The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Korg MS-20 vs MS-20 Mini
Old 7th July 2016
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Korg MS-20 vs MS-20 Mini

I'm thinking of trying to find an original Korg MS-20 or buying the MS-20 mini instead, and wonder what people think about the differences. I tend to be more of a original/vintage synth guy, but it'd certainly be easier/cheaper to get a mini. For those of you who have played both, how does the mini stand up to the original as far as the nastiness/growl/fat factor?
Old 7th July 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
If you are even considering getting into the price range of an original, you should really look at the module aka ms20m version.

- You get both versions of the filter
- You don't get the ultra cheap toy feeling of the mini or the maintenance worries of vintage
- you get regular V/octave in addition to HZ/V, so its easier to integrate with other systems, but will still work with your SQ10.
Old 7th July 2016
  #3
Disclaimer, ive not played both

I have the mini. Its the flimsiest piece of gear I own. Luckily I used Push so I dont have to put up with those sh1te keys. If I leave the window open Im worried a draught will sheer the knobs off.

I doubt the full size kit or m version are built the same...

...saying that


What a f*cking brilliant synth for under $500, it can sound fat as phuk

I have a pittsburgh and eurorack sitting on top of it, linked to give 4 voices...its a tad better
Old 7th July 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 
ImNotDedyet's Avatar
Yeah, the mini's build quality isn't great. But, it sounds fantastic. I'll never ditch mine unless I upgrade to a M or something. I use it basically as a sound module and now that I've branched a bit into modular, use it to patch in and out of the modular.

I'd probably recommend the m as well. Better build quality, filter choices, and probably in between both on price.
Old 7th July 2016
  #5
Lives for gear
 
goldphinga's Avatar
 

All versions sound great can't really go wrong with any of them. My original with 35 filter is the dirtiest of the lot though!
Old 7th July 2016 | Show parent
  #6
I've had the original (MK2 filter) and the mini side by side.

in terms of sound:
  • The mini is more consistent, smoother.
  • The OG (MK2 at least) has a more open sound, and mixes better.
  • The mini has very stable VCOs and will stay in tune marginally better and scale marginally better
  • The mini has background noise, discussed ad nauseam. there are work-arounds for this using dynamic filters/de-noisers gates etc. Just know that the signal wont be as clean as a moog!
  • The OG has a nicer sounding E.S.P. circuit

in terms of synthesis:
  • The mini has midi, which means you have more sythesis options with the keyboard patch points
  • The OG can produce feedback from trig out to signal in on the ESP, the mini cannot
  • The OG can use noise to modulate the oscs more effectively than the mini

in terms of build quality
  • The mini is SHlT

compatibility:
  • The OG works with Hz scaling, very annoying if you don't have a midi to Hz converter (kenton CV converters will work fine - check with kenton to be sure on the exact model)
  • The mini wins with midi

conclusion:
If I were to choose between a mini and an OG and price were not a consideration, I would choose the OG.

Regarding the m vs the mini, clearly the m is best.
m vs the OG? probably the m all things considered. But I'm not about to sell my OG to buy an m because of the tone and the ESP and the noise-source.

Best bang for buck: mini
Best tone: OG
Best overall?: maybe the m

Last edited by golden beers; 7th July 2016 at 10:18 AM..
Old 7th July 2016
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
djemberecords's Avatar
 

The MS-20 Mini is a bargain.

However, as mentioned above, the MS-20M 'kit' module is probably the best MS-20 ever built and very solid. Not cheap, but worth it to me.
Old 7th July 2016
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
I have an MS-20M module.

Super sturdy build. It also has FM, Sync, PWM, both filters, mults, v/Oct, and a free analog sequencer.

I kinda love sync and PWM so it's the only one for me.

Some slight disappointments: It's missing the mod wheel output and the midi spec doesn't give you pitch bend or mod wheel routing. So if you want all the cool mod wheel tricks you have to integrate a midi/CV box. BUT! The on board portamento doesn't work with CV for some crazy reason. So you pick: mod wheel and pitch bend over CV, or portamento over USB. Not possible to do both. Kinda nuts.

