, and motion recorder. Also, you can change the skin in three different flavors and change the knob mode.
Audio input is a great thing for processing external audio, just like in the original.
The Mini V2 has the character and vibe from the original Minimoog, but with lots of added functionality that makes it work almost like a modular synth. It’s so flexible that can sound like anything you can imagine, I mean, polyphony? on a mini? 8 slots of modulation, motion recorder, chorus, delay, arpeggiator, an additional LFO, vocal filter… possibilities are endless and fun is guaranteed for hours and hours no matter if you are an experienced sound designer or just playing a synth for the very first time!
Arturia Mini V2 synth plugin is available at PluginBoutique.com for €102.30 or you can get the entire V Collection 4 with all 16 virtual vintage synths included: Wurlitzer V, Modular V, CS-80 V, ARP2600V, Jupiter 8-V, Prophet V & VS, Oberheim SEM V, Matrix-12 V, Solina V, VOX Continental V and the Spark 2.
Also read: Arturia Wurlitzer V Review