SYNTHS – Monotribe and Monotron
Ribbon synthesizers were revolutionized when Korg released their Monotron and Monotribe synths. These synthesizers are fully analogue, contain Korg’s famous signal processing and are compact enough to take with you anywhere. These synths were so popular, Korg even decided to expand on the Monotron series with the ‘Duo’ and ‘Delay’ versions; that also display Korg’s famous filters and continue to prove the brand’s success. (Both still sold here: DUO and DELAY )
As a reminder of the awesome processing of these instruments, check out Korg’s own introduction videos:
Monotribe – Intro in the Studio
Monotron – Guided Tour
Monotron Duo and Delay
The sounds Korg’s Monotron were capable of were questionable before release; five knobs and one switch for control of the voltage-controlled oscillator, low-frequency oscillator and voltage-controlled filter. Korg quickly quelled concerns upon debut with its reliability, user-intuitive design and insanely powerful sounds.
The Monotron’s simple circuit path means players can adjust the parameters to get the sound they’re after with ease. The voltage oscillator, with ribbon keyboard, gives users control of the pitch of the sound. The voltage-controlled filter uses the same circuit as the legendary MS series of synths. Players are able to modify their tone using the VCF cut-off knob and the emphasis using the Peak knob. The low-frequency oscillator can be switched so users can control the pitch or the frequency cut-off; while the rate and intensity can both be modified.
The Monotribe is a whole other beast when it comes to its sound synthesis and level of control. On top of its predecessor’s already-amazing processing, Korg has packed the Monotribe with features from their other ranges (Electribe, MS, etc) to give us unique analogue power in such a portable unit.
The Monotribe allows users to customize their sets and their sounds with the greatest of ease. Users have the ability to easily choose waveforms and octave of pitch through the voltage oscillator, cut-off through voltage filter, rate and intensity of the low-frequency oscillator (with control over the voltage oscillator and filter) and the level of the voltage-controlled amplifier. This synth also includes a three-part, 16-step drum sequencer to beef up your set and add some rhythm into your setup. Their addition of the ‘active step’ and ‘flux’ modes mean users are able to edit their loops and sequences on the fly to create advanced rhythms or provide some rubato to give a “live” feel.
One feature of these synths that keep them so simple and small, but might scare some users away, is their lack of preset patches or the ability to save patches that have been created. As such; synth players using the Monotron or Monotribe are going to have to go old-school and rely on patch sheets to remember their sounds.
Many people have made patch sheets for the synths already, which takes the hard part away for you. Please find some links below to the appropriate patch sheets or download pages for the synths.
Monotron Patch sheet:
(Created by Son of 8-Bits on his own website sonof8bits.com )
Monotron Patch sheet (without keyboard):
(Created by Nick Ames through his own website www.fetchmodus.org )
Monotribe Patch sheet:
(Created by user brianunfried on Reddit)
View the Korg videos below if you’re looking for more information on the patches and sounds you’re able to create on these synths.
In-depth Monotribe series
Sound programming examples
Processing external audio