History is being repeated here, and this time it’s definitely a good thing for synth lovers. The Korg MS-20 mini is a newer and smaller version of the popular MS20. Korg engineers have recreated every detail of the original, from the packaging to the instructions. The sound of the inimitable MS-20 is now available to all with the new MS-20 Mini analog synth.
Table of Contents
Korg MS-20 Mini Synth: Pros & Cons
- Pros – Thick & robust sound, Powerful analog filter, Versatile/flexible Patching Options.
- Cons – Only 37 keys
Who Is It For?
Korg MS-20 Mini Synth: Review
To those who are not aware, Korg’s MS-20 monophonic synthesizer was first introduced in 1978, and is still a prized instrument for many. The things that musicians liked about that synth was:
- Thick, robust sound
- Fat basses
- Warm strings and pads
- Gripping lead tones
- Powerful analog filter
- Versatile patching options
The MS-20 now has been re-introduced as the MS-20 Mini, with the same engineers who developed the original MS-20 also developing this mini-version. This is an amazing analog synth sound, shrunk to around 86% of the original size and still retains the distinctive look of the original synth.
Buy Korg MS-20 on zZounds
The powerful filters on MS-20 provided resonance on both the high-pass and the low-pass. Maximizing the resonance would cause the filter to self-oscillate like an oscillator, producing a distinctive and dramatic tonal change that made it so unique and popular.
The MS-20 mini uses the same self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filter.
External signal processor (ESP)
This is what makes it even more interesting. Want to turn you synth into a guitar synth or a vocal synth?
It’s possible with this synth.
The ESP allows you to use the pitch or volume of an external audio source (electric guitar or microphone) to control the synthesizer.
Flexible Patching System
This is what makes it so versatile.
You can easily create complex sounds (limited only by your imagination) by plugging-in cables to change the connections between the various units.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, just follow the MS-20 flow chart that’s printed on the panel, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the different possibilities right away.
You get the old MIDI slot as well as USB MIDI. Connect the MS20 mini to your computer for more possibilities. You also get the original Korg MS-20 manual along with this keyboard.
Korg MS-20 Mini Synth: Specs
Here are the key features of the Korg MS-20 mini:
- 37-keys make the MS-20 more compact
- 86% of the original size (37 keys)
- Complete replica of the original analog circuitry (by the same engineers)
- Simple structure with 2 VCO, 2 VCA, 2 VCF, 2 EG, and 1 LFO
- Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion
- External signal processor (ESP) lets you use the pitch or volume of an external audio source to control this synth
- Flexible patching system uses 1/8″ mini plugs instead of 1/4″ plugs
- Equipped with a MIDI IN jack and a USB-MIDI connector
- Weight: 14 lbs
- Dimensions: 23 x 14 x 12 in
Korg MS-20 Mini: Video Review
Here’s video review of this analog synth:
If reports are to be believed, it seems soon musicians will also be able to build their own mini model using a DIY synth kit. Checkout this video; with the kit you can build a synth that is very close to the original MS-20 from 1978, it will include both the early and the later versions of the filters. However, its expected to be more expensive than the MS-20 mini and you have to build it ourselves.
Korg is one of those few manufacturers who’re actually listening to their customers, the fact that they have recreated the MS-20 faithfully just shows their commitment to their customers. We may see some more analog reissues coming out from Korg soon in the future.
Korg MS-20 Mini: Buying Options & Pricing
This is already a proven product and if you’re a fan of analog synths in general, then you should definitely check out the Korg MS-20 mini.
The MS-20 is a great synth for powerful, in your face sounds.
KORG iMS-20 – Music Production App for iPad
KORG iMS-20 – KORG INC.: Korg iMS-20 is a complete music production app for iPad. Its an analog synth studio; a complete recreation of the Korg MS-20 synth – an analog sequencer, a drum machine, and even Korg’s Kaoss Pad technology. It also lets you easily share your songs online via the SoundCloud!
Buy on iTunes