The Korg MS-20 Kit

Here’s another look at the new Korg MS-20 Kit, introduced at the 2014 NAMM Show.

The Korg MS-20 Kit is a limited edition kit that lets you create a full-size MS-20 by assembling the parts yourself. The kit doesn’t require hardcore electronics skills, but instead lets the user handle all the final assembly of the synth. The MS-20 Kit is an analog 1:1 scale reissue of the MS-20, with both filters built in (the more aggressive early production filter and more mellow late production one).

In the video, Korg product specialist James Bernard discusses how the new MS-20 Kit recreates the vintage analog synthesizer, what Korg decided to update and why the company is releasing the new synth as a kit.

via Sound On Sound

23 thoughts on “The Korg MS-20 Kit

  1. Cool, but I still don’t see the point in this from Korg or a customer. Well, except that it’s “limited” so a synth collector might want to get their hands on this for that reason alone but in a studio environment (no one is using this or the mini live I’d assume) since they have MIDI they’re basically the same as far as recording goes. The extra filter choice is nice but they should have done that on the mini or a rev B.

    For Korg I wonder if they’re just using this “exclusive” release to get capital to design another product like another re-release model. That way if it flops it’s not a big dent to their bottom line. The price and similiarty to the build of the mini suggests they’re making a nice profit margin on these. There’s no strategic advantage otherwise in making it a limited run from a business aspect that I can see. Now if they just wanted to do it for fun perhaps but they had to spend time and money on the new shell and PCB manufacturing.

    This would also make the “kit” aspect make more sense, as they save even more in shipping and assembly and marketed it as a feature!

    Maybe related but I was able to grab a new retail mini at $120 off yesterday so I’m happy to be joining the club.

    1. It’s full size – which seems like it would be a big deal to a lot of people. And it probably uses better components than the mini, which feels a little ‘plasticy’ and has a little play in the knobs.

      1. My thinking was the big keys aren’t as big of a deal now since both version support MIDI and most people have a better keyboard already. The knobs are surface mount, I’d wager they have the same about of wobble to them.

    2. If they were doing this to raise capital they’d lower the price and increase the availability. 3000 x $999 is far more capital than 1000 x €1499.

      This is what it is. They’ve done it because they can. There’s no mystery.

      And why wouldn’t anyone use the Mini live? I suspect it’ll be very popular as the classic MS20 is still a popular live machine.

      1. You’re assuming they’d sell them all at those prices. The R&D cost remains constant but there’s less support overhead in smaller runs since you have less customers. If the R&D has mostly been carried over from the mini, they really just need to fund the manufacturing for the project. A small run limits their exposure to loss if it doesn’t do well, but still provides adequate funding if it sells out. It would be magical if companies did things just for fun but they have a business to support. You can’t do things for fun if you go out of business.

        I also wouldn’t consider the mini a touring instrument because there’s no patch memory and the build quality probably wouldn’t cut it for gigging too long. The original may still be used by some because they wrote tracks on them back in the day. I’m not saying that it’s not possible some people do, but I would wager most people who want to gig with an analogue synth would pick something a little more versatile. If your band has roadies I guess do whatever you want, bring the whole studio with you.

  2. On the flattened product I see $200 of Labor+Material maximum (much less if made in China), and $100 of R&D amortized per product, which surely have already been earned back on previous MK-20 production.

    So practically $200 worth of a mono synth, less unit assembly/QA/support.
    $1399?? Really!

    1. The dealer will take $399 as their markup. Don’t forget the shipping cost to get that big box from Japan to the USA; there’s another $50. I suspect your estimate of $200 for parts is unrealistically low (it’s a limited run of 1000 units, which makes everything a bit pricier), but let’s go with it. That leaves a gross of about $800,000 to pay for R&D, board assembly, instruction manual design and printing.

      By the time yoyvre paid the salaries of the team who worked on it, this wont be a wildly profitable endeavor.

    2. Hypothesising and assumptions, based on nothing.

      Bands like soul wax, the presets and any number of indie bands you see on Jools Holland use MS20’s as part of a live rig. I use one, along with a Prodigy. No big deal, programme between tracks.

      If Korg released the full size MS20 for $999 the fact is they’d probably sell tens of thousands and make millions, so your argument holds no water. This is clearly a vanity project from a company who have chosen to listen to fans. I admire them for it.

      If it’s not a vanity project then they’re testing the water for something else. Either way, stop bloody complaining or creating reasons to dis this. It’s utterly pointless.

  3. I don’t see how anyone can possibly be upset by this. They haven’t discontinued the Mini, so if someone wants an MS-20 they can still have it for $600. This product is for people for whom having a full sized modern MS-20 with both filters and are willing to spend some money for it. Had they come out of the box with this last year at the same price we would have been THRILLED at the rebirth of the MS-20. With all of the great things Korg has done over the last couple of years why give them crap over a boutique product that is still reasonably priced compared to other high quality modern mono synths?

    1. People are giving out about this because they are whining weaners. It’s really that simple.

      No one HAS TO buy this, and the mini still exists, so the only reasons to give out are A. Jealousy because you can’t afford it but would really love it. Or B. Because you’re a total weaner who’ll give out about everything because you think it makes you appear smarter.

      This is very expensive, but it’s awesome. If you can’t see that then you either don’t remember the 90’s, or you’re a whining weaner.

    2. I’m not hating on this, I think it’s cool. But I also have kind of a question of why this might interest someone when it came to plopping down the cash.
      And to the other poster, being able to afford it or not doesn’t change anything. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should or want. For the size and cost of the thing I’d rather have a TTSH and a mini. And you still get the fun of building something!

  4. One problem here is that the possibility of resale will always be freighted with buyer misgivings about the assembly skills of the original owner.

      1. i don’t know whats sillier, the people complaining, or the people defending this product.

        another filter circuit (once its put together, you can’t change it on the fly), and more plastic = $800 difference. don’t like? don’t buy. i certainly won’t be.

        if they only are making 1000, and they still have some avail, that speaks for itself.

        1. Build quality costs money – everything is full size and more solid. If you’ve tried the mini, there’s a certain level of cost cutting in the build quality.

          1. Exactly. The 4-way waveform selector switches are made by ALPS, and they cost about $3 each, even in quantities of 5000. The plastic molds for the end caps is a $10K expense, and so on. Producing a quality device is not cheap.

            1. That’s cool! Not sure they still have some available as it’s not actually been released. I’m sure anyone can place an order, but they may not get it. I think with just 1000 being made it’ll sell out fairly easily. A few hundred in USA, few hundred in japan, a few hundred across Europe. Can’t see it hanging around long.

              What I find amazing about this synth is that it was actually remade, over 30 years later. That’s incredible for a piece of technology.

        2. But you can change the without opening up. switch it off and press

          f#3 g#3 a#4 and switch on for old
          f#3 g#3 b and switch on for new filter.

          All in the manual on their website. 1/4 inch means you can plug it easy into other equipment with 1/4 inch sockets. 1/4 inch sockets are more likely to be robust. Bigger knobs makes it easier to twiddle.

          I will mod mine to put psi internal. I will also add pam and o/c sync as a breakout box.

          So many reasons why for ME the kit is so much better than the mini.

Leave a Reply