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Korg Monotron Analogue Ribbon Synthesizer

by Korg
| 3 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
  • Full-fledged, true analog synthesizer: VCO, VCF, LFO
  • Inspiring, easy-to-play ribbon keyboard
  • Intuitive, fun-to-tweak controls
  • Features the same classic analog filter found in the legendary Korg MS-10 & MS-20
  • Filter any external source using the audio input jack
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Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 3 inches ; 3.4 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • Shipping Advisory: This item must be shipped separately from other items in your order. Additional shipping charges will not apply.
  • ASIN: B003DX96TW
  • Item model number: MONOTRON
  • Batteries 2 AAA batteries required. (included)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,221 in Musical Instruments (See Top 100 in Musical Instruments)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: April 13, 2004

Product Description


Monotron 16-Key Synthesizer

"Go-Anywhere Analog" was the theme behind the remarkable battery-powered and palm-sized Korg analog synthesizer dubbed the Monotron. Best of all, they're a blast to play; equipped with a ribbon keyboard and a live, ready-to-be tweaked front panel offering five knobs and a single switch. This simple operation and ease of use invites hours of enjoyment and musical exploration.

Casual users and gadget mavens will quickly enjoy performing melodies, DJs can create dazzling effects on stage, while established players can add analog muscle to their performance--the possibilities are virtually endless.

Korg Monotron
Small size allows you to enjoy and share with your friends anywhere, anytime. View larger
VCO + VCF = Modular Synthesis Building Blocks

The basic analog sound-building circuit is radically simple: one voltage-controlled oscillator and one voltage-controlled filter. As a result, the process of sound creation is intuitive, and instantly understandable. And it's tons of fun. Monotron provides the joy of sonic creativity that's at the heart of analog synthesis.

Korg Monotron
Uses the highly acclaimed VCF circuit as Korg's MS-10 and MS-20 synthesizers. View larger

Korg Monotron
Connect to a Kaossilator, guitar, or digital audio player through the input jack. View larger
Classic Korg Filtering

The distinctive tone of an analog filter (VCF) can dramatically alter and enrich the sound. The Monotron Series uses the same highly acclaimed VCF circuit as Korg's classic MS-10 and MS-20 semi modular synthesizers. Originally released over 30 years ago, these instruments are still coveted today for their aggressive, dynamic filters. The VCF Cutoff knob sets the frequency or tone of the filter; the VCF Peak knob adds emphasis. A powerful filter is an essential aspect of any analog synthesizer, applying dramatic tonal changes to the sound, and projecting an intense personality that will stand out in any live performance.

Fully-Patchable Filter

The input jack (AUX input) built into each Monotron's compact body allow you to place any audio source into the signal path, directly before the analog filter. This provides a great way to connect a Kaossilator, a guitar, or a digital audio player to the Monotron Series and enjoy tone-bending filter effects.

Versatile LFO Provides Audio and Visual Excitement

The LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) can affect either the oscillator pitch or the filter cutoff. Both the speed and the intensity are individually adjustable, so you can create anything from a gentle vibrato to swooping tone changes of galactic proportions. As you turn the LFO Rate knob--featuring an embedded LED--the speed of the modulation effect and the speed of the blinking LED will change in tandem.

Ribbon Controller Keyboard Offers Easy Expression

Borrowing the enjoyment of performing with a simple touch from Korg's wildly popular KAOSS products, the Monotron's ribbon controller keyboard takes this ease of use even farther. Simple finger gestures can produce expressive effects such as vibrato and glide.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

This thing is fun!
Even with the "keyboard" adjusted, it's difficult to hit the note you want, though this becomes a little easier with practice.
Michael J. Edelman
I had an idea an idea for this baby - it would be great for creating sci-fi effects in games/movies!
Sonic Reducer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By KBSoundSmith on August 28, 2010
Verified Purchase
This is a great little item.

First of all, it's just a lot of fun to use. It very well might be the funnest and most carefree synth of I've ever used. Second, for the size and features, it's just a great value--the filter is awesome, and the type of sound you can get out of this little thing is very surprising.