Otherwise yeah, MS-20M rules.
Old 7th July 2016
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Yea, I guess my assumption that any synth with mini keys is shiite has been proved correct once again.
Old 7th July 2016 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by otaylor View Post
Yea, I guess my assumption that any synth with mini keys is shiite has been proved correct once again.
No one said that...I think its brilliant.
Old 7th July 2016
  #11
Lives for gear
 
sovietpop's Avatar
I had the Mini , liked the sound very much but absolutely hated the build quality so i've bought the M version.
There is no comparaison, The M feel's like a quality instruments and the filter 1 (on my unit) is really less noisy than the Mini. You also have both filters revision, pwm , sync and fm ! Its more expansive but if you really want an Ms20 the M version is the one to get imo .
Old 7th July 2016 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Jamie munro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by otaylor View Post
Yea, I guess my assumption that any synth with mini keys is shiite has been proved correct once again.
Incorrect mate, read the above again, it's a cracking little synth and all owners agree, the build quality could be better we all agree again but there's a weird caveat to it, mines been beat to death and nothing's broken, no patches, no keys, no knobs, my mates in a travelling band and had one as soon as they landed in England and that's been through the ringer in some proper ****holes and is 100% functional after more than 3 years, so while they seem weak they actually seem to manage just fine, it truly sounds amazing for the measly layout of cash £320!!! Nothing really. Add a mooger or other analogue distortion and it's all over

Reliable, cheap, modern (ish) compared to the OG. Not as bad ass as the OG that is true but it's close, and not a repair headache in sight. The M version is cool with its extras but mahoosive and a bit ugly tbf, if I was spending the £800 now I think I'd go with the full size rehash over the tabletop, it's still got the dual filters which is a big plus
Old 8th July 2016
  #13
Deleted User
Guest
One thing not explored is the MS-20K(it) keyboard.
Not flimsy
full sized keys
both filters
(and most important to me) 1/4" plugs.
Old 8th July 2016 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
gruvsyco's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod Betamax View Post
(and most important to me) 1/4" plugs.
Funny. that's the biggest reason I haven't jumped on the M.
Old 8th July 2016
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Rob Ocelot's Avatar
By and far the "best" version of the MS-20:



The Educational "Blackboard" version. No one gives a **** what filter version is in it because it looks cool hanging on your wall.



(only 50 or so made)
Old 19th July 2016
  #16
Gear Addict
 

So I picked up an MS-20 mini and of course the specs are all there and the filter is cool but my first impression is that it isn't nearly as phat/ballsy as my other analog gear (yamaha cs-15 and analog eurorack stuff). I never played a real MS-20 but have a gut feeling that the real thing blows this imitation away. Any original MS-20 owners agree or disagree?

Maybe I have a bias since I've tried other modern imitations of synths and they never really hold a candle to the real vintage synths I own (as far as the beef/phat factor).
Old 19th July 2016 | Show parent
  #17
The raw tone of the ms20og with open filters is thin. You have to dial in a bit if high-pass with some resonance to get that heavy bass. I dont think the original is any fatter sounding. Grittier, more open, but just as thin as the mini
Old 19th July 2016
  #18
Lives for gear
 
goldphinga's Avatar
 

I found the old and new to be very close. The new models are all brighter and they dont breakup in exactly the same way when pushed but im talking 95% of the original mojo.
Old 19th July 2016
  #19
Deleted User
Guest
A MS-20 through a BOSS EH-2 enhancer and a Strymon Deco is coolness incarnate!
Old 19th July 2016 | Show parent
  #20
Deleted User
Guest
It's hard to tell from the photo.
are those 1/4" plugs or 1/8"?
Hopefully the thing is so huge they are 1/4"!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
By and far the "best" version of the MS-20:



The Educational "Blackboard" version. No one gives a **** what filter version is in it because it looks cool hanging on your wall.



(only 50 or so made)
Old 19th July 2016 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
Jamie munro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by otaylor View Post
So I picked up an MS-20 mini and of course the specs are all there and the filter is cool but my first impression is that it isn't nearly as phat/ballsy as my other analog gear (yamaha cs-15 and analog eurorack stuff). I never played a real MS-20 but have a gut feeling that the real thing blows this imitation away. Any original MS-20 owners agree or disagree?

Maybe I have a bias since I've tried other modern imitations of synths and they never really hold a candle to the real vintage synths I own (as far as the beef/phat factor).

