Korg MS-20 Mini vs Korg MS-20

This video, via atoooy, is a comparison of the Korg MS-20 Mini and the original Korg MS-20.

As a comparison, it seems flawed because of some small volume and setting differences. But the second half, which puts the two Korgs to work with a little ‘switched on’ style Bach sequencing, highlights how great they both sound.

32 thoughts on “Korg MS-20 Mini vs Korg MS-20

  1. Those are very minor differences. The trouble with VCO based analog synths is that it’s very hard to match patches, for obvious reasons. Playing two original MS20’s side by side would yield similar results. They both sound fantastic.

  2. Slightly different sounds for sure, but some of that could be the age of the original. Both sounded great to me.

    Wonder if Korg will do a desktop version of this.

    1. Excuse me, a “desktop version”? What would you call this, then? And what would that desktop version look like?

        1. I think you should buy a v-machine and load korg legacy into it. Now go and play outside kids. I have work to do.

  3. The Original sounds much better, but only playing one note to compare doesn’t really help. I don’t like the sound of either, sort of harsh and raspy, prefer MOOG or Oberheim

    1. Only using Moog’s and Oberheim’s? It’s a shame to not being open-minded enough two let in a 3rd dimension of the sound spectrum…

    2. (Absolutely no disrespect intended)
      I think it would be really interesting to see how the personal music preferences reflect the preferences of synthesizer sounds.

      I could imagine that somebody who listens mostly to calm, atmospheric electronic music prefers smooth filter sounds of e.g. Moog synthesizers. On the other hand, somebody who listens to Industrial, Metal and such harsh music genres rather prefers an aggressive sounding filter.

      This idea just came to me because I have now read multiple reviews where people complain about “harsh” sounds – and I don’t get it. In my book, harsh means good…

      Could it be that our synth preferences also reflect our music taste? 😉

  4. Ages ago a good friend of mine – back then owning two MS-20’s – noticed a drastic sound difference between the units. After being in touch with KORG’s support, he got an e-mail personally from an original MS-20 creator crew member that there were an early version of the VCF’s, as well as a pair that replaced those on later serial numbers.

    In other words, not even two old MS-20’s do sound the same, even if they are re-calibrated as close as possible.

    Then the Mini is said to have a reduced background noise level…

    It’s a bargain, even if it might not being built like a tank.

    Stop wining and start enjoying this analogue revolution!

    1. Agreed. Can’t live with the minor differences? Go spend 2 grand.

      Otherwise, enjoy this bargain analogue synth and go make great music.

  5. It’s called the “MS-20 Mini”, and has a similar circuit topology to the original MS-20, so of course it’s going to attract comparisons. If Korg is going to use the original MS-20’s namesake and lineage to generate hype and sales, comparisons are totally warranted. Does the MS-20 Mini sound the same? No, not quite. Does it sound better? In my opinion, from what I’ve heard thus far, no. Don’t get me wrong, the MS-20 Mini sounds great — especially for the price — but it seems just a little thin compared to the original MS-20.

    1. It’s funny. You’re just pointing out why people are making comparisons, and offering your own opinion in that regard… but you’re still getting downvoted, apparently for not agreeing with the masses who just want to believe the Korg MS-20 Mini is absolutely perfect, and without flaws of any kind.

  6. interesting that they sound very different considering they both are using the same parts.
    what exactly is the theory as to why they would all sound different, including let’s say, two original ms20s side by side?

    1. They aren’t using the same parts, they just have very similar circuit topologies. The VCA’s are a completely different design, and the MS-20 Mini uses surface mount components while the original MS-20 uses regular (non-SMT) components. The MS-20 Mini also has an additional circuit to keep the oscillators in tune — to what extent I’m not sure, but generally a little bit of oscillator drift is pleasant.

  7. Ha,ha gotta laugh, I just read all Gordon Reid’s review of the MS20 Volume 28 issue 7 from the SOS Magazine. Wiped about £700 of the price of the original within the space of 5mins reading. Ebay sales speak for themselves! If I were an MS 20 owner, I would only be stoked if I had intended to sell it. I would advise the real muso,s to keep their original, in much the same way as I’m keeping my original MPC2000xl despite cheaper iPad version. There is just something about my MPC that is irreplaceable, the sound and the way it feels. I am sure the same is true for the original MS 20.
    But with regard to the investment collectors that store these beautiful instruments in a dusty old loft to never be played just so they can show off about the £2000 grand synth that they want £2500 for, I for one am already rollin around Impersonating a dying fly laughing my ass off. I’d stay a bit longer, And say a bit more but I’m off to buy the new MS 20. Thanks Gordon 🙂

  8. It’s really funny because the MS-20 Mini is brand new, straight from the factory. This is analogue we’re talking about. A 1970’s – era ANALOGUE synthesizer is bound to have wear on its sound. Little harmonic distortions added to it from age. This one is completely new. It is more likely that the original MS-20s sounded like the Mini when they were first developed. I think people who are obsessing about the details are bitter that Korg would kill the value of their vintage synth by making it not really “vintage” anymore. People generally love the grimy sound of vintage hardware, but this whole comparison nonsense… put it to rest. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, but don’t waste your time trying to convince people that they should still spend 2,000 bucks on your old beat up synthesizer from the 80s. Put it in a museum if you want to.

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