Korg Monotribe features analog synth and drums
(Dave Molter | Posted 2011-04-06)
At the April 2011 Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany, Korg announced the expansion of its line of analog equipment with the Monotribe Analog Ribbon Station. In addition to analog synthesis, Monotribe brings together intuitive ease of use and a three-part discrete analog rhythm section, plus the appeal of Korg’s Electribe-style pattern sequencing. Complete with built-in speakers and battery power, monotribe is self-contained and highly portable.
In addition to the analog synthesizer voice, the monotribe provides a three-part rhythm section (bass drum, snare, and hi-hat) powered by discrete analog circuitry. These sounds were key elements in a generation of analog beat making, and are still in demand today. Korg’s popular Electribe step-key interface lives on in monotribe, with a dedicated button for each of eight steps. This allows real-time, hands-on step editing of drum parts, as well as any synth part sequence played on the ribbon keyboard.
Active Step editing lets users remove or re-insert individual steps, creating short loop-like effects or off-beat patterns that weave in and out of complex rhythms. Flux Mode allows the creation of sequenced synth parts that are not rigidly tied to the step grid.
The ribbon controller keyboard provides three selectable playing modes/ranges. The chromatic mode (KEY) is ideal for playing melodies and bass lines, with the ribbon keyboard stepping from note to note. Users can switch to the continuous mode (NARROW) for smooth gliding between notes, just as on the monotron. Also available is the wide continuous mode (WIDE) with a six-fold pitch range for dramatic sweeping effects. In addition, pressing the Gate Time button will allow the gate time to be sequenced as the ribbon controller keyboard is played.
The monotribe uses classic analog components, including the same VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter) circuit found on Korg's classic MS-10 and MS-20 analog semi-patchable synthesizers. Using the audio input, any audio source can be enhanced by passing through the filter section. The Oscillator (VCO) offers a choice between sawtooth, triangle and square wave. White noise can be mixed in to the oscillator signal in any amount. The Octave selector covers a broad range, from deep bass to piercing lead-lines. The EG (Envelope Generator) offers three presets shapes. The LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) can be sent to the VCO and/or the VCF, creating dynamic effects. The Range switch selects Slow or Fast modulation ranges. Switching the LFO Mode to the 1-shot setting allows the LFO behave as a second envelope generator.
Unlike analog synthesizers of yesteryear, which were prone to drift in pitch, the monotribe’s auto-tuning circuitry provides stable chromatic playability to keep it in tune. No warm-up time, no sensitivity to temperature changes – just the great sound of analog VCO.
The monotribe provides both Sync In and Sync Out jacks, enabling multiple monotribe units to play and work together. Audio line level pulses can also trigger the Sync Input, so the monotribe can be synchronized to a DAW system, for example.
Light, compact and portable, monotribe is well-suited for on-the-go use. Equipped with a built-in speaker and powered by six AA batteries, it is completely self-contained.
The monotron will be available early Summer 2011 with pricing to be announced shortly. For more information, please visit www.korg.com.
From a press release.