Now, the onboard speaker output can be a bit noisy; however, it isn't bad, and it's very easy to get around that and keep a good quality sound by using aux. input and output with an audio interface (I'm using the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP), just make sure you get the proper cables and adapters and use it as a line input. The aux. input is a great feature, letting you route audio into the unit to make use of the filter--I imagine this is what many people will use this for. Also, the unit is great for circuit bending (see youtube...) and is quite an adaptable machine (and at this price, you can afford to make a mistake during a hack, although with how quickly they sell, it may be a bit before you can get a replacement...).

Now, since it is a ribbon controller, it's best suited for glissandos and fx, not really for melody--however, it can be great for a bass part. Add external fx processing (delay lines, reverb, and granular synthesis are especially fun) and you start to see what a little beast this thing is.

Get one. And then a second.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Yabba Dabba Doooooooooo on May 14, 2011
Verified Purchase
My cats take off whenever I turn it on. I can play wiht it for hours. Poor cats.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By RC on January 10, 2011
First off let me say that Korg always makes good products and cool innovations. That said, the monotron definitely lives up to the Korg reputation, albeit a few minor flaws.

The best feature about this, I would say, would be the ability to channel in audio via a 3.5mm jack and assign modulation and a filter. Its really cool to sequence something on a DAW or keyboard/synth, and then push it thru the monotron and experiment with the settings. Surprisingly, there are quite a number of effects you can get from the mere 5 knobs on the device. This leads me to my main point: The Monotron is an absolutely fantastic device, used in conjunction with other instruments/effects. As a standalone instrument, however, it does suffer from a few minor issues:
-limited range of keys (16) and of which are slightly off tune (though you can adjust this manually with a screwdriver...also, apparently ribbon synths are subject to change with temperature)
-output is unbalanced, so expect noise
-the input and outputs are positioned almost too close together, to the point where you really can't plug in two cables with adaptors on them.

But, when it comes down to it, is it worth the price? Definitely. Its well worth having if you're looking for an effect that can be precisely and manually controlled. If you're creative, you can most certainly come up with some very creative applications for this device. It has a real lot of potential, and it makes me feel like Korg would do well to create a slightly more upscale version.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Woody on April 24, 2011
Verified Purchase
Listening to albums from the 70s and early 80s, I used to hear analog synths by Korg and Moog on albums. By the time the 90s came around, I gained a new awareness of these beautiful dinosaurs, through ambient records, and taking another listen to old Pink Floyd albums.

Of course, when I decided, "I'd like to have this sound", I would price these synthesizers. They were used and WAY too expensive! Through digital modeling technology, new models sporting similar tone and control to analog synths was available, but STILL not the same.

Which brings me to the KORG MONOTRON! What you have seen is what you get! A true analog synthesizer for around 50 bucks!

I got my MONOTRON in the mail, and opened the package. I dug through the box, and though, "were is it?!" I found it, and my first impression was "THIS IS small!". It fits in the palm of my hand. Yeah, I have big hands, sort of. But, it is about 1/3 smaller than the STYLOPHONE.

(As you can tell, I am getting the negative out of the way first), the volume is much lower than a STYLOPHONE too. The battery cover is feeble, and it sports 2 AAA batteries. The housing is a thin plastic. The ribbon keyboard is not too hard to control, however it could be easier. it is sort of inconsistent. Hold one finger down on a note, then press another note. Now, use one finger on the same note, then use that same finger and press the same note as before, you will hear DIFFERENT notes. Of course, some see/hear imperfections as endearing qualities! The input and output 1/4" jacks are too close together, which makes it hard to use both at the same time, especially if you have to adapt a guitar cable down.

(Now the GOOD STUFF!) What you have in the MONOTRON is the 3 basic building blocks of a synth.
Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By T. VANBRONKHORST on January 3, 2011
If you don't yet own an analog synth but have always wanted one, this is a fun and relatively cheap way to get started. But be forewarned: you'll have trouble letting go of it once you start.
My only (trivial) quibble with the Monotron is that the "keys" are smaller than the width of my finger, which makes playing melodies or bass lines a bit challenging. Granted, the keyboard markings are only meant as a general guide, but with or without the markings it's just a very small playing space to try and play an octave's range of notes. But it still definitely gets the job done.
I love this thing. I will be recording with it every chance I get.
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