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In-depth Feature:  MonoMachine SFX-6
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In Use
The Monomachine takes a bit of getting used to, as it's not really like anything else around at the moment, apart from the Machinedrum. The simplest way to think of it is that you have six tracks, each fully assignable and editable, and these tracks can be either played manually from the keyboard or via MIDI, or built up into sequences using the 16 step sequencer. The knobs on the front are contextual and control whatever parameters are currently active. The octave controls on the right are straight-forward enough, as is the Multi Trig button which will let you play entire sequences using single key presses.

The fact that tracks can contain effects as well as instruments is also a bit of a headscratcher for a while, but you get used to it. The sounds themselves are really good straight out of the box, the Elektron folks having done a cracking job of showing off the units capabilities, though of course they benefit from extensive tweaking so they become personalised to you. The arrangement of sounds in kits should be thought of as collections of patches and settings which can be instantly recalled, and also edited and saved. The sounds produced by the Monomachine vary depending on the synthesis type you are using, but they?re never less than authentic, and sometimes downright terrifying. This kind of instrument would sit well in the arsenal of anyone making electronic music either live or in a studio, as it can be used as a straight synth or a complex pattern sequencer.

To browsing the presets, you recall a patch by hitting a bank switch -this lights up the sixteen step switches red, with the current patch lit orange. An LED above the corresponding bank switch would have been nice, although you can look at the LCD display to see which bank and patch is current, it's a bit small.

Hit one of the track buttons, and the keyboard will play through to that voice. If you like it, [Function] [Poly] will give you six voices. If you want to play the sequence hit play.


Arpeggiator
As well as the six track sequencer, you also have an arpeggiator for each track which can step through note values, amplitudes, filter and more besides, giving you additional extensive triggering possibilities.


Deep Joy assignments
A very cool feature of this unit is the joystick. Looking for all the world like a classic games console joystick, it allows you to control the parameters of the sounds and effects in realtime, and is much more flexible that the usual modulation and pitch bend wheels. You can assign up to three parameters per axis (H,V,X,Y) both positive and negative values in the setup pages, so you can imagine the level of control that is achievable.

In Multi Trig mode especially, Elektron have programmed some excellent uses; such as removing elements sounds from the sequence, applying cutt-off filters to others, accentuating drum tracks and so on. It behaves differently for each track, so you can spend hours just playing sequences and fiddling with the joystick to see what happens. Above each note on the keyboard is an LED and the name of the note, to graphically show you which notes in a sequence are playing back.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • MonoMachine Mp3 (10mb)
  • MonoMachine Video @ NAMM2004
  • Monomachine.com - for more info and sales

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