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Arturia was the very first company to get Moog’s permission to recreate the classic analog synthesizers for the desktop almost a decade ago, and its first iPad app is a slick, thick-sounding marvel that's true to the original hardware, including being easily programmable, very playable, and sonically lush. One of the coolest things about the original MiniMoog synthesizer was that it combined extreme ease-of-use with a uniquely rich, signature tone that persists as magic aural mojo to this very day, and the iMini does a stellar job of bringing that goodness to the iPad for a reasonable price.
iMini is a nicely-designed app, with three primary screens for overall synth programming, effects, and an X-Y control pad screen, allowing you to easily connect any of the main programming panel’s knobs to the two controllers. As many synth fans quickly figure out, the easiest and quickest way to learn how to create custom sounds on a synth is to start with a preset and deconstruct it. Luckily, this is a really easy process on iMini, as it ships with over 500 really decent presets, all of which can be tweaked to your heart's content and saved as custom presets.
The Moog synths are probably best known for their window-rattling bass sounds, and the iMini does not disappoint in this regard. Played through some a desktop speaker rig with subwoofer, the bass tones of the iMini definitely scream Moog, and a quick twist of the filter cutoff knob sounds like something right out of keyboard master Keith Emerson’s bag of tricks. The three-oscillator foundation of the iMini is directly derived from the full desktop versions of the Moog emulations that Arturia has been shipping for years, and has the rather amazing virtue of allowing sounds to be shared between the two platforms; a very useful touch.
Unlike the original MiniMoog, iMini can be used to play more than a single voice/note at a time, and indeed, you can even choose custom scales to be mapped onto the virtual keyboard. Core MIDI-compatibility also allows many external apps and devices to play and control the iMini, and the built-in delay and chorus effects do not disappoint; they sound amazing and really open up the “space” around the already thick sounds this app can make. One potential drawback: while iMini plugs into the free Tabletop app for integration with other audio devices, we’d really like to see support added for Audiobus, which Arturia assures is in the works.
The bottom line. For the price of a lunch, you can own a virtual MiniMoog, which is a dream come true for any iPad musician.
iPad 2 or newer running iOS 5.1 or later
Very easy to play and program. Stellar sound. Compatible with patches from full Audio Units version of Arturia Moog synths. 500+ quality presets.
Needs Audiobus support.