The Korg MS-20 is a patchable semi-modular monophonic synthesizer which Korg released in 1978 and was in production until 1983. It was part of Korg’s MS series of instruments, which also included the single oscillator MS-10, the keyboardless MS-50 module, and the SQ-10 sequencer.
Additional devices included the MS-01 Foot Controller, MS-02 Interface, MS-03 Signal Processor, MS-04 Modulation Pedal and VC-10 Vocoder.
Although the MS-20 follows a conventional subtractive synthesis architecture of oscillators/filter/vca, its patch panel allows some rerouting of both audio and modulation, and it includes an external signal processor. This flexibility led to its resurgence during the analog revival of the late 90’s.
The Korg MS-20 is a synth classic. If you’ve used the MS-20, leave a comment!
The MS-20 has been used by bands and artists such as Astral Projection, Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, Felix Kubin, Liaisons Dangereuses, Soulwax, Air, A Flock of Seagulls, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy, Simian Mobile Disco, Spleen United, Daft Punk, Digitalism, Shapeshifter, William Orbit, Electrosexual, Simon Posford, Skinny Puppy, Greg Anderson, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Eliot Lipp, Chicks on Speed, Severed Heads, Safety Scissors, Goldfrapp, Dubstar, Covenant, The Faint, Mr. Oizo, Kimouts, Zia McCabe of The Dandy Warhols, Foals, friendly fires, Klaxons, Royksopp, Legowelt The Presets and STIJN have also used an MS-20. Aphex Twin likes to put many of his sounds through the ESP (External Signal Processor), which is also used by Mira Aroyo of Ladytron.
- Monophonic analog synthesizers
- Oscillators – 2 VCO’s + noise
- One LFO w/ multiple waveforms
- 2 MultiMode VCFs: Lowpass, Highpass, Notch, BandReject; with ADSR
- 2 VCAs: ADSR + Sample and Hold with an envelope follower
- 36 key keyboard
- CV/GATE inputs
Korg MS-20 Resources: