Korg iMS-20 Review

iPad Music Software: ipaddj has some interesting thoughts on the new Korg iMS-20 iPad virtual studio:

Anyone who has used the Korg Legacy plug-in will know what they are in for and the fact that you can grab patch cables and route them using the touchscreen is almost mind-melting. Like a childhood fantasy come true.

The huge sound of the MS-20 is totally there and I couldn’t stop making Daft Punk patches for the first few hours using the beast.

ipaddj also notes some downsides to the Korg iMS-20, including funky song-sequencing, lack of audio copy and missing MIDI support. If you need those features, you’ll probably want to wait until the app is updated.

Nick Bugayev (liine) weighed in with his thoughts:

I’ve never owned a modular synth, but this is the next best thing. I’ve tried editing modular emulations on the computer, and clicking around with the mouse to patch the cords is very tedious. Doing the same thing with multitouch is a world’s difference.

Beyond the ease of us, I am seriously impressed by the sound quality. The sounds are crisp, raw, dirty and very satisfying. I highly recommend this to anybody with an interest in analog synthesis, whether you’re an old pro or just getting into synths for the first time and want to learn what it’s all about.

Hexfix93 was impressed, too:

If you have an Ipad, got it for music, and are into dance style anything, this is a MUST HAVE. I am very impressed.

If you’ve downloaded the Korg iMS-20 for iPad – what’s your review of it? Is it worth the current $15.99 price tag?


28 thoughts on “Korg iMS-20 Review

  1. in the first few minutes, this app became the COOLEST APP on my iPad, and I've got plenty. seems difficult, but isn't. really!

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  2. It's an amazing app. Somehow I believe it will be a milestone even if not the most advanced or innovative by any means. But it's by Korg and it's emulating one of the most charismatic synth ever.

    I think it's also an amazing app to understand basics of how to get sounds and to better understand NLog Pro for example. The whole visual patching is actually pretty cool and now comes to mind every time I'm messing around with Nlog Pro :)

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  3. I very much agree that this is cool, but that's not why I add this comment…

    I understand that the screen is bigger and all that, but something very similar to this app has already been available for the nintendo DS for two years now. With touchscreen patching and everything and "made by" (or at least approved and tagged by) Korg.

    If one just get very much in love with a product (like most BMW owner for example) you will end up being a narrow minded fan-boy only being able to percept shiny things with an apple. (Maybe I should put a apple sticker on my nintendo DS so that you guys can see it?)

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  4. Tobias

    You should review our extensive coverage of the Nintendo DS-10 before suggesting anyone is "a narrow minded fan-boy only being able to percept shiny things with an apple".

    If you can look beyond the fact that iMS-20 runs on an iPad, you might notice that iMS-20 is actually more powerful than DS-10 and available at less than half the price.

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  5. Tobias

    You should review our extensive coverage of the Nintendo DS-10 before suggesting anyone is "a narrow minded fan-boy".

    If you can look beyond the fact that iMS-20 runs on an iPad, you may notice that iMS-20 is actually more powerful than DS-10 and available at less than half the price.

    For DS owners, though, DS-10 may still be a bargain.

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  6. It's really difficult to teach the history of analog synths, but it's a great way to learn to make electronic music. With this app, you can teach to a class, with all students making patches, experimenting, and it costs a fraction of the real thing. Many conservatories/universities/music school don't own or don't maintain anymore analog synths : hopefully they will dare buy a dozen iPads if they don't want to buy a couple of real analog synths.

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  7. I really like synthtopia and I like that you post this kind of news on the site. Keep up the good work! My post was some kind of reply to the two previous posts (@xmarco and @Bruno Afonso), which felt like they seen the light for the first time in a dark and evil world.

    @stellanOr: I get there is a big difference, not at least when it comes to usability with a bigger screen and all that. I guess the sound is better as well, with more processing power. But I still don't think it is a "milestone" among software synths.

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  8. Ok, this app may be good or bad depending on someone's needs/expectations/taste/etc. but why is there such a price difference between the ipad and pc/mac versions? Yes, pc/mac versions include more than a MS20 emulation, but such a price difference?

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  9. Hi Tobias,

    I don't think I was very clear. I think it's a landmark app for iPad owners and users, not for musicians in general. After all, you can virtual analog synths 20 times more powerful as plugins for PC/Mac.

    I've known a lot of people that had 100 plugins but did no music. They spent all their time finding out how powerful and good their plugins were but no music was ever made. I think the iPad for me brings me back to a more tactile interface and I can play with it everywhere, no need to haul a laptop around everywhere.

    I didn't mean to sound like a fanboy, I didn't mean to extrapolate how cool the app is in the entire music universe. That said, I never thought of buying a DS-10 and maybe that's what is appealing about an iPad, it keeps surprising on how it has become so versatile and important for getting some ideas down.

