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Monophonic Synths (to compliment modulars)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Monophonic Synths (to compliment modulars)
I have been modular only for quite a while. I recently scored a Mcromoog. It's funky features and great sound have me revisiting my strongly modular stance. I also recently tried a DSI MOpho which sounded incredible. I tried a DSI MEK which sounded nice, but was too deep for me to fully explore (I am dim). Even the Mopho is a little too menu-y for me.

Which are your favorite monos and why? I like that the Micromoog is instant for a lead, yet has enough modulation to be pseudo modular in certain regards of its architecture. The SCI Pro-One seems similar if not more poorly built. The Roland units always get praise. What do do you prefer?

I do all of my recording live, so another quick happy vioce should really be keen. I am super impressed w/ the Micrormoog so figure another mono will be that much better!
sci pro-one
I'm sure there is something to be said about something with all the "modules" matched up in a good combo, patched up and ready to go.

I don't think there is much of a special or specific compliment aspect unless your modular is very small or made up of only esoteric alternative sorts of modules. But a CV out on a monosynth can make a cool controller, nice sounding oscillator(s) and nice filter(s) can be good additions.

Yes, menus can make a synth less immediate though in a different way patch cables have a different kind of getting used to. The few monosynths out there with memories can sometimes be a great advantage.

Maybe you want to look into semi-modulars though none of the modern ones have their own keyboard. Stuff like the Dark Energy and the MFB ones. Sort of in between a modular and a monosynth. There are vintage ones with keyboards but they've shot up in price.
I have my SH09 for just a week now and am loving it. Dead simple, single osc, but the immediacy and of course balls of the tone are great. I'd go for something with 2 or 3 osc if I could of course, (SH2, prodigy, etc) but this is doing well. With CV/Gate ins and outs, plus an external input, it plays nicely with everything in my studio without excluding anyone or falling in love with any particular piece.

Yes, I think that if youre going to get a mono, get one without menus.. or with limited menus.

Cheap decent monos are out there if you look. SH09 like I have is in this bottom bracket, price wise. Also MG-1's are able to be had cheap. They have good analog (moog) tone, plus simple cheese divide down organ which is good if you have effects lying around ready to go.

The semimodular idea is good too as a step up.. Think RedSquare or FR XS.. Dark energy, maybe the Mono Lancet too, it even has the modular breakout panel..

Woah - and of course the new Slim Phatty!! jumping right in the market at a good price. Then of course you can get a used Lil Phatty for good price today as well. Loads of options!
I'm not super-experienced in this regard, and I'm a colossally shitty keyboard player, but I'll throw out that the Moog Voyager, especially with the VX-351, is a match made in modular heaven.

It will also allow a person to focus their modular rig on all of the things that subtractive synthesis doesn't do well.
i have an mc-202 and it is indeed a compliment. the new moog slim phatty also looks like a great little match.
i have some roland gear besides my modular (eurorack)


you can use it either to sequence and clock your modular or as additional instruments ,,, great fun,,
I have both a Voyager and a FutureRetro XS, and they both make great companions to modular synths.
The Voyager's manifold CV outputs really make my modular gear feel more playable... it's really nice, for instance, to scroll around the Morphing Terrarium or Piston Honda using the Voyager's touchpad.
The XS doesn't have all the CV I/O that the Voyager does, but it sounds fantastic. Its multimode filter can cut like a lazer, the mixer and filter overdrive nicely (if you're into that) and the envelopes are very fast and snappy (great for percussion sounds). And the bass you can pull from the XS is astonishing.
Hey Mind machine, this IS exactly what I finally came to realize in my own situation. I actually sold off about half of my modular system to help fund some other vintage gear to be "enhanced" then by my "moderate" Euro modular (now housed in 4 complete MW 19" rack mounted sub assembles. Each 19" rack then contains the major food groups: top rack is mainly for filters, 2nd down is for LFOs/ADSR's which also includes a Maths, 3rd down is for mixers/utilities, bottom row is for sequencing/advanced envelope/LFO duties since there are 2 UEG's and a few other goodies in it. For me I can make sounds much quicker with a "limited" mono synth, and despite all the claims of various new components sounding vintage, they don't sound as vintage as my vintage gear...then when I combine the euro's modules with the cv ins and outs of my vintage gear, it becomes quite obvious why this works so well for me...the sound! the speed! the fun! I have then the best of both worlds. Now as to which mono synth...well we each have our preferences but here are mine:

