Korg iMS-20 iPad Synth (Video + Details)

iPad Music Software: KORG iMS-20 (App Store link) is virtual analog synth studio for the iPad.

Korg iMS-20 offers a complete recreation of the Korg MS-20 analog synth, an analog sequencer, a drum machine, a mixer, and even Korg’s Kaoss Pad technology.

Korg iMS-20 Details

iMS-20 is a complete music production app for iPad. It consists of a complete recreation of the Korg MS-20 analog synth with the patching capability, plus a 16-step analog sequencer based on the Korg SQ-10, a six-part drum machine which can create drum parts by simply tapping the buttons, and a seven-channel mixer with 14 types of effects.

n addition, iMS-20 offers dual Kaoss Pads allowing you to generate music by simply stroking the pad and moving your fingers over it. And with access to the SoundCloud audio platform, you can publish your songs, or collaborate on ideas with people anywhere in the world from within the app.

The regular price is US$ 32.99; a special introductory price of US$ 15.99 is being offered until January 31, 2011.

Now you know the details – check it out and let us know what you think of it!

Korg iMS-20 Specifications


  • MS-20 monophonic synthesizer: 1 unit
  • Analog sequencer: 1 unit
  • 6-part drum machine: 1 unit
  • Mixer: 1 unit
  • Song/Pattern composer: 1 unit

MS-20 monophonic synthesizer:

  • Analog modeling synthesizer (MS-20 modeled by “CMT” Component Modeling Technology)
  • 2 VCO / 2VCF / 1VCA / 2EG / Patch Panel
  • Additional functions: Modulation Key/Tempo Sync
  • Insert effect (selectable from 14 effect types as below)

Analog sequencer:

  • 16-step analog sequencer
  • Control notes, volume, pan, parameters, and voltages via knobs
  • Configurable steps (1-16) and sequence mode (6 types)
  • Trigger out per channel or step position

6-part drum machine:

  • 6-part/16-step drum machine
  • Create sounds by sampling a single note from a built-in MS-20
  • Controllable notes, volume and pan by knobs
  • Configurable steps (1-16) and sequence mode (6 types) per a part


  • 7-channel mixer
  • Double needle meter indicates VU level
  • Master effect (selectable from 14 effect types as below)

Song/Pattern composer:

  • Compose a song or select a pattern, built-in mixer
  • 16 patterns and 256 bars per a song
  • Tempo setting (20-300 BPM) and Swing function

Effect type:

  • 14 types: Short Delay, BPM Sync Delay, Reverb 1, Reverb 2, Chorus/Flanger, Equalizer, Compressor, Tube Simulator (Valve Force), Low-Pass Filter, High-Pass Filter, Band-Pass Filter, Talking Modulator, Decimator, Grain Shifter


  • Keyboard: Recording function, Variable width (22, 26, or 29 keys)
  • Kaoss Pad: 2 units, Recording function
    • Performance pad: Key/Scale (31 types) settings
    • Parameter control pad: X-Y axis parameter settings


  • Audio export function (Bouncing a song or pattern, and Real-time recording a performance: 16-bit/44.1 kHz stereo WAV format)
  • Publish and share songs online with the SoundCloud audio platform
  • Various template patterns by music genre are included
  • Various template sounds by sound category are included

Note: KORG iMS-20 is a dedicated iPad app ( iOS 3.2 or later) and cannot be used with iPhone and iPod touch

35 thoughts on “Korg iMS-20 iPad Synth (Video + Details)

  1. The fact that this program is less than $50 normally/$20 at launch is astounding. If it actually delivers on everything it says it does, this is a game-changer for production on the iPad. Finally something fully legitimate.

  2. Anyone know if it has Midi functionality at all? Because I'm not really interested in spending a lot of money for my fingers to be clumsy on a touch screen keyboard.

  3. yeah lets request that 🙂 should be compatible with the midi mobilizer in the future..

    and you don't need the keyboard if you compose with the step sequencer 🙂

  4. Does anyone have a real MS20? Does it sound like a faithful emulation? It does look cool I must admit, but no midi, its just a toy until then surely?

  5. Not a toy. Very complex app. I use a MPC so I sample the KORG sounds/sequences with it.
    Still worth it and hella useful without midi. Gotta think outside the box. Plus you can compose a full song with drums/sequences with the app as it is.

  6. @Mr/Mrs Beat – sampling and importing sounds like alot of hard work and a bit backwards to me.

