MS-20 sharing and discussion thread

Nice! I wish pitch to cv tools were more common and further explored, there’s so much you can do with it. Goldfrapp’s use of this on Felt Mountain is really fun to listen to as well.


Ah, I read something about your partner in the band being from here, but maybe I am remembering wrong…

Picked up one of the new ones used the other day, it’s been getting more love than my modular at the moment - so useful for such a wide variety of timbres, tones, etc. Haven’t even tried sequencing the midi with Octatrack. Speaking of, how is the midi implementation on it? Have been kept pretty busy by the SQ1, patchbay, and keyboard so far…

MIDI works but I almost never use it. I don’t like that it’s restricted to MIDI channel 1, and using the SQ-1 as a MIDI-cv converter is much better since it lets you send pitch out from two separate channels to control each oscillator independently.


oh, right, sorry. yes, Amelia is originally from Cambridge, but hasn’t lived there in a long time. we both live in NC currently.

Got it… NC sounds nice.

Still have mine! and I recall back in 2009, Felix Kubin concert in Portugal he used mine :wink:
as the world turns… Eigenharps, MPE, Continuum.
MS-20 still delivers.

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Thanks for starting this thread. The link to Ippei Tambata’s YT channel is great.

Question for those that have owned/played both the MS-20 and the mini: I’m curious if there are substantive audio/technical/interface etc differences between the two (besides size and je ne sais quoi factor of vintage equipment)?

The going rate for an MS-20 in Tokyo seems to be about $900-1000, so there is a price difference between the two!

Popped into this thread hoping people were sharing their MS-20s rather than sharing information about MS-20s. If anyone wants to share their MS-20 with me, I’d be fine with that.


The original one (apparently) uses 1/4" jacks, while the mini uses 3.5 mm ones. The new one has a (very basic) MIDI implementation, while the old one was produced before MIDI.


Oh yeah, if you haven’t made drum sounds on your MS-20, this is a great guide with jumping-off-point patches. I found this really helpful too for expanding my palette of analog synthesis techniques.


I witnessed the following shortcomings of the Korg MS-20 Mini I tried in a music store in 2015 compared to my original MS-20:

  • The CV INPUT jack of the MOD VCA was not normalized
  • The MOD VCA distorts sensitive CV input signals, so much that the keyboard CV is no longer usable for chromatic playing of the oscillators once it passed thru the MOD VCA
  • The sustain level of EG2 does not equal 0 volt. On the original MS-20 the EG2 sustain level is always 0 volt, so that all other EG2 levels are moved relatively to 0 volt when you move the sustain level.


My girlfriend put the album on in the car with her parents once and they thought the radio was broken.


If you use Eurorack, there’s a DIY version of the External Signal Processor section (E.S.P -> ‘mind reader’)


Sharing some ms-20 love. This is mine, for the last 20 years. Using it with Eurorack these days, mainly for the filters. The broken tooth was a result of moving it from New York in a road case that was not so well fitted. Does anybody know how I can get a replacement key?


Not always the cheapest place, but I think Syntaur is pretty good for finding old synth parts:

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Hey, thank you! :musical_keyboard:

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So I just got a Frames module this week. I’ve discovered this morning that it’s a great partner to the MS-20! You can manually tune a set of frames to notes you want the ms-20 to play and then send sequences or other cv into Frames’ modulation input to create a sort of quantizer. It’s a bit limited, but it’s easy to tune the notes in, and obviously it’s not restricted to a voltage standard so it can simultaneously sequence v/8 oscillators.


I got a MS-20 mini today and I’m surprised by how leaky and noisy the main VCA is. :frowning: From reading comments online I see its a wide spread problem, so it seems its not just my mini. I was planning on modding the ms-20 anyway so I was thinking maybe someone knows of a fix? I want to love this thing, but I can’t use a noise floor like this for the project I’m currently doing.

Personally, the leakiness and noise is part of the appeal. I think the source is the discrete construction of the VCA? Unfortunately I’m not well-informed about any of the mods one can do.

@lijnenspel it occurs to me—maybe you could use a gate or compander to recover the noise floor you need? Dunno if that fits with your project, but it occurred to me as something practical that might be helpful.