1) Korg Monopoly: this IMHO was made to mimic a modular, and should be married to one. It has such great versatility with it's 4 osc's, great filter 2 LFO's, terrific mod's, Xmod, sync, mono and poly ability, a killer cord function, great arp, beautiful "detuned" portamento (very musical!) AND cv in/out, trig in/out, trig polarity switch, vco mod in, filter mod in, portamento input (I think for a foot switch for on or off), and an arpeggio trig in. Try turning on the arpeggiator, put it in the poly mode and assign each osc a different wave stetting as well as tuning...very cool indeed! The possibilities get really crazy when you then introduce this unit to your modular...married bliss!!!

2) Korg MS-20...enough said here! a classic in and of itself, but hooking it to a modular is again pure analog bliss.

3) Yamaha CS15...2 really "pure" sounding osc's individually controlled through cv, 2 really different sounding (non-self oscillating) filters either LP, BP, or HP...and again you have 2 of them in any combination! Also routing the headphone out back into the audio input with a HP, or LP filter is brutal! It simply sounds different and compliments my other 2 units. By the way these are still relatively inexpensive in comparison to many other synths in the vintage status.

I also have other vintage poly synths...Oberheim OBXa, SCI Prophet 600, Korg poly 6...all with filter cv in's...

Newer gear includes a DSI Mopho keyboard with a cv in, Schippmann Ebbe and Flut modular dual filter with a variety of cv ins and outs. I was also thinking of eventually adding the new Moog slim phatty for that Moog sound.

Overall this gives me a huge pallet to create analog bliss in the universe of sound and am quite happy with it now. I was also fortunate enough through buying and selling gear for the past several years to get some really good deals on some of the vintage gear...think long term and out of the box...anyway, I wish you well on your acquiring what works best for you. Jaime
Rod Serling Fan Club
I think it's nice to have a classic mono around for immediacy but to be honest, going modular has made me less interested in vintage monos. I've currently got an SH-2 and an Octave Cat SRM and enjoy both but I don't know how long they will stick around when they can fund more modular or something else.

I think I'll end up with 1 mono and it will be one that compliments the modular well. I'm a bit torn between an SH-101 and a little phatty, of all things. I really enjoyed the little phatty and it seems a compromise between having a nice round moog sound and reliability and features. The SH-101 I was never that crazy about the sound but with the minijacks, arp, sequencer it seems to be made to be teamed up with a euro system... decisions.
The new Oberheim SEM patch integrates well w/ my modular and is great standalone - it and the rs505 are probably my two favorite self contained synth sounds. I love the MS10 as well; my favorite sinewave source and the pulsewave has a unique charm. I've always been into the sound of the Octave Cat, very greasy; wish I had one! I've never gotten on well with the Voyager but for some reason really like the Phatty.
+1 for the Voyager with the VX351.
are all awesome with the modular..
I find anything with a simple sequencer very inspiring together with a modular.
Like for example the SH101, ProOne, TB303/x0xb0x, Future Retro gear like the Revolution and 777. The ins and outs of the machines will let you make them control or be controlled by the modular and the simplicity of the sequencers allow for great instant fun.

Other than that, if you prefer sequencing in other ways or what not, go for great sound. You got that kind of covered with the Micromoog but still, being able to instantly whip up a nice bass or lead to fill in the mix on top of your complex patching is not to be underestimated.
While not technically just mono, I'm going to throw out the Monomachine. Yeah yeah, not analogue, but has a lot of great sounds that can complement a modular well, and individual outs to process, etc.
I suppose the one that compliements a modular best in my mind would be the EMS VCS3 which personally I don't think of as a modular, more a non fixed path synth.