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  10. nararow-minded fan boy? what the hell? you did a whole lot of extrapolating from just a few positive words.

    let me guess, you don't have an ipad?

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  11. That's obvious – it's because so many Windows users rip off their software. Do a Google search for any Windows music app and add "crack" to the app name and you'll see what I mean.

    Developers have to cover their costs. So, when you buy a desktop music app, you're paying for the share that pirates didn't pay.

    This sort of piracy doesn't happen on any large scale with iOS devices, because of the way iPad apps are distributed. I'm OK with that if it means that we can get an awesome app like this for $15!

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  12. This app is incredible.
    Hands on from the start to finish
    It sounds excellent
    Get this if you have an iPad.
    The best app I've ever gotten from the APP store that wasnt a waste of money.

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  13. Is this a legitimate screenshot? If so, I'm confused why the in th lower right the text says analog dum machine. Hmm…

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  14. Of course i agree with you, but it's a dissapointment to see software being sold for MUCH less than what i paid for (some time ago … ) AND being better than the older version in some way. It's also a sad fact that, despite the low price, sooner or later, there will be piracy on this too. It's a matter of "popularity" of succesful software. We 've seen this happen with iphone apps, didn't we? I don't have an iphone, but i heard from people that have it, that there were cracked versions of iphone apps that were originally free! Go figure …
    Anyway, it's a great app, and it might tempt me into buying an ipad.

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  15. Yes the screen shot is legitimate – the components included in iMS-20 are "Synth" (the synthesiser you're expecting to see), "Drums" (an analogue drum machine that is shown in the screen shot), "Song/Ptn" (a sequencer) and "Mixer" (which combines the outputs of the first three). Cool app, just bought it.

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  16. I've played with this app for a day! The best music app in any mobile device!!
    In ippadj's review, he said that he was trying to make the Daft Punk preset using iMS-20.
    Is there any way to get the Daft Punk preset example of MS-20?
    Sorry, I'm a fan of Daft Punk but never have experienced with the analog synth or other musical instruments~

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  17. I had the old ms-20 commander soft synth pack which costs 100's over this and was not much more functional apart from midi… This app is simply fantastic, the ms-20 has a enough to keep you inventive with sounds and as you scratch the sequencer surface this is a real powerhouse application for such a small amount. I missed the old ms-20 mini but this more than makes up for it, plus sitting in a bar with headphones on playing away is pretty indescribable

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  18. I had the old ms-20 commander soft synth pack which costs 100's over this and was not much more functional apart from midi… This app is simply fantastic, the ms-20 has a enough to keep you inventive with sounds and as you scratch the sequencer surface this is a real powerhouse application for such a small amount. I missed the old ms-20 mini but this more than makes up for it, plus sitting in a bar with headphones on playing away is pretty indescribable

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  19. I had the old ms-20 commander soft synth pack which costs 100's over this and was not much more functional apart from midi… This app is simply fantastic, the ms-20 has a enough to keep you inventive with sounds and as you scratch the sequencer surface this is a real powerhouse application for such a small amount. I missed the old ms-20 mini but this more than makes up for it, plus sitting in a bar with headphones on playing away is pretty indescribable

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  20. I had the old ms-20 commander soft synth pack which costs 100's over this and was not much more functional apart from midi… This app is simply fantastic, the ms-20 has a enough to keep you inventive with sounds and as you scratch the sequencer surface this is a real powerhouse application for such a small amount. I missed the old ms-20 mini but this more than makes up for it, plus sitting in a bar with headphones on playing away is pretty indescribable

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  21. I had the old ms-20 commander soft synth pack which costs 100's over this and was not much more functional apart from midi… This app is simply fantastic, the ms-20 has a enough to keep you inventive with sounds and as you scratch the sequencer surface this is a real powerhouse application for such a small amount. I missed the old ms-20 mini but this more than makes up for it, plus sitting in a bar with headphones on playing away is pretty indescribable

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  22. I had the old ms-20 commander soft synth pack which costs 100's over this and was not much more functional apart from midi… This app is simply fantastic, the ms-20 has a enough to keep you inventive with sounds and as you scratch the sequencer surface this is a real powerhouse application for such a small amount. I missed the old ms-20 mini but this more than makes up for it, plus sitting in a bar with headphones on playing away is pretty indescribable

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  23. I like it. I bought a Nintendo DSI for DS-10. Then DS 10+ came out w/ more tracks. Legacy Edition VST is so small it is hard to see. I wish I had the Mini controller as well.
    I like the iPad IMS 20 hooked up to my Synth via camera kit. Using the zoom function is great for tweaking the filters. I am glad iOS 4.2 came out for iPad .
    Question, do I have to get the Monotron to use the filter as an external sound processor or is there another way to with what I have.

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