+ Great sound, filter.
+ Well made with quality. A few exceptions to this though.
+ Very customisable sound and settings.
+ Well integrated with updates and PC software.
- Can be too digitalized for some users.
- Odd build quality on the pitch wheel.
- Steep learning curve. Very hard to get a grasp all the features.
First off, this synth is really beautifully contructed. The quality is really great through and through except in one place. The pitch wheel. Moving it upwards enables you to hear the spring moving with it together with a slight feel of just that. I do worry a bit about the quality of the Data knob due to the fact that it's the tool you will be using to navigate all the menus, and also select the different patches.
Soundwise the synth does really well both with varied presets and options to craft your own sounds. There is a clear emphasis on digital here. Most presets works best for electronic music, making this stellar if you want a more analog feel to your productions. The combination of great overall sound and a stellar filter is a big plus. The microphone appears to do it's job really well. I haven't been able to properly test it out though.
The emphasis on digital continues as you can modify most of the settings and variables through the small screen and the use of the data-knob. You can also bind various effects and values to the four knobs on the right of the synth. There is a total of two rows that can be assigned to your own taste. The amazing filter really helps making this synth stand out, and they know it, adding a huge knob exclusively for the use of it.
There are also a row of eight pads that can either be used to modify the arpeggio or "animate". The "animate" setting enables quick transformations of the sound. For example a simple saw lead could be transformed to play 5ths with the press of a button. It can become distorted, modulated, flanged. Pretty much anything is possible, and it would surely be a great tool for a stage performance. By navigating the screen you can also make your own animations and customize the sound for your own needs.
The Mininova can be plugged in to your PC and via software you can for example import new patches. You can also export the patches making you able to import your saved data to a different Mininova if you so wish. Novation often gives out free packages of preset patches from their other analog synths like the Supernova or Bass Station often filling up the onboard space. You'll probably have to pick among the sounds you want.
Now to the less great sides. This analog synth is very digital. Most of the controls are based on navigating the software menus. For me it was an annoyance because I wanted to move a bit away from the digital tools.
I guess it was a great choice anyway to expand the customisability of the synth while not cluttering the layout with knobs and levers everywhere.