Synth Site: Moog: minimoog Voyager: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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James Socorro a part-time user from New Westminster writes:
In all fairness, I would like to clear up some things in the last post, that does make some cogent points.

The Moog Music Forum post,of May 24 2004 entitled Voyager vs Model D, has NOT been removed from the Forum, and is to be found in the 'General Forum' rather than the specific 'Voyager Forum'.Secondly, the Harmony Central review is not as negative as is suggested. Here is a full exerpt of his specific comparison.

Posts: 23 OK here is my opinion, as a user of both, side by side.fwiw i have an early version mini, discrete version (non-ua726). yes they are a bit more animated, uncontrolling and drifty than the later minis...i've had both, so i must admit the mini is bassier than the voyager. the waveforms sound a bit different too. the voyager is smoother up high which is actually better for leads. the mini is "rounder" so better for thick basslines, especially funk. both have that "growl"(from the filter). the filters are pretty similar. the mini is a bit more brasher while the voyager is smoother, perhaps a bit lusher. the envs are pretty similar. they are both clicky. the lack of a true release on the minimoog's envelope is annoying sometime. the voyager doesn't have this problem. the voyager also has a real lfo which the mini does not. further more the voyager offers sync, tons of cv ins and outs (via the expansion box). the interface on the original mini is much more immediate (mainly due to lack of parameters). you can sit at it and get a good sound in 5 seconds. the voyager takes more work but once you get used to it can act similar. the touchpad on the voyager is VERY nice. i was sceptical when i first saw it, especially in the middle of the keyboard, but it works extremely well and works as a great "controller". also the continuously variable waveforms on the voyager can lead to some cool sounds.the voyager obviously has a lot more going for it: nice midi controls, filter seperation (great for fx) and more modes, a *killer* look with the anniversary edition =) etc. still, the mini has what counts: unbeatable sound and immediate, hands-on if you're looking for pure sound and nothing but it, from a discrete analog purist point of view, get the old early minimoogs and be prepared to tune and maintain it occasionally. its worth it...something i'm willing to put up with.but if you want a pretty good analog sound, a monosynth that is ultimately flexible (makes a great front-end for a modular *plus* you can link voyagers for multiple voices if you've got the cash =) ) and more then get the voyager.btw yes macbeth products do rock as well-bye, shawn

I agree, that the Voyager is not a spot on replacement for a minimoog, however, one must remember, that todays buyers, if they were to pay in REAL DOLLARS, what the old minis would have cost, few would be willing to do so. Thus the comprimised sound because of the op-amps eating into the bandwidth.

One fact that does trouble me, is Moog Music's rather sneaky attempt to deal with the fact that the Voyager sounds 'brighter' than the old Minis, (because of the op-amps that both brightens and thins the sound) In the manual, all the waves except for the triangle, are given the adjective "bright".In my experience the only waveform that might be described as'characteristically'bright' is the sawtooth.

A rackmount fully discrete mini would be a great idea! The subtle differnces between the mini and the Voyager, that people describe as 'mildly rawer' and such, do really make a difference in how it projects to an audience on stage.(Because of this, I disagree with the Harmony Central review above that the Voyager is necessarily better for leads-several people on the MMF post of May 24, said that the old Minis excelled at both bass and leads over the Voyager.) At the recent Rick Wakeman concerts, several people heard a distinct difference between the two, and prefered the older Minis. And for bass, there is a good reason that Stevie, Bernie, and the rest have not given up their old Minis.

I agree, if companies like Studio Electronics, and Macbeth can make discrete synths, WHY couldn't Moog.Dispense with the variable waveforms if he must, but make a true Mini clone in a no frills rackmount. That would be a sure sign that living up to the legend is more important than mere profit.


Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jul-24-2004 at 14:05
Rick Van Eyes a hobbyist user from Surrey British Columbia Canada writes:
I write this with a mixture of disillusionment, bewilderment and disgust. Having been an owner of a Moog Voyager, for some months now, I no longer believe that the Voyager can replace a Minimoog, as it was so assertively stated on the Vintage Synth Explorer and other industry articles. My first reaction to Moog Music's web site, before I bought my Performer Model, was of almost incredulous suprize at the crass exploitation of the Moog name. However, I thought that if the quality of sound was behind it, then it was a trifle. It is my decided opinion now that Dr.Moog has compromised, as he peddles the Voyager like some old time huckster masked as a music demi-god, the actual quality of the sound of the synthesizer and its functions. Here are the reasons:

The oscillators in the Voyager, unlike the early Moogs, are not discreet, but are generated by a copious amount of op-amps, and transistor packs, even more than the later Moogs, that indeed, used integrated chips (including the ua-726). This is not generally known, and indeed, my salesman claimed the circuitry was completely discreet.

