Novation MiniNova Virtual Analog Digital Synthesizer with Vocoder
The MiniNova is a small and affordable synthesizer that includes 256 tweakable factory sounds along with 128 user patch storage in order to store your own customized sounds.
Its eight animate buttons are a prominent feature used to trigger certain parameters that allow you to warp your patches in real-time.
It also features Vocaltune- a vocoder function that records and tunes your vocals to the keyboard.
- Keys: 37 mini keys
- Polyphony: 18 voices
- Display: 16 character custom LCD
- Oscillator: Analog modelling
- Filter: 14 filter types: can run 2 simultaneously
- Envelope: 6 envelope generators
- LFO: 3 x LFOs
- Additional Controllers: 1 x Large detented patch select encoder, 1 x Patch sort switch, 1 x Volume dial, 1 x Detented data encoder, 5 x Navigation/utility buttons, 2 x Patch navigation buttons
- Presets: 256
- Effects: Distortion, Reverb, Compression, EQ, Chorus/Phase, Delay, Gate
- Arpeggiator: Yes
- Audio Input: 1/4” jack inputs, XLR dynamic mic input
- Audio Output: 2 x1/4” jack outputs, 1/4” jack headphone output
- Other Connectivity: 1/4” jack input Sustain pedal
- Power: USB bus powered, 9V DC power supply included
- Dimensions: 22.04” x 9.84” x 2.95”
- Weight: 6 lbs
For its price and its size, many reviewers were pleased with the effortless searching and editing the large amount of presets it offers by a twist of a knob or push of a button. Many pointed out its dedicated filter knob makes it easier to filter sweep. In his MusicRadar review, Dan Goldman mentioned its filters "sound very respectable in general, with smooth almost step-free resonance and cutoff response and, although the general tone errs more towards hard electronic rather than warm juiciness, the MiniNova is perfectly capable of warmer tones with a bit of tweaking." Its overall controls and build quality are quite sturdy even with a plastic build that makes it lightweight. Its arpeggiation and programmable 'animate' feature provides ease of modulation and lets musicians add effects in real time, which makes a great tool for a stage performance.
Some users mentioned managing advanced features, such as switching waveforms in oscillators or customizing knobs and effects, are a bit of a hassle since it takes more time to navigate through menus than using the hardware alone. The software editor that comes with the MiniNova makes it easier to edit these features.
This is good for seasoned professionals who are looking for an affordable option that provides more contemporary sounds, however there are more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Best Synthesizer Keyboards.