The Most Famous of Korg Synths Returns
The most famous of all Korg synths returns to celebrate Korg’s 50th birthday – introducing the Korg MS20 Mini
There are many Korg synths that can lay claim to being true classics. If you had to pick one as the most recognisable from its exhaustive legacy, then a great many would plump for the MS20. This classic analogue monosynth was one of the brand’s first successes, combining a semi-modular design with versatility, and a unique sonic character.
Now, timed perfectly to celebrate Korg’s 50th birthday, the Korg MS20 Mini has been unveiled- a perfect recreation of this classic analogue synthesizer, in a more compact cabinet. Before you all start raiding your piggy banks, let me fill in a few more details…
Hard-wired, but patchable design
One of the most distinctive aspects of the original MS20 was its appearance. It was a semi-modular design, meaning that its circuitry was hard-wired, but could be re-patched and re-routed via the connections on its front panel. This gave the synth an aesthetic that has defined synths of this era.
As can be seen from the photographs, this new Korg synth is identical to its ancestor (albeit 86% of the size). So, the keys are mini keys, and the patch sockets are mini-jacks, but it is still very much an MS20.
In actual fact, the engineers of the original oversaw production, ensuring that it has the same performance and tone. As some components of the original are no longer available, their part in the development process was crucial. If a part needed to be swapped, then they made the call on which substitute component provided the most faithful reproduction of the MS20 sound.
One of the most appealing aspects of the original was the filter. It was powerful, and when resonance was turned up, it could self-oscillate, giving the synth tone an incredible aggressive, and gritty edge. Owners of the Monotron or Monotribe will be aware of this- both feature the same filter circuit.
Here are some of the details you’ll want to know about the MS20 Mini.
- Complete replication of the monophonic MS20 synth – Overseen by the original engineers, this is an analogue MS20 in miniature form.
- Two oscillator design – complete with two VCAs, two VCFs, 2 envelopes, and a single LFO, but with less noise than the original.
- Classic MS20 filter – the unique, self-oscillating hi-pass and lo-pass filters of the original.
- Semi-modular – re-route signal via front patch bay.
- Modern convenience – USB and MIDI input enable it to be integrated into a DAW set-up.