Cherry Audio has announced the release of PS-20, a realistic, polyphonic, hot-rodded tribute to Korg's renowned MS-20 synthesizer.
Intended as an affordable alternative to American mono synthesizers such as the Moog Minimoog and the ARP Odyssey, the original Korg MS-20 was released in 1978, selling for less than half the price of a Minimoog. With that in mind, it's full of design choices that are sometimes innovative, sometimes maybe dumb, and sometimes just plain off the wall. It's important to remember that in the 70s, typical analog synth features weren't yet completely established, so synth design was still in a sort of Wild West, or in this case, "Wild East" era.
Perhaps the most notable MS-20 feature is its grindy dual filters. In an era where the gold standard was the fat and velvety Moog ladder filter, the MS filters' easy-to-distort, screamy resonance couldn't have been more different. But their signature sound was the unintentional byproduct of a penny-pinching, as-few-components-as-possible design - the similarly crude low-parts-count VCA also contributed to their overdriven sound. The MS-20 wasn't popular in its day, owing to an overall smaller synth market (Japanese instruments didn't really take off until the 80s), but as the years went on, people discovered the joys of this unique little monster, along with its baby sibling, the simplified MS-10. The MS-20 really hit its stride in the 90s when William Orbit used one all over Madonna's "Ray Of Light" record, and people began to scoop them up. Eventually the demand became large enough that Korg reissued the MS-20, first in a miniaturized version, and eventually with full-size editions.
Beside its unique filters, the MS-20's other famous feature is a modular-style patch panel, rarely seen in low-priced synths (well, at least in 1978). For most users, it's something of a mixed blessing, because it appears to add full modular-synth flexibility, but unfortunately lacks a fair amount of connectivity you'd want, such as a separate oscillator outputs and modulation inputs. Overall, its implementation can be pretty confusing, even to seasoned synthesists. At a glance, the Cherry Audio PS-20 patch panel appears very similar, but in actuality, we've reconfigured the patch panel considerably, adding desired ins and outs for all oscillators, filters, and VCAs, correcting the confusing terminology of the original, and throwing in a few extras to make it more fun and usable.
Intro Price: $29 (Reg. $49). It's available for both Windows and macOS, in AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone formats, with a free 30-day demo available.
Plus, owners of PS-20 receive 20% off of Cherry Audio's newly updated MS Vintage Bundle mkII for Voltage Modular - now including the new EG-20 and Poly EG-20 Envelope Generator modules. Already own the MS Vintage Bundle? You'll receive 20% off of PS-20.