Korg has just released their MonoPoly as a Rack Extension (RE) for Reason. After being so excited over the MS-20 and reading so much good press on how good the MonoPoly VSTi sounds I was pretty interested. The Poly6 RE didn’t grab me but MonoPoly I am led to believe is a cut above.
I have made a comparison with 3 patches duplicated on MonoPoly and Thor. See if you can guess which plays the line first?
if you hear a low Bass Sequence then STOP the video below
Can you tell the difference? To be honest I think that it is pretty easy to get Thor to sound essentially exactly the same as MonoPoly. The Korg synth is nice but in practice, I am not convinced that it really offers anything that Thor can’t already do. Sure the MonoPoly has a Unison which can beef up a sound dramatically but Thor has the MultiOSC and Reason has a Unison effect that is pretty good.
Thor has a clear advantage in several OSC & Filter models available which spreads his palette very wide. He also has a much easier Modulation Matrix. MonoPoly has 8 slots which is pretty good but the set-up for a “wiring” is nowhere near as tidy.
Each of these patches was made initially on the MonoPoly and then copied to a Thor, first by matching knob positions and then by ear.
1) Triangle Lead: starting with the simplest sort of sound, a Triangle wave lead. MonoPoly doesn’t offer a Sine wave so I have used a single OSC Triangle wave with little Filter interaction. The sound is set to Monophonic with a bit of Portamento for that classic lead sound. LFO 1 is assigned to Pitch via the Mod Wheel for performance. I don’t think either of these instruments does as well here as a real MS-20 but I hear no great difference (except that I forgot to change an envelope time on one). Reverb is on a Buss.
2) Brass: this time a 2-OSC Patch using Saw waves. MonoPoly has a Detune knob that I haven’t read up on. With it off the sound is mighty weedy so I let him have this concession. Then a classic Brass set up with Filter Envelope and 50% Key Follow. Added a matching Echo preset to both sounds. MonoPoly may have a teensy edge here in the mids but that is pretty hard to call. MonoPoly has the advantage here of having a Filter design that maintains volume as Resonance rises which means that the sound seems beefier as the Reso rises as opposed to Thor losing power (like a Moog).
3) Numan-ish: similar to a mid-80’s Gary Numan sort of pad sound with a lot of thickness. I let MonoPoly have a bit of a lead here with all 4 OSC firing (one as a Sub OSC) and a 2-part Unison. This gives him a clear head start over Thor with his 3 OSC and no Unison. Interestingly, Thor has a lot more presence in the lows than MonoPoly who is a bit stronger in the mids. To keep Thor in the game I added a little red Unison module with 8 “voices” and 50% mix. This matched pretty well with the settings on MonoPoly and made everything very equal. Both have the same Chorus and Echo patches as effects.
Patches: here are the 3 patches in Combinators just in case you want them
I got some more bollocking over this video as apparently, I had made it too easy for Thor by making the sounds too simple and apparently MonoPoly is really a very different sound IF I use the Filters. Ok, challenge taken.
So played with MonoPoly for quite a while till I got something I’d use to make a piece that I thought was pretty cool and showed off the MonoPoly well. I then did the old Thor-ize. This was slightly harder this time as I had to add a second layer of Filter adjustment to the automated section or Thor sounded completely different – hence Rotary 1 moving.
Here we can hear more of MonoPoly’s brighter character which I compensated for a with a bit of EQ. Thor loses some bass to match the MonoPoly as per the Filter style see above. Past that I don’t think there is much in it. Especially once I introduce a drum line to busy up the mix.
This time I’m letting you have the whole Reason 7.0.1 file so you can see how it all happens