James Spadavecchia contacted me about his product USBtribe. It’s an interface you install into a Korg Monotribe. Once installed the Monotribe shows up as a controller. You have tempo and transport sync, synth MIDI in on Channel 1 and drum MIDI in Channel 10. The modified Monotribe also now has MIDI out so you can record the MIDI of what the Monotribe is doing. Installation was mostly easy. It took me a little fiddling to get the tiny plugs into the terminal block. To file a hole required for the wire’s out I had to buy a round file. Check out the demo video I created above to see it’s features.
“Introducing the USBtribe, a USB MIDI interface modification designed specifically for use with the Korg Monotribe analog ribbon station. This mod adds a USB socket to the Monotribe synthesizer, providing USB MIDI IO and DC power supply over a single USB cable.” – usbtri.be
I decided to stay home this weekend. I stopped by Control in Williamsburg and picked up a new module for my Eurorack system. I bought a Toppobrillo Multifilter. You can hear it in the above videos filtering a Wiard Oscillator, Make Noise Echophon and a iPad Police Scanner. The clock and drums are from a Korg Rhythm 55. An Analog Solutions Telemark is providing some LFO modulated white noise snares and a Korg Monotribe is joining in with some resonant rides and a synth line. Both the Telemark and Monotribe are being pinged by an Intellijel uStep. There’s also an Intellijel uVCA and Pittsburgh Modular ASDR doing some utility work. There’s won’t end up as songs as sometimes it good to just play around.
“The so-called state-variable filter has a long history in electronic music- traditionally the most versatile voltage-controlled filter at any analog synthesist’s disposal. there were several classic design examples and variants produced throughout the heyday of analog synthesis, such as those implemented in the Oberheim SEM, the EDP Wasp, and the fabled,albeit lesser known filters such as the famous Serge filters and Arp 1047; the classic SVF configuration is simple and versatile- with several different filter responses available simultaneously ‘for free’ by nature of it’s design with no elaborate mixing schemes. traditionally there have been some considerations when designing a wide-range filter with variable Q using this topology, for instance, relative instability/ generally poor sound and behaviour at very high Q, many designs get around this by limiting the maximum Q available, among other things. those that are designed to allow for self-oscillation will often become unstable at the threshold and have inconsistencies initiating or mantaining oscillation across the entire audio range. The Toppobrillo Multifilter is a new/ traditional state-variable design based on a great modern quad VCA chip, the SSM2164. this, in part, helps make the Multiflter what it is, a clean, quiet, stable and very controllable filter at it’s core, without limiting its palette, well suited for processing anything you can run through it.” – toppobrillo.com
Today I thought I would give you a quick look at some of my workflow. Here’s how I often start creating an EBM (Electronic Body Music) style track. I’ve started a Eurorack modular system and you can see my first two pieces in action here. I have recorded a 5V Pulse into Ableton from the Korg SyncKontrol iOS app. I loaded the click into Simpler and use MIDI to create a pattern. In this example it’s a straight 16th note. I use Ableton Live to route the 5V click out of my Motu 828 MKIII into a Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer. The Dark Time is not in sync with my Ableton MIDI set up. The Dark Time controls an Analog Solutions Telemark (SEM clone). 8 steps of CV variation and CV filter variation loop the bassline. I also have the Dark Time send a clock out to a Korg Monotribe. On the Monotribe I have muted the drums and just have it playing some lazer zap type sounds typically where you would find a snare drum. Using MIDI I have a Vermona DRM1 MKIII playing a kick and snare. The Monotribe’s clock out goes into an Intellijel uStep which sends a 16th note clock to a Make Noise Echophone. I have a MFB-522 drum machine in sync with Ableton via MIDI playing a clap. This clap is sent into the Echophon where it’s delay shimmers in 16 synced steps because of the uStep control. I can play with the Echophon’s pitch knob for a wicked nice analog clap delay effect. Is it worth all this effort? In my opinion yes. You can’t really get a sound like this without going analog. This part would make a good verse. Because I can pitch the bassline on a MIDI keyboard the next step is to make a Chorus, maybe change the Dark Time sequence length or patter slightly, add some pads from an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and add vocals. I hope you enjoyed the peek into a world where control is everything.
“CV/Gate (an abbreviation of Control Voltage/Gate) is an analog method of controlling synthesizers, drum machines and other similar equipment with external sequencers. The Control Voltage typically controls pitch and the Gate signal controls note on/off. This method was widely used in the epoch of analog modular synthesizers, beginning in the 1960s and up to the early 1980s. It was mostly superseded by the MIDI protocol, which is more feature-rich, easier to configure reliably, and more easily supports polyphony.” – wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_voltage
So let’s say you modified your Korg Monotribe to use MIDI. You can see the post I did about the Amazing Machines Miditribe I/O: here. Unbelievably there is now a software editor that lets you control your MIDIed Monotribe called Mtribe. You can now save presets, record automation, etc… There’s even a random patch generator (yay). It’s stand alone or a Max4Live device. The software is $5. I love my Monotribe and think it has a great sound. Very much worth the price.
“MIDI IN/OUT for all MIDI supported features in a practical GUI. Presets (load/save for storing and recalling presets!). Key Tracking. In real time pitch modulates LFO intensity / VCF cutoff. LFO as second oscillator, auto tuned based on harmonics schemes. Glide emulation and finer pitch bending (more precisely than raw MIDI). XY Pad for two parameters at once (with reset and spring mode). (optional) note off removal (to remove gate clicks) and velocity off/on. preset randomizer for each section (VCA, LFO, modulation, glide). MIDI learn for the GUI through extra MIDI input.”
You can sync a Korg Monotribe with another Monotribe. With the SyncKontrol iPhone app you can sync a Monotribe with an iPad and/or wirelessly with Ableton Live (or any DAW). I still can’t get over the fact you can get a fully analog groovebox for about $230. I hope these sell like crazy so Korg keeps on making analog synths and drum machines.
“SyncKontrol offers owners of Korg’s monotribe Analogue Ribbon Station precise tempo control, plus the ability to sync their monotribe to WIST (Wireless sync) enabled apps! SyncKontrol allows you to control the tempo and start/pause of the monotribe Analogue Ribbon Station via the audio output of your iPhone. The app also offers Tap Tempo, a Swing function, and WIST (Wireless Sync-Start Technology) to sync monotribe to WIST-enabled apps such as Korg’s iMS20, iElectribe and iElectribe Gorillaz(tm) Edition. In addition, this application receives sync from Mac based DAW software by receiving MIDI clock and play/stop commands via Wireless Network MIDI.”
Nick from Sonic State’s full review of the Korg Monotribe. I can’t believe these things are $229 (link)! I can’t believe people are complaining that’s too expensive. You have to make and enjoy music of a certain retro style to really get this box. If your looking for a sound source of that retro nature this is going to get you there better/easier than any plug-in. I can’t wait to see Korg’s next analog thing. Imagine what they can do at $999.