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Korg MS-20 Synth topic
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    • Overseen by the engineers of the original MS-20, a complete replication of the original analog circuitry
    • 2VCO / 2VCA / 2VCF / 2EG / 1LFO structure
    • Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion
    • External signal processor (ESP)
    • Extremely flexible patching system
    • Miniature MS-20 that’s 86% of the original size
    • MIDI IN and USB connector
    • Replicates every detail of the original, down to the package binding and the included manual

    640 x 296 - 73K
  • 13 Replies sorted by
  • Want one.

  • I've got a very cranky original MS20 and 10 and SQ10 lol Bring on the Dr Who remixes! Human League got a wall of these in Sheffield :)

    Filter sounds pretty the same on this remake

  • I spent some time with this at the show. It's a little less noisy than the original, has very smooth knob controls and the frequency modulation has got some punch. Of course, the biggest selling point of the original remains in the reworking - the ability to process external sound through the filters.

    The MS20 Mini is Korg's first professional analog synthesizer in a long, long time. After a long absence, over the last few years they introduced related products featuring their analog technology in the form of the Korg Monotron, Monotron Duo, Monotron Delay (all analog synthesizers small enough to fit in your pocket featuring LP filters taken from the MS20 with noisy signal paths and a very low price) and Korg MonoTribe (a small analog drum machine and synthesizer).

    Though these units were easy to modify (and several modded versions were sold by users) none of the retail versions of these consumer products featured MIDI or USB input. MS20 Mini really is their first professional analog instrument in specifications as well as in name to come out in a while.

    If you want the MS20 filter sound but don't want a full synthesizer, the discontinued Frostwave Resonator (which looks like a pedal) is a rather faithful design made by another company when the MS20 was not in production anymore.

    The version of the MS20 in the Korg Legacy Collection is a bit long in the tooth for a software instrument, so it doesn't capture the full sound of the original (though at the time it was a lot closer than anything else), but it is inexpensive and kind of fun.

    If you want the sound of an MS20 filter in stereo, without the need for the synthesizer side of things, the closest software emulation available to date is "The Drop" by Cytomic (where it is listed under "Sallen Key). Currently, only the Korg MS20 mk2 filter is emulated but the mk1 will be emulated soon.

    Andrew Simper (the developer of The Drop) and I spent a lot of time yesterday speaking about both the Korg MS20 Mini and The Drop. We both agree the MS20 Mini is faithful enough to the original, with some usability and reliability enhancements, that there is no longer a reason to purchase the original if you're choosing between the two at similar prices.

    The MS20 filters are one of the most desirable filter sounds in electronic music production due to their strong character and self-oscillating resonant frequency characteristics. I suggest people check out either the hardware instrument or The Drop to get a feel for them because they are a lot of fun.

  • @thepalalias

    Big thanks, very interesting post.

  • I had a real one in the '80s...and got bored with it's limitations very soon. The Korg Polysix is much much nicer, same fat sound polyphonic ...and can be converted to midi if necessary. It is also in the Korg Legacy Collection vst.

  • @GH2UW

    Right now situation is different. Hardware synths sales are bad. And analog is on the rise. My understanding that it is both age related and also related to modern DJ stuff.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    There is fantastic choice for musicians now since many of the vst synths are so good and cheap (very cheap from some Russian internet sites LOL). Hardware synths are very nice to have but are a real pain to fix when something goes wrong...expensive to make and re-sale value goes down quickly.

    I've found it's possible to get interesting fat analog type sound by layering vst's in host like Steinberg V-stack. Endless possibilities with full midi control. Can be done with MS-20 software version from Korg collection. The original (CV-gate) MS-20 was a real bastard to use consistently.

    I guess when there is so much choice the price goes down more. Much better now than in 80' and 90's for young guys with much talent but not so much money :-)