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Novation MiniNova 37-Key Synthesizer with Vocoder Reviews

4.5 stars based on 22 customer reviews
Questions about the Novation MiniNova 37-Key Synthesizer with Vocoder?

Questions about the Novation MiniNova 37-Key Synthesizer with Vocoder?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    The Novation MiniNova picks up where the MicroKorg left off. Affordable, lightweight, portable, and a completely unique and different soundset when compared to other boards similar to it. The highlights of this board are all easily accessible and not buried in menus. Just 30 minutes with this little beauty and you will fall in love (until you meet her bigger sister, ULTRANOVA!).

  • Andrew Teeple

    As a professional musician and songwriter, the Novation MiniNova has been invaluable while I'm on the road. It gives me all the massive bass and soaring leads of its big brother UltraNova in a keyboard that will fit in my backpack! Awesome!

  • from March 11, 2017

    My go to synth

    I've dreamed about having this synth for as long as I could remember, and finally being able to say I own it is just mesmerizing. This is my go to synth for anything when I'm just experimenting, and along with the right effects you can make the biggest sounds and so many of my favorite sounds I've made came from this. Don't think you're limited to anything because I've made everything from gnarly basslines to lush pads and stabby arps, this synth is so versatile and it's what I dreamed of and more. My only complaints would have to be minimal but noted, such as the onboard effects are not very strong. I use the raw sounds from the synth and every effect used on it is either native to my software or separate altogether. Another problem I've had has to do with my software but still worth noting, when I play an arp on the MiniNova it plays random notes and I know this is not a hardware issue as it does not do this at all when working internal but only when synced to the clock tempo. Maybe it's a bug I've yet to fix, but I've fiddled with everything from latency to master sync. All in all, despite my personal problem and the onboard effects, this synth does not disappoint and despite a lot of people saying it's a metallic and unwelcoming sound, you can make super warm sounds with it if you apply the right external effects to it. Would rate it 4.5 overall, but 5 for sound design when it comes to the right setup.

  • from California January 5, 2017


    This unit packs everything I need! Great job Novation!

  • from Hillsboro Oregon November 1, 2016

    Awesome Synth

    Combine this with the Eventide H9 Max or Strymon Bigsky...ummm...mix that through the 4-710D....my oh my... ummm it's sweet... Nice fat sound through JBL305... Awesome synth for the sound engineer in the studio! Great for sound production. Thank you Sweetwater and especially Marshall for everything you do!

  • from Klamath Falls, OR March 28, 2016

    It is what it is, and 5-star terrific for that

    Just great ultranova, supernova, notation sound. Am
    And. . . Wait for it. . . A terrific manual -- the kind that makes you imagine the actual guys making these and appreciating and liking them. The tiny size is part of the cool, IMO, but the despised layered programming comes with the territory, although the knob/slider matrix is great, and fun. I'd look at this as a sexy super friendly module, with smokin sound AND that you can pull out and actually play. Small keys, w/o after touch, and no expression pedal input. But if you plugged in full key size controller with after touch and expression pedal inputs, this little monster could accomodate it all and give back monster analog-modeled and wave table synth sound. So for what it IS, five stars! Just post-purchase happiness.

  • from Plummer, Idaho January 14, 2016Music Background:
    Hobby guitarist

    Great learning tool!

    I am just entering the world of synthesizers and looked long and hard at what to break the ice with. This looked like the most 'user friendly' and so far it hasn't let me down! The sounds and effects that come preinstalled got me learning right away and the vocoder is awesome! Along with a learning program I found online called "Syntorial," I'm getting comfortable creating my own unique pads in just a short time! If you want to delve in to the world of synthesizer sounds with no previous experience, then this is your best bang for the buck in my opinion! Plus there's room to push it further as you create your own stuff! Awesome!

  • from newark, NJ February 13, 2015Music Background:

    may b whatuwant

    I'm not one to talk about program access ability.... but it really is friendly....great fun. Easy to play....but I should say I too was drawn to it because the micro korg.... and it is similar.....sound wise with more presets 256 as 2x more and a menu that is so often only one level down...a difference of I suppose freedom....the filter area...love the switch....and the knobs are responsive ...the display codes ...good....our . All Right.....and OK......JUST REALLY REALLY TIGHT NICE SYNTH.....NICE LOOKING SOUNDS GREAT.......IF SIZE IS THE THING SMALLLL....THE EASE OF USE AND SOUND is there ! etc....get it!

  • from Ransomville, NY USA June 27, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Semi pro

    Just awesome

    Does what it's supposed to do and very easy to use. Extremely worth price considering some of the higher priced models are not this easy to use.

  • from Caguas, PR (USA) November 21, 2013Music Background:
    As usual, musician, composer, writer, accordionist and keyboardist... the list goes on...

