Gets its attitude from its big brotherThe Novation MiniNova is endowed with the same sound engine as its big brother, the UltraNova. It ships with 256 dynamite patches that you can tweak using five knobs - or completely warp with MiniNova's eight Animate buttons. MiniNova also sports an onboard voice-tune effect as well as a classic vocoder. The net result is a powerhouse of a synth in a tidy, trim package.A beefy synth engine juiced with great-sounding effectsNovation's MiniNova has the beefiest synth engine ever put into such a compact synth. You get 14 waveforms (square, sine, sawtooth, pulse, and triangle, plus variations), 36 wavetables, plus 20 digital waveforms. Each of the three oscillators (per voice) sports Densitydetune for fattening up sounds, Virtual Sync, and Hardness - which functions as an additional lowpass filter. Speaking of filters, MiniNova is fitted with 14 different types (you can run two simultaneously), six envelope generators, three LFOs, and a modulation matrix with 20 slots in which you can string synth engine modules together to create a sonic beast. Effects? Definitely. With MiniNova, you can add up to five effects to each voice - that includes distortion, reverb, compression, EQ, chorusphase, delay, and Novation's proprietary Gator effect. Wow!Knobs and buttons (oh, goody!)Novation's MiniNova has unique and powerful sound-shaping capabilities for such a bantamweight. You get knobs, naturally, that let you tweak your sounds, but you can also "animate" sound using eight back-lit buttons that trigger mods in the synth engine that warp your patches in realtime as you play. There's a large knob for filter cutoff so no matter what else you are doing, you always have instant control over the filter. MiniNova also sports a 33-pattern arpeggiator, and you can use the eight buttons to jam with these patterns, creating completely new sequences (in realtime) in the process.