Monday, October 1, 2012

New Equipment: Korg Monotribe

End-of-season work has left me with little time for audio projects, or indeed to update this blog. But I expect the trend to change as winter draws closer.

As it was my birthday last month, I used the money I received to buy a new piece of gear for the studio. Thanks go to my brother for bringing this cool device to my attention (and for contributing some cash!): the Korg Monotribe 'Analog Ribbon Station.' It's a compact analog synthesizer module with a ribbon-style controller, sequencer, and some analog drum sounds for good measure.

Having had a bit of a go with it, I'm impressed with the range of possibilities it offers considering the simplicity of its design. I can see it becoming a staple tool for strange noises in my productions. I also like the fact that it has control voltage in-and-outs, which means it will interface with a lot of pre-MIDI equipment. In theory, I could control the tempo of the sequencer with my old Boss DR-220A drum machine, for example (thereby enabling me to enter a precise bpm/speed rather than turn the dial and guesstimate).

The step sequencer, which can control both the drums and the synthesizer, is very intuitive. The ribbon controller is hardly precise, but the ability to control a wide pitch-band (at the flip of a switch) makes it great for improvisation. The nicest thing about it is the sound of the synthesizer itself, thanks to the design of the filter circuit, which is from Korg's legendary MS-20 synthesizer. The MS-20 is long out of production, and sells for upwards of $2000 (10x the price of the Monotribe).

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