MATRIXSYNTH: Korg Mono/Poly | Four Play

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Korg Mono/Poly | Four Play

Published on Jul 13, 2019 Alex Ball

"This is a synth I've been wanting to demo for a long time and it didn't disappoint.

The Korg Mono/Poly was released in 1981 and is the somewhat quirky sibling of the Polysix.

It's essentially a 4 oscillator monosynth with different waves, footings and volumes available on each oscillator. There's two independent LFOs, two envelopes, cross mod, oscillator sync, a 4-pole low pass filter that can self oscillate, pwm, detune, portamento, an arpeggiator, CV/trigger in and out and a couple of assignable wheels.

However...things then get very interesting in the "key assign mode" as this is where the "Mono" and "Poly" parts of the Mono/Poly are found. You can play monophonically with just one oscillator triggered or you can select 'unison' and have all four oscillators triggered simultaneously. Combined with whatever waves and footings you've selected on each oscillator this can get interesting.

In Poly mod you can have one oscillator per note with up to four-note polyphony OR select 'unison' and the oscillator count automatically changes dependent upon how many notes you're playing so that all four oscillators always sound.

The arpeggiator can behave in Mono or Poly modes too, which I utilised in my track.

With one vca and envelope there isn't individual note articulation when playing polyphonically so this is a paraphonic setup (tips hat to Marc D). There is a note damp switch to help (a little) with that.

I also have a Korg VCF FK-1 Synthe module in the studio at the moment which is a filter and envelope follower from the 700 series synths that Korg made into a stand-alone unit with a wah-style foot pedal in 1975. I ran my guitar takes through it which isn't captured on camera as it's happening on the floor by my feet.

Gear used:
Korg Mono/Poly (1981)
Ibanez Jem 7DBK (2002)
Korg VCF FK-1 (1975)
Fender Blues Junior II mic'd with SM57
Oberheim DXa (1984)
Sequential Circuits Drumtraks (1984)
Vocal "dahs" recorded with a C414s

Mixed by Jakob Ole at Sonic Peak Studios.


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