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
analog monster
April 7, 2013 @ 10:05 am
This entry needs modifying as it is ANALOG modelling, not physical modelling. There is a very big difference - physical modelling is where you have a mathematical model of a traditional instrument such as a violin, and this is used to synthesize the instrument.

This is a digital instrument doing subtractive synthesis, a great first synth as it is pretty cheap and flexible. Shame about the polyphony limitations but actually not such a big deal, I used it mostly for bass which you want to be monophonic anyway
February 8, 2013 @ 8:17 pm
love it - just got it 2-weeks ago thru ebay, sold my SH-201 to upgrade to the older standard ms2000 (not B) - it's a joy - 4-voices is a limitation to consider, but paired up with my mpc1000 & korg micro X - it's a simple joy - the vocoder is fantastic, the motion sequencer is a lot of fun, and the sound is quite different and unique - great for basses, and strange sounds, leads - i will never sell this - plus, it looks so cool in the dark - and the wooden sides add the vintage vibe - my young kids are quite impressed - keybed leaves a bit to be desired but nothing i can't get past -
Electrical Worshiper
January 31, 2013 @ 3:44 pm
The MS2000R was the first synth I bought to make the jump from software to hardware and I still love this thing to death. Some might say it has a thinner sound and fewer features than an expensive analog: well, duh. Yeah. It also has a very distinctive sound. If they all sounded the same what would be the point? And I've gotten some pretty beefy or rich sounds out of it with no outboard anything. It's also fairly cheap and fun to play. I had a blast learning on it and picked it up pretty quickly. No plans to part ways with it.
January 25, 2013 @ 3:09 pm
@aaron yes the ms2000 has audio inputs for you to filter sounds or use the vocoder. It works pretty well. Not the greatest sounding vocoder IMHO, but quite decent.
January 3, 2013 @ 2:51 am
I recently brought a ms2000br on ebay, very good first impressions, depth of sounds is good, filter is lush and the arpeggiator is really nice. Only gripe is tthe cheap knobs, but you soon get over these. Looking forward to hooking it up with Live 9 :-)
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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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