Korg Monotribe Details & Demos

Musikmesse 2011 – here are details on the Korg Monotribe Analogue Ribbon Synthesizer Station……

According to Korg, the Monotribe shares the Monotron’s analog DNA, but delves deeper into the rich, organic, and often chaotic world of analog synthesis. In addition to analog synthesis, Monotribe offers ease of use, a three-part discrete analog rhythm section and Electribe-style sequencing.

Features/Specifications:

  • The powerful sound of true analog synthesis
  • 3-part analog drums, using discrete analog circuitry
  • Popular Electribe-style sequencing.
  • Active Step and Flux features for realtime dynamic loop manipulation
  • Advanced multi-function ribbon keyboard; Chromatic, Continuous, & Wide modes
  • Auto-tuning provides stable pitch for accurate chromatic playability
  • Selectable oscillator waveform, noise generator, and versatile LFO
  • Uses the same VCF (filter) circuit as the classic MS-10/MS-20
  • Sync In & Out jacks allows synchronized integration with multiple units
  • Battery operation, built-in speaker and compact size deliver on-the-go groove-making

Check out the details & demos and let us know what you think!

Here’s a nice Monotribe video overview, via Sonic State:

As usual, Sonic State gets the goods. This is the best intro video we’ve seen.

Here’s Korg’s official demo video for the Monotribe, above, and a dual Monotribe jam, below:

Here’s Korg’s official description for the Monotribe:

True Analog Synthesis

The monotribe’s sound engine uses technology old and new, merging the powerful sound of analog synthesis with the dexterity and playability required in today’s groove making environments. Analog technology is essential for fast and responsive control, and delivers the full sonic spectrum from warm and easy-going to full-throttle rampage.

Three-Part Analog Drums

The monotribe provides a three-part rhythm section powered by discrete analog circuitry; bass drum, snare, and hi-hat. These three sounds were the key elements in a generation of analog beat making, and are still in demand today. Use these powerful drum sounds to generate distinctive beats attainable only from the monotribe.

Electribe-Style Groove Creation

For over a decade, Korg Electribes have served as the standard tools for dance music and DJ work, and has earned outstanding popularity, even appearing recently as a top-selling iPad app. The fantastic step key interface lives on in monotribe, with a dedicated button for each of the eight steps. This allows realtime, hands-on step editing of not only the drum parts, but also for any synth part sequence played on the ribbon keyboard.

Active Step and Flux Mode

Active Step editing lets you remove or re-insert individual steps, creating short loop-like effects or off-beat patterns that weave in and out of complex rhythms. The step buttons provide this Active Step control during playback, and also provide an instant return to the original 8-step sequence if needed. Flux Mode allows the creation of sequenced synth parts that are not rigidly tied to the step grid, providing more musical versatility. The creation and morphing of edgy beats and stuttering rhythms has never been easier.

Auto-Tuning Analog

Analog synthesizers of yesteryear were prone to drift in pitch. But no more! The monotribe?s auto-tuning circuitry provides stable chromatic playability, and will not go out of tune. This auto-tuning technology also means no warm-up time, no servicing for pitch calibration, no sensitivity to temperature changes – just the great sound of analog VCO.

Multi-Mode Ribbon Keyboard

The ribbon controller keyboard provides three selectable playing modes/ranges. The chromatic mode (KEY) is ideal for playing melodies and bass lines, and stepping smoothly from note to note. Switch to the continuous mode (NARROW) for glides and bends – just as on the monotron. Also available is the wide continuous mode (WIDE) with a six-fold pitch range for dramatic synth zaps and screams. In addition, pressing the Gate Time button will allow the gate time to be sequenced as the ribbon controller keyboard is played.

Classic Analog Components – VCO, LFO, VCA

The VCO offers a choice between sawtooth, triangle and square wave. White noise can mixed in to the oscillator signal in any amount. The Octave selector covers a broad range, from deep bass to piercing lead-lines. Three EG (Envelope Generator) presets provide the VCA with impressive versatility and dexterity. The LFO can be patched to the VCO and/or the VCF, creating impressive dynamic effects. The Range switch allows the LFO to deliver stirring cyclic changes over tens of seconds (SLOW) or superfast (FAST) audio-range FM ringing. Switching the LFO Mode to the 1-shot setting allows the LFO behave as a second envelope generator – a truly powerful addition!

