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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151 Visitor comments
John H
September 8, 2009 @ 8:38 pm
It's just a sexy sounding a looking instrument, innit? Looks are not decieving in this case. As far as the fatness goes, read carsonduke, sintfrik, and XS's comments below... they are spot on.
September 8, 2009 @ 11:52 am
I have to admit I've really fallen in love with this synth, It might not be the fattest sounding VA on the market, but good lord is it fun to play! The user interface is really simple and straight-forward, and it produces some of the weirdest sounds I've ever heard from a synth, regardless of category, from grinding basses, drugged out bloopy rhythms, screaming leads, psychedelic effects and jawdropping in-your-face noise spasms, this synth sounds pissed!! It's like Korgs developers were stoned out of their minds while they designed this! I will never, ever sell mine and I'm actually thinking of buying another one, that is how much I love this thing. It might have its limitations but I really don't care cause you don't mind those when you play it, If you're looking for a synth that'll surprise you each time you use it, go buy this NOW, considering what they sell for, this is one fantastic piece of kit!
August 25, 2009 @ 4:19 pm
If people are saying it sounds thin, I think they are referring to the convertors. Obviously, if you compare this to a Virus, its just not going to hold up. I own a Virus and an MS2K as well as an MS20, you know what.... they are all different and I use them for different sounds. Every synth is different and the MS2K serves its purpose. Its gigs live very well.
juan andres
August 20, 2009 @ 9:50 pm
I love my Ms2000. A great machine and it sounds fat enough, you must know to work with oscillators in the right way. Please don't compare VA with VST instruments, that [beep] s!
August 13, 2009 @ 12:29 pm
Let me say something for those who say that the Ms sound thin - you have to make a diff here whether your PATCHES sound thin or the synth.After playing with it for some time I was able to construct monster 4osc bass patches that sound both gritty and phat, the mod sequencer is a dream especially for those neverending ppg like pads - it truly is a crazy and creative machine.At first I thought the 4voices poly will be a chore but after playing with it I hardly ever notice it.Remember, the architecture is such that it calls for 4 voices. I highly recomend this synth to anyone serious about music making.I would trade it for nothing!BUT,you have to get your hands dirty to get the best results.The presets will make you think that its a [beep] ty machine coz they stink.
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Rated 4.47 (1969 Votes)

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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
  • Resources & Credits
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