    (Not A Chevrolet Chevy II)(Mini)-Nova SS (For Super Stunning)

    This pint-size MIDI controller keyboard packs all that juice in its innards as claimed??? Are you ("expletive") kidding me? Not to mention, I never could hear anything THIS crystal clear! The vocoder... reflects my voice all the way down to the last detail! Take note, Marlboro Man! The keys look pretty and are a pleasure to press down. And what about the pitch-bend and modulation wheel pair? Need enough said? And the lighted buttons are bound to be the most gorgeous I have ever seen on a MIDI keyboard! Now that's what I call a great holiday gift!

  • from August 2, 2013Music Background:
    I had a collection of Yamaha keyboards, a pair of Magnus electric fan organs; one with 44 notes and one with 37 keys and 12 chords; a Baldwin

    Sure To Give The Competition The Blues!

    No full-size keys like the UltraNOVA but it sure makes a great travel synthesizer keyboard! Together with a good tablet or laptop with MIDI interface and audio recording software, a good, portable audio speaker and it makes a good on-the-go "studio." The 18-note polyphony suggests that you can edit a few of the patches to get some piano sounds. Who knows what's in it!?

  • from Indianapolis, Indiana December 21, 2012Music Background:
    Video Producer, Pro Musician, Photographer, Compositor

    Amazing Original Dirty Snyth

    I've owned lot's of keyboards over the years, but this one stands out. This is not a mainstream keyboard but more of a professional niche keyboard.
    What I like most about this keyboard is it's character. It's sounds are easily changeable and the sounds are dark and explosive.

    I am a video producer who writes music for the commercials I produce. The music I created for my lasted commercials had everyone asking how did I create such awesome sounding music. I proudly pointed at the MiniNova.

  • from Ohio October 22, 2012Music Background:

    sides are not plastic but not real wood!

    took the side ends off with hex key and they look like a pressed wood like on a cheap computer stand. they have a lamenent over them to simulate a wood finish. not sure why they did not use the real thing? looks like more work to make them look wood..lol. but it is not plastic. it's a great synth anyways. I will make real wood sides for it though soon. microkorg wins on that note!

  • from Ohio October 20, 2012Music Background:

    microkorg has some new competition!

    I was using the microkorg for so many years and loved it. Then i saw that the new Mininova had a bit of the same layout / design but had a little extra punch as far as what it can do and the over all look and feel / performance ect. Some knob features are very microkorg-ish but that is a good thing since i am a huge fan of them. Microkorg is still a great synth for sure! Well, you can't blame novation for this move with Mininova. After all, the microkorg still is the most selling synth ever! It seems Korg will have a bit of competition now with the Mininova! I LOVE the MiniNova so far after just playing if for 10 min. I for one am a fan of mini keys so i had to have one. I love the layout and huge sound and smooth controls it has. When I have more time i will be at it for hours I'm sure, tweaking and programming! The only thing that seems cheesy is the fake wood ends. I think thay are plastic? This wont stop people from buying it I hope. If you have loved the microkorg you will really love Mininova. BUY ONE! The lighted wheels are bad-*** too! Very happy i made this move with Mininova. You will too! PS.. you can mess with the dubstep sounds to make them not dubstep! Thank God!

  • from Batavia, NY November 25, 2015

    What are you talking about!!!

    First off..yes it is digital. No it's not as great as analog is but for a first synth and stage player its freaking awesome. I haven't owned many synths but I have heard and played moot korg micro and a bass station (want one).. And this thing can hold its own even in 2015. I think it sounds better then most virtual plugins and is quite responsive. The mini keys are fine but remeber it has a midi in and out ( I got my old mpk49 hooked in). The bottom gets there for me and the leads are usually crisp. Someone said there is no warmth. I think it has its own warmth and character. But what you can accomplish with the sounds they give you is awesome for this price. I did t even think you can tweak this in depth. Overall I love it. I will say not being able to record usb is a let down but nothing to make me wish I never bought it....more than glad I did. I don't see how you can regret it with its potential. I would recommend making sure you have some good speakers to hear this mighty mini.

  • from July 30, 2015Music Background:

    Powerful Synth

    I picked this up as a multi-tasking tool as it did the job of several other bits of kit. The presets are okay, mostly un-inspiring IMHO but the synth architecture is very deep and you can create many different sounds out of this thing. For the money, it is hard to beat. I've used the supplied mic and effects for remote recording on flutes, trumpet, and a variety of acoustic instruments. With a little time you can coax deep basses, searing leads, soft warm pads, and all manner of insane sound effects. Multiple modulation routing and LFO's, plus the programmable animate buttons, means you can bend these sounds to your will in ways most other synths can't do. I've had mine for six months now and I still can't believe how much this little synth can do.

    It's a solid buy if you want more than a toy synth. If you're just into presets, you might be disappointed. The MiniNova begs you to challenge it, to dive deeper, and when you do, it possesses the tool set keep you innovative for a very long time.

  • from L.A August 5, 2013

    Slamming sound

    I freaking love my mini nova. Oh, and there is nothing small about its capabilities!
    I've used it for several studio recordings with many audio interfaces.

