Control Voltage for the Monotribe – Part 2: Setup and Calibration

In the previous post, I show how to make an adaptor for controlling the Monotribe via CV/Gate. However, you will still need to configure the Monotribe, otherwise, it will think it’s recieving some very peculiar type of Sync In signal…

The CV/Gate input is only available if you have firmware 2.1 or later on your Monotribe. To check your firmware version, press [PLAY]+[GATE] while powering the unit on. You should see the [Synth], [HH], [RECORD] and STEP 4 LED’s light up, and the Flux LED blinking (as shown in the video above). If you don’t see this pattern, check the update firmware package in Korg’s website.

You also need to Setup the Monotribe to receive Control Voltage and Gate from the Sync In port (instead of sync pulses). This is very important: you have to opt between CV/GATE or Sync Input. Don’t connect a sync signal to your Monotribe if it is configured for accepting CV/Gate! To enter this configuration menu, turn the unit off, and then turn it back on while pressing [GATE]+[SN]. The configuration is done via the three first steps in the sequencer section:

  • Step 1: Sets the Monotribe to accept Sync In pulses (LED off), or CV/Gate signal (LED on) into the sync in port.
  • Step 2: Sets the curve for the control voltage: V/Oct (volts per octave, LED off), or Hz/Volt (Hertz per Volt, LED on). Unless you whish to connect the Monotribe to a MS-20 (in any of its incarnations), you can leave this one off.
  • Step 3: Sets the gate polarity (i.e., the envelope opens when the voltage on the GATE tip is high or when it is low). Almost all modern hardware uses High polarity (LED off). I think the modular Moog’s used a low polarity (the so-called S-trigger), which would require this LED to be on… but if you own a Modular Moog and you are looking to me for guidance, I pity you, since I am only an amateur ;P

After setting up the Monotribe there is still one think left to do: Calibrate it! To do this, connect the Pitch Out and Gate Our of your MicroBrute (or other CV/Gate controller) to the CV and Gate inputs on the adapter we just made, and plug the adapter into the Sync In port of the Monotribe. Then press the C4 key on the MicroBrute and also the [PLAY] button on the Monotribe. Hold both keys until the LED on top of the [PLAY] button goes of (takes about 1 or 2 seconds). Then press C5 while also holding [PLAY]. Again, the green LED on top of the [PLAY] button will light up and then go off. There you have it: all you have to do now is to press [REC] to save your settings and calibration and start playing.

This procedure usually only has to be done on the first time you connect the Monotribe to a device via CV. I never repeated the calibration procedure since the video footage, and it always tracks well both my MicroBrute, as well as the SQ-1. However,if you notice some drift on the tracking, re-callibrating is a simple and painless procedure. :)

Example Song

This a little song I made using the Monotribe and MicroBrute. This involved a little bit of patching, but I really enjoyed all the movement I was able to extract from the sound. So… I have the Monotribe being controlled (via CV/Gate) from the MicroBrute. Also, the audio output of the Monotribe is connected to the external audio input of the MicroBrute. The LFO on the Monotribe is in 1-shot mode (effectively an envelope) modulating the Filter at a different rate as the Envelope on the MicroBrute (which is controlling the PW and the filter of the MicroBrute). Moreover, the SQ-1 is modulating the Metal on the triangle wave of the MicroBrute (Seq A) and also the filter cutoff (Seq B). Since the ribbon controller on the Monotribe has priority over the CV signal, I was able to make a counterpoint on the base notes played with the MicroBrute, which was very satisfying for me. Finally the sound goes through Chorus, Analogue Delay emulation and Space Reverb, provided by the FX600, the Nux Time Core and the RV600.