The Korg MINI MS-20 Monophonic Synthesizer (NAMM Rumor)



Here’s another rumor for the upcoming 2013 NAMM Show: Korg may be introducing a MINI version of the classic MS-20 monophonic analog synthesizer!

The rumored Korg MINI MS-20 synthesizer looks a lot like the Korg Legacy controller, but eagle eyes have noticed some differences, including screw placement and LED differences.

Here’s another view:


No official announcement has been made for the Korg MINI MS-20. We’ll follow up with details when an official announcement is made.

In the meantime, though – what do you think of the idea of a MINI MS-20?

via SonicBern


59 thoughts on “The Korg MINI MS-20 Monophonic Synthesizer (NAMM Rumor)

  1. It would be smart from korg to sell such a synth. They have already recreated (part of) the circuits and a sort of keyboard reminiscent of the old MS20 (mini keys…urgh..
    So the “development” cost should be quite low.
    Some people will find interesting to have a patchable synth….not me…I had a real MS20 in the nineties (paid 1400 FF wich is 210 euros) and only kept it a few month.

  2. It’s certainly possible. The Monotrons showed that really good analogue sounds could be done using modern surface mount components.

    The smaller size (and cheaper build) of the legacy collection controller would certainly help in keeping the materials costs down compared with the original MS20. There are a lot of obsolete components in an MS20, I would expect a new version to have a quite different circuit using modern components, but be in no way inferior to the old version except for the smaller size. It should certainly be possible to undercut current second hand prices for MS20s.

  3. I would love to see this – cost would be an interesting and deciding factor of course.

    I’d also love to see the MS20ic reintroduced for its own sake – esp. as a controller for the iMS20 iPad app.

    Derek Jones

    Owner: MusicInclusive LLC

  4. 695 usd is the price according to the argentinian site. still don´t believe it.

    buying one for sure but it can´t be true. mini cv ports?no sense

  5. My KLC looks the same except for above mention subtle difference.
    I think it will be reintroduced as the same ( USB controller) so that it can be hooked up to the IPad via CCK connector to controll IMS-20 as how I use mine. They are hard to find and expensive. I paid $ 265.00 US . It came with the 2009 box version of the Legacy collection ( MS 20, Poly Six, Legacy Cell
    ) from Guitar Center 2010. I hope that others will be able to purchase one as well. It is fun. The small keys take some getting used to. Mine has 10 1/8″ Patch Cords.
    They should bundle it with an iPad 4, special edition.
    I want a real MS 10/ 20 production run … I want he real deal.
    Korg, please make it so…. It would be a nice Christmas wish.

    1. I think it’s probably the legacy controller updated too, but it’d be cool if they added some CV ins and outs and an audio interface to work with their analog gear.

      As cool as a new mini-ms20 would be, I’d kinda rather see 2 of all the trons and 2 tribes in a box with some LFOs, EGs, and envelope followers with patch points. Sorta like a MS10, 20 and 50 in a box combined with CV controlled delays! Neat potential for new sounds and it wouldn’t break the bank.

    1. In addition to the two differences that have been sited already (led placement and screws on the front pannel) I’ve also noticed that the keys of this so called mini ms20 are longer and shaped differently than the controller. They look more like miniature versions of the keys on the original ms20.

      I’m still not sure if I buy it. But It’s worth keeping an eye out for anyway.

  6. Ok, I have a friend here, in Japan who work for Korg and told me about this “new” analog ms20 few month ago before the last “korg major announcement “. when i saw the krome and black microkorg i thought it was a joke but i can tell you now that is real.

  7. I love the idea if the price is on point. If they can come up w/ a relatively cheap analog synth that compare to the ims20 that can be a game changer in getting people into the analog synth game

  8. If, in fact, this is truely a mini MS-20, and truely analog, it will be relatively easy to buy and then re-house in a larger case, using regular – sized knobs, and 1/4 inch jacks (or banana or whatever you prefer). Think about it, just re-wire everything, no major modification required, and you have a full – size MS-20…

    1. Well, at this time I think all the potentiometers are direct soldered on the PCB (don’t know how the real MS20 is in that situation). Still it will be possible to rewire and rehouse everything, but will be a hell of a job…

      Still, like your idea, would be cool. But for me, an external keyboard with larger keys will be much more fun, still having those small knobs.

