In 2016, KORG introduced the minilogue polyphonic analogue
synthesizer, and it has been a huge hit, followed closely by the cheaper
monophonic monologue. (Note: from now on, I'll be writing
Minilogue with a capital M for better readability.) The Minilogue
has real analogue oscillators but many other features are controlled
digitally. Since it is a modern synth, you can connect it to a computer
(Mac or PC) with USB (even though traditional 5-pin MIDI connections are
still available), and you can use software utilities like the KORG
Minilogue Librarian to transfer patches over.
While the Minilogue is great for designing sounds by tweaking the
various knobs, and also great for live performance, you will want to
connect it to your DAW for recording. Assuming that your DAW is Logic
Pro X, let's take a look at how it is done. The process is quite similar
for other DAWs, but Logic makes some things easier with its External
Ready to make noise
First you'll need to ensure that your Minilogue is connected and that it
produces sound. You can use the headphone jack to verify this, and
indeed for general jamming, but for recording and playing through
monitor speakers you need to make just one connection:
From the Minilogue OUTPUT jack to an input in your audio interface.
There is just a single output jack in the back of the Minilogue, and it
produces a mono signal.
I'm using a Steinberg UR22 mk II audio interface, which has two inputs:
INPUT 1 is for a microphone, and INPUT 2 is for instruments. I connected
the Minilogue to INPUT 2 and set the input to HI-Z, which boosts the
A second connection is needed if you want to make use of MIDI, from the
Minilogue's USB port to your Mac. This will allow you to send MIDI
messages from your DAW to the Minilogue, and also to receive any MIDI
you might generate from your DAW.
You can use the Minilogue with the Mac without installing any drivers,
but it will show up in your list of MIDI ports as a very generic "USB
MIDI Device Port 1" and "...Port 2". When you install the KORG USB-MIDI
port names will turn into the much more sensible "minilogue MIDI OUT"
and "minilogue SOUND".
However, there is a catch here: even though the Minilogue USB cable does
not carry any sound, the port named "minilogue SOUND" is actually the
one that drives the Minilogue with MIDI. So be sure to select that one
instead of "minilogue MIDI OUT", which would be the obvious choice. I
hope I saved you some trouble with this.
Inside the DAW
Start up Logic Pro X and create a new empty project. You are prompted to
create a new track. Select External MIDI and tick the Use External
Instrument plug-in checkbox. This will give you some more selections.
Since I connected my Minilogue to INPUT 2 of the Steinberg UR22
mkII, I select that from the input selector on the left. Because I want
to control the Minilogue with MIDI from Logic, I select minilogue
SOUND - All from the output selector on the right. If I had multiple
external synths, each responding to a different MIDI channel, then it
would make a difference which MIDI channel I select here, but for now,
All will do.
Finally, I select Create, and Logic makes me a new track. It's a
good idea to rename the track right away, so I double-click the track
header and type "Minilogue". I also set the project temp to a cool 100
To make sure that everything works, I create an empty MIDI region on the
newly created track by right-clicking the track and selecting Create
Empty MIDI Region. I stretch the region to two bars, set the cycle to
the region's length and then ten cycle on. Then I double click the
region and enter some simple chords with the mouse using the Piano Roll:
If you take a look at the External Instrument plug-in by clicking it in
the channel strip of the track, you see that all is as it should be.
One more thing left to do is to select the patch from your Minilogue.
You could also do this with a program change in the MIDI region, but to
keep things simple, I manually selected the patch 042 TriBell from the
Minilogue factory sound bank.
If you now play back the project, you should hear your Minilogue playing
back the chords.
(to be continued)
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