MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
Stefken
KVRAF
1858 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:36 am

What would you consider the best (bang for the buck) hardware to get the MS-20 sound.
Would be nice if experienced hardware users (which I'm not) could pitch in.

Here are some of my thoughts.

MS-20 Vintage
Price: can be purchased for around ~900-1000 dollar
Pro:
* has thát sound
* big case with good usability and knobs that have a good affordance towards the task
Con:
* wear and tear
* No midi


MS-20 Mini
Price: can be purchased for ~500 dollar
Pro:
* close approximation of the Vintage MS-20 sound
* midi
* good if you don't have too much space to dedicate; portable
Con:
* noisy output
* poor build quality
* small keys and poorer usability than it's big brother


MS-20 reissue
Price: can be purchased for ~1400 dollar
Pro:
* has (probably) the sound of the vintage MS-20; not clear yet
* midi
* big case with good usability and knobs that have a good affordance towards the task
Con:
* (very) steep price


K-2
Price: can be purchased for ~300 dollar
Pro:
* Price
* Compared to the MS-20 Mini:
- full sized output and midi through
- has two filter types
- better build quality
* midi
* eurorack format can be a pro
Con:
* doesn't nail the sound exactely. It's tone is brighter and the filter is somewhat more Moogy (see Rob Papen's review) in character than the original.
* no keyboard and modwheel
* even smaller than the MS-20 mini and more difficult to handle for live usage
Last edited by Stefken on Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cptgone
KVRAF
5573 posts since 1 Aug, 2003

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:04 am

Stefken wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:36 am
Would be nice if experienced hardware users (which I'm not) could pitch in.
I own the Korg MIDI controller for the Korg Legacy MS20 :P
14" purple vibrator wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:56 am
blah blah as usual....

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chaosWyrM
KVRAF
1887 posts since 29 Apr, 2010 from NYC

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:03 am

i mean....if youre really asking about best bang for buck...the answer is plainly obvious.

the k2 gets you like 95% there soundwise while being by far the least expensive.
ImageImageImage

Stefken
KVRAF
1858 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:43 am

No, that's not my question (it's between brackets) but if people want to talk about the best bang for the buck that's cool too.

The sound difference of the K-2 matters for me personally as it has a smaller sweetspot, the resonance does not go as far in overdrive and it sounds somewhat Moogish. So it's not 95% for me. In fact, I don't consider it a good clone of the MS -20. Too Moogish sounding.

https://youtu.be/4hjyai6uq6s

But I find it somewhat a frustrating situation as there is always something 'wrong'.
To put it bluntly.
The price of the re-issue is over the top. The mini is a cheap copy: badly build and has a noise issue. The k-2 is cheap but didn't nail the character. The original? Not so easy to find, no midi. The vst is a pretty poor emulation.

Compare this with e.g. the Behringer Odyssey: no brainer: it's cheap, build like a tank and sounds good.

So, I wonder what other people think and considering all factors what they would go for.
Personally, I think I would go for the mini.
It nails the sound pretty good and I think I could live with somewhat a lesser build. And the price is not over the top for a hobby.

But I've never used a mini.

If I were a pro I guess I would go for the re-issue but as a hobbyist it's hard to justify this.

christian f.
KVRist
157 posts since 3 Feb, 2017

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:06 am

The vintage mk1 sounds the best to me.
I would always go for that one unless the new to be released sounds the same, which I doubt.

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chaosWyrM
KVRAF
1887 posts since 29 Apr, 2010 from NYC

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:32 am

well, obviously its down to personal preference, but ive always thought the whole "it doesnt sound exactly the same as (insert old synth here)" angle kinda silly. you could take 2 old original ms-20s and they wont sound exactly the same as each other.

i also dont think hardly anyone anywhere would be able to pick out the differences in a mix. its one thing to do a direct comparison under a controlled environment, its a whole other thing to actually use the instrument in a piece of music. the differences in that video are so incredibly subtle...it seems silly to me to even mention it.

so...im still going to say the k2.

part of the beauty of real instruments (as opposed to software) is that no 2 are exactly the same. so..heming and hawing over minute variances in sound seems like a waste of time to me. if you dont want a unique instrument...get a plugin instead.

the k2 absolutely sounds like an ms20...which is what its supposed to sound like. and for the price...its almost a no brainer.
Last edited by chaosWyrM on Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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imrae
KVRian
928 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:34 am

If you want vintage, then given the range of prices involved here I wouldn't let lack of MIDI be a dealbreaker.

