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Review: MONARK Virtual Synth by Native Instruments

MONARK Reaktor Synth

In this review of Native Instruments Komplete 11 bundle, we are going to be going over a Reaktor ensemble virtual synth called MONARK.

MONARK is a software synth that according to Native Instruments website is modelled after the undisputed king of monophonic analog synthesizers which we all know to be a Moog even though they don’t really state that anywhere on their page, but the look and feel of MONARK definitely reminds us of the iconic MiniMoog.

Native Instruments MONARK
MONARK GUI

So let’s begin…

THE SOUND

The Oscillators

NI MONARK Synth

MONARK is a “three-oscillator” subtractive synth each oscillator has six waveforms to choose from: Triangle, Triangle/Sawtooth, Sawtooth, Square, Narrow Pulse, Very narrow pulse. Oscillators 2 and 3 can be tuned to give that analog feel to them and can also be used as a type of LFO, oscillator 3 can also be used as a mod source with the modulation wheel on your midi keyboard.

Each oscillator has had allot of care put into it to get it to sound more like its analog counterparts to achieve this each oscillator in MONARK is slightly different to each other as each waveform has slightly different harmonic content hereby giving us a more analog feel and with a drift control and oscillator and filter spillage control on the B side of MONARK makes this one of the most realistic representations of an analog synthesizer I have heard in a while.

The Presets

Monark Synth Presets

MONARK comes with over 380 presets to start your musical journey with sorted in 6 different categories Bass, Lead, Classic, Perc/Seq, FX and the User bank any preset can be tweaked and resaved in your own bank keeping the original sound and the one you have tweaked.

The sounds themselves sound really good and give you a really good representation of what MONARK can do.

The Mixer

MONARK Mixer

The mixer in MONARK lets us mix the oscillators together add some noise (white and pink) and lets us bring in some feedback to our sound the feedback of which sounds really great and natural and can turn really aggressive at higher values, the feedback comes in two different types one of which comes really close to the technique of plugging in an external signal into the Minimoog’s filter.

The load control on the mixer is a really fun control which is used to drive the levels of the oscillator’s before they come into the filter giving us a really great sounding overdrive.

The Filter & Envelopes

Monark Synthesizer Filters

The filters in MONARK really sound awesome of which we have four, the classic beautifully warm sounding MM filter (MiniMoog), a LP2, Lp1 and a BP filter. The attention to detail that went into creating these filters is really something as they don’t just sound wonderful but can also self-oscillate with the resonance maxed out just like the filter on the MiniMoog itself and with key-tracking can be played up and down the keyboard as well.

The envelopes in MONARK work really well as they do not jump to an initial value on start but continue smoothly from their current state this is essential to keep with the way the envelopes work in its analog counterpart and giving MONARK an added degree of expression.

Modulation

Native Instruments Monark

In MONARK there are two sources you can use to modulate your sound oscillator three and the noise oscillator these can be used to create an LFO type of effect but also be used to affect the way the filter is used when pressing a key on your keyboard this can really produce some fat sounding and wobbling effects to your sound.

The B Side

Native Instruments Monark

The B-side of MONARK gives you some neat extra settings to give Monark more of an analog feel to it like the oscillator tuning section and the filter leakage and drift controls together with the legato controls and the ramp and curves of the pitch bend and modwheel controls this can really make MONARK sound like the analog counterpart it is trying to recreate.

In conclusion, MONARK is one of the closest sounding recreations of an analog synth and one of the best recreations of a MiniMoog out there. MONARK is an extremely easy synth to program and use it can sound incredibly fat but can also produce some really delicate sounds and FX without much effort. Monark is in my opinion, a must have synth in your collection as the sound it can produce is just amazing so lush and rich and it is almost impossible to get an awful sound to come out of this synth.

Pros:

  • Easy to use an Program
  • Not heavy on cpu
  • Sounds amazing
  • Most accurate recreation of a MiniMoog I have heard from a soft synth in a long time.

Cons:

  • No external input like the original MiniMoog but the feedback controls do give an excellent recreation of the effect that was produced in the original.

Native Instruments MONARK runs in REAKTOR 6 or the free REAKTOR PLAYER, and is optimized to integrate perfectly with the entire MASCHINE family.

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