It's easy to think that, get to know it a bit, use bo filters, slight tuning changes, understand the way the dials interact wth each other including the HADSR and especially the pwm dial even when it's not using a pwm wave as it changes what osc 2 does, you'll see the magic in time.
Old 19th July 2016 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
The raw tone of the ms20og with open filters is thin.
If it was digital and had the exact same tone 3/4 of the peeps on here would write it off as a POS!
Old 19th July 2016 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod Betamax View Post
It's hard to tell from the photo.
are those 1/4" plugs or 1/8"?
Hopefully the thing is so huge they are 1/4"!
1/4". I believe the kb is the same size as the "original" MS-20. They had one of these in a synth shop in Stockholm, it's fecking massive.
Old 20th July 2016 | Show parent
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mulcahy View Post
If it was digital and had the exact same tone 3/4 of the peeps on here would write it off as a POS!
thing is, the high-pass with the resonance up a tad, is as fat as hell. and if you had that tone as digital, those 3/4 would never write it off!
Old 20th July 2016
  #25
Lives for gear
 
breakmixer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by otaylor View Post
I'm thinking of trying to find an original Korg MS-20 or buying the MS-20 mini instead, and wonder what people think about the differences. I tend to be more of a original/vintage synth guy, but it'd certainly be easier/cheaper to get a mini. For those of you who have played both, how does the mini stand up to the original as far as the nastiness/growl/fat factor?
A friend of mine with many releases who used to own an original MS20 - well, he had a go on my MS-20mini and just said 'awesome, I love the way the MS-20 sounds and I used to do this live with it'(Twiddled filter knob left/right whilst holding down one long note), i.e. he didn't bang on how it was different sounding to his 'vintage' he once owned.

Save some cash and get the reissue! Vintage is over rated...IMO...
Old 20th July 2016
  #26
stk
Gear Addict
I have owned the mini as well as both the keyboard and module reissues. I have not owned the original vintage (because **** vintage and its inherent inevitable issues, life is too short and I'm a musician not a collector).

I traded the mini, but only because I wanted the full size for purely self indulgent "feel" reasons. The build quality is certainly not terrible as suggested by previous posters. It's not as solid as the full sized reissues (and presumably the original) - mainly due to the child sized jacks, and purely cosmetic nuts, but I would have no hesitation tossing it in a bag and dragging it to a gig. And the price. Damn.

Mini keys.. Well I was fine with them (original ms keyboard, while full size, is rubbish too). Pretty sure you won't be doing becaped prog solos on an MS regardless. But if you do, film that ****.

Oh, it sounds absolutely fantastic.

Tip: crank the hpf resonance to 70-90% and dial the hpf cutoff to where it "sounds good" with whatever part you're playing. (No it won't key track, but care factor). Proper low end. **** will give you a massage and a happy ending.

Personally I prefer the grimy, saturated bass of the MS-20 to the more rounded Moog tone, but that is highly subjective so I suggest you spend some time with one, or just take a punt on future resale and grab a used one.

Cheers
Old 20th July 2016 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sovietpop View Post
I had the Mini , liked the sound very much but absolutely hated the build quality so i've bought the M version.
There is no comparaison, The M feel's like a quality instruments and the filter 1 (on my unit) is really less noisy than the Mini. You also have both filters revision, pwm , sync and fm ! Its more expansive but if you really want an Ms20 the M version is the one to get imo .
As someone who also got the M I will agree with everything here.
Old 20th July 2016
  #28
i used to have MK2 and i definitely liked that filter a lot, smooth and liquidy. of course it missed the outright gritt and bruteness of the MK1 in feedback, which i also learned to like especially during 90s electronic revolution. the form factor is ideal for performing, but terrible for carrying arround. and finally, i always missed chewing PWM and sync.

and i think i found the solution to all of the above: this video totally did me in, i rarely get my so excited with synths nowadays, but this is fu*king it (listen to the end):






haven't the funds right now as im paying off moslab, but this is definitely on my to-do list.
Old 20th July 2016 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
if you had that tone as digital, those 3/4 would never write it off!
I doubt that. I see people write off great synths all the time here.
Old 20th July 2016
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Stevism's Avatar
I like rev2 filter better in my ms-20m, I'm glad I didn't get the mini. Different strokes for different folks!
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 4277 views: 611109
Avatar for mtps
mtps 1 week ago
replies: 331 views: 57205
Avatar for Stevism
Stevism 10th December 2018
replies: 55 views: 17611
Avatar for abruzzi
abruzzi 9th January 2017
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump