I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

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I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by Tiger Jackson » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:07 pm

I notice that some people specifically look for a synth to be monophonic, like the recent MS-20 mini. Why exactly is this? When you can get a polyphonic synth and set it to mono?

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by tomorrowstops » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:33 pm

Turning polysynths into monosynths isn't as easy as that. Most of them at best utilize 'unison' mode which yes, allows for one note at a time playing, but is also layering all voices on top of each other; a very different sound. Not to mention monosynths are in some ways cheaper to produce, thus the plethora of options out there.

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:47 pm

A good polyphonic synth is voiced to sound great when played polyphonic. So even if there's a mono mode on the poly it may not sound as great when in mono mode. In fact my favorite polys don't have a heavy bottom end; they leave some space in the mix. By contrast, to me a good mono is punchy in the mix and has a big bottom end when you need it. (Of course, that's more of a rule of thumb, as some monos are great at being nasal.)

Then, being monophonic, you can creatively leverage the voice cut-off. In the same way a wind player decides whether to play legato or staccato, for example, you can decide whether you want the mono to keep the envelope open on each note or re-trigger it. Those variations make for dynamics which can energize a song. That kind of playing is rare on a poly and often just sounds weird anyhow.

There are even more advantages--CV routing is a lot more straightforward on a mono. Patching an LFO to the oscillators might be just cable on a mono, but it's one cable per voice on a poly. Consequently, there aren't many patchable polys so you get the routing that's been hardwired or hard-coded vs the flexibility of a patchbay on an MS20, Voyager, etc.

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by Rezisehtnys » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:48 pm

Well, generally monosynths have all of their controls out for the world to see on the front panel. Where as most polyphonics don't. Some polysynths do have an actual mono mode, without layering of any sort, but then it's usually cycling through each voice instead of re-triggering the same one. That gives minute inconsistencies. Price is another one, just look at the difference between a Mopho and Prophet 8. If all you're going to do is lead or bass with it, then one note is enough. Also in general monosynths excel at such sounds since that's their primary use. Then there's just something different about them, knowing all you have is that one note and not being able to flip it back to polyphonic mode alters how you interact with it. Nowadays there are plenty of cheap, analogue, monosynths out there which is something else. $500 or less gets you authentic analogue sounds, be it only one voice, compared to spending $2,000 or more to get 8-12 authentic analogue voices. Sure looking at it that way the polysynth is the better deal, but if all you want is true analogue for bass and leads and are content with a VA for pads and the rest then there ya go. One last thing to note is, probably not so much these days, but monosynths generally had faster envelopes and LFO's. It just boils down to what you're looking for in an instrument.

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by monolith » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:57 pm

Well, if you can kindly point me toward the polyphonic MS20...

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:26 am

monolith wrote:Well, if you can kindly point me toward the polyphonic MS20...
I can. It's called "multi-tracking." :D
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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:40 am

Or "two MS-20s."
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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by monolith » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:19 am

commodorejohn wrote:Or "two MS-20s."
I've got that sorted :mrgreen:

What I'm saying is there is no poly ms20 to buy instead of a mono.

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by Rezisehtnys » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:29 am

6 MS-20's and become a Hindu god so you can play them all in harmony.

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by CZ Rider » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:24 am

Didn't they stop making monosynths around the years 1985 thru 1995? Never really knew why, but they were considered by some as obsolete. The Korg Prophecy and Yamaha VL-1 were the first I can recall with the comeback of monosynths. Both with the ability to mimic monophonic horns. After living through those dark times, I'm more surprised they ever made a monosynth again. Kind of like the death video game consoles went through around 1983. And they came back stronger than ever.
I never gave up on my Minimoog during that time, but I was a minority. Glad I picked up that $350 Minimoog from the guy rasing cash for a DX7 in 1985. Still have it.
But many of those mid '85 manufactures did not see any demand for monosynths as if they went the way of the Dodo. Extinct!

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by Zamise » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:48 am

Well there you go! It takes more to do more with less rather than doing less with more, thus doing more with less is in more demand. Circular reasoning may be your answer :?
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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by Cerebral Infect » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:17 am

Actually, the demand is for analog synth whatever the polyphony. And with a good sound too. And given the price point, monosynth are obviously cheaper to produce with discrete components than polyphonic synth. In the 80ies what made the polyphonic analog synth accessible was the CEM and SSM chips which contained whole synth circuits on a simple reliable chip. Those chip are not available anymore (Dave Smith bought the last series of CEM chip for the Evolvers, Prophet and Mophos). Elektron started, miraculously, to do affordable polysynth in the sub 2000$ range (kudos to them). If those chips would be available, you would be seeing not only a monosynth demand, but also a polysynth demand as well.

What I would buy, an updated 6 Voices Microwave (or wavetable sampler) with the Pulse 2 filter and VCA section with a digital FX section with true bypass. That would be awesome !
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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:24 am

A high enough demand will create a supply for CEM chips, at least (dunno about the SSMs, though) - Curtis is still around and I doubt they'd turn up their nose at a decent order, but some manufacturer's gotta be willing to commit to it first. If Roland would get off their asses and start making noise about a Jupiter-6 reissue that'd probably do it, but of course Roland hate money and success so that won't be it.
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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by CfNorENa » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:36 am

I don't know if you understand the demand for monosynths. Do you?

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Re: I don't understand the demand for monosynths?

Post by Nannerfan » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:24 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
monolith wrote:Well, if you can kindly point me toward the polyphonic MS20...
I can. It's called "multi-tracking." :D
Exactly... or to be more exotic these days.. Sampling..

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