Korg’s Minilogue sequel has been released and It’s pretty different from the big brother…
Korg Monologue Review – Introduction
From its name you might suspect that the Korg Monologue is simply a one-voice version of the company’s Minilogue synth, which we recognize as one of the best affordable hardware synths on the market. But although we think the machines share the same ‘core’, Korg keeps saying that the Monologue has a voice that’s “all its own”. So let’s get into our Korg Monologue Review…
Korg Monologue Review – Similarities and hardware
Side by side with the Minilogue, the new synth was clearly designed by the same team. It’s smaller , but there is a similar layout for the controls and a similar wooden panel on the back of the machine where the connectors are. You’ll find a USB port, standard MIDI I/O, sync I/O (for connecting other Korg products, such as the Volca synths), a 1/4″ headphone jack, and an audio output. It also includes an audio input for processing external signals through its filter, amp and distortion sections. If you have never tried to route your guitar into a synth I suggest you to try it on the Monologue.
The front panel is flat rather than curved like in the bigger brother. It looks and feels very good and high quality. This time Korg made it possibile to buy the Monologue in five metallic colours(silver, blue, red, gold and black). Overall, the Monologue has the same impressive build quality of the Minilogue, with very solid knobs and the same screen with the oscilloscope. The pitch slider feels better and more durable than the one found on the Minilogue. The machines works with an AC adapter or 6 AA batteries.
Korg Monologue Review – E-to-E and OSCs
The Monologue has velocity-sensitive keys but with an interesting twist. This monophonic synth has a 2-octave keyboard with an unconventional E-to-E range, reflecting the lowest note on bass and guitars instruments. Clearly this little mono synth is designed for basses and leads.
With two oscillators, one lowpass filter and an analog distortion stage at the end of the signal path (instead of the filtered delay of the Minilogue).
Oscillator 1 is fixed to the keyboard’s global octave selector, while oscillator 2 offers a four octave switch and has its own pitch knob.
The first oscillator offers sawtooth, triangle and square/pulse waveforms, oscillator 2 swaps the square wave for noise, useful for percussion. While both oscillators include the innovative wave-shaping parameter we found on the polyphonic brother, giving you precise control of pulse width and unusual saw square and triangle morphing for the other waves. Sync and ring modulation included.
The filter sounds very different from the one on the Minilogue, this gives the monologue extra depth and presence, confirming its ability to generate massive bass lines. The filter can also be keyboard tracked giving the ability to control frequency cutoff with velocity.
Korg Monologue Review – Modulation
The modulation section is quite different to the Minilogue. One single basic envelope generator to control amplitude, oscillator pitch or filter cutoff.
The envelope works in 3 different modes.
Attack-plus-decay/release amp envelope for plucked and bell-like contours.
Attack and release with full sustain, perfect for leads.
Amplifier gate that allows the attack and decay settings to function as modulation for other parameters.
The Monologue has a great effective and flexible LFO controlling pitch, wave shape or cutoff. Also used as an additional envelope in one shot mode with the sawtooth, triangle and square waves options. With the LFO rate controlling the overall speed
Korg Monologue Review – Sequencer
The Korg Monologue sequencer is big, very big but you can learn to use it pretty easily thanks to the good manual included with the machine. Each sequence has 3 editable elements, consisting of notes, slides and parameter automation( here you can record 4 different parameters per sequence!). The parameters can be recorder in two different modes: smooth and stepped. Smooth mode can be used for morphing or wobbling patterns while stepped mode is great for rhythmic patterns. All sequences can be stored inside the 100 presets, 20 of which are empty.
Korg Monologue Review – Definitely not the Minilogue’s cheaper version
To conclude this review we can definitely say that the Korg Monologue is not a cheaper version of the Minilogue. The Monologue is a great analog synth, great to build amazing bass lines with a great variance on style. It has a great sequencer that’s still easy to use. Lacks a bit on modulation but with some practice you can still get crazy sounding bass and leads from it. Build quality is great, sturdy and elegant (colours too). But most important, the price. This machine costs only 300$ ! That’s a great price for a really good machine.