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Korg Monotron and its DIY mods

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Korg Monotron and its DIY mods

Postby Wimek » Fri May 14, 2010 4:00 pm

I encountered the monotron on the web and got curious... the description on Korg's website looks interesting: a small, cheap analog synth with a speaker build in! Specially the build in speaker and the fact that it is powered by batteries attracted me.

However, when I hear the demos on Youtube I was really disappointed. OK, it is really cheap (a good cable costs almost as much). But so far I only hear bleeps and sound effects... or am I terribly wrong?

I really would like a small synth or samples, under €200, with a small keyboard and with build in speakers. That way you can grab it, and play it without hooking up amplifiers etc. The same way I use my (semi) acoustic guitar in stead of my electric...

Any thoughts?
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby vinyl_junkie » Fri May 14, 2010 4:28 pm

Roland HS-60 end of
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby forumuser695516 » Fri May 14, 2010 4:45 pm

The monotron is kinda neat, in that it is actually real analogue, rather than something that is pretending. And i've heard some pretty good demo's of it too.
However, you can't play squat on that horrid excuse of a keyboard, and it doesn't have midi either. So basically, you have no accurate way to play it.
Still, I'll get one anyway, and hack the living the daylights out of it, so that it will actually be useable..

Im not sure what would be good for your budget though. I expect you'd have to go secondhand to get something worth having for a good price.

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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Wimek » Tue May 18, 2010 6:54 pm

Thanks for your reaction.

Just to clarify: I got interested by the concept of the Monotron mainly because it's small, easy to grab and I must admit, it has got a high gadget factor.

With that last remark I mean: when I see something like that and I enjoy fiddling around with it, there is a big chance that I just buy it for fun... I know... I got a similar feeling a few years ago when I was playing with a Casio SK-1 owned by a friend of mine, a small toyish sampling keyboard thinghy... but the problem with that one is that second hand people just ask too much money...

At the moment, I'm not really interested in buying a "big" machine (I've got a JX-3P and some synth plugin's which I use in Logic Studio (V-Station, FM8, impOSCar, PPG Wave 2.V). However, you never know... when the budged is there a MEK from Dave Smith is very tempting... :-)

OK, then why did I start this topic? Well, just because I'm wondering whether there are more small, synths or samplers like the Monotron or SK-1? Preferably battery operated, build in speakers, not expensive and fun to play with.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Wed May 19, 2010 9:40 am

Wimek wrote:Well, just because I'm wondering whether there are more small, synths or samplers like the Monotron or SK-1? Preferably battery operated, build in speakers, not expensive and fun to play with.

http://bleeplabs.com/
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Spiked Lunch » Thu May 20, 2010 9:59 am

Check out the Weevil by BugBrand
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby BigRedX » Mon May 24, 2010 8:51 pm

Many thanks for posting the BleepLabs link. I'll be getting some of their devices to go with the Monotron I have on order.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Tue May 25, 2010 10:19 am

I love my Thingamagoop (original version), must get the new one and possibly some of the other bits. The bug labs one is interesting as well.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Oscardelta » Wed May 26, 2010 8:56 pm

Going slightly off track.... there is a cool circuit bent Korg Monotron on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WcF819PX9I

It's features have certainly been enhanced
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Thu May 27, 2010 10:33 am

It's not off topic. I'm pretty sure I'll be getting a Monotron and as it lacks MIDI, I'm interested in what mods are available. At the price it is scheduled to be, you could easily get one just to monkey with.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Martin Walker » Thu May 27, 2010 10:34 am

Nice link and nice sounds Oscardelta!

thanks for that


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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Wimek » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:37 pm

Thanks for the very nice reactions! After exploring the links you guys posted and looking at some more youtube video's I've got a good idea of the Monotron's capabilities and the direct competition. I think the Monotron is worth the €55. However, as a synth I think it's more a toy than an instrument. Still, I think I'll buy one because I can do the same kind of tricks that I do with the D-Pole plug in (Part of the Waldorf Edition): routing vocal and drum sounds through it :-) Even when used as a toy: for €55 you don't buy much in a toy shop for that money and believe me, I do buy lots of toys for my little, one and a half year old, girl :-))

I found the following video on Youtube, maybe I should buy a Monotron for my girl too!

1.5 year old girl & Monotron
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby SecretSam » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:11 am

I want to see a live act by that bloke. Preferably about dawn outdoors on a hot, sunny Sunday.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Wimek » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:03 am

I did buy a Monotron and must say that I'm impressed. It is not comparable to a "big" synth but, so much fun for €57 !