All this might seem academic, but for the reason that is crucial to the craft of music making, the Voyagers sounds brighter and €œTHINNER€� than the older Minis, even including the later ua-726 ones. This has often been attributed to the dual filters, but the fact is still apparent when one filter is used. (I have noted how curiously silent the old Moog players have been, Stevie, Bernie, Wakeman, et al, regarding the Voyager'€™s supposed glories, while they continue to play their old Minis.) This is not just 'my'€™ opinion, in fact numerous people have expressed this on the web, including on the Moog Forum post of May, 24 2004, entitled Voyager vs Model D. This discussion was actually REMOVED€� from the forum so is no longer available for the perusal of those interested in the appraisal of the facts in a democratic forum. Here is an excerpt.- "œI've been a little disturbed to have been reading so many posts that claim that the model D is still way phatter then the new moog voyager...I thought Moog would develop the voyager so to never lose a bit of the originals' phat-ness."€�

One contributor to the post stated that the greater '€˜fatness'€™ or '€˜sonic density'€™ as he called it, was wrongly attributed to a lack of oscillator stability, but of the non-discreet nature of the Voyager electronics. He then goes on to say that it would be prohibitively costly to build it with discreet circuitry today. I cannot ascribe to this view. There are a number of synth manufacturers today building entirely discreet audio paths; the Omega 8 and the MacBeth come to mind. The latter is actually marketed as a Mini alternative, and though it has far less midi capabilities, it also costs about half as much. Midi software is cheaper to develop, so Dr.Moog chose the cheapest way rather than most musically optimal.

Finally, regarding function, another cynical cost cutting ploy was the decision to not include the same elegant portamento function as on the original moog, where the filter follows the glide. The only way to do this is to spend more money on a vx351 and a cp251 add on module, a cumbersome and expensive solution, that still does not allow for patch saving of parameters. Some voiced their displeasure about this, and it was taken off the the forum, although I notice it has since been re-instated, no doubt after more protests.

Probably the most informed and balanced appraisal of the Voyager is to be found at - Harmony Central User Forums > Keys, Samplers, & Synths > Keys,Synths & Samplers > how does the moog voyager stand up to old moogs? Here is some telling excerpts- Posts: 23 "€œOK here is my opinion, as a user of both, side by i must admit the mini is bassier than the voyager. the waveforms sound a bit different too... the mini is "rounder" so better for thick basslines, especially funk....still, the mini has what counts: unbeatable sound if you're looking for pure sound and nothing but it, from a discrete analog purist point of view, get the old early minimoogs ..but if you want a pretty good analog sound, a monosynth that is ultimately flexible (makes a great front-end for a modular *plus* you can link voyagers for multiple voices if you've got the cash =) ) and more then get the voyager...btw yes macbeth products do rock as well' - I didn't spend over 3 Grand for a MONOSYNTH to get a 'œpretty good' analog sound!!! (And who but the most rich and decadent can afford to link them up!)

I am not saying the Voyager sounds bad, and as a mid/cv controller it is the best in the world, both in looks and function. It does much that the old minis can't, including formant type sounds and tones and textures outside the scope of the Mini due to its variable wave forms, dual filter and switchable poles, and modular interface. However it could have been a TRUE masterpiece instead of the compromised synth it is because corners were cut in the interest of profit.

All told, since the Voyager in my estimation, fails to deliver the goods, as expressed by Moog Music and industry reviewers whose bread and butter is dependent on new products, I can only give it a 3 out of five. It most certainly will NOT replace a mini-moog. Postscript - Moog music should release a rack mount FULLY DISCREET Mini, that is both a stand alone or compatible with the Voyager, providing it cost under 2000 American Dollars (If the English can do it -ie. MacBeth- why not Moog?) Despite all the bad feeling Moog Music's sniffing after filthy Lucre has engendered, I WOULD BUY IT ! -In for a few pounds in for another.

Most Sincerley - Rick Van Eyes


Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-20-2004 at 01:39
Don Smith a part-time user from USA writes:
I am really tired of the "Too muck money for a mono synth! line by some of the wanks. This is a fine and very well built synth. I always wanted a real Moog and for those of us that know how to play real analog synths this instument does all it promises to do. I own many cool modern keyboards and they all do specific jobs and this one is no different. For those wanting more polyphony at a reasonable price perhaps check out the Oberheim OB12 by Viscount. I used to play a Moog 15 and this instrument gives me the classic Moog sound without the tuning problems of early analog synths.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-May-14-2004 at 04:01
anonymous a part-time user writes:
After owning one for about 6 months, the novelty wore off. I sold mine. It is a great synth and sounds fantastic, but unless your Rick Wakeman, Jordan Rudess or some other "big timer" with money to burn, it's really an excessive toy.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-May-13-2004 at 09:40
I have to agree in all aspects with the following reviewer and obviously MMV user: >Frank a professional user from USA writes: I own and play many varieties of synths/samplers. I am not a Moog freak, but after owning a Voyager for 8+ months, it is worth the money I paid for it. I've never owned an original Mini, or ever played one. All I know is this machine cuts through anything, and adds to my music like nothing else. I'm not going to compare it's value to, say, my car, as the Voyager pales in comparison cuz I cannot drive it to work. Great synth, sounds fantastic, inspires creativity. No reservations about giving it 5 out 5.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-May-10-2004 at 12:17
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