If you're in Eurorack already then an English Tear is the perfect adaptor at ~£150, or Ladik do a simpler V/Octave -> Hz adaptor + gate conversion at £80, or you can use a Disting (and every rack can use a Disting) for the pitch conversion and get creative on the gates.

If you've no interest in Eurorack, Kenton do a MIDI->CV box which supports various formats and is also in the £150 range.

Given this, the reissue pricing doesn't seem very competitive.

I for one am more interested in the K-2 - the demos sound good to me. But if you don't like the sound then the price/features are irrelevant.

Stefken
KVRAF
1858 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:56 pm

chaosWyrM wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:32 am
ive always thought the whole "it doesnt sound exactly the same as (insert old synth here)" angle kinda silly.
I get that, and in some cases I don't mind, but I always had a thing for the MS-20 sound.
But to me, the MS-20 (mini) just sounds more nasty than the K-2 --> see this little example at 12:18.
More bite as Starsky says. So it's not that they have to be identical, I just like the bite in the MS-20 better. (The TD-3 is brighter than the TB-303 but I might like that more actually; we'll see when it arrives).

https://youtu.be/fMpZApFVGMQ?t=739

And for what it's worth: both reviewers (Rob and Starsky) seem to like the Korg better too.
And Starksky is not one to go too far with the exact emulation thing.
Last edited by Stefken on Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
9462 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:00 pm

Stefken wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:43 am
So, I wonder what other people think and considering all factors what they would go for.
Personally, I think I would go for the mini.
It nails the sound pretty good and I think I could live with somewhat a lesser build. And the price is not over the top for a hobby.
My concern with the Mini would be the keyboard. The mini keys on the MS20 controller Korg made for the Legacy Collection is, by a long way, the worst keyboard I have ever used. I am by no means a good keyboard player but that thing was just awful, like they had put pieces of sponge under the keys instead of springs. Maybe the Mini has a better keyboard but it's something I would definitely check out before I bought it.
NOVAkILL 4.0 : Dell G7 17 (Core i7, 8GB RAM, Win10), UR44C, Cubase, DUNE, Thorn, TRK-01, Equator, Hive, Substance, Arcsyn, Aparillo, Phase Plant, Pigments, Trueno, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt, Craft 2.

kritikon
KVRAF
5123 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:38 pm

Depends entirely what angle you come at it from.

Haven't played the mini yet, and tbh wasn't aware of the noise issue, but that would probably be a deal breaker for me. No excuse nowadays for noise on an output. As for the small keys...personally doesn't bother me. One of the first synths I bought was a DX100 - limited keyboard, small keys, no action whatsoever but as I never learnt on a piano, it just never bothered me. TBH as a crap player, shitty small keyboards are actualy easier for me :clown: .

The full reissue MS20 is pricey, but I'd pay that rather than have a noisey synth, and the MS20 really is unique-sounding, so worth it IMO, and having a real synth is always going to trump s/w with this type of thing. I've got an original...and the VST, and though I really do like the VST, you can't make it squeal like a pig when you patch the output into the input and overdrive it like the h/w. I've made some earsplitting sounds that way 8) .

Also haven't played with the Behringer, but that video made it obvious to me...it's in the same playground but on a different climbing frame completely. I think I'd buy it cos it's so cheap, but view it as a different synth than the MS20, not as a repro. Way too bassy, boingy and no pig-squealing, though the filter character is similarish (a bit tame though).

I think other Behringers tempt me more...when they're not trying to emulate, they are damn good value and bang for buck. As emulations...meh, mostly. I think they'd have done better making that close-ish Korg filter but with new different routing options...kind of a nod to MS20 but break new ground. I'd buy that, but not an MS20 clone, which ends up not being a very good clone.

All up...I'd have to buy a full reissue in some snazzy colour. Lavender, or metallic orange, I think.

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middle_color
KVRer
16 posts since 8 Apr, 2019

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:06 am

deleted (the video was already posted in thread by other user)

Stefken
KVRAF
1858 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:27 am

kritikon wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:38 pm
As for the small keys...personally doesn't bother me. One of the first synths I bought was a DX100 - limited keyboard, small keys, no action whatsoever but as I never learnt on a piano, it just never bothered me. TBH as a crap player, shitty small keyboards are actualy easier for me :clown: .
The keys on the Vintage MS-20 don't seem all that good either. The ones on my Monologue aren't top notch either. I guess Korg's keybeds aren't all that good and as I am a crap player this won't be the decisive factor.
kritikon wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:38 pm
Depends entirely what angle you come at it from.

