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Take a Look: Behringer’s MonoPoly 4-voice Analog Synthesizer

Wednesday April 28, 2021. 08:00 PM , from Sweetwater inSync
Ever since the glorious return of true analog synthesizers,
I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect no-presets analog performance synth.
Although my day job requires me to be a synthesizer expert, my live gigs and
hobby hours often involve using synthesis in simpler ways. Sometimes I just
want to jam with friends, either onstage at a jam night or at someone’s house.
In those cases, I’ll typically bring something that does bread-and-butter
pianos, electric pianos, clavs, and organs. But then I’ll also want to bring
something that does beautifully textured synth leads and basses — something
that lets me quickly and musically dial in the right sounds as I go.

The Behringer MonoPoly 4-voice analog synthesizer definitely fills that requirement. Back in the early ’80s, I was a proud owner of a Korg Polysix, my first polyphonic analog synthesizer. But, even though I loved that synth, I still also wanted the Korg Mono/Poly for its massive bass lines and gorgeous lead lines. After playing the new Behringer MonoPoly, I once again remembered why I wanted it so much 40 years ago.

Four Analog

The four analog oscillators are deliciously “big” sounding.
True story: At one point while making the MonoPoly video, I wanted to
demonstrate something that required a simpler, single-oscillator sound. So, I
reached up to turn down the other three oscillators only to find that they were
already off. All that girth was coming from pulse width modulation on a single
oscillator! When you add all four oscillators with some detuning, the fatness
is simply jaw-dropping.

Far from

Although I started by calling this synth “simple,” it
actually has the ability to make beautifully complex timbres, as well. Along with
the previously mentioned pulse width modulation (using either of the two LFOs
or the filter envelope generator), you can also use oscillator sync, cross modulation
(X-Mod), or both to create sounds normally associated with hand-patched modular
synthesizers. Both the pitch and mod wheels can be switched (on the fly)
between standard bending and vibrato roles, manual and LFO filter sweeps, and
even oscillator sync and X-Mod performance techniques. The ability to quickly
set the intensity depth of each wheel makes it perfect for live exploration.


Other useful live-performance tools include a 3-octave
latching arpeggiator, a Detune knob that lets you adjust the relationship
between all four oscillators (without having to detune each oscillator
separately), and an Effects On/Off button that lets you create complex sync
and/or X-Mod setups in advance but then not use them until you press the button.

Chord mode lets you quickly set up a 4-note chord that plays
across the keyboard. And there’s even a “Poly” mode that lets you play up to
four different notes at once. I put the word “poly” in quotes because those
notes all share a single filter. But it is certainly nice to have if you want
to play basic, 4-note parts.

The back panel has both original and modern features that
make this synth useful in both live and studio applications: class-compliant
USB MIDI in/out, 5-pin DIN MIDI in/out/thru jacks, footswitch jacks for
Arpeggiator and Portamento, expression-pedal jacks for pitch and filter, and
even Trigger and pitch CV (control voltage) in/out jacks for connections to
other synthesizers and modular gear. This is truly an analog synth to lust

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