Which Machines to Sound Design?

Wanting to get better at Monomachine I was listening to people who use it, to see what it’s capable of, I found myself mainly drawn to SOPHIE. The pretty, vibrant, structured and in your face tracks leave me wondering… How?

I want to practice it all making the more 'FX" sounds such as farts, bubbles, metalic clangs, squeaks, etc to then be able to make my own unique synthesised sounds.

I’m understanding the synthesis concept, Studying sounds frequency changes like ascending pitch for a simple bubble pop but. Which machine in the Monomachine would you select to put these theories to practice… FM? Wavetable Synthesis?

(tangent)I haven’t even touched wavetable synthesis so far. Having the +drive im tempted to import my own wavetables but do I go about learning and designing them on a computer before sending it to the Monomachine? Is this the technique thats being used?

After hearing a sound like a banana being peeling or any other cool sound and wanting to make that sound on the Monomachine is it possible? What machines do I focus on to practice this sound design/synthesis.

any monomachine sound design tips and layman’s terms greatly appreciated


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FM synthesis on MM packs several parameters under one knob.

To understand them better, I had loaded @Lem’s free soundpack and retro-engineered the sounds I liked most.
I get back to it once in a while, when I believe I know this machine.m better. This soundpack is humbling.

See what he’s capable of :

With wavetables you’re more in classic synthesis territory.
If you have basis in subtractive synthesis you should get it by experimenting.

BBox is insane for Autechre-like fast retrigs. With plocks you go very fast into new territories.

Don’t forget to plock FX. You can add a lot with this.


Ha! I never thought of certain sounds being synth “farts” but that incredibly accurate for some sounds!


I like some of Sophie’s stuff as well. I have had the monomachine for a year and a half now and had a quick convo with SOPHIE about sound design last year so perhaps I can help.

Quick Disclaimer: One of the best things about the mono is that there are not a lot (if any) comprehensive sound design videos online which forces you to really experiment and learn the machine inside and out in your own way. I cannot emphasize enough the power of experimenting with the tool. A lot of great stuff you make will be a happy accident after hours of tweaking. Also read, re-read, re-re-read, etc. the manual. It does a very good job of explaining how everything works and is tied together.

Okay so for the sounds:

Da Bass: FM machines are the best for this imo especially FM+PAR that thing is a beast. Try just tweaking the main parameters first and then experiment with LPF and an LFO on pitch and Volume. Best Bass I have ever heard comes from that and SOPHIE def uses it a lot. I have also got some good sounds from the Digi Pro wave machines. Same as with FM try modulating the volume and pitch with a quick LFO to get more “punch” you can also try using an LFO to modulate the “wavetable” like you would in the Serum soft syth for instance. This will create a lot of movement in the bass sound. * Best to turn off filter tracking when doing bass to make it more stable but there really are no rules.

Metallic stuff: FM All the way. FM Par and Stat for the normal Clangs and FM Dynamic for all the really weird shit. FM Dynamic will create sounds you have never heard before or even dreamed of but its a bitch to program. Takes an entire Saturday to make one sound sometimes lol. Go wild with the LFO’s, turn on the arp, and send it through a flanger. It will take some time but eventually you will get a feel for it.

Bubbles: Several ways you can do this but I like really like using the DPRO Bbox and lfo modulating the pitch parameter on some of the drum sounds with higher frequency content. Turn it as fast as you can go and you will be in the poppy bubbly territory. Next modulate the filter with LFO’s. The monomachine filter can get very “wet” which is what you want. Turn up the resonance and experiment modulating all the filter parameters. Also try modulation the RTIM parameter on the BBox machine.

To get some really crazy stuff uses the above tips and create a few notes on the sequencer. Have slide trigs connecting the notes and take out LFO and Filter trigs on a few. P-Lock different amounts on the filter. Turn on the arp. While all this is running you can then transpose the track which will give you different drum sounds which will create some really weird stuff. I can do this for hours lol.

Squeaks: Abuse the Flanger. That will get you into shrieking territory. Experiment on every sound and timbre you can to get a good feel. Filter/EQ as necessary. Watch your ears! * I sometimes like to send flanged sounds through a reverb to soften them a bit.

“Use the effects” - My one big takeaway from talking with Sam was to experiment with the effects and different routing structures. Route tracks through different busses, throw them into Ableton, route them back into the mono into other effects. The FX are what really make the mono shine and the sounds come alive.

Those should be good starting points but that’s really just scratching the surface of what this thing can do. It takes several years of experimentation to start getting really comfortable I think. There are tons of sounds I still can’t make but I know are possible.

I would also experiment some with processing and “taming” some of the sounds in your DAW. Monomachine is a great sound design tool but sometimes things can get out of control and you may need a more advanced eq/filter to cut some unwanted frequencies.

Hope that helps and enjoy the journey…


hello! sorry to bother you

i’m about to buy a MnM mkii (no +plus drive) second hand

but i also have an option to buy an mki for a little bit cheaper

is there any real difference? do you know which one sophie uses?

thanks so much

Get the MK II.
Google for the exact differences but I believe a big one is the power supply…you can’t get one for the MK I anymore.

Is it the same as the machinedrum, 2 bar patterns on the MK I and 4 bars on the MK II? (I’m guessing)

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No, the power supply is the big one.

Also the digi-pro machines are skimmed down on the mk1- also the big one. Still has 64 max steps though

Mkll for sure. The double draw machine is very much worth it. The better s/n ratio is a bonus as well.

After using the Mnm for years, here’s some of my thoughts:
-The arp is one of the most useful sound design tools in the mono, with the ability to turn off lfo and filter trig independent of the amp. I pretty much use it on every track and once you get a good sound out of it you can try transitions with the switching amp and lfo trig on off. One problem is the arp doesn’t respond to key tracking effects not sure if that’s by design.
-Generally for sound design if the dist parameter is above 64 default than the eq is reduced in the 30 to 60 range. Cutting the dist and boosting eq is also advisable.
I’d also recommend using the Monomachine as just an effects box at times, get to bring out the beauty in those ugly default settings, even using it as a dj mixer muting and unmuting different effects.

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Mkii would definitely be worth the extra cost with all the expanded features and better build quality you get there. That said – the mki is better than no MnM:)

Most very certainly is and probably why they are readily available with the Animoog App. Although I’m away from my iPad and haven’t really touched Animoog I distinctly enjoyed reading farts and burps as some of the imported samples from Moog in one of their bonus free sample packs; they must’ve had heaps of fun making those! :smile:

Experimentation is key with any machine. Maybe the way for the OP to go is imported wavetables?

thank you for this!