    1. I don’t know. I think that out of the big 3 (y’know, korg, roland, yamaha) Korg are probably the only ones who I could see doing something like this. Take a look at their history. They have a tendency to come up with some surprising things (prophecy, kaoss pad, ms-20ic, DS-10, the tribes, sudden and all encompassing audiobus support in their ios apps).

  9. If this is real analogue, Korg may well repeat the success Arturia had in 2012, and in the process enhance their reputation.

    No one expected a monophonic analogue instrument from Arturia, whereas plenty of Korg mfans were expecting something big from their last release, and plenty were very disappointed.,
    This could go a long way towards restoring Korg’s reputation as being the only one of the ‘big 3’ synth manufacturers with the balls to do something left of field.

    If it’s real, a big thumbs up for Korg.

  10. This must be then wrong site for this hardware news. How will apple feel about
    being left out of this review.What is going on Applethopia.?

    1. So people bitch and moan when there is too much iPad news, then bitch some more when they actually post some hardware news?!
      Get a life…

  11. I really hope this is true. I wish companies like Korg would make more of their ‘classic’ design available again even if it was at a higher price point and ‘built to order’ or something. Not that I could pay for one right now perhaps, but someday!

  12. This seems completely plausable and I totally hope it’s true and at that price point. When you look at the Monotribe, it seems completely within the margin of probability (fingers crossed). The Minibrute was a major game changer and I expect, eventually, even Roland will get off their a** and produce something I want. So many analog synths were released this year, they can’t all be money losers, and if there is money to be made, I expect everyone to eventually join the game.

  13. I would be happy if they would just rerelease the MIDI controller version along with a software update or just a controller version for the iPad app as I own both. A real MS-20 Mini that sounds like an MS-20 and costs $700 seems like a stretch. If it’s real, prices will probably be double that. A good $300 to $400 MIDI controller seems very doable for Korg however. That I would buy even with mini keys…

    1. At present, the MS20ic’s are going for about $250-$350 on the ‘bay. We have one of those at present in the studio for use with our Analog Synthesis course, and they are very playable even with the smaller keys.

      It would be good if Korg released a new controller about $200 with options to add on extras. Perhaps a bundle with the legacy suite again like before as an extra $150, or a voucher for the iMS20 app at a discount if you own the controller.

      If they were available again at a reasonable price point, we would buy more for use in the classroom along with the iMS20 app.

      Derek Jones, Owner: MusicInclusive LLC.

  14. I kind of hope Korg doesn’t try and reissue instruments at spec to boost popularity. The big 3 wouldn’t be so unpopular among purists if they just stopped making such redundant junk. But, they are in the business of making money and would be losing money to reissue the legacy collection as proper hardware. I am quite certain there won’t be an ms20 mini for $700, and like a previous comment, somewhere double that range would seem appropriate. But, at that price, I would keep my eyes peeled for a real ms20 if that is what you’re after. I got mine for $1500 through local classifieds a couple summers ago, and I picked up a polysix through a trade. These instruments are out there, and if you are patient – you can find a deal that won’t break the bank.

  15. Korg could easily afford to sell a real MS-20 remake for 500-700 USD. There’s already a true 2-osc analog synthesizer on the market for $50 in the form of the Monotron DUO. All they need to do is use their shrink ray technology to shrink the rest of the components so they’re surface-mounted and voila: MS-20 mini. Why else release the monotrons and monotribes?

  16. What if Korg decided to release a few fake images along with a few real images to keep people guessing as to that is real? The King Korg being a fake while the mini MS20 is real?

  17. I bet 99% sure, the Mini MS-20 is real, to be revealed officially in January at Winter NAMM. Retailing at $500 as a direct competitor to the MiniBrute. The Mini MS-20 showed up on the product listings on a real music store website. Once they discovered their mistake, they removed the listing (although the photos page is still there).

    1. If that is true..and it really is a $5-600 competitor to the long as it has the right specs this seems like a must buy for me!

