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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150 Visitor comments
Kadaceus
September 24, 2012 @ 5:34 am
The sound of this beast is digital and brittle,but I dont mind,I love it!Its not 4 everyone.If u'r after a warm and analog sound,steer clear from it.The MS has the motionsequencer wich is the heart & soul of it,making possible variety of evolving ppg type sounds,not possible with the Micro,16 bands vocoding opposed to 8. Everything else is the same.Its a sound designer's dream.the factory sounds are awful,I replaced all of them with my own tweaked sounds and theyr AWESOME!If you know how to program synths,get this one.If your a preset junkey, this is not for you.
Peter Kadar
September 22, 2012 @ 3:26 pm
I had the MS2000b, and I loved the layout and the look. This is the exact same engine that is in the Microkorg. It sounds good.

I never felt really great about the keybed feel of it, but I noticed another, more significant problem. When I used layered patches, and played quickly with lots of controller information, everything would slow down - changes to pitch/mod, notes, and knob information. I loved the sound, disliked the polyphony, and key feel, but absolutely couldn't live with the sluggish engine. So for that reason I traded it back.
twitter _GodSons
September 16, 2012 @ 6:28 am
It's just very simple to get a decent sound, the user interface is amazingly straight forward. Yeah the knobs are cheap, it scratches quite easily. But it can do bass like no other. It can really get close to my Moog in terms of low end. It's not as tight as a Moog, but still has the same weight.
Asbjørn
July 7, 2012 @ 8:01 pm
"Extensive modulation capabilities with LFOs"? Really?? I love that all Korg had to do was call the pretty limited modulation matrix a "virtual patch bay", and then all reviewers swallow it whole.
The saving grace is the modulation-sequencer combined with the dual-mode, which is the real way to do some meaty modulations.
It's a nice synth, and you can get some good sounds from it, but I still think it's overrated compared to what it can actually do.
Bill
June 24, 2012 @ 8:12 am
My only complaints is the lack of polyphony and the cheap knobs they used. Other than that the ms2000 is a fantastically rewarding va synth.
 
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay 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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