Original MS20 - Worth It?

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Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby Gavin Harrison » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:50 pm

I have a chance to buy an original MS20 (not the reissue), I realise they have lost value since the recent versions came out however I am more interested in the sound than buying something as an investment. I make music across a lot of genres and have enjoyed previous experiences with the MS20, however I don't want to buy something for the sake of it. I won't lie, I do get extra personal enjoyment from owning the older gear but I am realistic about the pitfalls of this (I am fortunate enough to have a synth tech a few miles down the road!).

My question would be what if any expected problems might I come across (think MS20 equivalent of Juno 106 voice cards) and also any idea what I should be offering? It comes with a hard case and some patch cables, all good condition.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby Explorer » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:07 pm

Worth it?
Realy depends on how much you want the real deal and not a re-make.

Ask him what he wants for it.
Is it too much,make him a counter offer.
If he does not want to sell it for your offer,buy the mini MS-20,they sound good,but are shitty with those tiny keys.
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby HalloweenJack » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:25 pm

I would buy the Korg MS20 module instead, which has the 2 versions of the filter and finally they added PWM, a much more "complete" synth
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby Gavin Harrison » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:01 am

I absolutely do not want mini keys, that's one thing I know! For me personally I like having the real deal, I'm very aware that the reissue can sound just as good but as I said I get an enjoyment from owning a vintage synth. As someone who composes for a living I think it's important to have the pleasure side of synth ownership as well as the sound side.

It's hard to know where to price it though...looking into it they seem to go from anything around £650 to £1000 still when in good condition.
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby HalloweenJack » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:57 am

Mini keys are awful, I tested the MS20 mini when it went out and really were the mini keys that convinced me not to buy it, even though it could be used as a module I always hoped that Korg would put into the market a "real" module version sooner or later, and that's what happened, and the module version is, simply put, a better synth compared to the original MS20 and the Mini, for me the vintage and the module sound quite identical, so for me the choice is obvious, but I do understand your point of view...

Here in Italy a vintage MS20 in good shape is about 1000 euros
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby alexpik » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:09 pm

Hey all,

Looking to get the Korg MS-20. I'm just not sure if I should get the MS-20 Mini, MS-20 Kit or the MS-20M desktop version. Normally, I would just say the MS-20 Mini as it is much cheaper. But, I am wondering if any of you have any input on this.

Do you feel there is a large difference between the MS-20 Mini or the MS-20 Kit / MS-20M desktop synth?

Thanks for your input.
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby Ashe37 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:40 pm

Depends if the mini keys bother you, and if you want 1/8 or 1/4 jacks.
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby clubbedtodeath » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:07 pm

I've had the original MS-20 for ten years. The keyboard on it is full-size, but not great. That said, the full-size jack plugs are a bonus.

However, whilst mine works great presently, it is a synthesiser with 40+ years old components, and will likely need an overhaul at some point. I would be very tempted to go for a Korg MS20-M, which has oscillator sync, FM and a PWM input. I also believe you can also switch between the older and newer MS20 filters. Indeed, I might buy one if my beloved Korg pops its clogs.

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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby meatballfulton » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:17 pm

alexpik wrote:Do you feel there is a large difference between the MS-20 Mini or the MS-20 Kit / MS-20M desktop synth?


Soundwise, almost none. The Kit and Desktop have both versions of the original filters, the Mini has only one. The Desktop has PWM and simple FM. Otherwise, they all sound the same.

Of the three I would get the Desktop if I wanted the most sonic versatility. Whether that is worth paying double for is up to you. If it was me, I would get the Mini and pocket the change.

Minikeys are a non-issue as long as you own another full-size MIDI keyboard you can use to control the Mini. You need one for the Desktop anyway.
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby Walter Ego » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:01 pm

I can't say whether there is a difference or not between them, as I only have one. More about that below. You may be able to find some decent A/B comparisons between the original and the mini.

If you want THAT sound (and incredible sound processing capabilities) and can sacrifice full size jacks and keys, the Mini is pretty darn cheap. You can pick one up for under $350 without too much hassle.

I have the Module kit and I really like it. I waited until I found a good deal. I got it from another forum member here for $650 already built. It did not include the SQ-1 but I picked one up cheaply.

Why I would recommend the MS-20M. As has been stated above, it does have the full size jacks instead of mini ones. And it has some fun bonuses like hard sync and PWM (huge plus for me) not on any other MS-20. It has both MIDI on/off and CV/gate inputs, but also has a built in converter so you aren't only stuck with Korg's proprietary CV pitch. It can play nice with others, in other words. V/Oct and Hz/V. It also has a feature I really like--a switch that toggles between the original Korg 35 filter and the later OTA design. Instead of doing some magic on startup (as in the full size kit), you can just toggle between them in real time. And I found I often prefer the later OTA filter as it is more predictable and carries less hiss than the original. Finally, it also has these nice three-way junctions so that you can multiply signals or drive multiple inputs with the same external signal. Very handy. And they also work in either direction as a quick adaptor if you're sending a voltage out to a more modern minijack formatted module.

So, if you have the funds and can track one down, I highly recommend the MS-20M. It's not perfect and has no keyboard, but it has some features that give it an edge over the others.
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby polysixer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:16 pm

At current prices, MS-20 vintage is a specially good buy, specially MKII filter units. Apart form the higher build quality the LFO is smoother, the VCAs much bass heavy and thumpy, the HPF sounds better and the ESP has a much more pleasing overdrive tone than the mini remake. I can't recommend the vintage MKI version (the one the mini is modeled after) as it's prone to overheat and have fatal regulator failures that will destroy everything touched by the overcurrent. You can prevent this is you take the necessary measures but many owners don't. Also, the MKI filter tends to have noise leakage, and the part was also modeled on the MS-20 mini.
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Re: Original MS20 - Worth It?

Postby Mustachio » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:15 pm

i have the korg ms 20i (vst with controler actually) i was a pretty noob when i bought my first synth (as you can tell)
but i have to say, i have never been disapointed about it ever since i heard it play. if i found the money i will buy the original one or the new one (without keyboard) with is actually in my opinion better because of the midi control you dont have on the original. which i find can have much more wider range of possibilities.
it is true, the keyboard kinda sucks... but most of use do have one other decent midi controlled keyboard?

but if it is a true old original MS20 you can buy for an apple and an egg.... do it, you'll love it, if you dont, send it my way
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