  18. I can’t lie! I hope it’s real! I could see them releasing a new update to to monotribe, so that its an expansion/ sequencer for the MS-20 mini ….. Or actually releasing a sequencer modular hub for this and the mono tron/monotribe series….it’s very possiably….but we shall see…. 😉

  19. Dear KORG,

    I wish you would stop with the cheap “mini” shit though and just make a true MS-20. Anything analog from KORG is made SO cheaply, while at the same time they are making massive touch-screen, 88 hammer-keyed, 10 engine work-stations that are literally like super-synths with all kinds of bells and whistle. But their analog stuff are almost toys in my opinion. KORG should build a real MS-20. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it KORG. Their monotribe could have been an amazing synth if they gave it a playable keyboard, MIDI or even Control Voltage. I have the original monotron and I have a monotribe. They both sound really nice but the are built like garbage. If you’re going to re-build the MS-20 please stop with the “mini” stuff. When I see KORG Mini I think cheaply made now. There’s an actual DIY markey now for MIDI port add-ons for your monotribe. I got one lol! Please put as much care into your analog stuff as you put into a Kronos or M3/M50. Enough with the mini!!!!!!

      1. The build quality of my MonoTribe is excellent – thick metal casing actually. So Korg is putting good care into their analog line so far. Betcha the Mini MS-20 will be sturdy and solid as well – looks like the entire faceplate is metal, maybe the sides and top too.

    1. I think what most people find frustrating about the ‘mono-series’ is the RIBBON keyboard because none of them have MINI-keys. I’ll take mini-keys over a small ribbon any day. And I agree with some of the other posters, my monotribe is one of the best built pieces of kit in my studio. It’s also one of the most frustrating because it sounds so damn good but is almost useless for the way I like to work.

      As for KORG’s mini keyboard series, it has been one of KORGs biggest sellers over the last decade. How many VA synths from 10 years ago are still in production? Well the MicroKORG is. The MS 2000 which the MK is a mini-version of is a distant memory and yet the Micro series has grown. Now Novation has totally taken a page from KORG’s playbook with their MiniNova synth. The market for mini-keys is GROWING folks, not getting smaller. So if you hate ’em just use MIDI, that is what it is there for. You can consider the above a desktop unit with mini-keys attached. I did find chords a bit fiddly to play on my original MK, but for a mono-synth the small keys would be fine. And again I will take small keys over a tiny ribbon any day. I actually think a large ribbon synth would be cool!

      I am sure KORG will produce a large full sized analog synth in the not too distant future, but this is a new market and I think they are testing the waters and getting their team together. A new full sized instrument is probably in the works but also a very large investment in time and money. I think KORG are still ramping up their analog engineering team and production. Give KORG some time, I am sure they are working on it. The monotron was the first true analog synth made by a major Japanese synth manufacturer in a very long time, and it cost next to nothing, and also subsequently did next to nothing. 😉 The monotribe was a step in the right direction, but depending on your workflow maybe not a very large step. But again, its build quality I think is pretty high. And now this micro MS-20 would be a HUGE improvement over the monotribe, at least for most of us. I don’t really care how large a new MS-20 from KORG is as long as its analog and the build quality is up there. I do believe the original MS-20 was built from quite a lot of plastic though, so don’t expect full-metal construction, even if KORG were to bring back a full-sized original.

  20. I also think for the right price, the mini keys could be okay. I like the smaller form factor of microkorg. A polyphonic analog synth in the mk body would be swell.

  21. For those who doubt, remember that Korg was the first mainstream manufacturer to bring analog back in the form of the original monotron. Yes the monotron and monotribe predate the minibrute. Sure Arturia was the first to put this “new” more affordable way of building analog synths into a package that could be really useful in the form of the minibrute, but do you really think that Korg hired a team to build analog circuits just for the monotron series? The monotron and monotribe were warmups folks.

    Even if the other two do not re-enter the analog market, Korg is in and this ‘Micro MS-20’ (my best guess what it will actually be called) is the perfect start. Korg has had a HUGE success with their micro series, and Japanese love miniaturizing things (I should know I am half-Japanese). So if you were going to re-release some of your old analog gear with new tech, why not make it smaller, lighter, cheaper and more compact then before if the new technology allows it? Which it does. I think that is where KORG is headed if their analog gear continues to sell. I can see them re-releasing their “greatest hits” of the analog days in miniature from factor, the legacy collection, but for real and smaller then before. Cheaper, lighter, more compact, and more fun. 🙂

    When I saw the original monotron the first thing I thought of was of the above mini ms-20. That KORG would build a new mini ms-20 one day and that day may be very soon. Again of the “big three” Japanese synth makers KORG is willing to do things the others won’t. Again, to any naysayers, just remember the monotron. KORG was first, not Arturia, and I think KORG had this planned all along. Arturia just beat them to the punch. Even if KORG do not release this at NAMM 2013, I still think its coming, along with a host of other cool analog gear from KORG. KORG get what the other two don’t and their design philosophy shows that.

