Last week KORG teased a new product launch for November 1st. This lead to a series of rumors about new Volca models, Polysix reissues, etc. Honestly, while fascinating, they all appeared far from reality (hence our decision not to publish them). It turns out we were right. A few hours ago KORG announced the Monologue, a new 25-key analog monophonic synth, available in five different colors.
According to the company, “the Monologue is a 25-key, fully programmable monophonic analog synthesizer with a voice all its own. While sharing its sleek layout, knob-per-function workflow and high-quality construction with the best-selling minilogue, monologue is a truly unique new synth for all types of musicians; featuring new voicing and sound-sculpting abilities – at an amazing price. The monologue’s completely new filter, modulation, drive, and LFO can generate powerful basses and sharp leads, creating awesome mono sounds that showcase its single-voice design. The step sequencer has also been dramatically expanded, allowing more intuitive and more complex editing.”
At A Glance
The KORG Monologue inherits some of the features of its polyphonic bigger brother (see our KORG Minilogue review) and adds some interesting enhancements.
Here some of the main features:
– An all-new synthesis structure optimized for amazing monophonic sounds and sequences
– 100 program memories (80 presets included)
– 16-step sequencer with extensive motion sequence technology
– Microtuning (yay!)
– Oscilloscope function to visualize the waveform in real time
– Battery-powered (more yay!)
– Rugged and stylish with aluminum top panel, chassis-mounted pots, rubber-coated knobs, and real wood back panel
– MIDI, USB MIDI, and Audio Sync for all types of in-studio and live connectivity, including direct sync with minilogue, SQ1, volca, electribe, and more
Mono With A Twist
KORG points out that the Monologue is not just a one-voice model of the Minilogue. It boasts a redesigned envelope section, modulation routing, and a filter with a powerful low-end punch.
While it retains some of the distinctive features of the Minilogue, the new synth offers a new filter section with a two-pole filter to deliver aggressive sound and a drive circuit that adds overtones and distortion to the sound (and makes it more competitive with the Arturia Microbrute and its popular Brute Factor).
To me, the two most interesting innovations added to the Monologue are the enhanced step sequencer and its microtonal features.
The step sequencer of the Monologue has been significantly enhanced. You get real-time recording with overdubbing capability as well as step recording that lets you record simply by pressing keys in the desired order, and you can also use the 16 physical buttons for quick editing or for improvisatory performance.
Also, The motion sequence function lets you record up to four knob movements to apply time-varying change to the sound, and allows you to record not only continuously changing values as on previous models, but also values with step-wise variation (which seems to put the Monologue in the same league as the Elektron Analog Four/Keys, I’m looking forward to checking this feature).
More cool features: the Monologue has also a key trigger function that lets you play back a sequence holding down a key, and even transpose it. Another new function is slide, which can be used to produce smooth bass lines by specifying portamento for each step.
KORG meets Aphex Twin
The electronica guru has been involved as an advisor in the development of the Monologue. This collaboration led to a bunch of presets, and most importantly to the microtonal implementation of the synth (including some scales provided by Richard D. James himself). Users can, of course, create their own scales.
Price and Availability
Good news, bad news. The price is definitely good news: the KORG Monologue can be yours for $299. The bad news? It looks like you’ll have to wait until next January (stay tuned, we’ll have more on the KORG Monologue).