Korg Monotron

Korg Monotron

Information and Specifications

Category: Synthesizers
Year Released: 2010.
Voices: Monophonic.
Display: N/A.
Pattern Memory: N/A.
Song Memory: N/A.
Outputs: Phono jack.
Inputs: Aux in.
MIDI: N/A.
Power Consumption: AAA batteries x 2 (3V).
Dimensions: (W x D x H) 4.72″ x 2.83″ x 1.10″.
Weight: 95g.

Description: Korg Monotron is a small monophonic analog synthesizer, featuring a ribbon controller keyboard. It features a VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator and VCF with Cutoff and Peak Control. LFO includes rate and intensity. and it can be applied to the Pitch (VCO) or Filter(VCF). The VCF filter is the same one used in the MS10 and MS20 synthesizers. On the back is a Aux input jack which lets you apply the filter to any audio source and a built-in speaker and battery power. There is also a headphone jack and volume control.


Review
The Korg Monotron is a tiny synthesizer with a ribbon controller as its keyboard. It features a filter based on the MS-10 and MS-20 synthesizers. For such a small bit of gear you would at first think it is a toy. Just like the ancient Yamaha CS01, the Monotron is anything but.

Released in 2010 Korg decided to bring the Monotron and similar units to a market that just loves analog. What you get is a small foot print that you can hold with two fingers and weighing in under 100g. Besides the small ribbon controller the rest of the top of the Monotron is well used. The speaker takes up a lot of the space and no doubt weight. A great idea when you don’t have headphones or mixer to plug it into. Underneath the speaker in the center is a row of switches and knobs where all the craziness is made. The bottom third of the Monotron is the ribbon strip to adjust pitch and is designed to look like a piano with black and white keys. It’s small, but not impossible to use.

For such a small box Korg has still packed a lot in. There are six knobs to adjust VCO, LFO and VCF. The LFO changes the VCO (pitch) and VCF (filter). The VCF is apparently the same filter used on the old MS synthesizers. On the left side is a switch to toggle between standby (off) and pitch and cutoff modulation.

While features are lacking, such as only having a sawtooth for the VCO and LFO, the Monotron is great for creating noises. Slam the intensity of the LFO right up with the VCF peak and it starts to scream. The inclusion of the Aux input to apply the filter on external sources is great. The only let down really is that the Monotron is a bit noisy on the output.

Following the success of the original Monotron, Korg released two follow up units in 2011: the Monotron Duo and Monotron Delay.