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.
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!)
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.)
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.)