Korg Monotribe Analogue Ribbon Station Now Available
Korg is now shipping their Monotribe Analogue Ribbon Station. It builds on the analog synthesis in Korgs popular Monotron, with the addition of three-part discrete analog drums, plus step sequencing. A built-in speaker and optional battery power add to its portability.
Adding further music-making possibilities, Korg is also offering their Korg SyncKontrol app on the iTunes store. SyncKontrol lets users sync a Monotribe to an iPhone/iPod/iPad, and offers tap tempo and swing functions, plus WIST Wireless sync technology to sync a Monotribe to an additional i-device running iElectribe, iMS-20, iElectribe Gorillaz Edition, or other WIST-enabled apps. Click here to download the free Korg SyncKontrol app from the iTunes store.
In addition to the analog synthesizer voice, the Monotribe provides a three-part rhythm section (bass drum, snare, and hi-hat) powered by discrete analog circuitry. Korg’s Electribe step-key interface lives on in Monotribe, with a dedicated button for each of eight steps. This allows real-time, hands-on step editing of drum parts, as well as any synth part sequence played on the ribbon keyboard.
Active Step editing lets users remove or re-insert individual steps, creating short loop-like effects or off-beat patterns that weave in and out of complex rhythms. Flux Mode allows the creation of sequenced synth parts that are not rigidly tied to the step grid.
The ribbon controller keyboard provides three selectable playing modes/ranges. The chromatic mode (KEY) is ideal for playing melodies and bass lines, with the ribbon keyboard stepping from note to note. Users can switch to the continuous mode (NARROW) for smooth gliding between notes, just as on the Monotron. Also available is the wide continuous mode (WIDE) with a six-fold pitch range for dramatic sweeping effects. In addition, pressing the Gate Time button will allow the gate time to be sequenced as the ribbon controller keyboard is played.
The Monotribe uses classic analog components, including the same VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter) circuit found on Korg’s classic MS-10 and MS-20 analog semi-patchable synthesizers. Using the audio input, any audio source can be enhanced by passing through the filter section. The Oscillator (VCO) offers a choice between sawtooth, triangle and square wave. White noise can be mixed in to the oscillator signal in any amount. The Octave selector covers a broad range, from deep bass to piercing lead-lines. The EG (Envelope Generator) offers three presets shapes. The LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) can be sent to the VCO and/or the VCF, creating dynamic effects. The Range switch selects Slow or Fast modulation ranges. Switching the LFO Mode to the 1-shot setting allows the LFO behave as a second envelope generator.
Unlike analog synthesizers of yesteryear, which were prone to drift in pitch, the Monotribes auto-tuning circuitry provides stable chromatic playability to keep it in tune. No warm-up time, no sensitivity to temperature changes just the great sound of analog VCO.
The Monotribe provides both Sync In and Sync Out jacks, enabling multiple Monotribe units to play and work together. Audio line level pulses can also trigger the Sync Input, so the Monotribe can be synchronized to a DAW system, for example. Equipped with a built-in speaker and powered by six AA batteries, it is completely self-contained.
The Monotribe is now available for a significant $340.