A 25-key, monophonic version of Korg’s clever 4-voice Minilogue polysynth wouldn’t be a bad idea. And it’s what you’d expect, given the Minilogue came out only at the beginning of this year. But that’s not what the Monologue is.

No, the Monologue is more a sequel to the Minilogue than it is just one with less keys and voices. And there are a number of smart ideas here.

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There’s a new filter. You want some different character with a monosynth than a polysynth, so here there’s a new 2-pole VCF and analog drive for what Korg says gives you “more bite.”

The LFO can go super fast or act as a one-shot. Also for more mono edge, there’s “unprecedented, ultra-high-speed” LFO rate, or a “one-shot” LFO that lets it act effectively as an extra envelope generator.

Wait, ultra, ultra-high speed? Unprecedented?

The step sequencer has more buttons and more power. The original minilogue had SH-101 style compact controls. Now, normally a synth that’s smaller would have fewer controls. Here, it has more. So you get 16 dedicated buttons for each step instead of having to advance through manually.

There’s also a bit more editing capability. As before, you can create motion sequences. But now you can edit them, too, and select either “smoothed” or “stepped” capture of parameters. (Stepped makes things more rhythmic.) Also, you can transpose on the fly by key. (Harmonic changes!)

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It runs on batteries. 6xAA batteries, just like the volca series. KORG says to expect 6-8 hours battery life (8 hours on NiMH batteries rather than alkaline).

It runs E to E. Aimed at bassists rather than keyboardists, there’s a more logical low E note. Smart.

It’s a great Christmas gift – if you’re on the Julian calendar and a bit slow. Pre-order starts today. But you can’t actually get the Monologue until the 9th of January, so… think of it as a January gift to yourself. (That’s still in time for my birthday. Or for someone who’s celebrating the old Russian Orthodox Christmas and … uh … got a bit drunk on the 6th and doesn’t notice that it’s three days late.)

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It comes in colors. Silver, Black, Red, Dark Blue, Gold, just in case this wasn’t going to sell enough already.

There’s microtuning – and Aphex Twin was involved. Our friend Ben Rogerson at MusicRadar gets the scoop here. There’s factory tuning and 12 slots for your own, and according to Ben’s report, Aphex Twin created some of those scales and was involved as an advisor on implementation. I really hope this shows up in a firmware update for the original Minilogue, too.

It’s only three hundred bucks. Again, they could have just cut off the extra keys and sold this thing like crazy at that price. But kudos to KORG for getting more creative than that.

And it’s otherwise mostly a minilogue. Everything else is as expected – but with surprisingly few compromises. It’s got the same metal top, same wood back. It’s got the same fun approach to synthesis. There’s even the same connectivity (sync in and out, MIDI in and out via both 5-pin and USB connection, audio in).

If you want to see it in person, it’s at Brooklyn Synth Expo the 12th and 13th. (It’s impressive how events in Brooklyn and Berlin now are quickly eclipsing the bigger events like NAMM when it comes to the synth scene.)

Cue pictures.

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  • Stereo Reverb

    I don’t need this, but i think i have to have this.

    • cezar mgc

      I did buy mine in that way.hope it really makes a good pair with the Minilogue.

  • It’s cute, it seems to push all the right buttons for an affordable, capable, modern mono synth, and it builds on an existing product, which makes it reasonable for the manufacturer. What’s not to like?

    I agree with your hope that the features that can be realised in software will also make it into the minilogue eventually (motion sequence improvements! transpose sequences!!) That would actually be really awesome product maintenance and increase customer satisfaction easily. I would have loved to see something like the refined filter (with drive!) in the minilogue in the first place, because that one is already great for really great bass sounds.

    Now, I am looking forward to comparing it to other budget mono synths like Bass Station, MiniBrute etc. I really hope they fixed the filter issue from the minilogue, where raising the resonance would dramatically cut off the bass frequencies…

    And I really need to remember how to count in songs from now on: 1, 2, late…

    • Well, what’s *not* to like is easy – the Minilogue is still a bit more interesting than the Monologue in that there aren’t a lot of poly’s out there. I’ve got enough monosynths that I *might* be able to resist my lust for this.

      I wish the new sequence transposition and microtuning features were on the Minilogue.

      Main thing to test here is really that filter. I badly want to hear what it sounds like in person. That seems to be the make-or-break.

      • Agreed. And I won’t trade my minilogue for anything else!

      • Bernard Perbal

        Agreed too, but I’ll keep both my Minimoog Model D. Sorry!

  • FS

    now here’s a product with a price point that pretty much puts this in everyone’s studio, nice one Korg.

  • Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte

    On Korg’s Soundcloud there’s a demo sound called “Fake3Osc” Anyone have an idea of how they made these chords without actually having 3 oscillators?

    https://soundcloud.com/korg/monologue-006-fake3osc

  • lala

    I wonder about the microtuning and scales.
    If you leave the 12 tone thing it is pretty weird to play on a piano keyboard.

    • lala

      You can use only white keys but then you are left with 15 instead of 25 keys.

  • freqn

    Buying

  • pola

    I think that slowly, day after day, Korg are getting closer and closer to conquering the world…

  • heinrichz

    The price is right for for whomever needs anoth monosynth. I like the wood and the fact that it’s battery powered.

  • R__W

    i like this but TBH i never been able to figure out why a monosynth needs a keyboard.

  • itchy

    i wish this was mini key, no im not being sarcastic i really do . love the korg mini key asthetic monologue mini or modular plz sounds very screammmy

  • Stefano

    Controls such as 1 shot LFO resemble those found on the cute Korg Monotribe.

  • richard conrad

    cant wait for the inevitable video of the first person to buy one of each colour and sync them all the together!

  • Will

    And minibrute sales plummet in 3, 2, …

  • leolodreamland

    but i want a mini minilogue!

  • Spankous

    I hope they make a polyphonic big brother of the minilogue and call it Epilogue and then a very small one with half a voice and call it micrologue. Maybe a Micky Mouse Ltd edition with extravagant pitch ability and a nespresso machine inside. the whole names giving and new products every 3 minutes from all companies might just be a tad too much

  • Haydn Hamilton