July 11, 2024

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MiniMod System modules directly based on the original R.A. Moog version of the Minimoog Model D alongside additional modules expanding functionality in a performance-packed Cre8audio NiftyKEYZ keyboard controller/case

As an absolute powerhouse of a modular monosynth, MiniMod Keyz is anchored around AJHSynth’s much-acclaimed MiniMod System modules alongside additional modules mounted into a customised Cre8audio NiftyKEYZ keyboard controller/case, collectively recreating the vintage circuitry and sound of the original R.A. Moog version of the Minimoog Model D in modular format with expanded functionality, and arranged (left to right) — reasonably replicating, in part, the familiar front panel layout of that timeless design dating back to 1971 — as follows: MiniMod GLIDE + NOISE — glide (with added UP/DOWN function, including correct glide slope profile, and HOLD function recreating ‘glide-only-when-key-is-depressed’ behaviour) and noise generator (with RED, WHITE, and PINK noise CV modulation sources); 3x MiniMod VINTAGE TRANSISTOR CORE VCO — acknowledged again and again as being the fattest-sounding analogue VCO (Voltage-Controlled Oscillator) in Eurorack as a much-acclaimed analogue design featuring the circuitry of the early and rarified R.A. Moog oscillator; Ring SM RING MOD – SUB BASS – MIXER — multifaceted module with superb-sounding ring modulator (based on EMS’ Synthi/VCS3 discrete transistor design), two sub-bass generators — SUB -1 and SUB -2 — to add rich-sounding -1 and -2 octave waveforms with AJHSynth’s unique-shaped sine, and five-channel DC-coupled vintage Moog CP3 transistor mixer; MiniMod TRANSISTOR LADDER FILTER — directly based on the transistor ladder filter really representing the pinnacle of the early Minimoog Model D design, renowned for its beautiful, creamy sound associated with unique overdriven circuitry and resonance rolloff at low frequencies; LOW FAT — voltage-controlled high-pass filter with 6 dB and 12 dB slopes for standalone use or in combination with the MiniMod TRANSISTOR LADDER FILTER to create a fully-customisable band-pass filter (allowing the range of pass bands to be cherry-picked rather than fixed); MiniMod DISCRETE CASCADED VCA — an essential part of recreating the classic Minimoog sound since it also adds harmonic distortion and further character, directly based on a cascaded VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier) that is actually two VCAs in series, as implemented in the very early R.A. Moog and Musonics Minimoog models with the highest distortion and most sought-after sound; MiniMod CONTOUR GENERATORS — faithfully reproducing all of the essential characteristics of the contour generators that are a major part of creating the classic Minimoog sound, including the exponential slope when used in conjunction with the (near) linear slope of the original VCA responsible for the famous Model D ‘punch’ and unique re-trigger behaviour (whereby multiple re-triggering increases the output level); and last, but not least, MiniMod TAP TEMPO VC-LFO — an extremely complex modulation source, specified to include a built-in VCA for CV control of modulation amount, TAP tempo and CV control of LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) rate, 16 different modulation and random voltage waveforms (each with a unique PWM-style TWIST function), and clock in and out, as well as CV control of all parameters.

It is, however, briefly worth noting here how modules like the MiniMod TAP TEMPO VC-LFO, for example, expand MiniMod Keyz’s capabilities above and beyond basically ‘modularising’ Minimoogs, so to speak. After all, a considerable limitation of the Minimoog Model D design lies in its lack of any LFOs for modulation, OSCILLATOR-3 having to be switched from audio to LFO mode to provide modulation. As AJHSynth’s much-acclaimed MiniMod System benefits from Eurorack’s open architecture, adding LFOs into the mix made sense as a sound musical move — all the more so since Cre8audio’s NiftyKEYZ keyboard controller/case already features an onboard LFO hard-wired to its modulation wheel.

But by creatively combining its much-acclaimed modules with a Cre8audio NiftyKEYZ keyboard controller/case (customised with American Walnut end cheeks creating a ‘vintage’ look in keeping with recreating the still-sought-after sound of that venerable vintage Minimoog Model D circuitry in modular format), AJHSynth has surely succeeded in creating a standalone MiniMod System with peerless performance capability that takes the huge, rich sound upon which it has built its reputation to another level entirely. Eurorack’s open architecture already allows for unlimited onboard patching and easy expansion by patching to other external cases and modules, of course, yet the resulting MiniMod Keyz combo can just as easily connect to a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) or other MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) instruments. Indeed, it readily lends itself to live performance as a ready-to-play modular monosynth making use of the NiftyKEYZ keyboard controller/case’s serious specification, hereby highlighted: high-quality full-size 49-note synth-action key-bed with both vel (velocity) and at (aftertouch) CV outputs; five-mode arp (arpeggiator) with latch and sequencer mode, as well as swing and range control (allows arpeggiator span to be varied between one through to four octaves); onboard lfo that generates ramp, saw, triangle, square, or random waveforms; front panel octave switch (-1 / 0 / +1 octaves); transpose (up or down in semitones by up to one octave); selectable pitch bend range (+/- 2 semitones or +/- 1 octave); clock input and output; two active mults — multiple1 and multiple2 — for splitting CV and audio signals; switchable between gate re-trigger or legato — no re-trigger when second note is pressed — modes; dual outputs — out1 and out2 — with two to out1 and to out2 mix jacks, so four signals can be routed to the outputs; aftertouch and expression pedal smoothing (adding a glide to slowly increase the effect over time, selectable from 0 to 5 seconds); four pitch CV outputs — cv1 through to cv4 — and four gate outputs — gate1 through to gate4 — that allow for four-voice polyphonic modular control while the keyboard itself can be split into two zones; auto-chord function; five-pin DIN midi in and midi out/thru sockets in addition to class-compliant USB connection — CC #1 being routed to mod/lfo CV — for working as a fully-featured polyphonic MIDI controller for DAWs or other MIDI instruments; sustain pedal input (triggers arpeggiator latch function); expression pedal input (generates either a 0 to +5V or 0 to +10V range to the exp CV jack); two outputs — with both ¼” and 3.5mm jacks — with separate headphone level control; and MIDI clock generated from internal arpeggiator, as well as receiving MIDI clock in.

It is easy, then, to see why AJHSynth Design Director Allan J Hall considered Cre8audio’s NiftyKEYZ keyboard controller/case a perfect fit for the high-end analogue Eurorack module designer/builder’s modular monosynth powerhouse, proudly revealing: “In response to requests from keyboard players we have created MiniMod Keyz, a vintage-inspired modular monosynth, with a full-size, 49-note keyboard featuring velocity, aftertouch, and full MIDI control; meanwhile, MiniMod modules offer the huge Model D sound, with added goodness from two sub bass generators, a ring modulator, and two LFOs — an absolute powerhouse for live performance and a centrepiece controller combined with the fattest-ever synth voice for studio-based workflow.”

MiniMod Keyz is in production now and available within three to four weeks from AJHSynth’s growing global network of dealers (https://ajhsynth.com/dealers.html), priced at £2,795.00 GBP (including VAT).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated MiniMod Keyz webpage here: https://ajhsynth.com/Keyboard.html

See and hear MiniMod Keyz in action in AJHSynth’s informative introductory video here:

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