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Korg Monologue

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Any Monologue owners/users here? 

I have recently got the synth bug and I've started off with a few Volcas---these are fun, but given that I now need a keyboard I've started looking at getting myself a more fully featured analogue synth. The idea is mainly just to do some sequencing and recording for my own amusement. Any opinions on the Monologue? 

Obviously in this price range the Microbrute and the Bass Station 2 get mentioned but those don't appeal as much. That said, I'm open to hearing opinions...

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It's got different features to the minilogue. I think they're fairly similar but you're right that it's not a matter of "if you could afford the minilogue buy that instead". 

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Monologue is a fantastic synth for the money. I bought one for my young son and have spent time learning how to use it so I can show him how it works.

The sequencer on this, despite only having 16 steps, is incredibly good and really easy to program. In addition to the notes, it has four tracks on the sequencer for modulation so one can create some pretty complex and evolving sequences which make sound like there are way more than 16 steps.

This synth combines the best of two things: it has presets but it also has a “panel mode” so that the sound of the synth will directly represent the physical positions of the knobs and switches (as in a non-preset synth). Furthermore, the screen displays the knob values when you turn them and, if I remember rightly, there’s a way to get them to display the current value whilst not changing the value. This is really useful for learning how patches are created.

I haven’t tried the bass station 2 so can’t comment on that. I did think this was better than the Microbrute though in terms of build and features.

The only downsides for me are, firstly, that the envelope generators aren’t full ADSR but are AD. This is partially alleviated by 3-way switch which offers different envelope types. Secondly, noise replaces square wave on the second oscillator so that it's not possible to get two square waves nor is it possible to have two oscillators sounding alongside noise. (I personally find a two-octave keyboard a bit short and am not fond of mini keys, though of the various mini key types, these are the nicest ones (along with the Yamaha Reface).)

Aside from that, it’s a wonderful synth and incredible value for the money. I paid £236 new and that can still be had if you shop around and get places to price match.

You can’t really go wrong with one of these as a first synth. There are so many great sounds to be had from this. In fact, I’ve thought about getting one for myself, though I have another “better” synth already. The quotation marks are because the monologue actually does some stuff that mine can’t do, namely ring modulation.

Bear in mind, this is a monosynth so only one note can be played at once. 

Edited by Quatschmacher

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On 11/06/2018 at 13:06, BassTractor said:

the one thing not to do is to regard it as a monophonic Minilogue. Sadly I forgot why that was.

They took the minilogue and tweaked it. The filter is more aggressive and the sequencer much better implemented on the monologue. 

Edited by Quatschmacher

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Has anyone got any opinions/ experience using the Monologue as a synth bass? Some of the youtube demos I've heard sound really promising, but some of the guys on Gearslutz etc. seem a bit sniffy about it's bass potential. I'd really love a mono synth I could use for leads in my keys rig as well as a bass synth & I'm almost sold on the Monologue, but I just thought I'd see if there was any wisdom on BC.

Edited by Ceebass

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1 minute ago, Ceebass said:

Has anyone got any opinions/ experience using the Monologue as a synth bass? Some of the youtube demos I've heard sound really promising, but some of the guys on Gearslutz etc. seem a bit sniffy about it's bass potential. I'd really love a mono synth I could use for leads in my keys rig as well as a bass synth & I'm almost sold on the Monologue, but I just thought I'd see if there was any wisdom on BC.

The monologue does great bass sounds. The envelopes are a bit more limited as they aren’t full ADSR but there are plenty of great sounds available.

Have you checked out the Behringer Model D? £285 for a Minimoog clone!

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3 minutes ago, Ceebass said:

Has anyone got any opinions/ experience using the Monologue as a synth bass? Some of the youtube demos I've heard sound really promising, but some of the guys on Gearslutz etc. seem a bit sniffy about it's bass potential. I'd really love a mono synth I could use for leads in my keys rig as well as a bass synth & I'm almost sold on the Monologue, but I just thought I'd see if there was any wisdom on BC.

