MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.

MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby Swayze » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:31 pm

I know, just what we need, yet another MS20 thread...:roll:

But seriously, anyone own both of these beauties or at least played both? Which one do you prefer and why?

I ran a few searches but couldn't find a shootout where these 2 go toe to toe...which was really surprising given the obvious similarities and differences between them. Love my Mono/Poly and will never part with it, but at $600 for a new MS20 mini, semi-modular experimentation is so close I can smell it.

Anyway, what do y'all think about these classic Korgs?
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Re: MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby monolith » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:04 pm

I had both side by side for a few years. I still have the ms-20 and never thought I'd part with the monopoly but I just didn't end up using it enough. I loved it for weird rhythms and fm'd textures and chord memory but I always thought the filter resonance made it sound cheap, for lack of a better description.

They compliment each other well though, and the ms-20's sound is awesome especially in a live band context. I think the ms-20 mini sounds great compared to an original too.

There's great fun to be had if you have a mono/poly, ms-20 and a cp-251 (even more with moogerfoogers!)
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Re: MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby sequentialsoftshock » Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:55 pm

Damn. This is a good one. The MS20 is badass, and I think most people know it is one of my favorites. But the Mono/Poly... Boy do I want one. Some dude in Philly had a Mono/Poly get stolen at the same time as my MS20 and I like to think they're rocking out together.

The MS20 is fucking awesome for weird metallic sounds and it also does decent creamy leads, though I prefer a Pro One for that. From my limited use of the M/P, it does creamy very well. it is certainly fat, but not as aggressive as the MS20 is. Dude, if you already have the Mono/Poly and are only going to go with the MS20 mini, I think you'd be wise to stick with both. Only reason I'd consider selling the mono/poly is to buy a vintage MS20 and something else. At this point you could probably afford an MS20 and Pro One for the price I've seen M/P's go for.
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Re: MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby Jabberwalky » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:30 pm

Mono/Poly does some cool things, but actually looks way better on paper than it actually sounds. It's a wonderfully built machine, but the sound always feel kind of flat for me. Where it did shine was for FX and running through each oscillator sequentially. The MP is not worth what they sell for AT ALL. I bought one for $600 back in 05 or something, and I felt it was pricey then. Get something that sounds good (i.e. the MS20 mini)
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Re: MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby Swayze » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:04 am

Thanks for the great input fellas. I definitely need to visit a music store and demo the MS20 mini for myself. In the meantime, here are some reasons why I think the Mono/Poly is such a great synth. It's super flexible with an immediate interface that is pure fun to mess with. It might not be the right beast for 70's prog rock but when it comes to funky 80's sounds it really rips. It's perfect for arps and leads but is also capable of so much more with it's 4 osc's and poly mode. It's got a very tight and beautiful sound that sits well in the mix and takes well to fx. It's tone might not be as moody or punchy as the MS20 or say a Pro One, but it has great character and can get really weird with the x-mod. Always wanted a Pro One to keep the Mono/Poly company, but then I also remember how bad I want a vco poly (ahem) Prophet 600. But I digress. This isn't about me and what I want, it's about 2 different Korg machines, both incredible sounding and extremely capable synthesizers.
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Re: MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:26 am

I've never used a Mono/Poly myself, but I absolutely love my MS-20 Mini - absolutely demo one if you can, but I'd recommend it even if you can't. Even just the combination of resonant low-pass and high-pass filters (and an additional non-resonant pair in the ESP) opens up so many possibilities, and throw in ring modulation and everything the patch bay offers and it's an amazingly capable little synth - it'd be a great complement to a good analog poly.
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Re: MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby Dr. Phibes » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:14 am

Interesting replies. I've been drawn to a monopoly for while because the idea of 4 independent oscillators seems really appealing. Back in the summer I even saw a few for sale for (just about) under £1000; that's a lot less than what an original MS-20 and Pro-1 would cost over here. Still, the launch of the Ms-20 mini has upset things a bit. I've learnt that a good high-pass filter is something to be respected - never mind all the extra mod options.
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Re: MS20 vs. Mono/Poly

Postby Jabberwalky » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:34 pm

Resonant high pass is the key. Much different then the typical high pass thrown in at the end of the signal chain (juno60 etc)
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