Gear Spotlight: Korg Monotron

I have to hand it to Korg for making the most fun synth products recently, they’ve been on a roll with the Microkorg and Kaossilator synths, and now they’ve released a $60 analog synthesizer called the Monotron, which will soon be joined by another iteration of the same setup, the Monotribe, a Monotron with extra waveforms and a discrete rhythm section.

I have a feeling that Korg designed this with modification in mind, as opening up the machine reveals some interesting labeling on the PCB. This thing is also really easy to modify, and the Monotron community has produced a number of MIDI interfaces, sequencers, and extra filters that really expand the functionality of this little box.

Korg Monotron

By itself, it’s pretty much a fancy Stylophone, a ribbon controller and pitch knob attached to an arpeggiator and a filter. The filter is worth noting, its circuit design was directly ripped from Korg’s classic MS-20 synth, and has the added bonus of a Line In, meaning that you can also use the filter on other audio sources.

I still need to add MIDI to mine as there are some really great sounds you can get out of this thing if you have it tuned correctly with a real input method. The MIDI kit also adds portamento as well, so I would imagine you could get some great leads and 303-style bass grooves out of it. For $60 you can’t really go wrong, it’s almost worth it just for the filter.

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