It’s been almost two years now. I still have the Minilogue but oddly enough I’m only just now finding a niche for it in my studio.
People complain that the Minilogue is tinny and metallic sounding. They hate the clicky envelopes. They bemoan the lack of complex modulation. To this I say: it costs $500. It’s never going to be your perfect all-around synth, like maybe the Prophet-6 would be. I don’t see the point in complaining that it’s something that it was never meant to be. You don’t go see a historical drama and then complain that there aren’t enough lightsabers. You don’t go out for Thai and grumble that your pad see ew doesn’t taste like a hamburger. So why expect the Minilogue to sound like a different synth?
Recently I was working on a cover of the theme to Escape From New York. I was building it up layer by layer but had left the main lead for last. I tried different sounds but was having trouble fitting it into the mix, which had become pretty full by this point. I had HS-80 strings and drones, DW-8000 pads, bass from both the Yamaha TX81z and Roland JU-06. I even had an acid line courtesy the CS-01 (with Korg SQ-1 handling midi to CV duties).
And then I reached for the Minilogue. I crafted a lead sound that was full yet not overpowering and made use of the waveform shaping capabilities to give it some bite to differentiate it from the rest of the mix. I tell you, that sound just soared over everything else. Happy, I continued to stack up more sounds and all the while, that Minilogue lead held its own.
It continued to stand out in the mixing stage. Mixing down a song made almost entirely with one kind of sound is really hard. I love the sound of analog, don’t get me wrong. My synth tastes lean towards ‘70s mono synths and ‘80s poly synths. They just tickle my soul. But get 10 or so lanes of soft analog all chugging along and it can turn into a kind of warm mush. It’s why I don’t mind the occasional FM sound in there. It jumps out.
But not the Minilogue. It’s precisely because it’s a little metallic that it’s able to slice through the analog butter and make itself heard. In the mixing stage, I barely even had to touch it to make it stand out. In fact, I kept having to turn it down because it was almost a little too overzealous in its role as lead.
This is how the Minilogue will enter my workflow. It is the knife that cuts the butter. It is the rainbow on the oil slick. It is the northern lights in a dark sky. It is not an all-purpose synth. It’s the finisher, the Victor the Cleaner of polys. And I’m glad it sits pride of place next to my computer because from now on, whenever I need a confident sound, I’m going to call on the Minilogue. And may I never touch a drop of booze again.