Honey, I shrunk the synth! Recreated in a miniature size, the Korg MS-20 Mini does exactly what the 1978 original does, but in a highly compact form factor that’s 86 percent smaller than Korg’s original MS-20. This little monophonic analog synthesizer sports 37 keys; knob design and printing that stay true to the original’s; and in the patch section, mini plugs rather than 1/4-inch phone plugs. Making a good thing even better, Korg has released the MS-20 Mini as a portable, affordable, and easy-to-use synth for today’s musicians.
Where Vintage Meets Modern
The MS-20 Mini boasts two oscillators with ring modulation, envelope generators with hold and delay, and a VCA designed to produce less noise than the original. Powerful self-oscillating high-pass and low-pass filters with distortion lend the synth a radical sound, while an external signal processor (ESP) gives the MS-20 Mini extra flexibility by allowing you to use the pitch or volume of an external audio source to control the synthesizer. Want to play the MS-20 Mini as a vocal synth? No problem — just input a microphone. Want to use it as a guitar synthesizer? Input an electric guitar. It’s as simple as that.
Thanks to a flexible patching system, you can create complex sounds by plugging in cables to change the connections between the various units. Unless you never mess with the cables, no two noodle/jam sessions will be the same, since different combinations of the modulation input/output and trigger, sample and hold, and noise generator can produce a wide variety of sounds.
The MS-20 Mini has a MIDI In jack for receiving note messages, along with a USB-MIDI connector that can transmit and receive note messages. With this monophonic analog synthesizer, you can even connect it to your computer and play it from a sequencer.
Overseen By the Engineers of the Original MS-20
A development team led by the MS-20’s original engineers was responsible for recreating the original circuitry. According to Korg, when it was necessary to substitute a part, these engineers made the decisions based on careful listening, in order to reproduce the original sound faithfully. With this said, however, the Mini version will never sound exactly the same as the vintage MS-20 as we know it today — because its bright and extreme sound is that of an original MS-20 in mint condition at the time it went on sale in 1978, before any of the components aged.
Korg’s MS-20 Mini comes with the original MS-20 owner’s manual and settings chart that explains how to create sounds, and even its packaging has the same look and feel of that of the original unit.
– 37-key monophonic analog synthesizer puts the MS-20’s features in a smaller, more approachable format
– Offers a complete replication of the original analog circuitry
– Straightforward structure with 2 VCO, 2 VCA, 2 VCF, 2 EG, and 1 LFO
– Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion
– External signal processor (ESP) lets you use the pitch or volume of an external audio source to control the synth
– Flexible patching system uses 1/8″ mini plugs instead of 1/4″ plugs