Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

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Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by The Elf »

I'm taking a chance on this one, but I'm aiming it for my live rig if it can step up to the task. The latest batch sold out in around 12 hours or so.

All digital, 12 voices, able to be configured as two 6-voice polysynths, or a single 12-voice. Around 6 inches by 4 inches in size and powered by its USB socket. It reminds me of the DSI Tetra, albeit this is fully digital.

Three oscillators per voice, three envelopes, three LFOs, voice pan-spread, basic FM, single multi-mode filter, MPE mode, arpeggiator, 10-slot mod matrix with multiplier ability (perfect for my fade-vibrato). Delay and reverb, and I believe a chorus has been added with the latest firmware. The MPE capability got my attention, and was the reason I jumped - I perform with a Seaboard, and, hopefully soon, an Osmose as part of my rig, so anything that makes those welcome has my attention.

MIDI and audio out on 1/8" jack, unfortunately - maybe a space-saving too far?

Price around 300 Euros, but all gone for the moment. Mine is on its way, so I'll come back and drop a few opinions when I feel able.
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by Dan LB »

I have the original 8 voice version and like it a lot. I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this one :thumbup:
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by Ben Asaro »

Looking forward to hearing your impressions!

My current mini gigging synths are a Boutique JP-08, JV-1010 and Volca FM, but I've been intrigued by the Micro Monsta for a while now.
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by BobTheDog »

Mr Elf, where did you but it from?
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by The Elf »

BobTheDog wrote:Mr Elf, where did you buy it from?


Direct from Audiothingies - I think that's the only way you *can* buy it. But they're all gone for the moment. These things seem to sell out rapidly, so you have be on it very quickly when a batch come in. I was tipped off, or I wouldn't have had a clue.
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by BobTheDog »

Thanks, I tried before when the last batch was in stock but they said they were not delivering here anymore.

I added myself to the email list for the next batch, if you don’t get on with yours and want rid of it I would pay full price for it :)
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by The Elf »

So far...

Wow! :o:thumbup:
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by BobTheDog »

Bugger, are you sure you don’t really hate it and want to be rid of it as soon as possible :)
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by The Elf »

I took a risk on this one and... well rewarded was my faith!

I spent a pleasant evening conjuring up some of the patches I'd like to have with me on stage, including Taurus pedals, JX pads, MiniMoog leads, intro bass drones, Pro-Soloist leads, string synth emulations... It sounds incredibly good!

The MicroMonsta handled them all very convincingly. I'm very much looking at this for the simple things in life. That said, the mod matrix in the Monsta will allow a whole swathe of weird modulations.

Having three oscillators, LFOs and envelopes makes for an incredible amount of flexibility. In the mod matrix, strategic pairs of modulators are designated as multipliers, so adding a fade-up vibrato by choosing LFO3*ENV3, for example, is a doddle - a very clever design.

And 12-voice polyphony? What a luxury. I won't be using the 2 x 6-voice dual poly option - it would involve complications I don't need in my life. For the price of this synth I'll just add another!

The icing on the cake are the delay and reverb, which, although pretty inflexible, are good enough for the job I have in mind. The new chorus, with its Juno/JX 1, 2 1+2 (the 'why would anyone want this?' setting) is ultra-rich - perhaps a bit too rich for my taste.

I have a short list of improvements I'd like to see - and it is a very short list:
Native response to CC11 expression (not using a mod slot).
Fixed time and fixed rate portamento options.
More controls opened up to MIDI CC, or NPRN.
The display to show incoming MIDI CC changes.
Poly AT to be treated as channel AT for the purposes of the mod matrix.
A mix control for the chorus.
A bit more consistency with the parameter values - some go 0-99, some -25 to +25, others 0-127... It makes it hard for me to get my typical MIDI controller options to line up!

The main hardware improvement I would like would be outputs on 2 x 1/4 inch jacks - balanced if possible. The minijack - and having to ensure I always have an adaptor to hand - is going to be a pain. I'd like a 5-pin DIN MIDI-in port too, but I can see how that would take up a lot of space, so I can compromise there.

I found I had to use a USB isolator to remove an annoying high-pitch noise in the output. That's another bit of easily-losable (and not so cheap) kit that will need to follow the MicroMonsta around. It seems Audiothingies are very aware of this, which gives me cause to wonder if it's a design flaw?

When the next batch are announced I'm up for another - I can see a couple of these velcro-ed to my keyboard stand, providing just about any of the synth sounds I'll need for a gig.

Hopefully a current reviewer at SOS already has this synth - I'd love to hear second opinion!
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by BobTheDog »

Aha, my pre-order has come up :)

Lets see how long it takes to get through the Brexit border and how much it costs :(
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by Ben Asaro »

Interested to hear your impressions!
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by The Elf »

I managed to grab a couple via the 'secret password'. It's still marked 'out of stock' on the main web site.

I'm still very enamoured of this humble little machine. I'm looking forward to the first gig where I have a couple of these velcro-ed to my keyboard stand and people start asking where the lead and polysynth sounds are coming from!

I've heard that someone is working on a standalone editor for Mac and PC, and also a VST option. I've created a basic MIDI Designer editor panel, but I don't yet have all the information to open up the entire machine.
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by BobTheDog »

Definitely looking forward to getting mine, it is shipping in the next few days :)
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by Ben Asaro »

Elf, could you elaborate a bit more on your setup with the dual MM2's? And does it support percussion samples?
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Re: Audiothingies Micromonsta 2

Post by The Elf »

Ben Asaro wrote:Elf, could you elaborate a bit more on your setup with the dual MM2's? And does it support percussion samples?

MM2 is a synth, not a sample player. I handle samples (I use a lot of Mellotron sounds) in Kontakt, hosted by Cantabile.

My setup? Well, I haven't done it yet, but I genuinely intend to Velcro the MM2s to the side of my keyboard stand, which, at its simplest, carries my Alto Live 88 and Roland A-800 keyboards. I use a Behringer XR18 as both a mixer and audio interface. All this hardware is connected via a USB hub to my laptop, which hosts Cantabile performance software.

Velcro is the 'secret glue' for my live set, and means everything is ready to go straight out of the flight-cases.

Cantabile handles the entire show, including routing to VSTs/hardware instruments, backing tracks, program changes, mixer, cues et al. Adding the MM2s will be a doddle - just a few clicks and a bit of routing.

It's a very simple rig. The work is in setting Cantabile up ahead of time; with that done it just takes a few minutes to unpack, plug in and be ready to perform. When I add more stands, keyboards and hardware synths - which I need to for some of the acts I work with - all I need to do is call up a different Cantabile file for each size of rig.

If you want more details I'm happy to provide it.
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