It’s badly upstaged by the ARP 2600, but for those who want it, KORG are again making full-sized MS-20 synths. That caps a long string of MS-20s from KORG.
The KORG MS-20 was one of the products that helped launch the current wave of big-name remakes. And KORG has done versions of the MS-20 every way imaginable. Let’s review just a few:
Nintendo DS game – KORG DS-10 (loosely based on the original – there are two variations, the original DS-10 and the DS-10 Plus enhanced version, plus physical carts and downloads, just if you want to get obsessive)
The iPhone descendent of that (with I think a different sound engine) – KORG iDS-10 for iPhone
iPad app – iMS-20 (plus KORG Gadget, too, if you want to be completionist)
MS-20 Legacy Collection plug-in, which briefly had available an external controller for the computer that supported patching:
A mini version – the MS-20 mini (hey, Japan does seem to appreciate things being small and – I’m totally with them on this, so like Japan and me)
The best of all of these, perhaps, is the full-sized MS-20 kit. I made one; and it’s brilliant – because of its reliability and flexibility, maybe even a little better than having the original around.
But the MS-20 kit was a limited edition. And so now we have the MS-20FS (for Full-Sized). It appears to be identical to the kit in every way – USB and MIDI, switchable filter, and even the original 1978 manual included in the box. But apart from the switchable filter and new I/O, it’s indistinguishable from the original – enough so that once it’s got some dust on it, these are regularly mistaken for the original.
The only news in the reissue is colors – four powder-coat options, in an attractive green, white, blue, and black.
No word yet on pricing, but this is coming this year.
That’s all fine and well, but am I alone in wishing for a new semi-modular, patchable thing from KORG? The MS-20 is great, but the more we live with it, the more I wonder what a new instrument catering to modern tastes might be.
Then again, I celebrated my birthday yesterday and I was also introduced in 1978 so — never mind. Things from 1978 are for more relevant than anything younger and cooler and all of you should really just throw money at us. Good, there, done. Oh wait – I should work on some color options for myself.
For more MS action – here’s a minisite dedicated to the MS-10 synth:
And sorry, 1978, but this NAMM is all about 1970, because of this:
But if you want to go the other way and get retro with a Nintendo DS (much cheaper), here’s some inspiration:
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