Haven't played the mini yet, and tbh wasn't aware of the noise issue, but that would probably be a deal breaker for me. No excuse nowadays for noise on an output.
On the video's of Rob and Starsky I don't really notice much noise so it doesn't seem apparant. Starksy says it's there, but you need to go very low on the LPF to hear it. I have ordered a mini for testing and I'll see what I think of the noise. Maybe some noise isn't all that bad with a raw screaming monster like the MS-20; maybe some noise reduction in postprocessing can be a solution. I 'll hear it when I hear it...
kritikon wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:38 pm
I've got an original...and the VST, and though I really do like the VST, you can't make it squeal like a pig when you patch the output into the input and overdrive it like the h/w. I've made some earsplitting sounds that way 8) .
YES! That's what I want, I want it to scream like a pig.

How do you fare the vst vs the original in general? Even for non-screaming sounds, I find the vst a bit tame.

kritikon wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:38 pm

Also haven't played with the Behringer, but that video made it obvious to me...it's in the same playground but on a different climbing frame completely. I think I'd buy it cos it's so cheap, but view it as a different synth than the MS20, not as a repro. Way too bassy, boingy and no pig-squealing, though the filter character is similarish (a bit tame though).
I concur. It may be a good synth in it's own right, with some character, but it's not a MS-20.
Also, not much room between the controls so probably a bit fiddly to work with. I guess the MS-20 affords/invites more live tweaking, using it as a breathng, organic instrument, as controls are just easier to manipulate.

kritikon wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:38 pm
All up...I'd have to buy a full reissue in some snazzy colour. Lavender, or metallic orange, I think.
I'd be hardpressed to justify the full re-issue as an amateur, even if I can pay for it quite comfortably.

Echoes in the Attic
KVRAF
7703 posts since 12 May, 2008

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:49 am

Personally I think the MS-20m is by far the most appealing. Those filters love having more frequency content to work with and the added Osc sync and fm would be excellent additions for them. Plus the two filter types and PWM. Everything the original was missing! Might be able to find it used, who knows. I was a bit surprised that Behringer didn't add a little extra to the oscillators like the MS-20m. I also think it's much better to get an option without a keyboard as it fits in more spaces and who needs that keyboard anyways, especially a mini one.

I don't have any of them but MS-20 is one of my favorite sounds. I prefer it to be pushed a bit beyond the original though, which is why my choices are Diva and The Drop. Diva has the filter fm, duophonic mode and of course you can swap out the oscillator (The digital one is great with MS-20 filters), and extra modulation. The Drop can be an MS-20 just your favorite oscillators before it. I've used the MS-20 oscs from Omnisphere/Trilian for example. Sorry, software is beside the point. But I think the MS-20 is great with a couple osc extras like MS-20m.
System: Windows 10, Dell XPS 2-in-1, Bitwig 3, Steinberg UR44.

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Jace-BeOS
KVRAF
5701 posts since 7 Jan, 2005 from Corporate States of America

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:20 am

I have the same dilemma. I absolutely cannot afford a full size MS-20.

I notice the difference between the Korg and Behringer as shown in the video, and I do want the more aggressive sound... However, all I have now are the software versions, which don’t do feedback and overdrive (certainly not nearly like the analog hardware), and the 128-step MIDI controls on the MS-20i controller aren’t analog smooth.

A Behringer might be good enough for me to try my hand with semi-modular analog (considering teaming it up with a neutron and Model D, plus a SQ-1 or Arturia thingy).

Still, the Korg MS-20 mini is only $33 more for a legit Korg... Though every dollar counts and I have keyboards. Having this hobby/passion while being poor sucks.
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my music @ SoundCloud

Stefken
KVRAF
1858 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Re: MS-20 vintage vs MS-20 mini vs MS-20 reissue vs K-2 vs MS-20m

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:25 am

Echoes in the Attic wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:49 am
Sorry, software is beside the point.
I'm also interested in software that can bring the same pig scream :D as the hardware. Yet, never found it. I find the official Korg vst somewhat tame; I guess the IMS-20 for ipad/iphone is the same.

But if you would point me to a sound demo of software that can accurately emulate the agressive soul of the MS-20 that'd be great. (Myself, I never found a convincing emulation).

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