Norand Mono MkII

So, I just saw an article announcing the Mono MkII (hardware revision, not just the V2.x firmware), with nice expressive improvements to the keys…

Looks quite awesome, saving the need for an external pressure/velocity sensitive controller!

My main query is whether there’s an upgrade path for MkI hardware owners?

Will we be able to purchase a pcb/buttons/faceplate package, or is the upgrade too deep and a purchase of the entire device would be required?


wow, I must say I kinda feel cheated on as a customer. I bought the mono six months ago, first one had some pots only half stuck on the machine and weird problems with the leds. second one still has the worst applied pots on any machine I own. also I have bugs and glitches. somehow controlling the volume was different from the first device.

paying lots of money to be a beta tester… that doesn’t gel well with me

I wouldn’t even be mad, if they would have done an FM synth with the “updated” interface

I really hope they don’t abandon MKI, since now they have to service two devices

it already seems to be a lot of work to only service one

the whole thing is a weird management decision IMHO

Yeah, bad feelings. It looks worse aesthetically.

1 Like

Considering the chance to analog path, I would suspect no upgrade path available.

Norand - this mk2 comes too fast too soon.

1 Like

Anyone wanna bet their next product will be the Morphos MKII? :rofl: :sob:

It is perfectly understandable that NORAND comes to market with a V2 of its synthesizer considering the amount of new functions and improvements introduced with the v2 firmware. For us MKI owners, dealing with more or less intuitive shortcuts to access its new functions on a hardware that does not initially integrate them, and therefore without the help of the screen printer, is perfectly acceptable since it is a hell of a bonus that comes on top of the initial proposal. It is obvious that a potential current or future buyer, for whom these functions are now an integral part of the deal, would not appreciate having to play blind’s shortcuts to access them. With its new buttons and its rectified serigraphy, the MKII is precisely aimed at this kind of prospective customer, and it is quite natural that NORAND, which remains above all a commercial company, seeks to reassure them by offering an experience close to the highly coveted 1 key = 1 function. And what do we early adopters lose in the end? Velocity sensitive pads (now that it is managed)? A general drive knob that should more or less do the same thing as when you push the individual volume pots of the oscillators beyond the center line? (although I would like a confirmation from NORAND on this point). In any case, what would have been particularly disgusting would have been to reserve the functions introduced by the v2 firmware to the owners of the MKII version only, especially since it is obviously the owners of the V1 who helped to refine it during its development. But this is clearly not the option chosen by NORAND, which has had a hard time fitting all these addons into a hardware not made for it. I will finish by reminding you that the possible future developments of the MKI platform that we own are directly conditioned by the commercial success of NORAND. When I read in the article dedicated to the MKII on GearNews, that the editor had never heard about the Mono, I say to myself that this is perfectly abnormal considering the novelty proposed by this synth, and that there is still a lot to do to promote the brand. Finally, I would not exchange for anything in the world my MKI (which has a hell of a face), against this MKII with the aesthetics… more debatable. The only thing that could have made me fall for it would have been the presence of a screen, mainly to keep a tracking of the applied modulations, and still… it would be less favorable to happy accidents…

Il est parfaitement compréhensible que NORAND en arrive à commercialiser une V2 de son synthétiseur considérant la quantité de nouvelles fonctions et d’améliorations introduites avec le firmware v2. Pour nous autres possesseurs du MKI, composer avec des raccourcis plus ou moins intuitifs pour accéder à ses nouvelles fonctions sur un hardware qui ne les intégrer pas initialement, et donc sans aide de la sérigraphie, cela est parfaitement acceptable puisque c’est un sacré bonus qui vient s’ajouter à la proposition initiale. Il est évident qu’un potentiel acheteur actuel ou futur, pour lequel ces fonctions font désormais partie intégrante du deal, n’apprécierai pas de devoir jouer du raccourci à l’aveugle pour pouvoir y accéder. Avec ses nouveaux boutons et sa sérigraphie rectifiée, le MKII d’adresse précisément à cette clientèle de prospects, et il est bien naturel que NORAND, qui reste avant tout une entreprise commerciale, cherche à les rassurer en leur offrant une expérience proche du tant convoité 1 touche = 1 fonction. Et puis que perd t’on en définitive, nous autres early adopters? Des pads sensibles à la vélocité (maintenant qu’elle est gérée)? Un bouton général de drive qui doit peu ou prou faire la même chose que lorsqu’on pousse les potards de volume individuels des oscillateurs au delà de la ligne médiane? (quoique j’aimerai une confirmation de NORAND sur ce point). En tout les cas, ce qui eu été particulièrement dégueulasse eu été de réserver les fonctions introduites par le firmware v2 au seuls possesseurs de la version MKII, d’autant que ce sont bien évidemment les possesseurs de la V1 qui ont aidé à l’affiner au cours de son développement. Mais ce n’est clairement pas l’option retenue par NORAND qui s’est au contraire fait chier pour rentrer l’ensemble de ces addons au pied de biche dans un hardware pas taillé pour. Je finirai en rappelant que les éventuels développements futurs de la plateforme MKI dont nous sommes propriétaire sont directement conditionnés par le succès commercial de NORAND. Lorsque je lis dans l’article consacré au MKII sur GearNews, que le rédacteur n’avait jamais entendu parlé du Mono, je me dis à la fois que cela est parfaitement anormal compte tenu de l’inédit proposé par ce synthé, et qu’il y’a encore fort à faire pour promouvoir la marque. Enfin, je n’échangerai pour rien au monde mon MKI (qui a une gueule d’enfer), contre ce MKII à l’esthétique… plus discutable. La seule chose qui aurait pu me faire craquer eu été la présence d’un écran, principalement pour garder un tracking des modulations appliquées, et encore… ce serait moins favorable aux happy accidents…