    How much do apple charge for their apple approved ipad usb cable? 😉

  7. Bought it yesterday, it's very sexy and the patching and sounds are awesome! I have the midi mobilizer but there's no way (yet) to connect it. Definitely worth my 11euros :):):)

  8. I did side to side with an MS-10 last night-very close emulation of oscillators and filters (identical to MS-20s), just a little more "sanitized", perhaps too clean. An awesome app, though.

  9. I wonder if Korg really wants to add MIDI to their apps. It would bring them into very direct competition with their hardware. This would be a fabulous app with MIDI. There is that little utility button on the top right hand corner that does not seem to do anything at present. Fingers crossed that it will be the MIDI implementation controls in the next update.

  10. "Does anyone have a real MS20?"


    "Does it sound like a faithful emulation?"

    No. Not even Korg's own Legacy Collection is faithful to the true analogue monster. This is code on an iPad.

  11. This is a good question, regarding the motives of manufacturers. I think Korg might be the most forward thinking of the companies creating apps. I read on CDM that this is the initial launch version (selling for $15.99) and that the price will go up to $30-something in January when the rest of the app is complete.

    mike http://www.soundsdefygravity.com

  12. This is a good question, regarding the motives of manufacturers. I think Korg might be the most forward thinking of the companies creating apps. I read on CDM that this is the initial launch version (selling for $15.99) and that the price will go up to $30-something in January when the rest of the app is complete. . leading me to believe that Korg is going for high-integration with other products. They probably need some testing time with iOS 4.2 before they can announce MIDI compatability.

    mike http://www.soundsdefygravity.com

  13. They did it. Midi implimentation is done!
    Found the CC Commands for controlling the IMS 20 Synthesizer. Spend two Hours on it.
    Each of the Synthesizers Knobs is Control Change Programmable. That means: IMS20 is remotable in your external Sequencer.
    Tested it with a Behringer UMA25. Unfortunately the app is not sending the CCs.
    But these are the first steps. The IMS 20 is now not only the best looking Synth app on IPAD it is also a professional Synthesizer, fully programmable. I didnot find the Commands for start, stop. ETC. Somebody an idea?

  14. Ok, here are the CCs. Korg IMS-20 synthesizer receives the following messages.

    Parameter NameCC# No. (hex)
    VCO1WAVE FORM 77 (4Dh)
    PW ADJUST 14 (0Eh)
    SCALE 15 (0Fh)
    VCO2WAVE FORM 82 (52h)
    PITCH 19 (13h)
    SCALE 22 (16h)
    MASTER TUNE 18 (12h)
    FREQ MOD MG/T.EXT 12 (0Ch)
    FREQ MOD EG1/EXT 93 (5Dh)
    VCO MIXERVCO1 LEVEL 20 (14h)
    VCO2 LEVEL 21 (15h)

    PEAK 29 (1Dh)
    CUTOFF MOD MG/T.EXT 30 (1Eh)
    CUTOFF MOD EG2/EXT 31 (1Fh)
    PEAK 71 (47h)
    CUTOFF MOD MG/T.EXT 85 (55h)
    CUTOFF MOD EG2/EXT 79 (4Fh)
    MG WAVE FORM 76 (4Ch)
    FREQUENCY 27 (1Bh)
    EG1 DELAY TIME 24 (18h)
    ATTACK TIME 23 (17h)
    RELEASE TIME 26 (1Ah)
    EG2 HOLD TIME 25 (19h)
    ATTACK TIME 73 (49h)
    DECAY TIME 75 (4Bh)
    SUSTAIN LEVEL 70 (46h)
    RELEASE TIME 72 (48h)
    LOW CUT FREQUENCY 88 (58h)
    CV ADJUST 90 (5Ah)
    OTHERS WHEEL 1 (01h)
    MOMENTARY SW — Channel Pressure
    OUTPUT VOLUME 7 (07h)

  15. Thanks Rolto for your hard work. I have tried for some time to work these out. What an awesome app. I got so turned on by it I bought Logic Pro and have started making music with that as well. What I need now is to be able to transfer midi from Korg to Logic but haven't found a way how to yet. I hope I eventually will..

  16. Hi everybody !

    Is it possible to synchronise the sequencer tempo of the iMS-20 using midi signal ??
    I am using the yamaha i-MX1 to connect my ipad to my sampler.

    Thanks for your help !