  • from Detroit, MI April 28, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Student, Producer

    Better than my Micro Korg

    this thing is great , i have a micro korg and this thing has a way faster workflow and more intuitive design, Also the screen is simple to go through i had this thing running on with my computer within seconds , the vocoder is also great it stays still and doesnt move around and lose its shape , and the fact that you can change the sounds on it with ones from the internet is great also

    , the only cons i have is that the sounds are the presets are kinda thin sounding but other than that its a great unit

  • from Massena, Ny December 21, 2012

    This thing kicks....

    If it had aftertouch, i would have given it a 5. The sounds are nice. The editor just came out. You can use the ultranova patches if you are running out of sounds also.

  • from Logan, UT December 14, 2012Music Background:

    Better than MicroKorg XL except for...

    As far as the synth goes, it sounds awesome, has up to date sounds out of the box, and the performance controls give this thing an edge over other synths i've seen for live performance. They are super fun to play with and give you instant gratification. The look of the thing is awesome all the way around. I like a majority of the sounds it comes with right out of the box.

    And for the bad? As of Dec 14, 2012 there is no software editor for this synth despite what the product description states. This is a huge set back for me as I hate drilling through menus.

    The editor is "in the works". Apparently you can use the UltraNova software editor. But it is not a stand alone program, but a VST to use with your daw. I'm not a technical guy when it comes to midi or music programming, I have Fruity Loops but have no experience using additional VST's So it's confusing attempting to get that to work. In addition I haven't found much help online so I've resorted to contacting Novation Technical Support.

    However, in my search for a user "patch" community I found out that there really is no section for "mini nova" patches online. However, there is for UltraNova patches and those seem to be compatible with the MiniNova.

    All in all a great purchase, but dealing with the software is going to be a pain for some.

  • from California November 1, 2014Music Background:
    Recording artist, producer, and songwriter.

    Great sonic possibilities if you know how...

    The MiniNova isn't an analog modeling synth, but the good news is that it isn't trying to be. However, It takes the approach of one. Whether you're very familiar with synthesizers or this is your introduction into that world, the MiniNova is very accessible out of the box. All of the parameters are tweakable via the front panel and the performance controls are quite intuitive, making this a great performance synth.
    You can build your own patches or tweak and overwrite the ones already there, but I wouldn't recommend doing it through the front panel. This is where the software editor comes into play. The software editor has a nice visual interface that alleviates digging through the sub menus of the MiniNova itself. Useful to get into the 'patch creator' mode and build your own library of sounds. You can really dig deep and personalize the synth to make it your own instrument with your own sound palette.

    Now, how does it sound?
    I'd say it's not super warm and punchy, it's slightly cold and metallic sounding, and I'd compare it to an FM synth, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're looking for thick bass, or a warm analog sound, go for the MicroKORG XL. What are the MiniNova sounds good for? Well this synth is capable of massive width, motion, and texture which makes for great ambient pads, bright tinny FM type sounds, and contemporary synth sounds.

    How's the build? Plastic, but sturdy, the knobs feel like they can handle many miles. Mini keys might be a turn off to some, but you can control it externally via MIDI.

    The software plug-in editor.
    Listen close because there's a lot of confusion surrounding it.
    First of all it's a plug-in that works within your DAW, and it does not generate any sound itself, it acts as a visual extension of the MiniNova.
    What this means is that all it's doing is controlling whats happening internally within the MiniNova. I wish it was a standalone, because using the editor within a DAW is a bit clunky, but it still gets the job done. If you wanted to record the sounds, you do need to hook the MiniNova up through an interface, because the sounds are being generated from within it, which is where some confusion is.

    All in all it's a great synth for the price (especially since the price has gone down.) As long as you know what you're looking for, this is a great tool that does it's job nicely, it's fun to play around with, and the fact that you can go into depth with it and create your own sound palette is very useful.

  • from San Francisco, United States April 16, 2013

    A giant improvement on the MicroKorg

    I found the MicroKorg, while being an excellent sounding synth, to be very frustrating to program. While the MiniNova will still require you actually learn what you are doing, creating your own sounds is far, far easier.

    A great little keyboard.

  • from ACTON, MA July 26, 2013Music Background:



  • from USA August 18, 2013Music Background:
    Mastering engineer,live performer,pro musician

    Another novation plugin inside a USB controller

    This product is a good buy for anyone just starting out that needs a midi controller and doesn't have any plugins or maybe has a really weak pc/Mac. I was fortunate enough to have purchased one used so I ended up getting back the money spent. Keys are actually less playable than a microkorgs which is hard to believe but true. If youre after a native instruments sort of sound and can get past the filter then its a fine buy.just don't expect to program anything in the vain of classic analog sounds,this is as digital as it gets. glad I held on to both of my korg micros. I suggest waiting for the bass station 2 and placing your preorder with sweetwater now.

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