After the release of the Minilogue, Korg pulled off another major coup with the release of the Korg Monologue. Providing some great features in a portable synthesizer, the Korg Monologue might be just less performant and complete than the Minilogue. Nonetheless, this synthesizer remains a great option for artists who are on the road or musicians that look for a complete and accessible entry-level synthesizer. This Korg Monologue review will look at the pros & cons, key features, and three criteria (functions & features, manufacturing & design, accessibility & value) on which we can evaluate this powerful analog and polyphonic synthesizer
Korg Monologue Pros & Cons
Accessible for beginners
No 24db/oct filter mode
Lacks a power supply
Doesn’t include two envelopes
Korg Monologue Key Features
Analog synthesizer with all-new synthesis structure optimized for amazing monophonic sounds and sequences
Five color variations (Black, blue, red, silver, gold)
Fully programmable, with 100 program memories (80 presets included)
Oscilloscope function helps to visualize the waveform in real time
Battery-powered and portable
16-step sequencer with extensive motion sequence technology for a dynamic sound
Microtuning lets you freely create scales and alternate tonalities
MIDI, USB MIDI, and Audio Sync for all types of in-studio and live connectivity, including direct sync with Minilogue, SQ1, Volca, Electribe, and more
Rugged and stylish with aluminum top panel, chassis-mounted pots, rubber-coated knobs, and real wood back pane
What makes the Korg Monologue stand out?
The Korg Monologue is an extremely fun and portable synthesizer unit. The fact that it is battery powered makes this synthesizer the perfect travel companion. Moreover, micro-tuning makes this synthesizer extremely technical and complete while being highly customizable.
Additionally, the sound engine of the Korg Monologue is very powerful. Nonetheless, it is the sequencer that is its most impressive feature. The step buttons, parameter locks, and transposition give it the edge over the Minilogue for this particular feature and will make you wonder why only 100 memories are offered. All of these features make this synth a fantastic value synthesizer for any performing musician.
Korg Monologue Review
Functions & Features
The Korg Monologue is a monophonic analog synthesizer that comes with two oscillators which feature each three waveforms. Unlike, the Korg Minilogue, on this synthesizer it is only the VCO2 that has octave and Pitch controls. Moreover, only noise is available in place of the square wave in VCO2. However, for mono sound design, you don’t really need much more than that. Other than that, the 2-pole VCF is really optimized for monophonic bass and lead sounds.
To sum things up, VCO 1 offers Saw, Triangle, and Square waveforms, with waveshaping and VCO 2 offers Saw, Triangle, and Random waveforms, with waveshaping, Sync, and Ring Mod.
Both VCOs have shape control (just like on the Korg Minilogue). This extends the possibilities of modulation. With this synthesizer, Korg has included a Motion Sequencing technology which allows both notes and parameter values to be recorded and played back. It is worth mentioning that the mixer section has independent controls for each VCO, and also allows the injection of external audio signals.
The Korg Monologue’s LFO capabilities are expansive with high rates and deep modulation possibilities. If the specific design of the filter is not noted, audio analysis has revealed it to be a two-pole (12dB/octave) design. Korg has also included a drive feature for rich bass and cutting leads.
One of the most striking features is the 16-step sequencer (very similar to the Korg Volcas).16 easy guiding front-panel LEDs have been used for menu item selection and step on/off status. Notes can be recorded in real or step-time modes, and up to four lanes of parameter automation can be added on top.
On the Korg Monologue, micro-tuning will let you freely create scales. Today, very few machines support micro-tuning. The full programmability of this synthesizer makes this synthesizer very flexible. Moreover, with 100 preset locations, there is extensive room for creativity.
Manufacturing & Value
If there is definitely a family resemblance with the Korg Minilogue (a real wood back panel, mini keys and the same set of inputs and outputs), the Korg Monologue has a smaller (and lighter) footprint, with an octave taken off the keyboard and has its portability enhanced by the possibility of battery power. Being very lightweight and relatively small, this synthesizer is extremely portable.
The Korg Monologue offers a redesigned monophonic analog circuitry that is very similar to that of the monologue. Overall, the synthesizer looks good and can be seen as a nod to old-school synthesizers. Having a gold metallic front, it is also worth mentioning that the Korg Monologue comes in five color variations (Black, blue, red, silver, gold) which are all very appealing.
More specifically, the design of the Korg Monologue has been well thought out with smaller than full-size keys but much larger than the keys from the microKorg. Piano players will find great satisfaction in this characteristics. The various components that have been used for the manufacturing of this synthesizer (aluminum top panel, chassis-mounted pots, rubber-coated knobs, and real wood back panel) make it rugged and stylish.
Therefore, in terms of build quality, the Korg Monologue feels solid with the metal and wood components making it feel very professional. A detail which is worth noting is that the knobs are mounted to the chassis instead of directly to the underlying circuit boards. This means that they’re very solid. Along with this, the curved aluminum chassis gives the monologue reassuring durability
Accessibility & Value
The Korg Monologue is a great synth for beginners. However, what makes this synth even more special is the fact that it’s very all-around. In that sense, it is also a great synth for bass players and piano players.
For a product of this category, you will be impressed by how powerful and great sounding this synthesizer can be. Its extensive features and easy accessibility make this synth feel very musical even though it remains a mono synth.
With the Korg Monologue, even if you’re a hardware performer who uses numerous units, you won’t need to worry about providing additional power supplies and installation space. The complete sound collection which you get with the synthesizer includes a set of excellent beats and grooves, superior basses and a wider range of contemporary mono-synth sounds which all sound great.
One last feature which extends the quality of this synthesizer is the “sync with audio sync feature”. In addition to 5-pin In/Out and USB MIDI, the Korg monologue includes Audio Sync connectivity, which allows it to play in time and integrate seamlessly with KORG Volcas, Electribes, Minilogue and SQ-1 giving a lot of creative possibilities.
Moreover, in that way you can use the monologue with your DAW as both a USB MIDI controller or a versatile analog voice. You can do this by sending clock over USB and use Audio Sync to chain the Korg Monologue’s clock to other Audio Sync-equipped products.
Our Korg Monologue review has demonstrated that this product is a very complete mono synth which can definitely be a nice addition to your studio if you are looking for your first synthesizer. However, you should remember that this synthesizer is mono and know what you are looking for. If you want to create complex chords and harmonies you would probably be better off with the Minilogue.
That being said, this synthesizer is extremely good at what it was conceived to do. Namely, creating heavy baselines or complex arpeggiator-generated melodic sequences. Its great construction makes it a product that will last and its accessibility paired with its “sync with audio sync feature” facilitates and extends creative possibilities.