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KORG MS-20 (Midi-fied)

This was my Korg MS-20 (at one stage)

My korg MS-20 Before heavy Mods

That was just with some little mods and no midi.
It's undergone some semi-big changes now...

And NO, it's not a Synhouse Midi-jack...

Korg MS-20 and C Y

bulletI actually got my first MS-20 and an MS-10 way back in 1993/1994. I got them sent out to Hong Kong and was using them for processing loops and guitars. I even did one live segment with an MS-10 on stage....
bulletThey're probably gathering heavy heavy dust now....Problem is, I can't really ship them back to London. Not worth couriering them back and they're too bulky to be taken on the plane. But during the past year, I have been seriously missing my MS's, so in the end I picked an MS-20 up from eBay. It's not cheap, prices has gone up, This MS-20 actually costs more than what I bought back in 1993.

Love & Hate of the MS-20

bulletGoldfrapp, Royksopp, Ladytron are amongst some of the bands that are using the MS-20's a lot lately. It is nice to see them back on stage, being tweaked live. Well, i suppose the shape of this thing does look nice...
bulletThe filter is tough and it's already been cloned a lot. But the way that Korg has put the controls on these MS's it makes it very enjoyable playing the MS's and tweaking them. It's easy to make those repeated fast LFO filter FX and noises, that's what Royksopp has been doing on stage with the MS's.

It's got its own ESP (External Signal Processor) which you can input any audio signal, and it gives you pitched CV and trigger gates. This way you can use the ESP to control the synth - and also patch the audio back to the filters for further processing. I think it's what Will Gregory used to treat Alison Goldfrapp's voice on the Felt Mountain album.

bulletAs usual, Korg uses Hz/V and S-Trigger instead of V/Oct and V-Trigger, it's a little more difficult to get it midi-ed up if the Midi-CV converter has not got Hz/V option - it can be done but unless you do a mod to it, normal V/Oct will cost slight pitch drifting and it's not stable. Korg has a little box in the MS-series called MS-02 that handles V/Oct <-> Hz/V conversions....
bulletA lot of people don't wanna attempt doing mods to the MS-series - the MS-20 has 30 Knobs on 1 side, holding the main PCB, and the Patchbay as 35 Jack Sockets - one has to unscrew every single one of them to be able to access the PCB...  I went partly that way - what i wanted to do involved tampering with the patch panel, and it was a pain unscrewing the 35 sockets, since they are double-mounted - i.e., after removing all 35 screws and washer on the outside, i had to remove another 35 of them since they're mounted in a metal casing inside.
bulletBasically it took me quite some time to do work on this baby, I must have unscrewed/re-screwed the bugger patch panel like 20 times, not recommended for a dry winter's day - my fingers got so sore. Also, even tho I used masking tape to try protect the panels, it's the easiest to get it scratched... not good. I had to keep telling myself, it's functions that counts, cosmetic/facial comes 2nd....
It took me more than a week to mod this bugger. Now I got it fully under MIDI, with 3 additional Midi CC controlling additional stuff and also, I got MIDI CLOCK SYNC syncing the clock, so the S&H will follow midi clock.


CY's Midi MS-20


C Y 's Mods on the Korg MS-20

bulletRear Panel: IEC Mains Plug/Sockets at the Back , Some Handy Switches
bulletMods: Proper V/Oct CV, PWM Input, Filter Control Switches, Filter 0V unlock Switch
bulletMIDI with 3 additional controllers
bulletMIDI Clock Sync


My Midi-fied MS-20 front panel!!  More Midi-ed MS-20 pics here!


Other Links on the MS-Series...

bulletMattias Rickardsson's MS-20 Page site has info and pictures
bullet The Vintage Korg Page has an MS-Series section.
bullet The Old Korg Owner's Club has info, tips and some rough mods
There're lots more..... do a search on Google on Korg MS-20.... 



Home Synths

MS-20 MS-20 Mods1 MS-20 Mods2 (CV) MS-20 Mod3 (Midi) MS-20 Mod4 (Sync)