Korg MS-20 Mini

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Jabberwalky
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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by Jabberwalky » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:09 pm

mute wrote:
Jabberwalky wrote:So the buzz was absolutely obnoxious, and now that it's available no one cares?
...not nearly as obnoxious as some chump digging up an old thread just to try and spew some hate. it's one of the most beloved synths of all time and for good reason. deal with it.
It's not like I bumped a 3 year old thread. I was 2 months without a single word about this "beloved" synth. It was laying there on the surface...untouched since the synth became available. Now that people have it, it's old news. I'm simply commenting on how fast some people chew up and spit out synths. I wanted to inspire some more conversation about it.

Also, I don't appreciate being called a chump. If you're willing to go out on a limb and insult other members to defend a hunk of metal and plastic, you've got more hate than I could ever comprehend.

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by mute » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:27 am

I wanted to inspire some more conversation about it.
..by trolling? it was clear from the go you don't honestly give a damn. so no thanks... im sure you're otherwise a decent chap, the internet brings out the obnoxious in many people. no hard feelings, its a pretty normal thing nowadays.

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:36 am

Mute I think you're seeing things in Jab's post that aren't actually there. It's perfectly legitimate to ask what all the people who we're getting excited about the MS-20 mini think now they've got theirs. Calling him a chump and accusing him of trolling is a bit of a d**k manuveur though.

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by Jabberwalky » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:47 am

No hard feelings mute. Trolling a forum I've been involved with for 8 years is not the intention. I am genuinely interested in people's opinions now that it's available. Nothing more.

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by commodorejohn » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:35 am

Well, I for one am enjoying the h**l out of it.
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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by Hybrid88 » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:39 pm

I got to try one the other day in a music store, and also own the original with 35 filter which I love.

I've got to say, overall a very nice synth. For the money they're asking, bloody amazing.

Keys are great and not remotely as bad as the Microkorg despite being semi-mini keys. Definitely easy to play and much better than I expected. Conclusion? Not an issue.

Noise? Totally overstated in online forums which if you believed some comments would lead you to believe it is nearly unusable - which is ridiculous because it is perfectly serviceable. Yeah perhaps it's a little more than the original, but honestly it really didn't bother me (and I was using headphones). Doesn't need a noise gate as when the envelope is closed there is ZERO noise. Conclusion? Not an issue.

Sound? Put simply, great. Only thing I did notice was the filter didn't break up and saturate quite as nicely as the original with high res BUT it was 95% of the way there. So honestly I really wouldn't worry about it. Maybe some difference in raw OSC tone, but I can't say I really noticed. Conclusion? Well I'll leave it up to you to decide if the extra 1k in price difference is worth it.

Build quality? Well this is where it was a little weak, but honestly most of it is very sturdy. The weak points being the knobs and the jack sockets in the patchbay, which to me were the worst part as they are not mounted on the front panel, no those are *not* nuts, they are just bits of metal (or plastic, not sure) glued on meant to look like nuts. The actual sockets are no more than ordinary PCB mount sockets, which does lead to a little wobble. In time this could cause issues but if you're careful with your gear (and you should be) it isn't really a problem. Conclusion? Overall good, in certain areas could definitely be better but at the price? Can't complain.

Overall I actually loved it. If I didn't already go to the trouble of finding the original (before this was announced), I would definitely be picking one of these up instead. Plus the "Mini" size was really cool, I loved the smaller cables and overall compactness, just made using it less clunky and fun. 8-)

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by thestreets » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:49 pm

I love mine. I plugged a nice pair of headphones into it the other day and was blown away at how rich the sound actually is. Never really noticed when I was playing it through a speaker.

The range of sound that you can get out of the MS-20 is amazing, and I posted earlier in this thread about how it's the most expressive instrument I've ever owned. The ability to completely turn a sound on it's head via a few knob turns and patch bay plugs takes only a few seconds, and it makes it a very exciting instrument to play.

I'll be working on a track and turn to the MS-20 for a quick bass sound, and 45 minutes later I realize that I'm in the middle of patching some crazy sound, and never got the bass I needed. The ability to get lost in the sound like that is something I haven't experienced in awhile and it's very refreshing to have in the studio.

For me, it's definitely lived up to the hype, and was completely worth the wait/delays.

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by pflosi » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:13 pm

thestreets wrote:I'll be working on a track and turn to the MS-20 for a quick bass sound, and 45 minutes later I realize that I'm in the middle of patching some crazy sound, and never got the bass I needed.
That's how it's supposed to work, no? :lol: Happens to me on the modular all the time :thumbright:

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:00 pm

Spent the better part of the evening tuning my MS-20 Mini last night - I wanted to address that issue with the pitch knob, but it turns out there's not a simple range/offset adjust for the knob itself, you have to tune VCO2 as a whole - and I had to tweak VCO1 to make sure that it was back in the appropriate range, and adjust the keyboard CV range...yikes, it's a complex process. (And they moved the trimmers from their positions on the original, to boot.) But it's done, and while the pitch knob still isn't perfectly in unison at 0, it's much less off, and plenty acceptable - unison is just a tiny bit to the right of 0, and 0 is just a bit detuned, and not a good quarter-step off like before. Even seems to have expanded the range of the knob, weirdly enough - before, it would get something like +12.25/-11.25 semitones, now it's +/- 13 exactly. Should provide a little extra room for ring-mod timbres, anyway.

