In this article I’m going to tell you about the absolute best synthesizer you can buy for under $100. You know what? I’m actually going to tell you the absolute best synthesizer you can buy for under $50!
The world of hardware synths is a high-end world of flashy nostalgia mixed with bank breaking pieces of sought after must-have gear. Within the community of hardware synths we actually have a term for it, it’s called GAS. Gear acquisition syndrome. It is definitely real, and it is very easy to fall victim to.
However, there are a lot of pieces that are fun to use, cost friendly, and easy on the wallet. In my opinion, a piece of gear that checks all those boxes for me is the Korg Monotron Delay!
The Korg Monotron Delay, in it’s simplest description, is an analog synth mixed with a spacey chaotic delay. The notes can be played through a simple ribbon keyboard and you can modify that sound through the five knobs located on the front of the unit. Inside this tiny box is where the magic really lies. The Monotron actually uses the same VCF circuit from the original Korg MS-10 and MS-20.
My favorite part of the Korg Monotron is how easy it is to hook it up to other instruments and manipulate them in crazy and huge ways. The Monotron has a headphone out and auxiliary in on the top of the unit. With the headphone out, you can hook it up into your sound board or mixer if you are using a dawless structure like I am. This thing really shines with the auxiliary in. Through the input you can run other instruments, tape decks, samplers, and more through the unit and manipulate their output in real time with all of the nuances and craziness that the Monotron provides. One thing that I really like to do is to use the Arturia Drumbrute Impact’s individual drum outputs and run them through the Monotron Delay to take the drums into Outer Space.
Without further delay, I’ve compiled a video that really just scratches the surface with the amount of fun and creativity that you can harness with the Monotron Delay. In this demo I’ve paired the Monotron with a modded tape deck made by the incredible Kryptic Species Mutations. I’ve included the links to check him out below, he creates a wide variety of modded and circuit-bent instruments. Do you have one of these? Think there’s something that offers a better value than the Monotron Delay? Want me to demo another device? Let me know in the comments below!
New jam is up and I named it after the creator of that very awesome little modded tape deck that I used for the drum track. I bought the tape deck from @krypticspeciesmutations. He creates and/or mods a lot of unconventional items and he has caught my eye on more than one occassion . Check him out on Instagram for a complete listing of stuff he currently has available.
The drum track was created by recording a 4 minute loop of a drum track from the Zoom MRT-3B drum machine into my computer and then recorded it onto a blank pink cassette. This particular tape deck has been modded with a knob that controls the playback speed. I’m running the drum loop back at a slightly lower speed. At the end of the track you can see me messing with the playback speed.
Stay tuned as I’ll probably do a gear demo video of that tape deck on YouTube in the next coming days.
A few months ago I collaborated with an amazing musician on Instagram by the name of Stephen Zinda. Stephen is a multi-instrumentalist, genre-hopping mastermind. He is one of the first people that I connected with on Instagram. He’s released 3 excellent albums on Spotify (Brains, King Pig, and Meat Freak.) I started chatting with Stephen early on and what really captured me about his music was his guitar playing and songwriting. He’s got that booming voice that really captures you’re attention.
Eventually, we collaborated on one song called Palm Trees. Here’s the link to the original version of Spotify. This song is included on our full release but it has been re-worked and is way more badass and epic in it’s final form.
The goal for us originally was to create an EP. I ended up sending about 30 tracks to Stephen in my signature style, all full versions of jams in the 3 – 5 minute range. I did this over the course of a few weeks. Stephen was able to take the tracks and manipulate and flip them in ways I never imagined could be done. In the end we ended up with 9 tracks and released them on CD and Cassette on October 1st. Now at the end of the month we will be releasing our album digitally on all streaming platforms on October 31! We can’t wait for more people to hear what we have created.
Big shoutout to everyone who supported us by purchasing a CD or Cassette! You’ve helped fund the Black Zinda movement and we are currently entertaining an offer of perhaps releasing on vinyl. Anybody interested?