I’m primarily a software developer that’s been dipping my toes into production as a hobby and like to refer to myself as a technician that makes noise. I got into production by downloading DAWs and plugins from the internet, throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks, moving on to trying to recreate the music I listened to (which was mostly progressive house, future bass, dubstep, D&B and the likes) and eventually stumbled upon EPROM and Flume’s collab on Hi This Is Flume, Spring.
From there, I found Flume & EPROM’s remix of SOPHIE’s Is It Cold In The Water and when I found out that SOPHIE co-produced Voices, I decided that I needed to know more about her. (Also, Flume and EPROM led me into the world of Granular Synthesis). From there, I underwent a complete transformation in my musical tastes and finally found a direction in the kind of music I want to make.
Problem? It’s not trivial to reproduce SOPHIE’s sounds using plugins. I started by using Xfer’s Serum, finding that it didn’t have the effects I needed to make the textures that are distinctly SOPHIE and eventually stumbled on PhasePlant, which does the job (in that I can make rubbery, bubbly sounds and some cool mallets) but it was far from perfect.
Turns out, unlike most of the classics, a digital reproduction of the Monomachine isn’t available (or as far as I know for now, possible), only sample packs. So I decided to see if I could buy one.
HTIF, the album that took me into the rabbit hole, was released in 2019.
The Monomachine was discontinued in 2016. Damn.
So going to the used marketplace, I found some, none within affordable reach. eBay (US and UK), DesertCart, Reverb, Sweetwater, they listed various variants of the Monomachine, the SFX-6, SFX-60 and SFX-60+ MKII. Are these prices justifiable? How do I know that they work?
I do not know the differences between the three, I do know that the MKII supports importing WAV files and is more versatile along with some improvements to the design but it seems like I can’t find them anywhere.
And for the ones that can find, either are continents away (and the ~60-80% import tariffs here are no joke) or are too good to be true, even worse, some are listings that get your hopes up and then go “out of stock”. I’ve tried contacting music shops in my country (Elektron does not have any official retailers there, unfortunately), some official retailers and I got… zilch.
So, now what?
I was told the Digitone can do a close enough job. I might be able to get my hands on one but is it comparable to a Monomachine? Should I save up for Monomachine or get a Digitone? Is the >$2000 worth it for a Monomachine? Where do I even get one? I’ve never navigated the used marketplace for music gear before.
Is it possible to reproduce some of its metallic textures using plugins? I know it’s not perfect but I did get very close with PhasePlant and I can share them if anyone is interested. What synth would you recommend to achieve that “material-like” sound, sugary yet dark.
Thanks and any help would be appreciated!