I've been wanting to get my hands on one of these ever since SOS checked them out in 2008. This one is even earlier; it's a first-generation "40h" in kit form, which recently turned up on eBay for £35.
SOS wrote:The boxes themselves are made of walnut treated with teak oil, while the buttons are silicone rubber set into an aluminium faceplate. The materials are sourced locally by Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain, the company's founders, with a great deal of attention to economic and ecological sustainability, and every unit is hand made; production runs are limited, and there is always a waiting list.
The ethical manufacturing policy extends to the packaging, and everything is recyclable paper and cardboard, and there's no polystyrene or bubble-wrap to be seen.
This thing looked slightly more bedraggled as I pulled it out of the used bubblewrap; a few loosely-fitting rubber squares, discoloured with age and who knows what else, and a circuit board sprouting a weed-like cluster of short green wires.
It was unexpectedly complicated to get started. The quickest way to see if it worked seemed to be to install some kind of serial/OSC driver and then load some introductory patches into Max. But when the buttons eventually lit up as I pressed them, I fell in love with it.
Monomes almost seem to have their own subculture, involving "White Whale", "Meadowphysics", and various surprisingly expensive and minimal accessories with names like "Crow" and "Ansible".
It's just the thing for a rainy afternoon.