Korg Monotribe & Miditribe IO

Jan 5

Introduction

This post is split into two, my initial impressions of the Korg Monotribe, and then installing the Amazing Machines' Miditribe IO.

Korg Monotribe

Monotribe

I received a Monotribe as a Christmas gift from my sister.

It's a small analog synthesizer and drum machine combined with a step sequencer. This gives it the ability to create, loop, and record drum beats and simple melodies. It's powered by either a 9VDC power supply, or six AA batteries. The battery option means that it's a completely portable and self contained music creation box.

My sister had owned it for a while, and it was getting no use so she passed it on. I may have spent most of Christmas day making annoying tunes with it, so it was definitely getting a second chance in my hands.

The drum machine is great, allowing eight beats of control and recent updates to the unit have enabled off-beats as well. It has samples for a bass drum, snare, and high hat. Easily enough to get a simple rhythm going.

The synthesizer is equally as flexible, due to a few features. It has a wide octave selection for it's tiny ribbon keyboard (which isn't that great to use, but exists). There's also a variety of waveforms to choose from, and an adjustable low frequency oscillator as well as peak and cutoff knobs.

The question that my sister struggled with, and I was also wondering about, was what do you do when you've created a masterpiece?

The standard unit offers control via analog sync, both in and out, as well as headphone and regular output. So you could record an analog loop into a computer to tweak and tune later, but I could see this getting restrictive quickly.

Which is where the Miditribe IO add-on board comes in...

Amazing Machines' Miditribe IO

Stock Miditribe IO shot

Amazing Machines are a company based in Brazil, who make add-on boards for various musical devices. One example is the Miditribe IO, which adds the ability to input and output MIDI signals from the Monotribe. This removes the restriction that all output is an analog signal, and allows much more flexibility through interfacing, digitally, with other devices.

You could, for example, record a rhythm to a laptop and further adjust it before creating another rhythm on the device. Or use a full-size keyboard to play the synthesizer, as opposed to the tiny ribbon strip.

Needless to say, the Monotribe only lasted until Boxing Day before I decided to open it up and install the add-on board - which will be my next post!

Until then, here's a sample of what I've made so far (a telephone groove):