The Korg Mini MS-20 Analog Synth Is For Real


Remember the images that leaked out at Christmas last year of a new Korg Mini MS-20 synth?

We can confirm now that the Korg Mini MS-20 is for real, that it’s a new analog mini-synth and that Korg’s engineers have tried to faithfully recreate the circuitry and sound of the original synth classic.

The synth’s structure features two VCO’s, 2 VCA’s, 2 VCF’s, 2 envelope generators and an LFO. Patching is done with scaled-down 1/8″ cables. And circuitry has been added for MIDI support – so you play it with the mini-keyboard, play it with a full size keyboard or sequence it with other analog gear!

Pricing is expected to be about 600 euro (about $800) and the Mini MS-20 should be available in February.

Note: We’ll have full details and specifications when Korg announces them at the 2013 NAMM show. In the meantime, though, let us know what you think of the Mini MS-20 synthesizer!

via reader Edward On-Robinson,

146 thoughts on “The Korg Mini MS-20 Analog Synth Is For Real

  1. I’m more excited about this than I am about the Sub Phatty, and not only because of the reported price ($599). I love the Moog sound, but at the end of the day, it always sounds Moog-y. The same could be said of the MS-20, but I personally find the MS-20 sound to be more varied than the sounds of a Moog. Plus the patch factor allows it to be used so creatively. I think the Mini MS-20 is a must buy.

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  2. Is may be the best of show….I think it will be really cool to be able to come up with patches on my ims20 wherever I am and then reprogram them on hardware.

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  3. Thank you Korg. I have wanted an MS20 since I got into music production a few years ago but I could never justify the prices people have been asking. This is really great news and hopefully just the start of things to come in terms of modern analog.

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    • No re-issue – it’s a remake and I would be surprised if it sounded just like the original. Lot’s of components in the old one that no longer is available and therefore has to be replaced by others (and often more precise ones – wich can affect drift and other “faults” that gives the synth personality). But on the other hand these kind of improvements can be positive too… 🙂

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      • Good point about the components and stuff. Still, if this is basically a new MS-20 and it’s analog… even if it’s close, but has the real fat sound of analog circuitry, that would be amazing! The new Oberheim SEMs are really good, and in some ways better than the originals!

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        • My friend showed my his diy synth, that his brother (totally elecronic dev virgin) made. I loved it`s sound so much, that I ordered similar one. I bought NEW resistors, condensors and other stuff and hand them to him. The effect was that my synth didn`t sound as good as I expected, it was too clean, ‘with no soul’. It turned out that the first synth was made of bunch of old radios and other electronic garbage.

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    • Who in the world would any one give this comment a thumbs down…it’s a positive valid comment about an exciting aspect of synthesis in the future. There are some real losers w no life out there….good comment!

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  4. Fucking Mini keys. Seriously?? Korg just has to do a little something to fuck up every great idea they have had in recent history.

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    • Umm, if it’s either, it’s obviously the “Mark II” (not that Korg ever even referred to their MS20/MS20fiilters by those terms). The “Mark I” had a completely proprietary sealed, potted filter module using old, obsolete components. The “Mark II” (as you call it) used commonly available commercial components (at that time). Most modern-day replicas of the MS filter are a modern-day recreation of your “”””MARK 2″””” filter. If Korg were to re-issue anything, it would be a modern-day equivalent of the ‘second-generation’- or as you call it- “Mark II”- filter using modern component equivalents (most likely SMD).

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      • The Mk 1 used the Korg35 fiter, which is in the Monotron and Monotribe-it will be in this one as its discrete components are ironically easier to source now than the OTAs in the Mark II.

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  5. Damn Korg, not only analogue but modular…Obviously its not an MS20, just inspired by…but just damn. Sold. I’m just completely sold. When it comes to the giants, Korg has always been my favorite. Always awesome. This is gonna be fun to make this thing have sex with a Monotribe.

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  6. Korg, Bravo! I would like to see an analog synth product war between Korg and Roland. Now can someone get Roland to stop making digital crap synths (we all have vst synths and don’t need them) and lets get this analog battle going. Ooooos!

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  7. They went Voyager on this one–one of my favorite synths finally remade. I was hoping for this last year (and this summer/autumn when the Krome was announced), and finally it’s here.

    Now I’m not sure if I should get this or a Pittsburgh…so many compelling analog synthesizer systems coming out this year. It’s a breath of fresh air. Finally there are electronic instruments around that will be inspiring to play. It’s been a while.

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  8. This is what we all have cried for! Thank you Korg for listening. Keep the analog stuff coming:) would love an analog sequencer as well!

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  9. Will be interesting to see how this stacks up against my original MS20 which I love but kinda sits there as I am primarily all virtual… if it allows you to create on this and transfer to ipad (and vice versa) it will be brilliant… I tried to do this on the Legacy controller a few times without much luck (but that may just be me)
    If its an actual standalone synth, then well done Korg for letting people have the enjoyment of the MS20 all over again…
    Now all I want is Roland to start doing something similar and do a decent JP8 recreation… hey.. I can dream 🙂

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  10. Glad you like it folks 🙂

    It’s interesting that it has MIDI, I look forward to more details on the implementation. If it’s going on the market in February the review models are already out there, can’t wait for the demos!