I fully agree with Paul Nagle's review in the current Sound on Sound issue. I've been terrorising my family by making lots of 60's SciFi sound effects through the build in speaker. However, when hooked up to my Mackie HR624 monitors the real sound potential surfaces. Besides screaming sounds using lots of filter resonance, it also is capable of producing bass sounds somewhat like on Ultravox's "Death in the afternoon"

Next to (expensive) professional equipment, gadgets like the Monotron are great! I hope more is going to follow!
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby tea for two » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:44 pm

Wimek wrote:However, when I hear the demos on Youtube I was really disappointed. But so far I only hear bleeps and sound effects...


~Paul wrote:However, you can't play squat on that horrid excuse of a keyboard, and it doesn't have midi either. So basically, you have no accurate way to play it.


Hi

Mebe this track http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn4D79Jgn_4&videos=sDTdnYC7Geo
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:22 am

Apparantly the CV mod is fairly straight forward.

http://www.dinsync.info/2010/06/how-to-modify-korg-monotron.html

Must get one next month. £50 a pop a go, sounds good to me.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby hogberto » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:15 am

i reckon there's a moral obligation on us all to buy one of these so that it's a huge success, making korg lots of cash and encouraging them to build a new analogue polysynth. with a proper keyboard. just a thought.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby gryfyx » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:19 pm

Not trying to agitate anyone, but until unless you plan to modify it, (as 'Richie Royale' suggested) or until you want to bend it- save your money and buy something else.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby baward » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:34 pm

I'm waiting for Version 2, I personally never buy the first iteration of something.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby forumuser695516 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:09 pm

baward wrote:I'm waiting for Version 2, I personally never buy the first iteration of something.


Thats a good point. If we were talking about something that costs hundreds or thousands of pounds that is.. This thing isn't quite pocket change, granted. But still, £50 for a synth, why not!? I'm in
It's so simple that I can't see Korg ever making a revision of it. More like a bigger version with more bells & whistles if anything. But that would be a lot more money than this thing costs.

These things are a modders dream. Korg even had the good sense to label the PCB at the critical points to show folk where the CV points etc are.
Once the scramble for them has cleared, i'll grab one start hacking

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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby artifus » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:38 am

baward wrote:I'm waiting for Version 2, I personally never buy the first iteration of something.

unless, of course, you intend on never opening it and get yourself an ebay account...
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby gryfyx » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:48 am

~Paul wrote:

These things are a modders dream. Korg even had the good sense to label the PCB at the critical points to show folk where the CV points etc are.
Once the scramble for them has cleared, i'll grab one start hacking

Paul

Yes these truly are modders dream. Interesting part is they sound much better after a witty hack than when out of the box. I interconnected its PCB with Casio SA 75 and it was great. But those who dont bend should not buy Monotron as it doesnt give you much.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby gryfyx » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:56 am

Guys check this ---- Song completely made out of Monotron

In start it could be a bit unpromising for some. Its a great song by the way.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:38 am

AuralSerenity wrote:Guys check this ---- Song completely made out of Monotron

In start it could be a bit unpromising for some. Its a great song by the way.

Table for Two posted it earlier in this thread but only I got around to checking it last night. It goes to show that one synth and multitracking can go a long way.

Next month though already spent my money on another synth this month.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby gryfyx » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:15 am

Oh o!
I didnt check that Richie.
Well, its good enough to have two references.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:03 am

AuralSerenity wrote:Oh o!
I didnt check that Richie.
Well, its good enough to have two references.

Indeed it is. It shows that with one monophonic "toy" you can create a proper piece of music.

Must resist for a few more weeks....
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:54 am

I no longer need to resist as I will be in possession of one of these very shortly.

Now all I need to do is work out how to exploit the CV/Gate properly.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby gryfyx » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:51 am

Dont burn it. I did.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:00 am

I can solder, but it's not a hobby, so I'm going to be cautious about doing anything to mine.

This guy seems to know what he is doing, but his details aren't in depth, but I'm sure anyone with a basic electronics background could understand what he has done to add the external CV.

http://www.dinsync.info/2010/06/how-to-modify-korg-monotron.html

It is a fun little instrument. Hard to play due to size (slightly larger than a iPhone somewhat smaller than a Stylophone) but surprisingly flexible considering the few controls it has.

May get a second one to mangle.
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Re: Korg Monotron

Postby simplesound » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:43 pm

I dunno what all the fuss is about it. I could only watch the first minute of this video then I got a headache from all the beeps....

http://en.audiofanzine.com/analog-synth/korg/monotron/medias/
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