  17. I cannot set the frigging tempo at a whole frigging number. iPad simply fiddles around useless decimal points until I wanna smash it. Can they not provide an even or odd number tempo setting option for f$&k’s sakes? An embedded manual? At this point I don’t even care how great it looks and sounds. I cannot use it…

      1. Chief and Chris Catalano: I totally agree with you that Tempo setting on iMS-20 is ridiculously hard – BUT only if you don’t know how to do it. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they didn’t just include an easy ‘type in’ option instead of that £#*%¥€$ rotary ‘knob’.

        If I wouldn’t have read the manual I probably had never found out how to do it: You have to !swipe! over the tempo knob to the right to increase, and to the left to decrease the tempo value. It may sound unbelievable, but it’s actually possible to set the tempo on iMS-20 with cent accuracy.

        1. and this swipe gesture works on all the other controls, as well, which is great for fine tuning. swipe left/right for small increments, up/down for larger movements. works the same on iElectribe, etc. enjoy! 🙂

    1. mojofilters : yes you can use it with Xewton Music Studio on your iPad. To export a pattern or a song from iMS-20 to Music Studio (or other compatible apps) there are 3 ways (though the following instructions make the process seem complicated maybe, you’ll see that in reality it’s quite fast and easy):

      a) Audiobus: open the Audiobus app while the other apps are closed; open iMS-20 in the input slot of Audiobus and choose the pattern or song you want to record. Open MusicStudio in the output slot of Audiobus. Then switch to the iMS-20. You will see the Audiobus tab on one side of the display. tap on the MusicStudio icon to bring up a set of buttons, one of them being a record button. Press it and press also the play button of iMS-20 and the audio output of iMS-20 will be recorded in MusiStudio.
      You could also switch to MusicStudio after launching the apps in Audiobus and touch the iMS-20 icon while you’re in MusicStudio to bring up a play button. Then choose +Audio in MusicStudio, push the record button and then push the play button of iMS-20 in the Audiobus tab.

      b) Audiocopy/ paste: Open iMS-20. Go to the SONG/PTN Component. Choose a session/ song/ pattern you want to copy into MusicStudio. Touch the GLOBAL button on the upper right hand side. A Window will come up. Look in the lower section of this window for Audio Export options. Choose Bounce Song or Bounce Pattern. In the upper right hand side, a confirmation will appear for a short time saying that the song or pattern was saved.
      Look underneath the Session display on the upper left hand side for a Browse button. Touch it and a display will come up with lists of your sessions and Audio Exports. Touch Exports and you will see a list with the songs/ patterns that you bounced. Choose one of these files and you will hear the audio and see a row of options all the way down on the display. Touch the last ‘export’ icon in that row and you will be asked to choose either ‘Audiocopy’ or ‘Export to’. Touch Audiocopy and then exit iMS-20 and go to MusicStudio. Open the project to which you want to add the song or pattern you made in iMS-20. Touch +Audio. Touch the blue ‘file’ icon on the upper right side. A window will come up in which you can choose the source where you want to import the audio from. Choose AudioPaste and confirm with ‘OK’. You will be re-directed to the Audio Pasteboard where you have to touch ‘Audio Paste From Pasteboard’. The AudioPaste file name will appear and you touch ‘OK’ again. A waveform will appear. Touch the ‘Tracks’ tab above and you will see that the Audio from iMS-20 is part of your project now.

      c) Export to (it’s called ‘Open in’ in most apps but ‘Export to’ in iMS-20): You begin just as if you would Audiocopy/ paste but you choose ‘Export to…’ after touching the ‘export’ icon instead of ‘AudioCopy’ in the list where you can see your projects and Audio Exports. After touching ‘Export to…’ a small window will come up showing you compatible apps on your iPad. Choose MusicStudio and you will be re-directed into MusicStudio and you will see a box saying ‘File imported’. Touch the ‘OK’ in that box. Then go to the ‘Tracks’ section of MusicStudio and touch +Audio. Touch the blue ‘file’ icon in the upper right and an option will appear to ‘Load an audio file’ Choose ‘Audio folder’ as source and scroll to the audio file you want to import. Confirm with ‘OK’ and the waveform of the audio file you choose will appear. Go to the ‘Tracks’ section again and voila, your iMS-20 audio file will be a part of your project.

      I know this is a long post; I just wanted to make sure that I make myself as clear as possible since that question of yours tells me that you’re probably new to the sometimes a bit inconvenient but truly wonderful world of iOS ‘music’ making. Have a good time!

  18. I worked out how to get whole numbers with tempo. Set the controls to rotary touch the tempo knob then move all the way to the left of the screen. You can be very accurate then. Imagine a stick attached to the knob. Small stick not accurate very long stick super accurate.

Leave a Reply