The sniffiness may well have a lot to do with the Monologue not being the Minimoog. Like most or all synths, the Monologue is great at bass duties - - for those even my 1-VCO synth did very well - - but it tends to be a bit more polite than for example an Odyssey or Minimoog. 

If you like what it promises, then I'd go for it as there really is no risk. That said, other synths exist like for example the Behringers (Model D, Neutron and possibly upcoming Cat and Odyssey spring to mind) and of course the Minilogue, Bass Station II, MiniBrute etc.

There's also effect boxes of course, so it's easy to rough it up a bit. 

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Thanks for your answers @BassTractor & @Quatschmacher, really helpful. 

3 hours ago, Quatschmacher said:

Have you checked out the Behringer Model D? £285 for a Minimoog clone!

I definitely have thought about it! I was a little unsure about how the routing for the mod & pitchbend wheels would work (I think you have to configure them through some software). I think I'm probably looking for something with presets/ memories however, so I kind of discounted the Model D.

 

3 hours ago, BassTractor said:

There's also effect boxes of course, so it's easy to rough it up a bit. 

Any recommendations? I've got the usual suspects (delay, chorus, grit, filters & wahs) hanging around!

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7 minutes ago, Ceebass said:

I definitely have thought about it! I was a little unsure about how the routing for the mod & pitchbend wheels would work (I think you have to configure them through some software). I think I'm probably looking for something with presets/ memories however, so I kind of discounted the Model D.

They just respond to standard midi messages for pitch bend and mod wheel. Just hook up any controller keyboard via midi. If you want to alter the pitch bend range then you need to send a SysEx message which is easy.

Presets are quite useful. The sequencer on the monologue is fantastic and really easy to use. In addition to notes, you can sequence four tracks of parameter tweaks.

Do check out the Roland SE-02 too. It is pricier at about £470 new but I’ve seen it for £300-350 used and it has presets, a sequencer and 3 oscillators. It has built-in delay too. 

Edited by Quatschmacher

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15 minutes ago, Ceebass said:

Any recommendations? I've got the usual suspects (delay, chorus, grit, filters & wahs) hanging around!

I'm not really experienced, but have always liked reverb, chorus and fuzz on bass duty synth. That said, the adage goes that a good delay will do reverb, but a reverb won't do delay. Idunno. 

Personally, in the old days I used an EHX Big Muff to great effect. Loved it so much that I bought a Myrtle Pedals Corvid Fuzz a few years ago. I have used other pedals (Boss Bass Chorus, Boss Bass Delay, several Zoom multi-effects), and have LIKED them but am not knowledgeable enough to recommend anything.

For my synths with MIDI and patch memory, I use the TC Electronic M350 and G-Sharp 19"-rack twin-effect modules, as they too have patch memory and respond to MIDI patch changes. Great for live. I guess they're not the best, but they sound great to my ears and are readily available from my local.

Today I might buy a Zoom multi-effect or a Boss RV-500, Idunno.

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BTW, Gearslutz had a great thread about effect pedals that do well with synths as to sound as well as signal level and impedance. It's a bit old, but offers a lot of info. Worth a look:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-and-electronic-music-production/858034-list-synth-friendly-pedal-manufacturers.html

 

Edited by BassTractor

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Unless it is for studio use only I will never buy another synth that doesn't have programmable sound memories.

Edited by BigRedX

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13 hours ago, Quatschmacher said:

@Ceebass, what is your budget?

Probably about £300... 

I'm pretty taken with the MiniBrute as well... so many choices! Thinking about it, when I play synth bass I generally have one sound that I tweak on the fly, so maybe presets aren't essential for what I need it for.

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38 minutes ago, Ceebass said:

Probably about £300... 

I'm pretty taken with the MiniBrute as well... so many choices! Thinking about it, when I play synth bass I generally have one sound that I tweak on the fly, so maybe presets aren't essential for what I need it for.

Then the Behringer is a good choice, depending on whether you want a built-in keyboard or not.

You’re right though, we are spoilt for choice. 

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