Vintage MS-10/MS-20 Filter

The monotribe features the same VCF circuit found on Korg’s classic MS-10 and MS-20 analog semi-patchable synthesizers. Distinctively analog, this sharp and powerful filter adds dramatic change to the sound, imparting the uniquely memorable character of Korg’s early analog synthesizers. Using the audio input, any audio source can be enhanced by passing through the filter section. Process an instrument, a voice, or a complete mix form CD or MP3 and create larger than life filter effects!

Sync Jacks: A Return To Modular

The monotribe provides both Sync In and Sync Out jacks, empowering multiple monotribe units to play and work together for a synchronized performance. Not just other monotribes, either. Audio line level pulses can trigger the Sync Input so the monotribe can be synchronized to a DAW system, for example. In addition, the polarity of the pulse waveform can be changed for both the input and output, so you can enjoy synchronized performance with a variety of equipment equipped with Sync connections.

On-The-Go Groove Making

Light, compact, and portable, monotribe is great on the go. Equipped with a built-in speaker and powered by six AA batteries, it is completely self-contained and ready to deliver hours of enjoyment wherever you take it.

The monotribe Analog Ribbon Station – bringing responsive realtime control to analog groove making.

 

67 thoughts on “Korg Monotribe Details & Demos

  1. This looks awesome… perfect companion for my modular and Virus TI!!!! I hope they sell a bunch and decide to make even more analog synths…

    But… I f#$king HATE the touch keyboard, they should have made it more compatible with the other electribes, EVERYONE will want to play it from an actual keyboard, 8 steps is skimpy, and it NEEDS accent/glide.

  2. WTF WHERE IS THE GOD DAMN MIDI??!?!?!? ARGRHGRGRHRGRHRGRHHHHHHHH!

    This thing is 1 step from being cool but its still just a toy without midi support.

    Without MIDI I cant see myself wanting to pay more than $100 bucks for it…Im better off with my Fisher Price Moog

  3. Don't you have enough MIDI toys all in lockstep with one another? I know I do. This thing is cool precisely because it does not have MIDI! And this one will still be sync-able. I'm betting it's a winner – but here's hoping for that $100 or less price tag.

  4. The sequencer is the thing that has won me over.
    Even if I play with it all by itself, that's really all I need to do that.
    Experiment and hope for a true midi mod down the line.

  5. Yeah but dude it's actually a lot like the electribes if you think about it. I have an ESX-1 and you can play the step sequencer like a little keyboard to record a loop, seems like you can do that here with "flux mode". Also the electribes do actually have a ribbon controller too it just doesn't have the little keys painted on it. So if you think about it this actually has quite a bit in common with the electribes, except it's analog, fits in a backpack and can run on batteries! I think the Korg people where thinking more acid house less dream theater while designing this one, know what I mean…

  6. looks like only 1 pattern?? even the 303 could do multiple patterns..

    that is a serious limitation.. not very much like an electribe either

  7. this looks wonderful. i think it's nice that it doesn't have MIDI or a larger sequencer… sometimes creativity is used best with limitations

  8. not what I meant…

    form factor aside, I said compatible (ie. midi sync to use them together w/ start on play and pattern switching). That isn't "Dream Theater" so much as it is "modern electronic dance music."

    I just prefer the 16 rubber buttons on the EA-1 (an AWESOME acid house synth) to the touch thing… and accent/slide is a major omission for this type of synth.

    Don't get me wrong… Not trying to hate on it, just making an observation… I'm def buying one anyways.

  9. This thing can do almost everything my old Yamaha CS-5 can do, with a sequencer and rhythm to boot. Sold!

    Oh, and I bought my 303 second-hand last year for about 150 euro. It can be done.

  10. Watched the vid several times. If the 200 eur pricetag is correct, I want one! As long as I can find a way to sync tempo to other musicians, this will really rock!

  11. Shit, I reported instead of reply…. Sorry, Synth.

    Anyhow, I was thinking the same thing. I've gotten some amazing deals on gear from people desperate to pay rent in the last couple of years. But 150euros for a 303 definitely tops my, essentially new, Maschine for $400.

    I like Korg's toys, but if this is 200 they have priced themselves out of impulse-buy toy territory. I'll wait till I see them for $75 on Criagslist.

