Released back in 2017, the Monologue is a cut down, single voice taken from Korg’s very successful Minilogue, sort of. This might seem strange at first, but this mini-mono mate comes equipped with a few features that’ll make Minilogue owners jealous. I find myself coming back to it again and again, whether I’m adding wild new percussive synth elements to my tracks or creating bassline sequences that inspire new tunes entirely. The Monologue is a pint-sized-25-note-battery-powered-beast that sounds damn good and is still a no-brainer for any synth-nut (at least for me anyway). With loads of synths being announced every year, it can be easy to overlook an older model, but the Monologue still stacks up against the competitors as a fully programmable analogue synth. Can you tell I like this thing? You can’t? OK fine – here’s 6 reasons why the Monologue is still a little bloody ripper.
1. The VCOs
The Monologue’s sound engine is built around a pair of versatile analogue VCOs that sound bloody lovely. VCO 1 can produce a sawtooth, triangle or square waveforms and VCO 2 drops the square wave for white noise but adds ring modulation and oscillator sync options. All wave shapes can be modified by the shape knob, which is an unusual additional control that provides a wave-folding control on each wave shape — not just pulse width modulation on square waves like many other synths. To add some extra grittiness to the sound, try cranking up the drive, and modulating the shape by the LFO – a perfect segue to my next point.
2. The LFO
The LFO features 3 unique modes for wild modulation possibilities, taking the sound to a new level. You get the standard, triangle, square and sawtooth modulation shapes, but it’s the fast, slow and one-shot modulation modes that let you really shape your sound in interesting ways. One-shot mode essentially acts as a secondary envelope, but check out the fast mode, which actually takes the LFO into audio rate modulation territory, giving you formant (vocal) and bit-crush style sounds.
3. The Sequencer
Are you more a programmer than keys player? The Monologue’s sequencer is crazy fun — Even if you are a keys whiz. The sequencer allows you to use either traditional step-sequencing methods or record 16 steps in real-time, but where things get really fun, is when you transpose your sequence using the keys.
4. Motion Sequencing
As you can see in the video above, this is probably the feature I enjoy the most. Motion sequencing is like having extra invisible hands doing the modulation for you. You can drastically change the character of your patches and sequencers and give them a real sense of movement by recording knob movements. See that little 3-way switch there sitting above the sequencer buttons? Flip it down to ‘Motion’ to access 4 lanes of automation, and each lane show’s up visually on the Monologue’s mini display. Nice one Korg!
5. The Filter
The filter is a tweaked version of the Minilogue design that covers creamy soft sounds right through to ultra-sharp and aggressive sounds (crank up the resonance and sweep the cut-off to see what I mean). It’s a 12 dB/oct filter that can self-resonate and features some hidden tricks like the ability to use the keys as a modulation source (cutoff Key-tracking) and the ability to use key-velocity to control the filter.
Korg really pimped this as a key feature when the Monologue was release, which involved legendary electronic dance music pioneer Aphex Twin with its design and implementation. It allows you to move away from equal-temperament scales and choose from a range of 20 microtonal alternatives. As a non-keyboard player, this is one of those features that I find great for stumbling on happy accidents and some great creative outcomes.
Do you own a Monologue? Let us know what you love most about this synth!