App Review: Arturia Gets Synth Fans In The Moog

Aspiring Daft Punks are going to be doing the robot to the $9.99 Arturia iMini--the first faithful re-creation of the iconic 1971 Minimoog synthesizer for iPad 2, 3 and Mini.

Dr. Robert Moog's original Minimoog synth had fans like Stevie Wonder, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Devo, but the hardware can easily be damaged on tour. After the digital revolution, French developer Arturia cut its teeth mastering analog emulation software with its 2003 Mini V, and the company has gone on to emulate a swath of legendary synths like the Roland Jupiter-8.

Released in March, the iMini re-creates the famous front face of the Minimoog with its friendly keyboard and intimidating knob bank. It's very easy to cue up one of the iMini's 500 presets and begin pumping out the warmest, fattest tones in iPad history. Simplify things by hitting the "gear" button above the keyboard to set a key and scale and zoom in on the keys to make them bigger. (For those who aren't fans of the touch-pad interface, there's MIDI keyboard connectivity.) Or, dive into the abyss of synth creation, tweaking the three oscillators and 45 dials like volume, chorus, delay, waveform and oscillator modulation. Even crazier, go into "perform" mode and customize two X/Y axis pads to your liking.

Arturia's latest creation makes it incredibly delightful to get lost tweaking sounds. And when it's time to turn them into songs, iMini is "tabletop"-ready: Drop the device into the Tabletop app, chain it to a classic Akai MPC and a sequencer, set the output to SoundCloud seeder or .wav file, and voilà-a professional studio on a tablet. Easy to use yet creatively deep, iMini could become a defining iPad music app.