1 Like

V2 firmware stuffed full of goodies and a shed load of work, a bit more bug squashing, refinements and optimisations, the Mk1 will be a fine mature and stable machine, I’m sure maybe even a few other features here and there to come. Is it perfect, no, as highlighted by users who have various foibles with the hardware knobs scraping a bit or other OS bugs that have messed with workflow and created annoyances but all fixed or being fixed and seeing the Mono become what it is now but no major show stoppers, no major hardware failures or permanently bricked machines of any significance to my knowledge.

Mk2 evolution, more self contained and looks to be super expressive from front panel with more control and hook up features, I like the design personally but Mk1 is also a pretty box. Don’t know about the internal gubbins and or if the hardware has more grunt etc. to do its thing and Mk1 cant do certain new features that might land on the Mk2 save the new panel input upgrades, but Mk1 already blows the doors off. I can certainly get the frustration if not had a Mono for long or even longer and folks would want to wait it out if knew a newer version of the machine on the horizon at some point, but this is a good news to me as Norand keep up the momentum with the difficult business of keeping going, no small feat for such a (or any other) small company who bring a degree of innovation and at the least have a market niche and hopefully get it wider for a great synth which when gets developed further we all benefit. I tip my hat to the old retro but new (ish) Mk1 :grin: I subsequently hold out my cap to the new Mk2 :grinning:, however in saying that, please sir can I have some more Mono goodness and further await the arrival of the impeccable Mk3 but not before the Drum Machine. :exploding_head: or else my Mono gets it and will be adulterated by numerous circuit bent hacks. :floppy_disk:

You make many good points but it DOES seem like a rather fast MK2, and it still doesn’t feel good. Absolutely, the evolution required a hardware revision. I certainly prefer the Mk1 aesthetic however and will likely not upgrade myself, even though I am intrigued by the multiple preset morph. But I would like Norand to provide the schematics for the plastic chassis so I can fabricate my own aluminum replacement. The output drive, I figure I can simply use an external pedal or effect.

I love the MKI and it’s nice that a new & improved iteration is coming out. Despite the debatable aesthetics. I definitely prefer the look of the MKI over the MKII, but it’s nice to have more of the functionality integrated. In my opinion, it’s being perfected. It’s difficult to imagine something and then realize what kind of things you can add or improve at first. Glad Norand is releasing an MKII rather than not doing anything at all. All of the amazing functionality being more simplified is definitely a step forward and it’s great to see It’s good news for fans of the Norand seeing as companies like Elektron only recycle their small digiboxes while omitting functions just to add those missing functions on another digibox for more sales alone. They don’t bother to really innovate anymore which is sad. Elektron is dead & resting on their laurels, they don’t produce anything new or interesting anymore. The Mono on the other hand is ground-breaking and in my opinion the best mono synth out there by a million miles. I for one, will be keeping my MKI and also buying the MKII the first chance I get. I absolutely love the Mono. Keep up the amazing work Mathieu & Norand. Don’t ever stop pushing the envelope or innovating things. Would love to see what kind of drum machine they could produce and wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we see one some day. I also hope they keep servicing all the MKI’s and keep their fans happy. I’m sure they will do right by their customers. After all, the Mono wouldn’t be a success without any of us. So trust in Norand and hope it never turns into a money-making corporate machine like Elektron has become.