  12. herp derp what about ipad integration and where do the rom chips go derrrr. i may work for roland, but i have to say that this is the best thing in the history of mankind

  13. The German online magazine Delamar says that the price will be about 280€ – they also have a short video featuring the Monotribe:
    http://www.delamar.de/instrumente/korg-monotribe-

    As long as the estimated price was about 200€ this thing was really interesting. But 280€? That's dangerously near to something like a Doepfer Dark Energy (which has MIDI). Quite disappointing…

  14. The German online magazine Delamar says that the price will be about 280€ – they also have a short video featuring the Monotribe:
    http://www.delamar.de/instrumente/korg-monotribe-

    As long as the estimated price was about 200€ this thing was really interesting. But 280€? That's dangerously near to something like a Doepfer Dark Energy (which has MIDI). Quite disappointing…

  15. The German online magazine Delamar says that the price will be about 280€ – they also have a short video featuring the Monotribe:
    http://www.delamar.de/instrumente/korg-monotribe-

    As long as the estimated price was about 200€ this thing was really interesting. But 280€? That's dangerously near to something like a Doepfer Dark Energy (which has MIDI). Quite disappointing…

  16. The German online magazine Delamar says that the price will be about 280€ – they also have a short video featuring the Monotribe:
    http://www.delamar.de/instrumente/korg-monotribe-

    As long as the estimated price was about 200€ this thing was really interesting. But 280€? That's dangerously near to something like a Doepfer Dark Energy (which has MIDI). Quite disappointing…

  17. The German online magazine Delamar says that the price will be about 280€ – they also have a short video featuring the Monotribe:
    http://www.delamar.de/instrumente/korg-monotribe-

    As long as the estimated price was about 200€ this thing was really interesting. But 280€? That's dangerously near to something like a Doepfer Dark Energy (which has MIDI). Quite disappointing…

  18. The German online magazine Delamar says that the price will be about 280€ – they also have a short video featuring the Monotribe:
    http://www.delamar.de/instrumente/korg-monotribe-

    As long as the estimated price was about 200€ this thing was really interesting. But 280€? That's dangerously near to something like a Doepfer Dark Energy (which has MIDI). Quite disappointing…

  19. Granted, there is still a difference between 280€ and 380€ – but the higher the Monotribe's price the more it becomes questionable if the money is not better spent on something "more serious"…

  20. Getting above a couple hundred bucks street is going to ruin this unit. But it sounds fantastic and is appropriately fiddly, so at the right price its going to be a killer. I want one for sure. Roland should be doing stuff like this based on their classic gear.

  21. So price tag is IMHO a little too much 🙁
    "MusicRadar was first in the queue at the Frankfurt Musikmesse to greet the new arrival – the monotribe is scheduled to ship in May and will retail for £192, though you should be able to buy it on the street for around £159."

  22. TB 303 is £1500 on e bay as standard. Even a second hand goes for £350 This is nothing like a 303 anyway!
    Id say at this price (even though it’s not exactly expensive) they could have included USB and then maybe down the line an editor could be designed?
    I think this will date quite quickly. Unless of course the sequencer and sound are something special.

  23. i agree, once it comes to aus it'll be $250- $300 that's too much for a toy… i can't think of a single thing I own that it could sync to, including (ironically) the electribe.

  24. oh shit, wrong piece of gear. NOT the TB-303! There's another item out there with those last call numbers, and I got it for more like 90 euros. You can guess what it is…

  25. you guys need to learn how to read. you can send it a click track, a square pulse, or really anything with a good strong transient to keep it synced with things. I imagine it works similar to the older moog murfs in that respect. think about it. You could sync it to anything really. clapping hands. kicks. snares, ableton click track, protools click track etc etc, making this, not a toy. one of the biggest mods for the original monotron was a gate and pitch cv input, so if you're really down with analog gear, you'll find a way to sync it, and track pitch and gate from other things. Silent Way. Motu Volta, Moog MP201. I bet this is just as hackable as the original monotron, and you know you're gonna see tons of tutorials on how to do that. just wait before you complain too much

  26. I love the idea of this thing, but sadly I'm not at all impressed with the results. Unless you absolutely need true analog sound, there are so many better, cheaper ways to achieve the same. Including a second hand Korg EMX.

  27. 280 euros? Did i hear correct? I expected it's going be cheaper… If the price will be about 200 euro… Well… I'll buy 🙂

  28. 280 euros is incredibly steep given the features. 8 steps, no MIDI, that ribbon crap and the primitive synthesis capabilities… Come on, Korg. You can do better.

  29. I think it would be nice to have midi, but often an instruments limitations cause the musician to find new ways to be creative. I know for me that using a DAW can be stifling due to infinite possibility…

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