Mono/Poly (or MP4)

Updated: 2004-02-18

One of the last famous analogue machines before the DX-7 and the likes of that digital beast "destroyed" the fair world of synthesis forever. ;) 

The Mono/Poly is a classic with it's black and blue panel and wooden endcheeks and bottom. And the name must be one of the funniest on a commercially available synthesizer.

I found my MP4 (as it's called on the serial plate) through a colleague. He mentioned an old friend having a synth bought in the mid-80's. The friend wanted to sell it but my colleague only knew it was a Korg. I imagined some crappy plastic keyboard but picked up the phone. You can guess I was surprised at what I found out! Later that week I payed the guy a visit, picked up the synthesizer, the original manual, the original patch book and even the little rediculous promotion folder for the Korg line of synthesizers and a demo cassette in it's original bag. The guy even threw in a synth stand and apologised for having misplaced the original box. I was a happy costumer with my mint Mono/Poly!

Yes, the MP4 can be played as both a superweak polyphonic machine and as a fat and growling mono monster. You can guess how it's used most of the time. The cv interface only works in mono mode as well...

It's more friendly than it's older onkels, the MS-machines since this baby runs on volt/octave and therefor can interface more easily with other machines. It even has switchable trigger system.

Many people talk about the cool filter of the MP4 but I'm not that impressed (being an EDP-fan you often aren't ;) ) but prefer to mention the fabulous effects section instead. Cross modulation and sync and the mix of the two does only have one big disadvantage; it can drown all other characteristics in a sound!

The arpeggiator also proves useful while experimenting (or if you're in the famous Tangerine Dream-mood). The coolest is twisting the oscillators to totally different settings and letting the arpeggiator step through them at lunatic speed!

There are two major differencies in the MP4. The noise in the older production run is digital while the later Mono/Polys have analogue noise. I opened the lid and checked my filter board and found out it's analogue in mine.

My Mono/Poly has a dedicated site here where you can see the product catalogue and download and listen to that hilarious demo I mentioned! Now I only have to find out what these numbers on the bottom inside means...

My daughter prefers poly mode!

Korg Mono/Poly specifications;
Keyboard  44 keys, 3 octaves
Oscillators 4, switchable between triangle, sawtooth, pwm, pw.
Filter Lowpass (24 dB?), invertable
Envelopes two ADSR's (one for the filter)
LFO 2, one switchable triangle, sawtooth, ramp, square, the 2nd only triangle.
Effects sync, cross modulation and both simultaniously
Connections arpeggio trig in, porta in, VCF fcM in, VCO FM in, trig in, trig out,
cv in, cv out, phones, output
Housing Fake wood and (real) steel
Dimensions 744 x 450 x 144 mm
Weight 12 kg
Released 1982
Quantity produced
approx. 10000 (fair guess)
Pros Flexible, sturdy construction, great sounds, polyphonic possibilities.
Cons Large and heavy for a monosynth, common, not controllable externally in poly mode.
Price? (bargain,
fair, horrible)
$400, 700, 1000

Happy browsing and don't hesitate to drop me a line at: jesperXelectronic-obsession.se

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