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Top 10 Vintage Synths (Under $10,000)



Moog Minimoog Model D (1970)

Ah, the Minimoog—could there ever be a more iconic and desirable synth? Most people consider the Model D the prototype for every synth that came after it. It was the first mass-produced synthesizer designed expressly for stage use and the first ever sold in music stores. (Previous Moog instruments were modular systems, usually made to order.) Housed in a lovely wood cabinet with a distinctive tilting control panel, the Model D was also the first hardwired synth that didn’t rely on user-defined patch connections. Each of its three oscillators has a wide frequency range down to one cycle every ten seconds. Distortion from the oscillators and the celebrated Moog ladder filter give the Minimoog a timbral character all its own. Its twin contour (envelope) generators are hardwired to the filter and amplifier, and that was another first. It also has jacks for connecting external audio and various controllers.

Another first were the pitch-bend and modulation wheels that, in the right hands, made it a particularly expressive instrument. (Moog failed to patent that feature, and it was soon copied by most of their competitors.) Since its launch in November 1970, pretty much every electronic musician and keyboardist has recorded and played onstage with a Minimoog. By the time they ceased manufacture in 1980, R.A. Moog Co. and then Moog Music had sold 12,269 of them. Moog Music introduced an updated Model D in July 2016 but discontinued it the following year.

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