the Mini V
Recreating a legendary filter
With the V Collection we aim to allow all musicians access to the sounds of legendary, but too often, inaccessible instruments. Our quest has led us to take full advantage of advances in science and technology.
The software revolution
behind Mini V
TAE® technology - the lifeblood of Arturia’s virtual instrument family - is a constantly evolving, expanding system designed to accurately replicate the sound and feel of analog components and circuitry.
With every advance we make, our software instruments become more organic and vital, giving you the most authentic analog hardware sound but with all the benefits and convenience of software. One of our most popular and critically acclaimed instruments is the Mini V: a meticulously reproduced emulation of Dr Bob Moog’s classic 70s monosynth.
”I started playing piano before learning how to read.”
Having studied the technology of analog circuitry and DSP in detail, with a thesis dedicated to the components of Dr Robert Moog’s game-changing monosynth, Stefano literally wrote the book on analog emulation.
After finishing his studies d'Angelo decided it was time to apply his academic expertise to real-world products. He soon started working in the talented, passionate team at Arturia: one of the few music technology companies capable of accepting real challenge, and meeting it head on.
The famous filter of Bob Moog’s original monosynth is one of the instrument’s most iconic features, and has been copied numerous times by hardware and software creators for the best part of half a century.
Until now, these replica filters haven’t ever truly captured the musical essence of the original. Thanks to Stefano and the tireless efforts of the Arturia tech team, the code has finally been cracked.
”The global feedback allows for complex behavior and richer tone”
The system also includes a global feedback path, whose gain is controlled by the “emphasis” knob. When this is set to the minimum, the “cutoff frequency” knob is solely responsible for the actual cutoff of the filter. Otherwise, as the “emphasis” increases, resonant behavior is introduced and becomes progressively more apparent. Meanwhile, the actual cutoff first decreases sensibly, then it slowly increases up to the point in which the filter goes into self-oscillation.
In other words, the global feedback allows for complex behavior and richer tone, thus enhancing the musical qualities of the filter even more.
While the dependency of the actual cutoff on both knobs is sometimes regarded as a misfeature, and even more so if you consider that the passband gain also decreases with increasing “emphasis”. This arrangement however makes the position of the cutoff slope exclusively dependent on the “cutoff frequency”, a remarkable and unique property that is too often neglected.
Unlocking the analog code,
one component at a time
In Arturia’s continuing quest to ensure the most authentic, organic analog sound, we strive to capture and reproduce every nuance of the original hardware.
Precisely modeling a system which contains both nonlinearities (saturation) and dynamic effects (filtering) is among the hardest tasks in music DSP, and indeed it is one of the main subjects of most recent virtual analog research in universities around the world.
The previous implementation tried to address both the linear and nonlinear aspects of the filter at the same time, but it did so in a suboptimal way so no two were 100% correct. This was very evident when the filter was set in self-oscillation mode: if you kept the emphasis high enough and tried to sweep the cutoff, you could see that the amplitude of the sine wave generated by self-oscillation was very far from constant, and at the lowest cutoff settings it would just die out.
”My mission was to make the Mini V filter whistle and scream like the original.”
Representing the nuances of an analog component as a mathematical equation is one of the greatest challenges in the world of digital signal processing. These often take the form of many nonlinear differential equations that are difficult to express in closed-form.
Despite being practically unsolvable, algorithms exist that can express these equations numerically. These methods require some fairly intense processing power, and so aren’t suitable for the real-time calculations required for virtual instruments.
To work around this issue, researchers in the field have developed several techniques to cope with the equations hidden within each analog component. However, no single solution is considered to be both general and optimal, and so each case needs special handling.
”I have even seen seasoned researchers getting scared when looking at the math behind it”
"I was able to reproduce the linear behavior of the filter with practically 100% accuracy, and also the nonlinear part is extremely close to the original."
This breakthrough in the reproduction of analog components is the very bedrock of our exclusive TAE® technology, and gives you, the musician, access to some of the world’s most iconic instruments. Sounds that cut through the mix. Sounds that are a joy to perform. Sounds that will shape the future of popular music.
Thanks to Stefano’s expertise, the technical skill of his teammates, and Arturia’s company-wide vision, this labor of love makes Mini V the most breathtaking, authentic emulation of Bob Moog’s classic 70s monosynth on the market.
Beyond the scientific achievement, the improvements to the Mini V filter are an exciting step forward for the musician.
As well as giving the filter an unparalleled fidelity, it now self-oscillates linearly throughout the audio spectrum. Musicians can now take full advantage of the self-oscillation for sound-design, for instance when using it as a supplementary oscillator to beef-up a vivid lead or a nasty bass.
Mini V’s filter now has superior clarity in the upper register and the ability to withstand audio-rate modulations of the cutoff frequency. This powerful addition will inspire adventurous synthesists seeking harsh, cutting sounds.