The Korg MS-20 is a classic analog synth with some fairly unique features that are not found on other synths. Taking a critical ear to the 2013 reissue of this synth, I compare several sounds between an original MS-20 and the new MS-20 mini.
Background video description:
Finally an opportunity to tweak my new ARP ODYSSEY a bit as the MS-20 chugs out a simple bass step sequence on the SQ-1. LOVING this new ARP! My 79′ ODDY was never this easy to play. I got used to the MS-20 Mini’s keys this past year, so it was no problem adjusting to the SlimKeys of the Oddy. They actually have great playability and make the package for more useable than the heavier and clunky ARP keys. My original ARP crackled on the sliders and protested under heavy use by drifting in tune religiously. I love the three filter revisions. This demo utilizes the #3 revision and is very nasaly. There is a lot going on with the drum machines as the Volca and TR-707 hiss their cymbals, the CR-78 is DYN sync’d to the TR-707 tapping out latin bongo’s to the SP-1200 bass and snare. The SP-404SX is adding more cymbals and handclaps. Everything is synced to the MTC being directed by the SQ-1. ENJOY Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page!!ALL SONGS ARE THE PROPERTY OF FARMYFARM/LLC/LIMITED(c)https://www.facebook.com/VintageSynth…
Joy Division cover, live in studio.
Moog Little Phatty
Korg Volca Keys
Gforce Virtual String Machine
This recording has been made using ONLY a Korg MS-20 mini.
Original midi tracks has been exploded into a total of 37 monophonic tracks and then processed, one at a time, through a MS-20 mini.
Korg MS-20 mini polyphony using Notelogic from Xhip.net
NO Fx has been used on this piece!
Marcus Padrini compares the Korg MS-20 mini and iMS-20 for iPad – and demonstrates that you can’t rely on your eyes to get patches to match, but if you use your ears, you can get a very close match, details below:
The Korg MS-20 mini is an analog synth, the reincarnation of the classic MS-20. The iMS-20 is the iPad version of the same machine.
If you just try to use the same settings on both, the first thought will be “The iMS-20 simply can’t sound like the real thing”. But in fact, they have different behavior for the same settings on the filter and envelope modules. Don’t expect to make the same sounds using the same settings on both!
With some work and listening carefully you can make the iPad app to sound much closer than before.
Using EG1 for the LPF, frequency, and PWM CV at the same time.
Join Korg Inc.’s own Fumio Mieda and Hiroaki Nishijima – the engineers who brought us the legendary MS-20 back in 1978 – as we take a look at the new MS-20 Mini! Both personally oversaw the design of the modern-day MS-20, which features the exact same true-analog signal path as the legendary original. The incredibly powerful dual filters with peak/resonance, CV functionality, external signal processing, and unique hands-on patching system are all here – with 5-pin and USB MIDI to boot — and all at 86% of the original size.
For More Info on MS-20 Mini head over to
WNAMM13: Korg MS20 Mini First Look Its an analog MS20 only smaller
Today Korg announced a new analog synthesizer, in a bite-size form factor. Korg’s MS-20 monophonic synthesizer, first introduced in 1978, is still coveted to this day for its thick, robust sound, powerful, iconic analog filter, and versatile patching options. It has now been reborn as the new MS-20 mini. The same engineers who developed the original MS-20 have perfectly reproduced it in a body that’s been shrunk to 86% of the original size, yet retains the distinctive look of the original.
The MS-20 Mini offers the same distinctive synthesis that made the original MS-20 popular: two oscillators with ring modulation, and envelope generators with delay and hold. The VCA (Voltage Controlled Amp) maintains the original basic design, but it’s been modified to produce less noise. Particular attention has also been paid to delivering smooth parameter adjustments, which are a distinctive feature of analog synthesizers. Special care was also taken to completely reproduce the original specifications of the MS-20, to deliver the same powerful sound, from deep, growling basses to crisp, rounded leads.
One of the most well-known – and still most sought after – characteristics of the original MS-20 was its powerful filters, which provided both high-pass and low-pass with peak/resonance. Maximizing the peak/resonance would cause the filter to self-oscillate; producing a distinctive and dramatic tonal change that was acclaimed as inimitable, and was used many years later on Korg’s monotron and monotribe. The filter circuit was changed mid-way through the production lifecycle of the MS-20; the MS-20 mini uses the earlier filter, which was felt to be superior due to its more radical sound.
The ESP (External Signal Processor) functionality carries on the experimental spirit of MS-20, allowing users to utilize the pitch or volume of an external audio source to control the synthesizer. For example, an electric guitar can be used as an input signal, and the MS-20 mini can be used as a guitar synthesizer, or the mic input can allow it to be used it as a vocal synthesizer.
The patching system enables the creation of complex sounds by allowing the rerouting of both modulation and audio (both the internal oscillators and external audio). Different combinations of the modulation input/output and trigger, sample and hold, and noise generator can produce an incredible variety of sounds. By patching according to the MS-20 flow chart printed on the panel, musicians of all levels can take advantage of these possibilities right away.
To make it even more approachable, the MS-20 mini has been shrunk to 86% of the size of the original, with meticulous care taken to accurately reproduce the knob design and the printing. The patch cables have been changed from 1/4″ phone plugs to mini-plugs, and the newly-designed keyboard is 86% of the original size as well.
The MS-20 mini is equipped with a MIDI IN jack for receiving note messages, and a USB-MIDI connector that can transmit and receive note messages. Users can also connect the MS20 mini to a computer and play it from an external sequencer.
For added authenticity, the MS-20 mini packaging replicates much of the original. Also included are the original MS-20 owner’s manual and settings chart.
The Korg MS-20 Mini will be available April 2013 for a U.S. Street price of $599.00 Additional product information is available at Korg.com.