If you have read the history of the MiniMoog elsewhere at Hollow Sun, you will understand the significance of this seminal design. The MiniMoog is arguably THE most famous and influential synths of all time.

It's odd then that it took its designer almost 20 years to come up with a successor. But he did so in the form of the MiniMoog Voyager. Retaining all that was good about the MiniMoog, it also overcomes much that was bad... or missing... from the original.

The panel layout is something of a departure from the original. It still deploys the left>right signal flow of the original but the various 'modules' are mounted vertically instead of horizontally - more like the company's original modular systems, in fact.

On the far left of the panel, there is the LFO and 'master' controls (tune and glide). Having an LFO is the first sign of change - the original had no LFO requiring you, instead, to 'waste' an audio oscillator for modulation purposes.

The next two columns offer a simple but versatile modulation matrix where various sources can be routed to various destinations.

The next three columns are the three audio oscillators which, on the surface, look much like the original MiniMoog's except for the fact that waveform selection is continuously variable - furthermore, waveform selection can be modulated allowing for a great deal of timbral movement not possible on the original.

The oscillators also feature PWM, something notoriously absent from the original.

At the centre of the hinged panel is the 'programmer' where sounds can be stored and recalled and beneath this is a large rubber pad that can be used as a sophisticated real-time controller responding not only to X/Y movement but also pressure. Personally, I think the placement for this is inappropriate as a performance tool as it forces the left hand over the keyboard area where the right hand is playing. I think this whole area would have been better placed at the far left above the pitchbend and modwheels - it would also have allowed the modules to flow uninterrupted from left to right instead of the 'split' panel found on the Voyager. But who am I to criticise Dr Moog?!

To the right of the central programmer/XY pad is a five channel mixer: three channels for the audio oscillators, another for the white/pink noise source and another for an external audio input.

To the right of that is the filter and again, this is a departure from the original MiniMoog in that it is a 'dual-filter' that allows two resonant peaks to be set and used in this mode, the Voyager has a 'pseudo-stereo' output with one filter feeding the left audio output and the other feeding the right audio output. Despite this difference, however, the filter is undoubtedly the work of the great man and it sounds fabulous.

To the right of the filter are two envelopes but, unlike the original MiniMoog, these are ADSR types, not ADS with a switchable R.

Finally, on the far right of the panel are the master output level controls.

Although the Voyager has a wealth of 'older' CV and gate connections for expansion, the Voyager also comes with modern amenites such as a velocity and pressure sensitive keyboard, a full MIDI spec and improved reliability, features we could only have dreamed of in 1971.

There is much debate about whether the Voyager sounds the same as the original MiniMoog. Many say it doesn't but whilst others may agree, they do say that it has the same ballsy 'character' of the original. Powerful basses, ripping lead-lines, etc. - in other words, the Voyager retains all the qualities that have endeared the original MiniMoog to most keyboard players' hearts for the last 30 years or more but then adds some to the experience with innovative new features and functions!

You can judge for yourself with these sounds that have kindly been donated by Philippe Laurent who has carefully multi-sampled a few sounds from his own Voyager. Philippe is a producer who recently enjoyed chart success with the band "Galleon" and the song 'So I Begin' which got to #4 in the dance charts.


Sadly, the genius who created the Voyager left us recently when he passed away on August 21st, 2005 but he leaves us with a heritage that will live forever - Dr Robert Moog changed not only the way music is made but the very music we make and he has inspired millions of people across the world whether they be players or just lovers of electronic or synth-based music.

Sleep gently Bob - your work will live on forever!

The Voyager is still available, of course - find out more at