Korg MS2000 & MS2000R

Korg MS2000 Image

This beauty from Korg combines state of the art analog physical modeling synth sounds with a very vintage Korg appearance. Yes, this sounds as good as it looks! Remember Korg's MS-series (the MS-10, MS-20 and MS-50)? That's right, the MS or MonoSynth series are some of Korg's most sought after analog synths. They were some of the only compact Patchable monosynths of their time, and had a great Korg sound too. While the MS2000 is somewhat "hard-wired", it offers just as much and more flexibility while maintaining a straight forward and hands-on approach towards old-fashioned editing via dedicated knobs, buttons and flashy lights. In place of actual patch cables and input jacks, the MS2000 features a cool "Virtual Patch" mode in which signal can be routed to various sections of the synth (ie: LFO, Filter or Keyboard Velocity) using the LCD display and paging through various screens.

The MS2000 actually comes up against the similar Roland JP-8000 and Novation SuperNova & Nova synths. Despite its amazing look, the MS2000 has some surprising limitations. It has only 4-voice polyphony so you won't be creating very lush or complex pads and sounds with it. In spite of this, its sound is clean, crisp and very flexible. It can easily conjure up beefy basslines, sub-basses, wonderful sweeping leads, pads and hits. Classic features include a 6 pattern arpeggiator, a very flexible LFO with sample and hold and even vintage wood side-panels and printed block diagrams and programming data on the face.

Programming seems just about as classic as its look. The two oscillators offer up to eight waveforms plus noise. A great self-oscillating filter section provides 12dB high and band pass filtering and switchable 12 or 24dB low pass filtering. A typical set of Envelopes modulate the filter and amplifier. Extensive modulation is provided by the two LFOs. A 16-band Vocoder section (a la VC-10) is also on-board and it does an excellent job! There are also on-board effects which include chorus, flange, phaser, delay, distortion and EQ. It also features a "Modulation Sequence" mode which is a 16-step pattern or sequence you create in either step- or real-time and any tweaking or editing can also be recorded into the pattern to add movement to it. The MS2000 is a very well designed and flexible synth with a look and functionality that not only honors but transcends its classic predecessors. It is used by BT, Depeche Mode, Apollo 440, The Crystal Method, Placebo, the Faint, Royksopp, Adrian Belew, Jean-Jacques Perrey, Saga, Klaus Schulze, Rick Wakeman, Yes, Yesterdays, Keith Emerson and Snoop Dogg.

Korg MS2000R Image

The MS2000R is, of course, the rackmount version of this beast. Although there is no keyboard and no real need for one, the 16 function buttons on the front of the unit can be switched into "Keyboard" mode in which they function as keys, mainly for demoing sounds while you're programming it. This is a really great feature since most rackmount synths either don't allow you to hear your progress from the actual unit or they only feature a one-note demo button to hear your sounds. The MS2000 is truly a well thought out instrument for musicians of any level looking for classic and new sounds within a quality digital synth with a sleek vintage look that'll turn a few heads!

Korg MS2000B Image

Released in 2003 with an updated sound set, a sharp new black metallic color scheme and dedicated vocoder mic, the MS2000B and MS2000BR provide a combination of playability, expression and sound manipulation that is at once familiar, yet ready to open a new universe of possibilities. It is also worth mentioning that an MS2000 and MS2000B can be connected synchronously for eight voices of polyphony, as long as the two units have the same samples installed.

Korg MS2000BR Image

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149 Visitor comments
gridsleep
May 30, 2011 @ 11:54 pm
It's worth mentioning (again, I think, it's been before, for new people skimming the first page of these comments) the MS2000 and MS2000B can be ganged with the MS2000R and MS2000BR respectively to provide control over 8 voices from one keyboard. The audio out from each has to be merged in a mixer (hard or soft) but it will provide an 8 voice MS2000 or MS2000B. Try that with your MicroKorg, fanbois. Not. And, really, go for the B if you can. Better voices, more control and more precise, and you can use the nice gooseneck mic.
Benny
May 5, 2011 @ 7:08 pm
kadabra what are you talking about this machine has one of the simplest yet gnarliest sounding distortion algorithm I've ever heard, it can really add to a sound rather than just make it all blurry and overdriven. Resonance is nice, squeaky, birdy sounding but I admit it looses oomph after not so much resonance gain, but the filter as a whole sound great and can really scream if you want them too ;)
John Patrick
May 3, 2011 @ 4:56 pm
I own the MS2000B, and wow...This is probably the only synth that i have ever owned that left me with the "didn't know i could do that huh" impression. First impression was "blah", but its looks saved it. It is the most beautiful VA out there from a vintage synth lover perspective. The oscillators and polyphony are clearly it's weakest features. But it has THE ABSOLUTE BEST step sequencer of any VA made, EVER. The patchbay is incredible too. you can do this stuff on other VA's, but not anywhere as easily or as simply as you can on the MS2000, and that was part of the charm of the old analogs.
bill
April 22, 2011 @ 12:23 am
I dont know why some people hate on this synth. it was the cheapest va back in the day when that was all the rage. it does not sound overly analog but it does have its own vibe. why people will run out and buy a microkorg over this synth which has so much more options is beyond me. i used this on a pretty successful synthpop album and regret getting rid of it. the build is not the best i hated the knobs and i felt it kind of lacking in that regard. however it is metal housed and nice looking piece of gear. the sounds are really warm in there own way. great fun and really a modern classic.
kadabra
April 19, 2011 @ 4:32 am
I think "angels in bondage" is not really able to program this unique synthesizer. If you find the right way to mix this synth, it sounds smart and sometimes analog in your mix. It can do wonderful "morphing" pads and dark basses like an early SH of Roland. Very good for d & b. Only resonance rising is a little bit thin. And Distortion is a joke. Even the effects like chorus and delay are very useable if you use them decent. The panel is best in realtime control of each parameter. And the sequencer and arpeggiator...infinite possibilities. Grab it if you can! It´s a classic soon (or now?).
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 4 voices
  • Oscillators - Analog Modeling Synthesis System: 2 osc. plus 1 noise generator (8 waveforms: sine, tri, saw, pulse, human voice and 64 DWGS waves)
  • LFO - 2 LFOs with sample and hold
  • Filter - High and band-pass (12dB), low-pass (12 or 24dB) with resonance and ADSR
  • Effects - 3 types modulation, 3 types delay, EQ, vocoder, 6 pattern arpeggiator
  • Keyboard - 44 keys with velocity (rack has 16 emulated keys, no velocity)
  • Memory - 128 programs
  • Control - MIDI (2-parts)
  • Date Produced - 2000

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