Here’s a nice little counterpoint to recent events.
Yesterday, I posted on the blog about Korg releasing the schematic for their Monotron Synthesizer to the public. For those who don’t know, the Monotron is a small, inexpensive ($60) analog synth. It doesn’t have a “proper” keyboard, but rather uses a ribbon controller with a keyboard layout printed on top. It’s pure analog, with 1x VCO, VCF and LFO circuits. Users have found it to have it’s own unique sound, and to be very responsive to circuit bending.
Now, lest you think that this schematic was just a leak, I’d like to point out that it’s clearly labeled “FOR PUBLIC RELEASE”. This, coupled with the fact that the Monotron’s PCB has labels for various CV points, makes it pretty clear that Korg intended to enable, if not directly encourage, users to modify their Monotrons.
As news of the schematic has spread through the DIY synth community, I’ve enjoyed reading the responses of users. I think you will too.
From @bencc: “Awesome – more companies should do this.”
From @ezod: “If @KorgUSA weren’t already my favorite synth manufacturer, they are now!”
From @larrylegend: “The Monotron was already a super cool move by Korg. And now they just released the schematic to the public. I love it!”
From Luka at MuffWiggler: “i like it how korg are publishing the schematics and somewhat endorsing the modding of this machine.”
From jellyjim at SoundOnSound: “That’s a pretty unusual thing for a large corporation to do … interesting. Of the big three manufacturers (Korg, Roland and Yamaha) I think Korg are making all the most interesting moves just now.”
From Tadas at RetroThing: “That does it! I’m buying one. Love companies being positive about hacking their own products.” (emphasis mine)
And from James Grahame at RetroThing: “Korg’s move is in stark contrast to Microsoft’s dire warning that they’ll work with law enforcement officials to prevent people from tampering with their new Kinect controller.”
Thank you, James, for making the point so well. While Korg has garnered appreciation, good karma and, most likely, increased sales numbers from their efforts to open up their hardware, Microsoft has… well, y’know…
What do you think?
In the Forums: [OT] monotron hacking (p.s. nice work, phono!)