Korg changed the analog synth market forever when they introduced the Minilogue and not long after, the Monologue. Offering the public two very affordable synthesizers with a host of features on board. These synths do have their differences though and this makes the choice between the two a little easier for you. We can’t find fault with either of the price points because they offer so much analog synthesis for so little money. However, understanding the potential of each model and the different features available will put you in a much better buying position.
Korg took a gamble and it paid off. It looks like they’ve got the affordable, analog synth market covered with the Minilogue and Monologue. We’ll take you through the main talking points of each synth and highlight the areas that should help to make your final decision an easier one.
|Sound Engine Type(s):||Analog||Analog|
|Number of Keys:||37||25|
|Type of Keys:||Slim-key, velocity sensitive||Slim-keys, velocity sensitive|
|Number of Presets:||100 factory, 100 user||80 factory, 20 user|
|Oscillators||2 x VCO (square, triangle, sawtooth), 1 x LFO||2 x VCO (square, triangle, sawtooth), 1 x LFO|
|Filters||1 x 2-/4-pole low pass filter||1 x 2-pole low pass filter|
|Effects||Analog Drive distortion, Delay||Analog Drive distortion|
|Audio Inputs:||1 x 1/4″ TRS (audio in), 1 x 1/8″ (sync in)||1 x 1/4″ TRS, 1 x 1/8″ (sync in)|
|Audio Outputs:||1 x 1/4″ TRS (audio out), 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 USB B||1 x Type B|
|Other||Micro Tuning, OLED oscilloscope screen||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.|
Both synths keep to the small design layout but the on-board filters are different and the resulting sounds do vary. The filters count for a lot and the Minilogue is known to give a warmer and punchier sound whereas the Monologue’s sound borders on the aggressive and snarling type.
The Minilogue is polyphonic so you are going to get a lot more creativity out of it. Not to say that you can’t have plenty of fun with the single-voice Mono. However, the eight different voice modes on the Mini is a big advantage and will always be a major selling point over the Mono.
The Monologue’s 16-step sequencer is a lot more advanced and powerful than the Minilogue’s. This is often the main talking point between the two synths. The fact that it can run on batteries is also a plus. However, the Minilogue is no slouch and gives you a lot more sound potential.
You could easily run a setup with both of these synths. We don’t think it’s a case of one or the other. You just need to decide on what sound you are after and which on-board features align with your style of playing. Understanding what you are after will make the decision a lot easier.
The Minilogue is the original and larger of the two synthesizers with 37 slim-sized keys. Korg created the Mini to give users the power of polyphonic analog at an affordable price. It was a complete redesign, like no other synth, intended for use in the studio, at home or live on stage.
The Minilogue is flexible, versatile and capable of creating all sorts of sounds. The eight different voice modes are what makes the Minilogue so adaptable. You can choose and experiment with any of the Unison, Mono, Chord, Poly, Duo, Delay, Sidechain, and Arp modes.
Add these voice modes to the step sequencer and 100 presets, and you can see just how much potential the Minilogue holds. The strong and sturdy metal chassis lays the foundation for a well-built synth that houses two powerful VCOs, a fully resonant filter, and lots of mod options.
The interface itself makes life easy for anyone first starting out in synth music. The large filter knob, oscilloscope display, and clear sections for the filter, envelopes, amp, and LFO makes using the Minilogue an enjoyable process for anyone. It holds a lot more than meets the eye.
The Monologue was the follow up from Korg and they managed to improve an already winning formula. It is, on the whole, a different sounding synth to its older sibling. What’s new? To begin with, the 16-step sequencer is fully programmable, easy to use, and a lot more powerful.
In terms of the internal workings, the Monologue comes with some extra bite thanks to the MS20-style filter, analog drive circuit, and deeper sounding LFO. The design collaboration with Aphex Twin has a lot to do with this extra power and aggression in the Monologue’s sound.
The back panel connections are the same as the Minilogue, so no change there with plenty of options. One slight difference can be seen on the keyboard with the E to E layout. It’s something that guitarists and bass players will appreciate as it links up to their style of open string tuning.
The sub-menu on the Monologue is a lot more in-depth and offers some interesting features. For example, the 32 microtuning and scale modes can be accessed for plenty of tweaking and experimentation. It’s clear that the Mono is a different type of animal to the Mini.
Beginners might not see a lot of difference between the Minilogue and Monologue. They do look similar and many people were expecting the Mono to just be a slimmed down version of the Mini. It is smaller, agreed, but the Mono is not just a “mini” Minilogue. It has a lot more to offer.
The Mono is a perfect synth for those who are looking to dial in fat bass sounds and lead style melodies. The multi-functioning sequencer is a joy to use and the Aphex Twin-inspired presets are excellent. You’ll find plenty of character in this synth and the on-board filter is going to appeal to a lot of musicians out there. If you want that analog sound that can switch from smooth tones to screeching overdrive then the Mono is the synth for you.
The Minilogue is head and shoulders above the Monologue in terms of features. You’ve got the arpeggiator, those eight voice modes, and a fully resonant filter. Plus, the polyphonic versatility is always going to attract a lot of interest. The Mini is fully capable of that classic analog sound but doesn’t quite reach the aggression of the Mono. It’s slightly lacking in the effects department for a polysynth but it still has enough to keep you entertained.
Overall, you could easily price the Minilogue at around the $1000 mark and it would still be a great deal. So, the fact that you can grab this for around $500 is remarkable. We think it’s an ideal stepping-stone for anyone looking to get serious with synthesis. As for the Monologue, it is possibly one of the best bargains around in the analog market. It’s the best option for those wanting to get some hands-on, analog action with that aggressive sound potential. The portability is also a huge advantage and will be something of a deal-breaker for a lot of traveling synth users.