The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby jaypodesta » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:58 pm

That was really really useful - answered a number of questions I'd had about the MS-20...

And made me kick myself again for the non CS-15 purchase.

Thanks for taking the time to post it.
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby Automatic Gainsay » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:32 pm

guesswho wrote:The best part of this thread is there is going to be 4 new CS-15 wanted posts over at AH (or here for that matter) - that and it just went up in price by $500. Now if only the MS-20 would drop in price by the same amount!

Yes, while it's been my desire to share what a great synth the CS is, I'm probably shooting myself in the foot in the case where I would want to buy another. ; )
I don't think I can bring the value of the MS-20 down, though. I have some strong complaints about it, but I can't deny that it is a great machine for a lot of the more modern applications.
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby xpander » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:26 pm

Carey M wrote:
xpander wrote:you can look forward to my Old School Minimoog vs Minimoog Old School youtube pretty soon, it will be bee's knees.


Oooooooo! =D> Looking forward to that... Such a video could start the third world war, at least in the video comments, but that's part of the fun ;)

i'm pretty sure i'm going to disable the comments, they could only lead to violence!

but i am planning on putting some effort into it since i figure every synthhead on earth is going to watch. i'm still coming to my own conclusions about the Voyager OS and its strengths and in comparison to the Model D. i think i'm going to focus on the biggest, phattest sounds i can squeeze out of them since i think the idea of a sonic obesity contest would be fun.
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby Bitexion » Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:15 am

I found your article very interesting.

I've had a CS-15 for a couple of years, sold it about a year ago because it fell into disuse and a friend was more or less begging to buy it off me. After thinking long and hard, I realised I might aswell earn some money instead of just keeping it in the dust.

Mine was pristine, it came directly from a collector in Japan, barely a scratch on it. I also had an MS-10 that I interfaced together with the CS-15 (oddly, both synths use that weird Hz/Volt CV system) to create a 3 VCO, 3filter monster. I loved the musical sound of it, more soft and "easier on the ear" than the brash MS-10 filter sound. Used to recreate soft minimoog solo sounds and play along with old rock records, like Magnum's Marauder (a Minimoog being constantly used for leads). But there were always strange things I thought was missing that should been there, compared to the CS-30. Ringmod for instance..you have 2 VCO's, so why not include a ringmod knob and circuit? And also strange, no hard sync, even though you have a separate pitch mod "envelope" for each oscillator. It's begging to be hardsynced! Guess I've become a bit jaded with the "power" of these analogues, having several and exploring the synthesis for years, it's like I'm never surprised anymore, specially with non-modular synths. Like they all do the same (or similar) tricks, and I know exactly what to expect when I turn this or that knob. So I grew bored with the Cs-15 eventually, only turned it on every now and then to see if it was still firing on all circuits. And dusting off the front panel.

I guess it was too limited compared to my Andromeda..but still there is that special "pure analog" feeling of knowing that you are manipulating circuits and sounds DIRECTLY underneath your fingers. Not routing it through CPU's and digital chips on the way. Everything is 100% realtime analogue. Kind of like Bob's saying, that he could "feel" the sound in the various components when he was building a synthesizer, he knew what a 2.7Kohm resistor in the path would do to the sound.

But I could never make it sound crazy, just nice. The LFO is very fast, but still just too slow to go into FM areas, although I could create some funny blurbs with it. The Highpass filter can self-oscillate in fact, if you make a feedback loop from the output to the filter input. Very unpredictable though, and I almost blew the windows out in my apartment because I didn't turn down the volume. I actually heard the windows rattling during the almighty "BEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW".

Edit: Not sure where I'm going with this since it's nearly 5:30 am.
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby Automatic Gainsay » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:36 pm

Hey, Bitexion!

Yeah... see, that's true. My weakness in this case is that I'm not a big ringmod or sync user! I like sync, but I've never used it as much as some other aspects because it sounds too modern to my ears! Shortcoming, really.

But yes, good point... the CS-15 has neither, and they'd be nice features to have... especially with a synth so powerful.

The MS-20s ringmod was never as fun as I might have wished it was because to really get the fun out of it you have to use the CV inputs. Which, I suppose could be done... but would be easier and more fun if there were individual pitch controls for each oscillator.
I should point out that the MS-20 doesn't have sync either! ha ha

I always view statements about making Minimoog-like sounds with any non-Minimoog synth askance, but I have to say that such a thing is more possible with the CS than with a lot of other synths because of its really frothy (read: potentially fat) filter.

I wish I had had my MS-20 at the point where I got the CS-15 (I had sold it just before!), so I could integrate them. It would be particularly ironic due to the subject matter of this thread!

I still haven't connected the CS-15 with the CS-15D... I suspect that will be a lovely coupling. :)
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby OriginalJambo » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:55 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:I always view statements about making Minimoog-like sounds with any non-Minimoog synth askance, but I have to say that such a thing is more possible with the CS than with a lot of other synths because of its really frothy (read: potentially fat) filter.


Fat? Like a Mini? At 12 dB/oct? Almost a barrage of blasphemy right there coming from AG. ;)
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby Automatic Gainsay » Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:08 am

OriginalJambo wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:I always view statements about making Minimoog-like sounds with any non-Minimoog synth askance, but I have to say that such a thing is more possible with the CS than with a lot of other synths because of its really frothy (read: potentially fat) filter.