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  11. I approve. Its a game changer, esp at this price. What if new affordable modulars came out and dethroned the 3U? I’ll take 2. And I hope they make the sequencer and Vocoder as well.

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  12. Midi was a must. I was about to buy 2 monotribes with midi kits, now I’m waitin! I think this will be this years minibrute. Less wait time tho, I hope.

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  13. The final nail in the coffin for VA IMO. I need to sell my R3 and get one of these to use with my iPad! Especially if the knobs send MIDI (which I doubt at this price)

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      • It’s definitely mini keys if this pic is accurate. Easy to see.
        Mini keys are kind of just the new trend I guess. I personally dislike it, but meh, ms20 remake? I’ll buy it. With midi implementation it doesn’t really matter anyway.

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  14. The keys are not mini keys like on other korg synths. They are 86% the size of the originals, so that’s pretty big. The keys on the iMS20 controller must be 50-60% size of large keys, so these keys will b very playable.

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  15. Brian, where do that info regarding key size come from? – When compare my MS20 controller with the leaked picture and have a closer look at the size of the patch sockets compared to the keys, the keys seem to be the same size on the new Mini MS20 as on the controller, just the shape of the keys seems to have changed.

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    • I also have the ms20 controller. Take a good look, the keys are longer. Also look up the spec, the case is bigger, so the keys are bigger.

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      • Sorry, I haven’t found any specs yet. And I don’t want to offend you, but I don’t believe that Korg will introduce another key-size than the standard “normal”-keys or “mini”-keys. And as written before, if the patch cords are 1/8″ (as on the controller) than the keys will not be bigger than the controllers keys, because the proportion patch-socketkey is the same at the controller and the picture of the Mini MS20. But let’s wait and see…

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        • They stated on the German korg site that these are in fact new keys, not the ones used on the legacy controller and not full sized.

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        • The German page was up yesterday evening for ages. I translated all the pages and in the spec they state very clearly that the keys are new keys designed specifically for this synth. So they are not the keys from the micro range. The dimensions were also up and I compared them to my own legacy controller. Its bigger all round by a couple of CM. Also the photo of it next to the original MS20 the MIni was at an angle and you could clearly see the keys were longer than the iMS20 controller. Also the translation of the german magazine article (on Matrix Synth) states that this is not made using the old legacy controller case, its a brand new case. It also comes with the original manual and the box is also a replica of the original. This is an anniversary gesture, they’ve gone to great lengths, its not a thrown together effort using existing parts. Unlike the original though it uses a 9V wall adaptor, power isnt built in. Thats a shame.

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  16. I don’t get it. Why would you spend €600 on an analog MS20 with all of it’s flaws when you can have the same sound minus the flaws on the far far cheaper iPad app, plus all the extras like running other iOS plugins and keeping ontop of your handlift social profile online like Soundcloud/Twitter. You can pretty much do all this modular stuff now on just iOS and the soundstage is so much better particularly in the high to low mids. Plus you can transport it to the local coffee shop. Who’s going to see you owning a real MS20?

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    • The world has gone mad with retro and stagnation all over the place.
      Moog is doing the same. A new synth with even less features then the phatty.
      The Phatty had LED-encoders that show you the actual value of a parameter.
      I want more of that feature and polyphony. Oh my.

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        • yes! electronics 30 years ago were well designed and became obfuscated over time with an over implication and attempt to hide the depth of synths behind plastic veneers.

          the appreciation of these old models is that they are hands on and sound like unique instruments, not trying to copy violins and other instruments.

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    • Dubsteisthefuture is obviously trolling…. pushing all the right buttons on the average synhtopia reader including myself! I mean, dub step is the future? keeping ontop of your handlift social profile online like Soundcloud/Twitter? Better sound from the app?
      Well played.

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  17. Just hope it doesn’t have mini keys!
    I ‘ll buy one for sure.
    Just need to sell my wife 🙂

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  18. yes! electronics 30 years ago were well designed and became obfuscated over time with an over implication and attempt to hide the depth of synths behind plastic veneers.

    the appreciation of these old models is that they are hands on and sound like unique instruments, not trying to copy violins and other instruments.

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  19. I wonder if you will be able to sync this up with the iMS20 to make an MS40! A 4 oscillator MS20 kind of thing. Hardware and Software making peace at last. Everyone would be happy! (except the haters). 😉

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  20. The other NAMM synth from korg, the king korg is supposed to have gate and CV out, so I guess this will solve the “mini key” issue if you buy the bundle and use the 61 keys of the KK to control the MS 😉

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  21. “Patching is done with scaled-down 1/8? cables.”

    Not sure what this means exactly? Hopefully it has true CV and is compatible with eurorack gear. Guess we will find out soon enough!

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    • It is still control voltage, just using 1/8th inch patch cords… The real question is whether it wil be 1 v per octave to conform to the doepfer standard.

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