Now that we have all the characteristics, we have to admit that the MKII model presents some arguments: the pads being 3D in addition to being sensitive to velocity (by the way @Matthieu, small error when copying the MKI datasheet to the MKII one on the website : it is still mentioned the presence of “23x 808-style switch”, which is no longer the case), the RGB LEDs which should simplify the reading of the states, soft overdrive in addition to the filter’s overdrive (they are not the same saturations, and I wonder in what way they can be complementary on the sound design), high resolution automation recordable via the lightstrip, power supply rectified to operate directly via USB (so nomadic on powerbank), a second USB host port, SD card reader for unlimited and simplified backup of projects, aluminum chassis (with a weight identical to the MKI, or 1. 6Kg? Probably another mistake of recopy @Matthieu). Don’t throw away any more! It will be hard to resist to the temptation :stuck_out_tongue:

Maintenant que nous disposons de l’ensemble des caractéristiques, il faut avouer que le modèle MKII présente quelques arguments : les pads étant 3D en plus d’être sensibles à la vélocité (d’ailleurs @Matthieu, petite erreur lors de la recopie de la fiche technique du MKI vers celle du MKII sur le site : il est toujours fait état de la présence de “23x 808-style switch”, ce qui n’est désormais plus le cas), les LED RVB qui devraient simplifier la lecture des états, soft overdrive en complément des filter’s overdrive (ce ne sont donc pas les mêmes saturations, et je me demande en quoi elles peuvent être complémentaires sur le plan du design sonore), l’automation haute résolution enregistrable via le lightstrip, alimentation rectifiée afin de pouvoir fonctionner directement via l’USB ( donc nomade sur powerbank), un second port USB host, lecteur de carte SD pour la sauvegarde illimitée et simplifiée des projets, châssis intégralement en aluminium (avec un poids identique au MKI, soit 1.6Kg? Sans doute une autre erreur de recopie @Matthieu). N’en jetez plus! Cela va être difficile de résister à la tentation :stuck_out_tongue:

Can you please provide a metal replacement for the Mk1 base at least? I am others have seen that it bends too easily.

Firmware update to link Mono’s via USB for 4 voice polysynth? Will make me buy Mk2 ASAP.

1 Like

This would be amazing. I have 2x Mk1 and was dreaming about something like this :smiley:

If only there would be an option to buy a metal case for mk1 from Norand! That would really make happy all of the current mk1 owners. I see by the comments that I am not alone in thinking that mk1 has something special about its look. Let’s make it legendary status by elevating the build to all metal :smiley: :smiley:

We are already benefiting from software upgrades, perhaps it is a bit excessive to require hardware upgrades, don’t you think? Making aluminum chassis in such small quantities for the Mono MKI, considering that the product has not sold more than a few hundred units (I had read somewhere that Matthieu had a limited optimism about the sales volume of the device), and for which only a handful of owners would potentially be interested in putting their hand in the wallet for this kind of upgrade… I let you imagine the production costs (and thus the sales costs), even if NORAND manages to find an industrial manufacturer who would be ready to accept an order for such a miserable quantity… And nothing says that replacing the original plastic chassis would be a trivial operation technically speaking, and if you have to deal with the after-sales service of the sorcerer’s apprentices who will be involved in the operation without even having the skills… At the end, the thing I find really regrettable is that almost no manufacturer at the moment offers a ‘finished’ synthesizer composed of individual modules in eurorack format in a ‘custom’ case that also meets the standard, so that the modular structure allows for selective upgrading of the oscillators, the filter, the envelope, or the FPGA. I understand that Make Noise has a concept along these lines, but other than that… So of course, the initial cost would be higher (since the PCBs, in particular, are individuals), but in the long run the investment would not be silly. And then it offers the possibility to sell the modules individually to Eurorack fans. Personally, I dream of a concept similar to the one of Framework for laptops (, but applied to synths

1 Like

The only company I can think of at the moment doing anything remotely close to this concept is synthstrom with their deluge. How I imagine the world would be a better place with more people thinking this way…

1 Like

I believe that if there is a will there is a way. I am of course not requiring anything and am very grateful for continued support for v2 firmware on mk1. Maybe something like crowfunding/preordering could be used this case. This way you can judge the interest and cover the costs upfront. If it comes to instalation it’s just 6 screws to take out, not exactly ro ket science. The effect would be a cult mk1 device hehe :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: other option would be to release the 3d file of the platic case so we can do the metal case DIY or 3d print etc…

