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Korg MS-20 Mini Monophonic Analog Synthesizer

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Product Description

The sounds of the legendary MS-20 have been reborn in the Korg MS-20 Mini Monophonic Analog Synthesizer. The same engineers who developed the original MS-20 synth have perfectly reproduced its circuitry and fit it into a compact design that has the same look but is 86 percent of the original size. The Korg MS-20 Mini is a completely analog synth with the size and modern features for today’s synth enthusiast!

Comments from the developers
Korg took particular care to deliver smooth parameter adjustments, which are a distinctive feature of analog synthesizers. They also took special care to completely reproduce the original specifications of the MS-20 synth keyboard. The analog circuits Korg designed 35 years ago still deliver the same unbeatable, powerful sound, from the ultra-low to the ultra-high range.

Korg MS-20 Mini Monophonic Analog Synthesizer Features

  • 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 percent of the original size
  • MIDI IN and USB connector
  • Input a guitar and use the MS-20 Mini as a guitar synth, or input a mic and use it as a vocal synth
  • Replicates every detail of the original, down to the package binding and the included manual
2VCO / 2VCF / 2VCA / 2EG / 1LFO structure
The MS-20 Mini reproduces the distinctive synthesis of the Korg MS-20; two oscillators with ring modulation, and envelope generators with hold and delay. The VCA maintains the basic design of the original, but it’s been modified to produce less noise than the original.

Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion
The original MS-20 was known for its powerful filters, which 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 was acclaimed as inimitable, and was later used on the monotron and monotribe. The filter circuit was changed mid-way through the production lifecycle of the MS-20; the MS-20 Mini analog synth uses the earlier filter, which was felt to be superior due to its more radical sound.

External signal processor (ESP) for processing an external signal
The ESP carries on the experimental spirit of MS-20; it allows you to use the pitch or volume of an external audio source to control the synthesizer. For example you can input an electric guitar and use the MS-20 Mini as a guitar synthesizer, or input a mic and use it as a vocal synthesizer.

Extremely flexible patching system
The patching system provided to the right of the panel lets you create complex sounds by plugging-in cables to change the connections between the various units. The possibilities are limited only by the user's imagination; 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 flow chart that’s printed on the panel, even beginners can take advantage of these possibilities right away.

To make it even more approachable, the Korg MS-20 Mini has been shrunk to 86 percent of the size of the original MS-20. In spite of its smaller size, meticulous care has been taken to accurately reproduce the knob design and the printing. The patch cables have been changed from 1/4 inch phone plugs to mini-plugs, and the newly-designed keyboard is also 86 percent of the original size.

Replicates every details of the original
Korg’s effort to remain faithful to the original is not limited to the unit itself. Even the package that contains the unit replicates the original as far as possible. Also included are the original MS-20 owner's manual and settings chart, explaining how to create sounds. Now you can experience the excitement of the MS20, just like it was during its original release in 1978.

The Korg MS-20 Mini synth provides a MIDI IN jack for receiving note messages, and a USB-MIDI connector that can transmit and receive note messages. You can even connect the MS20 Mini to your computer and play it from a sequencer.

Product Specifications
Korg MS-20 Mini Monophonic Analog Synthesizer Specifications
  • Keyboard: C - C 37-notes (3 octaves), mini keyboard
  • Manual controller:
    • Control wheel (center click)
    • Momentary switch -->GND
  • Power switch and Volume: Volume
  • Indicator: LED (KBD trigger, Modulation Generator rate, Power ON )
  • Manual controller:
    • Control wheel output (-5V<--0V-->+5V)
    • Momentary switch output (-->GND)
  • Signal out: mono 1/8 inch mini phone jack
  • Head phones output: Stereo 1/8 inch mini phone jack
  • USB: Type B, USB-MIDI Input/Output
  • MIDI: MIDI Input
  • Power Consumption: 9W
  • Power Supply: DC9V
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 19.41 x 10.12 x 8.19 inches
  • Weight: 10.58 lbs.
  • Accessories: AC adaptor (9V/1.7A), Patch Cords x 10
Helpful Info about the Manufacturer
Phone:  631-390-6500 Warranty:  1 year parts and labor; US Customers – register your Korg keyboard, keyboard workstation, keyboard rack module or digital piano online and receive a certificate that extends the product warranty for an extra year from the date of purchase. This offer is good for mdse purchased from an authorized Korg dealer after November 1, 2002.
Ron from Toledo
Overall Rating
Ease of Use
The Beast is Back !
What is your overall opinion of this product?
It's Got the Sound ! Used to dream about having one. could have bought one for a song when everything went digital - but the ones I saw in the pawn shops were pretty well knackered from use on the road. Ebay prices have always been just out of reach for a good one.
What is your opinion of the quality of this product? How does it work for different genres of music?
Seems to be well made. two of the pots (portamento and one other) are a little stiff - not stick just tighter than the others feels like it might loosen up over time. The keys are ok - not cheap but typical of a mid-range product. Much better and bigger than normal mini keys. The jacks all seem to be mounted solidly and I prefer 1/8th inch to 1/4 inch format.
Ease of Use
How user friendly is it? Would it work well for a beginner, intermediate or experienced player?
Yeah - Sounds great out of the box - Prepare to get lost with all the patching options - Great fun - ! Don't worry about the Hz. / volt issue. Use midi - That's what it's for. If you must step sequence there are hardware options that send midi as well as volt per octave. Use your cv gear for filter's whatever.
Are the features on the product what you were expecting? What are your favorite features?
The External input is the best i've seen on any synth. You can trigger envelopes with out sending midi notes - You can process the signal with hi and low cut - pass through the processed signals envelope follower and frequency to CV signal, as well as generating a gate
How is the sound quality? How does the sound compare to other products you've use?
Balls - Grit - Bump - Pin Pricks, and Razor Blades - It's all there - It can be a little Touchy at times - but always rewarding. Although it can approach Moog-ness The filter is not as round and sweet. But then a Moog doesn't have the hi-pass either - It does so many things only an MS-20 can do - And the Ring mod is great ! It will be interesting to hear what they sound like in 10, 20 years.
How is the feel of the keys? Are the controls laid out well?
It's Ok. MUch better than standard mini keys.
Did you get what you were expecting for the price? How does it compare to similar products in the same price range?
Yeah - Great deal for the price. AMS is the best place to buy korg - I had two Electribes with fiddly knobs and they replaced them immediately.
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