For me, I've still got my original mono synth, a Roland SH2 and I do like it for quick and easy sounds
definitely the Voyager w/VX351
midi to CV makes it really nice

I haven't tried any others..I'm curious about my new CS10 though.
Another obvious one is perhaps the Oberheim SEM?
as like everybody has stated, sh101 and pro-one are king compliments/controllers. not only are they wonderful monos with tons of character but both have cv/gate ins and outs/ clock in and built in arpeggiattor/sequencers.

then for me that really only leaves polys to be covered. i currently have an rs09, lambda for stings synths and a dx7. (not that you asked about those)
The MEK might be worth a second try. It's not as quick to program as a Pro One, but it can do lots of interesting things. It will cover classic subtractive, wavetable, Karplus-Strong, and basic FM. With all of it's modulation destinations you can play it really expressively, and it has 2 CV inputs which are assignable to anything.
Buying a vintage synth of any kind is really not something to enter into lightly. A synth sold in "perfect working order" can crap out on you at any time, and should be expected to crap out on you at any time unless it's been completely serviced by a very good technician in the last year or so.

By that I mean that all the caps have been replaced, power supply components replaced, pots/sliders either replaced or torn down and cleaned (or at least given a good bath in the case of sliders), the keyboard contacts cleaned and polished (or replaced), keyboard bushings replaced (in the case of the old Pratt-Read keyboards).......

I've owned one Arp Axxe for about 32 years now (second owner) and another Axxe for about 21 years. And just having them around that long I'm having to completely refurbish them...not to mention my Arp sequencer that needs the same treatment.

My Minimoog needs its power supply rebuilt.

And there's no guarantee that what I'm doing's going to be all that needs done. These things need constant care and the more complicated they are (Oberheim OBs, Sequential Prophets, etc.), the more expensive and difficult they'll be to keep up and running.

So...I'd advise looking for newer synths first unless you've got the time and knowledge...or keep vintage gear running.

They're all awefully expensive even for that. I've seen Arp Axxe's going for over $400. Hell, I only paid about $480 for my first Axxe and the amp I used to run it through.
I've got a Studio Electronics Modded Minimoog Model D; lots of CV ins and what-not. My modular is just barely getting off the ground but syncing it up with Silent Way in Ableton is unlocking some great potential.

I also use a CS30L which I would recommend as a monosynth for those who are used to modulars. It is incredibly deep and almost semi-modular in nature.

I really like my Jupiter 4... I would say it's quite complementary to a modular because it has a very raw, thick VCO sound. It isn't immensely flexible in-terms of connectivity or programmability, though.
Moog MicroMoog
My Voyager and FR Revo/Orb runs everything including the Mini D, Buchla and Euro stuff.

I also use the MAQ 16/3 on everything including the Voyager and other bits...
Thanks for all of the replies:

KENT - I hear you, I only use the black keys sometimes...

jcn7 - Monopoly sounds huge!!! Maybe physically more than what I am considering. Sound/structure wise I need to hear more.

MS-20 - was my first 'real' synth. I owned the thing live... a tweakers dream, but it was thin and the tuning range was gimpy.

RodSerlingFanClub - dibs on your monos... someone else wants your SRM before me though it seems... I think it was this thread. i might want a Kitten!

dude - the Sh-101 & Pro-1 are very good deep controllers for what they are (cheapo and plastic). I had a Pro-1 when they first came out. I am rethinking it. They are versatile and agressive.

CalvaryBand - CS30's are a mysterious thing to me. Like a mono modular!!! I always found the Yamahas to sound thin though... a trippy machine.

Chando - YES!!! but as you may have read, I already own the Micromoog, thus the topic of the thread. Two Micro's would be too crass. So...

Minimoog56 - I have been thinking a possible Minimoog Old School... but they are discontinued and I almost refuse to buy anything from Moog, because they apparently name/market their instruments to total fucking dorks. I have heard that the new Stringer from Moog is called Yo' Strings.
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