Oh but there are plenty of ways to explore if you are really motivated. For example, you could contact a company such as GMUSYNTH (WOODWORKS – GMUSynth), after having made a small survey on this forum to establish the precise number of interested people (which will be the occasion to validate, or not, what I said in my previous post concerning the volume), this in order to propose them a group buy of a custom wood skin intended for the Mono. You want to make it legendary? What could be more noble and elegant than beautiful solid wood sides to immortalize the machine? It would look even better than aluminium, and the other advantage, if we go for a wrap-around skin comparable to the one proposed for the Minibrute (Arturia MiniBrute Desktop Case - SkiniBrute – GMUSynth), is that there is no need to dismantle the machine, and break the warranty, to apply it.

Oh mais il y’a plein de voie à explorer si vraiment tu es motivé. Par exemple, tu pourrais prendre contact avec une boite telle que GMUSYNTH (WOODWORKS – GMUSynth), après avoir réaliser un petit sondage sur ce forum pour établir le nombre précis de personnes intéressées (ce qui sera l’occasion de valider, ou non, ce que je disais dans mon précédent post concernant le volume), ceci afin de leur proposer un group buy d’une skin bois custom destinée au Mono. Tu veux le rendre légendaire? Quoi de plus noble et élégant que de magnifiques flancs en bois massif pour immortaliser l’engin? Ça aurait encore une autre gueule que l’alu, et l’autre avantage, si on part sur une skin enveloppante comparable à celle proposée pour le Minibrute (Arturia MiniBrute Desktop Case - SkiniBrute – GMUSynth), c’est qu’il n’est pas besoin de démonter la machine, et casser la garantie, pour pouvoir l’appliquer.

1 Like

I just discovered that Dreadbox has also presented a similar concept @Superbooth with its modular synthesizer named Telepathy

1 Like

in the end i just want a firmware that is made for the device that i bought.

not a device that has been used to create a new firmware where at one point the company realized they should update the device and leave mki users with an interface that is not intuitive at all and a device that heats up so much that the plastic is bending.

i rather have less functions and stuff on point. and when i read stuff like this:

„There is also next to impossible to see which pattern is running, the leds have almost the same intensity.“

i can only shake my head

its all about the interface. its an instrument, not a collectors item. at least for me. i dont need and i dont want another mono. and i also dont want to be reminded that i should buy the mkii if i want something to work right.

matthieu mentioned that the new firmware is already less buggy than what they started with, so just using the old firmware is not an option.

since matthieu said, they won‘t abandon mki and they listen to people, it should be manageable to update stuff here and there and make the mki work as a device on its own.

when i bought the mono i loved the sounds i could get out of it. its like having the stuff that i like about one part of my eurorack setup packed into one device. perfect for live use (i dont really want to bring a lot of eurorack on stage).

i found some controls were acting a bit weird, but when i looked online i saw that there were updates coming, so i kept the device. also i accepted the build quality of the device, since its the first product of a tiny, ambitious company and i could see the fresh energy they brought to the table. and i trusted them.

its undeniable that matthieu put a hell of a lot of work into it and i just loved the whole concept of the synth, so i waited for a stable v2. which came with a new device :smiley:

i dont know why to bring elektron into this. their old mki devices are classics now, that people still use. and the digitakt for example is one of the best live electronic instruments. yeah, they were holding back features for other devices (that seems to have changed because of the pandemic hitting the chipmarket and them investing in what they can already produce). but the interface is just noice. and its nice to work within the boundaries of the device.

and dont get me wrong i dont want to compare the mono to the digitakt. i like that it doesnt have a screen, which brings it back to what i said about it being something like analog eurorack in a box for me. its an active listening device.

all in all the whole electronic music synth industry is mostly replicating 70/80/90s synth concepts. thats the reason why behringer is having so much success. nowadays you can buy synths that already tell you what music you should produce with them. look at the next acid synth! buy this drone machine!

a tb 303 was meant to help piano players and got misused to create a whole new music genre. but there was also no opportunity to contact roland back then and tell them to update the device with new features :smiley: we are getting closer to the creaters of these devices. i dont know if this is always a good thing to be honest with you…

there is not so much innovation happening in the industry. if i want innovation i use different concepts, maybe not even musical concepts to begin with on a computer.

but i think its cool to combine old and new. and the norand mono is definitely offering a new way of controlling the old concept of a monosynth

im not hating, just expressing my thoughts here.

much fun on superbooth for norand!

1 Like