Convince me not to return?

Hey everybody, I’ve been getting into acid basslines and wanted a fun hardware that could do some cool stuff, so I picked up the mono mkii as it seemed fully featured. Unfortunately, I’m somewhat disappointed and want to return it :frowning:

Here’s some of my reasoning so maybe somebody can tell me ways to get more out of it.


Mod System—
First the pros, I don’t know why I can’t do this on all hardware synths to assign modulators. It is painstaking to scroll lists and this is fantastic.

Physical Cons:

4 usbc ports and I can’t send audio or read an sd card? (I know one is technically not a usbc port haha)

non responsive pads, they’re difficult to press, and consistently misread even after trying to practice gestures

even when pads are responsive, the gestures are quite difficult even with my giant hands

weak leds- the indicators on the knobs are a great idea, but I don’t live in the darkness and even the brightness of my monitor makes them almost impossible to see

had a few crashes which I’ve almost seen only a couple of times with lots of time on other devices.

Seq Cons

I had high hopes for the randomization, I’m deeply in love with phoscyon and how good it is, and I wasn’t able to get much of anything from the mono.

Single notes- any single note randomization was almost without a doubt unlistenable noise

Multi notes- no good octave jumps or range type options. Even with a custom scale wasn’t getting much that was useful. The morpher is promising but doesn’t work well (possibly because if the pad issue mentioned above)

Phono Cons

Now to the sound.

extremely weak filter even after maximizing the resonance calibration

the amp envelope opens and closes too softly, no punch. I also set the adsr manually with cc values to ensure I wasn’t just missing values by overturning the knob

glissandos way too slow (am I blind to where this is configured?)

in the end, I was definitely able to get some good sounds, the audio rate lfo options mentioned in the manual as an additional fm modulator is cool and helped me to get bigger sounds. I did find some things very nice about the device, but for the premium price tag, I need it to sound better, sharper.

I don’t want to bash the mono, it seems like it is working for a lot of people, that’s why I wanted to see if my issues are somehow self induced and I should commit more time to the device.

Thank you mono people! Feel free to throw rocks at me and tell me to get out of here with my nonsense if that’s a consensusssss :slight_smile:

I, sadly, had many of the same frustrations you are experiencing and ended up selling my MkII on at a loss. I just had too many erratic behaviours and I couldn’t get consistent results with it. It made beautiful sounds when it made them; however, I spent too much time fighting against all the strangeness, lockups, missed notes and etc. I very much wanted to love the thing as it’s a beautiful little machine with a lot of potential in concept. I’m hoping Norand can get over the hump with development and either so some kind of major firmware update or push through to a MkIII (though some things, like the dim lighting, are probably baked in). I’m half tempted to find a MkI as, in many ways, that sounds like it’s more of a finished product. I wonder if some angel investor or crowdfunding for further development could bolster the whole proposition?

In contrast to the MKI, the OSC mixer controls must not be fully turned up in order to hear the VCF correctly. Because when they are turned up, you have a saturation rich in overtones. So turn the OSCs up to about 70% and increase the volume instead. Then you can then enjoy a very good VCF. It is also important to calibrate the resonance correctly. It took me a few tries, so I can’t say whether 2mm or 1mm below the upper edge is exactly right, but it gives a much better sweep/reso spot than the factory-supplied one and then you definitely don’t have a weak filter. I have everything here from Korg MS 20 to Syrinx, Modular etc etc and count Norand VCF as one of the better filters on the market.
Phoscyon is just a plug-in with a bad digital filter, so it won’t do you any good even if it quickly conjures up random sounds. I could never agree to use a plug-in for analog music.
Besides, there is no synth in the world where you can modulate everything the way you can with the Mono. I’m 1000% sure that you haven’t even used 5% of the MKII’s potential. And hey, I don’t want to insult you here, it’s just that you haven’t tested enough. Furthermore, the OSCs are extremely powerful and remind me a lot of the assertiveness of Roland MS/SH machines.
With this VCF and these awesome OSCs, you can assign one or more parameters to each step, which is the most amazing motion sequencing on the planet. Be aware of that. It also has a characterful VCF and not TB303 blabla Filter again. People who want a TB303, this synth is not for them. This synth is for sound fetishists and creative masterminds.

So, don’t sell, sit down, take your time and turn the knobs a lot in motion sequencing! :face_with_spiral_eyes:


It is weird to read this… I have a large collection of devices, many similar to Mono. I use software a lot too. To me Mono gets results I love very quickly. For live, it is a lot of fun to be able to improvise pattern randomization & P-Lock randomization super quickly. Almost always produces excellent results. I use scales and 32-step patterns. The modulation is fantastic. I wish it offered PWM. This thing really sounds analog. I don’t have any software equivalents that can sound like this thing behaves. That said, its not for everyone. So perhaps you’d be happier with a 303. I’ve got 2x 303s, Future Retro 777, SE-02, 3x Mother 32s, etc. Nothing sounds like Mono or is as much fun to use. For what its worth, I’m using it for electro and some techno. It is pretty much designed for this specific sub-genre. Finally, I have a Mk1 and a Mk2. I think the Mk1 sounds better. Maybe Norand will provide a MK1 compatibility mode at some point. I still love the sound of the Mk2, but would reach for Mk1 for sound quality.

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