What does Monnix do?
Monnix is a conceptually simple synthesizer which is nevertheless capable of sophisticated and unusual sounds. Up to 16 sine waves are played at once. Initially they are arranged in the harmonic series, sounding like a single tone with a slightly nasal quality. However, this distribution can be altered by compressing or expanding the distribution of the partials. An LFO can also alter the pitch of the tones, and the tonal characteristics changed by FM and “jitter” (low frequency noise.) The balance between odd and even harmonics can be changed, along with the amplitude envelope.
The distribution and LFO based parameters can be played using up to 3 points of touch. These movements are constantly stored, and the last 16 are available for playback using the buttons in the “Replay” screen. There is also an alternate performance mode, which applies Sample and Hold to the partials, “freezing” them for a short repeating interval.
There are 5 pages to visit. The default page is “Perform.” The others are reached by pressing the corresponding button at the top of the screen. Once a mode has been entered into, pressing its button again will return the user to “Perform.”
This is the initial screen visible when the app is loaded. Up to 3 points of touch are registered and used as parameters for the synthesis. They are as follows:
X (left to right) – distribution.
Y (bottom to top) – base pitch.
X (left to right) – independent distribution of odd harmonics.
Y (bottom to top) – LFO depth.
X (left to right) – LFO frequency.
Y (bottom to top) – total number of harmonics, from 3 to 16.
All movements in this screen are remembered for the “Replay” page.
Here are presented 16 square buttons, representing the saved movements in the Perform page. If a slot has not yet been filled, its button will appear grey, otherwise its outline will be white or bright yellow. Pressing a button replays the corresponding movement. This data is looped until another slot is selected or the finger is lifted. Tilting the device forwards raises the overall pitch, and doing the opposite lowers the pitch. This screen only takes one point of touch, and only one phrase may play back at once.
Sample & Hold
The method of performance in this screen is exactly the same as in the Perform mode, although the area for doing this is slightly smaller. However, this time the movements are NOT recorded.
Instead of continuous playback of the harmonic partials, the state is frozen for a short time. The speed of this process is determined by the Tempo slider. The background changes color each time this happens.
Some parameters which alter the tonal qualities of the synthesis are presented here in the format of an “XY Pad.” What this means is that left to right (x) movements within the black square change one set of parameters, while up and down (y) movements change another set of parameters. What these represent and the corresponding values are shown with the text inside the square. This area takes only 1 point of touch.
When the XY pad is engaged, the sound is “previewed” using a randomly chosen previously stored movement. As a result, this screen can be used for performance in its own right.
FM is applied to the first 4 partials, if selected here. FM is at its maximum level if the x point is all the way to the left, and at its minimum (zero) in the centre. From the centre to the right hand side alters the low frequency noise applied to the pitch of all of the harmonics, here referred to as Jitter.
From the centre point on the y axis (up and down) moving up turns down the volume of the even harmonics, and below the centre turns down the odd harmonics.
The semi-transparent button to the top left of the XY area returns the cross to the centre, and thus the parameters to their default values.
Envelope / FM
Presented on this page are 4 simple sliders. The first 3 set the attack, sustain and release values of the amp envelope, and the 4th sets the pitch ratio of the FM synthesis. Note that this will only be heard if the FM amount is greater than zero! The FM amount is set in the Synthesis page.
When these parameters are altered, the sound is “previewed” using the last harmonic distribution that was played on one of the other pages.