Fat? Like a Mini? At 12 dB/oct? Almost a barrage of blasphemy right there coming from AG. ;)


I thought I was supposed to be the Moog prophet around here?? This is a bit like saying that Jesus was blaspheming when he said he was God's kid. I AM BOB MOOG'S CHILD, OKAY? :wink:
While the CS-15 on the whole doesn't sound like a Mini, some judicious programming will get it to have that frothy warm glop (read: distortion or saturation or extra harmonics or etc.) that is one of the great byproducts of the ladder filter... moreso than most of the other non-Moog synths I've owned and played. That, of course, doesn't make it a Mini replacement, but it does make it beneficial to a user who seeks Moog fatness outside of a Moog. Yes, even with the 12dB slope.
Of course, most people think fatness is two oscs beating against each other, extreme resonance, a really deep sound... so of course, this is not going to work as "fat" for them.
(although, you can get a low end to beat ALL low ends when you use one of the the filters set to highpass and boost the f**k out of the low end of the cutoff point with the resonance)
The real test of a fat filter is how it sounds with the resonance off. If it doesn't have a warm delicious dark richness (how's that for clinical terminology) with the filter cutoff being moved by the EG or the like, regardless of its slope, it isn't fat. Most non-Moogs are irritatingly dull going from brassy to muffled when the cutoff point is moved without resonance. Not so with most Moogs, ARPs with the Moog ripoff, or the CS-15.
This is, of course, not to diminish the importance of the 24dB slope... just to say that it isn't the single defining factor of the character of the Moog sound!
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby OriginalJambo » Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:24 am

Well it seems you've justified your former actions with that informative post.

However I still feel a peace offering is in order to really set things right - maybe sacrificing your CS-15? Or at least some time to make a awesome video of it. ;)
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby otto » Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:21 pm

Whether you agree or disagree with the opinions of Automatic Gainsay, I think we can all agree that this is the way a “VS” thread should be done. I’d much rather read strong in-depth reviews and opinions of a synth than the surface skimming “microkorg sounds better than micron” type of review. We all know you can’t just do a comparison on specs and you can’t just do a comparison on general sounds and a lot of it comes down to personal opinions. It is refreshing to see an underdog synth get some appreciation as I think we can all agree certain gear, such as the MS-20, have got caught up in the hype machine whether they are worthy or not.
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby Sir Ruff » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:08 am

Hey AG, always glad to see some knowledgeable comparisons despite whatever flack they get.

As it happens, my own CS15 is back, and one interesting thing I just noticed is the bender "slide" you can achieve when the pitch bender is set med or wide, and when the portamento is set high. A portamento affected pitch bender? Kind of a nice additional performance element that I don't think I've seen on another synth (that I know of). Try that MS20... ha...
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby spookyman » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:16 am

nathanscribe wrote:I reckon an MS-20 would complement my CS-15 nicely... (nudge nudge) :wink:

I sometimes wish it had greater resonance, as the lack of self-oscillation means it doesn't really squeal - but you can get some great sounds out of these things regardless.


You can modify a little bit the filter of the CS-15. You will not obtain self-osciliation, but a little bit more resonance. The guy that sold me the CS-15 made this modification, and it's really usefull. Only the switches are not very esthetic (i will put some pics sooner).

In therm of sound, it's surely not the same intensity and fullness of a Moog. My Prodigy has more balls, faster ADSR, and the filter is different.

The CS-15 allways remembers me my (ex-) ARP Odissey. I really appreciate it for fine and expressive leads, smooth sounding lines that fits perfect to the general sound. The portamento is extremly musically, very beautiful. And basses are not so bad...

I also had the MS-20, but sold it. And kept the CS-15 ! I prefer by far the keyboard on the CS-15, than the ultra noisy MS Keyboard. And i also sold the MS-20 to save cash for a real modular...
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby synthesizerist » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:07 pm

I also have owned both, but sold both. If I were to buy one again, it would be the MS-20, even at twice the price. The CS-15 had a very distinct sound and not a sound I wanted to use on anything.
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby synthesizerist » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:12 pm

But I'd definitely rather have a real modular before buying the MS-20 again too. I've never owned one and that makes me sad. :(
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby Automatic Gainsay » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:02 pm

Thank you, otto and Sir Ruff!


spookyman wrote:In therm of sound, it's surely not the same intensity and fullness of a Moog. My Prodigy has more balls, faster ADSR, and the filter is different.

Agreed!


spookyman wrote:I also had the MS-20, but sold it. And kept the CS-15 ! I prefer by far the keyboard on the CS-15, than the ultra noisy MS Keyboard. And i also sold the MS-20 to save cash for a real modular...

I sold my original MS-20 and MS-50 to buy a dot com!
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Re: The Korg MS-20 vs. The Yamaha CS-15

Postby Automatic Gainsay » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:03 pm

synthesizerist wrote:I also have owned both, but sold both. If I were to buy one again, it would be the MS-20, even at twice the price. The CS-15 had a very distinct sound and not a sound I wanted to use on anything.

Well, that's the main thing with any synth... it comes down to whether its sound/functionality/interface inspires you personally. I've owned some great synths I never used on anything and eventually sold.
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