The release of the Minilogue XD shook the synth world again and this means that Korg has managed to create another winning design, yet again. The spec belies its price tag and it really does look like a bargain. Korg has introduced some amazing features and made good use of the latest technology on offer. It’s a synth built for the future but is it the right choice for you?
Many people struggle when it comes to deciding between the Korg mini-series. Each synth gives you a different level of onboard features and sonic potential. The one thing that they do have in common is the compact size and this means they’re great for the traveling musician. However, do you want the monophonic and hands-on power of the Monologue or the detailed and feature-heavy polyphonic Minilogue XD? Let’s look at how they match up.
|Sound Engine Type(s):||Hybrid (Analog and Digital)||Analog|
|Number of Keys:||37||25|
|Type of Keys:||Mini-key, velocity-sensitive||Slim-keys, velocity sensitive|
|Number of Presets:||200 factory, 300 user||80 factory, 20 user|
|Oscillators||2 x Analog VCO (sawtooth, triangle, square), 1 x Digital (noise, vpm, user), 1 x LFO||2 x VCO (square, triangle, sawtooth), 1 x LFO|
|Filters||1 x Sharp Two-pole||1 x 2-pole low pass filter|
|Effects||Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Delay, Reverb, Ensemble||Analog Drive distortion|
|Audio Inputs:||1 x 1/8″ (sync in)||1 x 1/4″ TRS, 1 x 1/8″ (sync in)|
|Audio Outputs:||2 x 1/4″ (L/Mono, R), 1 x 1/8″ (sync out)||1 x 1/4″ TRS (audio out), 1 x 1/8″ (sync out)|
|Headphones:||1 x 1/4″||1 x 1/4″|
|USB:||1 x Type B||1 x Type B|
|Other||Micro Tuning, OLED oscilloscope screen, Joystick||Micro Tuning, OLED oscilloscope screen|
|Power Supply:||9V DC power supply||9V DC power supply / 6 x AA batteries|
|Weight:||6.17 lbs.||3.7 lbs.|
The Monologue and Minilogue XD are two very different synths but the one thing they do have in common is the Korg build quality – 100% dedication to the synth sound. The XD is obviously the latest model and it comes with a higher price tag that allows for many more built-in features.
The polyphonic potential of the XD is going to prove to be a more useful design for the creative musicians out there. You can do more with a polyphonic synth but the monophonic design of the Monologue is a great place for beginners to learn the synthesis process.
The Monologue is renowned for its snarling sound and extra bite with the help of the on-board filter. If aggressive sounds are your bread and butter then the Monologue is a perfect match. The XD, with its three oscillator design, is great for building and layering sounds for extra depth.
Both synths are top draw designs but you need to understand the style of music you play or want to play, and the level of detail that you are looking to program into your sounds. A good understanding of this will give you a better idea of which synth is best for you and your future.
The Korg Minilogue XD was introduced in early 2019 and its spec raised many eyebrows across the synth world. A hybrid, 4-voice analog synthesizer with a powerful digital multi-engine that has been borrowed off of the Korg Prologue. It’s a premium spec synth at a reasonable price.
The two analog oscillators are at the heart of the synth with a choice of square, sawtooth, and triangle waves available. You can shape these waves using any of the detailed on-board features such as sync and mod switches, cross-mod, and pitch for any detuning situations that you need.
The digital multi-engine gives you an extra oscillator and this borrowed feature is a major talking point for many synth enthusiasts. This inclusion puts so much more potential in your hands and along with the motion-step sequencer and re-voiced filter, the Minilogue XD is a synth dream.
You can start to see the full range of the Minilogue XD when you run through the full-spec. The micro-tuning, the oscilloscope display, the open SDK platform, and the ability to connect with other equipment using CV In. The XD is fully prepped for today’s synth environment.
The Korg Monologue has now been in production for over two years. The small yet powerful synth has managed to charm many synth players around the world and most can never seem to part ways with it, so this synth is doing something right and the Aphex Twin link is a huge bonus.
The 24-key monophonic synthesizer is built for the more outrageous and aggressive sounds. This dirty and distinctive sound is all thanks to the MS20-styled filter and the deep, low-end LFO. Couple these characteristics with the analog circuitry and you’ve got a synth ready to bite!
On top of that unique Korg sound, you’ve got a fully programmable 16-step sequencer that includes a three-way switch which allows you to flick between note, slide, and motion modes. Plus, a built-in tuning feature that ensures your music is always optimized and sounding its best.
The Aphex Twin collaboration is most present in the factory presets. You can choose from 80 different sounds programmed by none other than Richard D James himself. The Monologue from Korg is small but it packs plenty of punch with some impressive features onboard.
The obvious difference for people looking at these two synthesizers is the price tag. At nearly twice the price, the XD is a lot more expensive and might cause beginners to steer away from this new and improved design from Korg on the asking price alone. However, putting the price aside we can see a few advantages and disadvantages for each synth. As mentioned, a good point of view here is your experience and your preferred style of music.
Beginners to synth music will struggle to find a better overall deal than the Monologue. The simple, intuitive, and hands-on synth will give those with little experience a great insight into how analog synthesis works. It’s a great starting point to understand the ins and outs of this style of music. The old saying “walk before you can run” can be used here when it comes to the simple yet powerful Monologue and the highly detailed Minilogue XD.
If it’s dirty and deep basslines that you’re after then the Monologue will give you just that. If you’re after more ethereal and soaring sounds then it will be the XD which is more suited to what you want. The XD is fully equipped to take you into the more technical and layered side of synth music. The on-board features are worthy of a much higher price tag and they all come together to give you a fully customizable synth. The XD was always going to be a great synth when its goal was to combine all of the best bits of the previous Monologue, Minilogue, and Prologue designs.
To us, it’s a no-brainer if you have the budget for the XD. But for most people, it will come down to experience. The Monologue suits the beginner or experienced synth player who is looking to add an additional bass line synth to their setup. The Minilogue XD is an all singing, all dancing mini-synth that is more suited to seasoned players and for those who do not already own the older Minilogue or Monologue synths. Beginners might find the overall XD setup a little overwhelming and the simple Monologue will be more enjoyable to start with. You could always trade in for the XD at a later date when you have a better understanding of how synths work!
However, if you are someone who likes to jump in at the deep end then the XD is a perfect choice. It will give you everything you need to understand how synthesis works and you’ll struggle to outgrow it, which can’t be said for the Monologue. If your budget is tight then the Monologue is a useful starting point for beginners and you can then expand your setup at a later date. For us, the bottom line is this: if you can afford the XD then go for it, you’ll love it.