Suquamish, Washington, USA
Electronic Music review: Korg MONOTRON, UPDATE:audio
Written September 26 2010 , Tags: portable, $60, monotron, korg, analog
korg has released the monotron, a portable "synth" with a ribbon controller, a real analog vco, lfo, filter with resonance, and the ability to filter external sources.
its small, about the size of 2 or three iphones stacked together. it runs on batteries. its made of plastic, kinda cheap feeling but the knobs are solid. the ribbon controller is not segmented into notes, its continuous, making precise pitch a challenge, but warbly noises and slides quite easy. their is a bevel around the control area that makes getting fat fingers to work a challenge. i have skinny fingers and still wish the surface was wider.
the front has five knobs and a slide switch for power and mod source. the knobs control pitch, lfo rate and depth, and filter cutoff and resonance. the modulation options are pitch and filter, both sawtooth waveform. the vco still sounds when the aux in is used to filter an external source. the lfo is saw, which is a little weird as a single option.. but is still useful. the speaker is also on the top, and the lfo rate knob blinks in time with the rate of the lfo.
the back connections feature a headphone out (that replaces the speaker when something is plugged in) and an aux in, as well as a volume wheel and a pitch range adjustment screw.
the monotron runs on batteries, 2 AAA, included, for a claimed 8 hours.
i think the most disappointing thing about the monotron is the lack of cv, that would have made this truly amazing, and made up for the usability issues with the skinny ribbon controller. maybe cv can be hacked in later though. and the thing is only $60 so i cant wine too much.
filtered iphone nanoloop:
ill have to find a 1/8 inch - 1/8 inch jack to make some recordings. maybe today or tomorrow.
HOW DOES IT SOUND.
also use a stylus, fatty.
I'd disagree about the monotron feeling cheap - sure it's plastic but it doesn't feel like it's going to break apart any time soon and even the knobs feel sturdy. The only things missing are four rubber pads from underneath the machine - now it moves far too easily on the table. (Well, you can always add them yourself...)
The best feature of the machine, aside from the fun factor and simplicity, is without a doubt the filter, which screams like crazy. You can process an external source with it.
The little speaker is adorable but quite useless for bass sounds. I also found that the headphone out as a line output is kinda noisy - or maybe it was just my wires?
I intend to use the machine as a sound effect box and also sample some melodies as well. It can also create hard kick sounds, weird screams and the ribbon controller allows you to create sweeping theremin-like sounds with lots of vibrato.
the headphone is noisy, and yeah its not disturbingly cheap, its just not made of metal or anything.
im getting ready to post some audio. another little anoying thing about this is how close the headphone and aux in are to eachother, kinda makes using adapters to record something through the filter impossible. would have been nice if they were about a centimeter further apart.
most annoying thing to me is that you can't turn off the OSC.
Thanks for posting this. I've been considering getting one so this info helps a lot.
the gakken sx-150 are also worth considering as you get an AD env as well as an LFO that does square and triangle. i modded my gakken to have cv input and have been controlling it via 'the silent way' VST, kicks ass.
Saw a mate improvising with one of these the other night, lovely.
Serously considering geting one.
too bad you can't really play "music" on it tho... no matter what you think.. Same with the SX-150.
For that.. the Stylophone 350s smokes the competition..
djugel said: "too bad you can't really play "music" on it tho... no matter what you think.. Same with the SX-150.
For that.. the Stylophone 350s smokes the competition.."
eh? once cv modded its a piece of piss to play 'music' on it.
why ask a piece of techno gear to play something so archaic as "muuuzic"
yeah.. but you gotta mod it, deal with CV/GATE .. and have a keyboard. Would rather have something else..
Imma buy one just because djugel doesn't like it ;)
I get what your saying...you want it to be more playable and stand-alone. But even as it is, it sounds amazing for a such a small cost!
I was looking on infos on the monotron too and I stumbled onto this video which track is assembled (they say) only by using the monotron as the sound source. Video
The results are pretty cool, even tho the process is painful!
(btw by going by with suggested videos that's how i discovered brett domino! who are really cool! check'em out... using a monotron on gaga's cover and a stylophone on timberlake's medley. jump to timberlake's if you have little time to lose)
5$ says korg makes a midi controlable one next.
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