Become a member
Become a member

or
Continue with Google
Log in
Log in

or
Log in using a Google account
Agrandir
Add this product to
  • My former gear
  • My current gear
  • My wishlist
Novation MiniNova
Images
1/1191

Review Novation MiniNova

Analog Modeling Synth de la marque Novation appartenant à la série Nova

review
Comment

Novation MiniNova Review

Tiny Smurf
Share this article

Two years after their comeback, Novation decided to strike a new blow with the MiniNova — a small, blue synth bomb based on the UltraNova. When mini means maxi...

2012 seems to be the year of the mini-synths: MiniBrute, Minitaur, MiniNova. Although these products share the same prefix, each manufacturer has its own “mini” approach for technology and packaging: pure analog technology with standard, 2-octave keyboard (Arturia), small analog module with presets (Moog), and digital synth with compact, 3-octave keyboard (Novation). However, all manufacturers are after the same goal: they want to seduce as many musicians and virtual instrument users as possible with products offering a lot of technology in a very compact housing that also allows for live performances. After a quite successful comeback two years ago with the great UltraNova, proud heir of the 1998 Supernova, Novation has now decided to introduce a mini product. But is it really that “mini”?

Novation MiniNova Novation MiniNova
Novation MiniNova Novation MiniNova

Novation MiniNova 

First of all, the MiniNova is a nice instrument to twiddle with thanks to its real-time controls. But there is more: it provides you with the UltraNova sound engine, and both synths are fully compatible. In short, you get a powerful polyphonic synth with 18 voices max. When it comes to memory, you get 384 memory locations for programs, including 256 factory presets. The factory sounds are pretty good and they show the full range of sound landscapes available with an engine that uses analog modeling, waveshaping and wavetables. The sound is definitely modern with very acid basses, ultrasaw-enhanced stabs, and overdriven leads. But the engine is not limited to this typical 21st century sound, we were also able to create dark pads, FM pianos, round basses, vintage-type leads, and PPG Wave-like wavetables from the last century.

We like specially the versatility of the oscillator section (far ahead from its competitors) that opens wide sound landscapes, the different filter combinations and the incredible modulation possibilities. There is no aliasing, envelopes are brilliant, LFOs can be synced, effects sound good, arpeggios are dynamic, and you gent plenty of real-time controls. The vocoder is not just a toy to create robotic sounding vocals. Although it’s not easy to manage, the new VocalTune adds something original to vocals (it’s an effect rather than a correction tool) but it forces you to limit plosive sounds first. And as soon as you start to realize the huge power and sound quality of the product you also start to understand at what price it all is: monotimbrality.

Bass 24db
00:0000:23
  • Bass 24db 00:23
  • Bass acid 00:31
  • Bass anim1 00:26
  • Bass anim2 01:07
  • Bass anim3 01:23
  • Bass cool 00:33
  • Bass phatt 00:48
  • Bass talk 00:26
  • Bass Taurus 00:38
  • Bass TB 00:46
  • Arp animate 00:42
  • Lead ARPish 01:03
  • Lead Moogish 00:44
  • Lead sq arp 00:45
  • LFO mod 00:31
  • Marimba arpchords 00:24
  • Pad CSish 00:20
  • Pad darkish 00:46
  • Pad evolvish 00:38
  • Pad mellowish 00:46
  • Pad rosinish 00:18
  • Pianelec 00:42
  • Tcheurtche 00:22
  • Vibes arpchords 01:15
  • Vocoders 01:36
  • Vocaltune 00:27
 
 
Novation MiniNova Novation MiniNova
Novation MiniNova Novation MiniNova
Novation MiniNova Novation MiniNova
Novation MiniNova Novation MiniNova 

Integration

Although the MiniNova is primarily a lone ranger, it doesn’t mind company. First of all, it sends MIDI CC via its controls and it also receives MIDI CC. In USB mode, you can connect it to a PC/Mac after having installed the dedicated driver that also updates the firmware. But watch out, it only supports Windows 7 & 8 and Mac OS 10.7 & 10.8. We updated from version 989 to 1004 to get rid of a lot of bugs and provide it more reliability. After registering on the manufacturer’s website you’ll get a free software suite including Ableton Live Lite, BassStation (VA synth), Loopmasters samples and a dedicated editor (VST/AU/RTAS plug-in). We didn’t try the software suite, but we downloaded and installed the editor and all four soundpacks developed for the UltraNova by some sound design masters. Altogether, you get about 100 sounds covering over 40 years of sound synthesis, ranging from vintage emulation to modern textures. However, and it’s not surprising, the MiniNova is not as open as the UltraNova: it features no audio over USB nor automap control surface mode.

Conclusion

Before the review, we had our prejudices regarding the size of the mini-keys and the new version of the sound engine. But as we unpacked the unit, the first impression was excellent and using the device was a real delight… The user interface, the sound quality, the versatility and the power are really surprising considering its very compact size and quite affordable price. It certainly isn’t the ideal synth to play Rachmaninov or Herbie Hancock. But if you’re looking for a compact, handy and powerful synth to play in the studio or onstage and electronic sounds are your thing — the MiniNova is an excellent solution.

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Characterful and versatile sound
  • Depth of sound synthesis
  • Very powerful oscillators section
  • Pair of multimode resonant filters
  • Many modulation possibilities
  • Rich effect section
  • Audio input for external signal processing
  • Vocoder / VocalTune + mic (provided)
  • Well thought out and designed
  • Amusing control surface (pads)
  • Reliable construction
  • Free software suite
Cons
  • Only monotimbral
  • Limited connections
  • No MIDI interface operation via USB
  • No audio over USB
  • Mini keys limit the musician's playing

Would you like to comment this article?

Log in
Become a member
cookies
We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages and show you personalised ads (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent
These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Example: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).
Google Analytics
We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.
Advertising
This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Examples: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).

Google Analytics

We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it. When this parameter is activated, no personal information is sent to Google and the IP addresses are anonymized.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.
You can also find information about how Google uses personal data by following this link.