    For those complaining about the mini keys, I think it will have midi, so just connect your favorite board and away you go. Perhaps if these are big sellers KORG will actually make tabletop versions of all their classic circuits? I think it all depends on sales. If analog sells big, we will see more of it. The excitement of the monoton, then monotribe, the minibrute show that there is a HUGE pent up demand for AFFORDABLE analog. Sure analog has been around for those who could afford it. But hopefully it is back for the masses and here to stay.

  22. I personally would like a re-release of the USB controller to use with my iPad and the MS20 vst. A real ms20 would be awesome too though, it’s a synth I have fantasized about acquiring for many years.

    But these days I am so pleased with quality of software synths and the smooth workflow of plugins that real analogue isn’t really that important to me anymore. But there are many thousands of musicians out there who I am sure would beg to differ with that viewpoint. ; )
    That being said, if your going to keep a real analogue or two around, an ms20 is a great choice, I would probably buy it no matter what if the price was right.

  23. As an owner of the MS-20ic controller, comparing these photos the keys are definitely longer than the controllers keys. So that, and the other differences would suggest that this isn’t the existing USB controller.

    Could it be a new controller. Why? Why remake it for the few who would buy it for their iPad, and if you did remake it, why change its design? Unless there were design errors that needed correction? Screws to secure the insides, led repositioning and newer keys they wanted to use. But why the black headphone socket? The headphone socket on the controller isn’t a real headphone socket to begin with.

    I think it’s real, and if it is ill be buying one. But as a collector and lover of vintage synths I don’t get this. Why copy the ms20 so slavishly? The design isn’t practical and it doesn’t fit in with the design of the monotribe or even monotron.

    I would have preferred a synth based heavily on the MS20 but aesthetically very different and with a few additions like a 16 step sequencer and even the lfo knob that pulses with the speed.

    Unless there’s a plan for an updated mini SQ-10 and mini MS-50?

    But still, it could have been a more contemporary take on a classic rather than a remake.

    Still hope it’s true!

  24. for gods sake. give us the real thing. stop dicking around with small crappy feeling keys and emulations. we know you can make it, so do it! we’ll buy them.

  25. This is a 100% analog semi-modular synth with 2 VCOs and that legendary filter for only $500 and everyone is complaining about the key size? Like others have said, I’d much rather have mini keys than a ribbon controller…

    I really hope this is real. I’d love a small analog monophonic synth, but the old ones aren’t reliable and have parts that are impossible to find so a new synth is the best choice for me. The Monotribe was like half of an MS20 plus a built in sequencer and that was $150, so a mini MS20 with mini keys for $500 isn’t too hard to believe. If this is real I’ll buy it and I’m sure they know it would be very popular. With all the recent Microkorg hate, they need something new and everyone wants an analog synth now so why wouldn’t they make one?

  26. Beat the horse to death. Can’t they come up with something new? How many Apps, plug-ins, software and hardware clones can one have of the MS20? Let see something new, innovated and let old dogs lie.

    1. We are all free to innovate as we see fit. There are three types: those who make things happen: those who watch things happen: and those who say “what happened?”.

      I’m ready to embrace this synth for the beauty that it is…my first choice would be vintage ARP2600, but the price is out of my range. The MS20 mini will be an excellent second choice. Without a price point like this, I would not be able to afford to get back into old style analog synthesis.

      There are those who like mouse driven GUI’s, but it is not the same. I had the privelage of access to an ARP2600 back in the day, and spent many hours on it.

  27. There are fun times ahead for everyone. For the people who have waited a long time for an affordable analogue keyboard synth and a way to make/create music without needing to look at a screen. And also fun fun fun times for the moaning angry ‘been there done that’ types. Everyone’s a winner.

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