Remember when Korg dropped a bomb with its pocket-sized-pocket-money Monotribe synthesizer last spring? Well it’s done it again, and this time with two analog boxes of badness to salivate over – the Duo and the Delay. Those aren’t just cute names, either; both feature the same ribbon based sonic goodness as before, but the Delay packs a dub-tastic space delay, and the Duo rocks a second oscillator, for those juicy thick timbres. No word on price or availability just yet, but we’re guessing they’ll pop up for around the same as the original — around $50 — which is almost as pleasing to the ears as the Monotron’s themselves.
Every so often, something comes along that’s just irresistibly lovable. So it was with the Korg monotron. With a price of $50, a pocketable size, the ability to run on batteries, a nice, glowing red LFO knob, a delicious filter, and toy-like playability, everyone loves the monotron. People who have racks of vintage synths love the monotron. People who have never seen a synth before love the monotron.
Then, along came the Korg Monotribe, which grafted ultra-simplified analog drum circuitry and a sequencer, and … somehow, you wanted to love the thing instead of just loving it. I talked to a number of people who struggled to find something to say about the Monotribe – it didn’t have that magical effect the monotron did. Readers didn’t like thd drum sounds. The unit was bigger and pricier, but still lacked real control voltage or MIDI without hacking. Some of these units found very happy homes, to be sure, some mods were impressive, and it was great to see the circuit designs, which are quite clever, released. (Look closely at that design, and I think you begin to appreciate what was beautiful about the Monotribe that a lot of people missed: the circuits for the drums, while some folks maligned them, are incredibly elegant and simple.) But the bottom line: the Monotribe simply wasn’t the sensation the monotron was.
Well, Korg has wisely returned to the cute, impossible-not-to-buy, pocket-sized monotron package with two new models. And suddenly, that feeling — that “yeah, I have to have that” feeling, rather than the “I think I might want it” — is back.
Check the videos below to see / hear both in action.