The teardown/reassembly was quite simple, if a bit time-consuming. The only thing I'm a bit cheesed about is that they used those cheap aluminum Phillips screws where the head strips if you look at 'em funny. Eventually I'll just go down to Menards and get some less crummy replacements.
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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by ryryoftokyo » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:16 pm

I am in love with mine. You would be hard pressed to find a better synth for the money, in my opinion. The noise is there, but honestly, if you want super clean sound, I don't know that this is the synth you'd want anyways. I have to agree about the build quality. I worry that in ten years, there might be some issues, but then again, what synth doesn't have issues ten years down the line? Just have the pots and jacks replaced as they come up! But it goes without saying, that the build quality does not inspire the same confidence as synth/panzer hybrids like the DX-21 :lol:

I've been having a blast overdriving the filter lately. My ears, not so much :(

Thank you, Korg for listening to your customers!
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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by Re-Member » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:52 pm

commodorejohn wrote:Spent the better part of the evening tuning my MS-20 Mini last night - I wanted to address that issue with the pitch knob, but it turns out there's not a simple range/offset adjust for the knob itself, you have to tune VCO2 as a whole - and I had to tweak VCO1 to make sure that it was back in the appropriate range, and adjust the keyboard CV range...yikes, it's a complex process. (And they moved the trimmers from their positions on the original, to boot.) But it's done, and while the pitch knob still isn't perfectly in unison at 0, it's much less off, and plenty acceptable - unison is just a tiny bit to the right of 0, and 0 is just a bit detuned, and not a good quarter-step off like before. Even seems to have expanded the range of the knob, weirdly enough - before, it would get something like +12.25/-11.25 semitones, now it's +/- 13 exactly. Should provide a little extra room for ring-mod timbres, anyway.

The teardown/reassembly was quite simple, if a bit time-consuming. The only thing I'm a bit cheesed about is that they used those cheap aluminum Phillips screws where the head strips if you look at 'em funny. Eventually I'll just go down to Menards and get some less crummy replacements.
Did you happen to take any pictures of the teardown/reassembly? The reason I ask is because mine actually arrived with OSC 2 being way out of tune. Over on the Gearslutz forums, others had the same issue as well. I took mine to a Korg licensed shop and they adjusted it for free since it's covered by warranty, however, the warranty isn't good forever. Should this happen again in the future, it would be good to have a series of pictures to follow just in case I or others wish to fix it ourselves. The only pics I found online were for the original MS-20, but as you said, this one is built differently. This was the main reason I took it to a shop since I didn't want to potentially mess something up without visual guidance.

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:42 pm

I did take a couple pictures of the main board for a friend who was curious what it looked like, but I didn't do a step-by-step, mostly because it's dead simple. For the record:
  • Remove the screws from the endcaps and pop them off.
  • Remove the three screws along the top edge of the back.
  • Flip the panel assembly forward (gently, as some of the cords are a bit taut) and unscrew the bracket that props it against the back of the case.
  • Remove the four washered screws that hold the panel cover to the main board's spacer bracket/cover. Remove all the knobs. Unscrew the nut from the headphone jack (it's the only real nut on the outer panel) and remove it and the washer behind it. Lift off the panel cover and set it aside.
  • Remove the screws holding the spacer bracket to the main board. Remove the nuts from the pots that have them (VCO1/2 waveform and octave, HPF/LPF cutoff, main volume.) Gently lift off the spacer bracket. You now have full access to all the trimmers. You can safely set the main board in place on the back of the keybed, angle it against the back of the case, and operate the synth as normal without shorting anything.
Reassembly is a simple reverse order. The only minor gotcha is that the volume knob is mounted on a separate mini-board and placed in a hole in the main board, so you'll want to make sure it's all properly aligned in its hole before replacing the nut that clamps it to the spacer bracket.

The trimmers for tuning are the ones down in the lower-left corner of the board. (To the best of my experience) the top-leftmost is the keyboard CV adjust; the one below it is VCO1's coarse tuning. The top middle trimmer is VCO2's coarse tuning; the one below it is VCO1's fine tuning, and the bottom-rightmost trimmer is VCO2's fine tuning. No, it's not a very intuitive arrangement, but whaddya gonna do.
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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by thestreets » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:32 pm

ryryoftokyo wrote: I've been having a blast overdriving the filter lately. My ears, not so much :(
I figured out the other day that you can boost the low frequencies of the filter by cranking up the resonance on the High Pass Filter and opening it about halfway. Gnarly stuff.

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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by commodorejohn » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:52 pm

Yeah, I've rattled my windows a good bit doing that - lucky I had the volume down!
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Re: Korg MS-20 Mini

Post by Bitexion » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:20 pm

It's a nice trick to boost bass on most synths that have both a highpass and lowpass filter. There is usually a certain sweet spot on the HP filter w/resonance that just boosts the bass immensely when it tracks the pitch perfectly.

I used that often with my Ion to get more beef out of it. I've seen the same thing demonstrated on a Jupiter-8 and CS-60, both have hp/lp filters in serial.

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