Friday, 13 April 2012

Monotron Duo Review

The Monotron Duo. I'm blue da ba dee...
Following on from my purchase of the Monotron Delay and after having plenty of fun with the delay function, I wanted to pick up its brother unit the Monotron Duo to complete the set and use them together. So I thought it would be a nice idea to run a review of Korg's other pocket synth as well.

The Montron Duo is one of two recent updates to Korg's original Monotron alongside its spacey brother in the form of the Monotron Delay. The Duo aims on building upon the Monotron by improving on the ribbon keyboard of the original, making it easier to place tunes and melodies but also in producing new sounds and ways of changing them on the fly that we can enjoy.

As you would expect from the name of this Monotron, the Duo is equipped with two oscillators rather than just one, which can be used in solo and duo mode. The wave shape sounds like a really nice square shape with some slight tweaks and sounds great for making chiptune music.

In single mode, it's quite easy to make some screaming synth sounds with just the single oscillator and X-mod control, but it's not the only thing that this Monotron can do.

In duo mode, both oscillators play at the same time, with the oscillator controls determining the pitch of each oscillator and the X-mod control to change the mix rate of the two oscillators. This also means that you can create a pitch difference between the two oscillators so that when played together, you can tweak the two oscillators to make some great detuning effects. As a result, I've been able to coax some pretty nice Reese basses and synth lines out of the unit and I have not even begun to scratch the surface of what I can get out of this unit.

Like the original Monotron, the Duo also comes equipped with the MS20 filter, which can be used as a filter for all sounds generated on the Duo and also to affect all incoming signals on the auxillary input, so you can plug in other Monotrons or other sounds signals through the unit as well using the 3.5mm input jack.

Finally, the last big change compared to the other Monotrons is the keyboard, which can be changed between four play modes by using the button on the back of the unit. The first allows you to play all notes, the second only the major notes and the third only the minors. The fourth mode turns the keyboard into a slide keyboard, more reminiscent of the one on the delay. You can cycle between the four modes easily and this makes the duo a lot easier to play notes and progressions on.

So in conclusion, the Monotron Duo is a great upgrade to the original Monotron and makes for brilliant basses, lines and simple chords and is a great accompaniment to the Delay.


The Duo can be difficult to find but is becoming easier