Korg_MS20 Kit_WNAMM14

This one is just for the superfan.

KORG’s MS-20 mini, a circuit-for-circuit analog re-release of the original MS-20, stole the show last year. But apart from adding a MIDI input, there was one glaring change that would distinguish the mini from the original – the whole thing was shrunk down.

Not so this year’s MS-20 Kit, announced today and released as a limited edition this spring. Call it the MS-20 Full-Sized, if you like.

The MS-20, like the mini, recreates the analog signal path of the original. And like the mini, it cheats a little to give you MIDI input and USB MIDI input so you can send notes from something other than the built-in keyboard. But unlike the mini, everything is back to full size: full-sized keys, full-sized case, 1/4″ jacks on the patch bay (instead of minijacks), and all the same form factor and dimensions as the 1978 classic.

Apart from that, the big difference is that you assemble it yourself. Fans of the sweet aroma of solder will be disappointed to know that the boards are all soldered in advance – this is a kit you assemble from a few parts, not from scratch. KORG even promises that you need “a few simple tools and picture diagrams.” (Screwdriver, I’m thinking.)

But the MS-20 Kit has one extra feature. You can choose which filter you use – the unruly original or a tamer design (which also sounds rather nice) introduced shortly thereafter. As KORG describes it:

Units produced in the earlier period used a filter noted for its distinctive distortion and self-oscillation, while the filter used in later units was a low-noise design with a more mellow character. The new MS-20 Kit provides both filters and easy switching between the two.

Don’t knock the latter design – switchable is probably exactly what you want. (The filter switch is internal; sounds like a good chance for a mod.)

Size and limited editions cost you, though. Street price is US$1399.99, available in March. Sorry, that’s not a misprint; that really is the price, which wouldn’t seem so bad had the MS-20 mini not been so surprisingly inexpensive. Pricey keybed? Really limited edition? It’s hard to say, but the MS-20 mini is still the smart buy. Like I said, superfans only.

But if you have the cash, you get an MS-20 that’s more reliable than the original and adds MIDI, in the full-sized design. And that means no more squeezing your fingers into tiny keys and knobs. Add in the switchable filter, and this might be, at last, a perfect MS-20.

CDM has a review unit coming, so stay tuned for our exclusive hands-on.

KORG also naturally tells CDM that they’re doing more this year than just taking apart their MS-20 and letting you put it back together again. Stay tuned.

http://www.korg.com

Photo at top courtesy KORG.

JRRShop (cough) broke embargo and published this, so let’s have a look at their image which gives you another view of the parts spread out:

ms-20jrrshop

  • regend

    My R3 now has a companion and will be in a custom case.

  • People from Ibiza

    Price is a little high in the sky, 1000$ street would have been fair.. Remember It’s DIY kit..

  • E

    I would actually pay more than $1000 for being able to ditch the keybed and build a custom case for it so I think the price is fair. Consider also the originals are running higher than $1500 and you get MIDI, filter selection and stability. Very cool!

  • Matt Jackson
  • Matt Jackson

    That said.. the Mini is still not in my price range, especially after the bass station II I just got. (and the micro nova.. hey it was an industry deal)

  • Miquel Dangla

    at this price range you can get two Arp 2600 clones (in the near future)…
    http://thehumancomparator.net/

    • stumm

      2 2600 clones – would get you the PCBs and Case..0 components.

    • Dogshit McPukeface

      not to mention the arp clone is a genuine DIY job, and not for amateurs.

      this ms20 kit can be put together by anyone familiar with lego.

    • Miquel Dangla

      Aha, I missed that part. Anyhow, you can still get the 2600 for a fraction (including self sourced components). You only don’t get a branded product.

    • stumm

      You still have to BUY EVERYTHING for the 2600 kits. the 1300 would only get you the PCBs! You’re missing this extremely important cost point.

  • James

    I’d repeat the sentiment that this is a little expensive compared to recent releases.

    However, you can guarantee that over time it’ll drop in price… the thing that held me back from considering the Mini version WAS the mini keys and controls. It was a bit of a Lou Ferrigno scenario, what with my large oven-mitt paws J

    • Dogshit McPukeface

      is there something you don’t understand about ‘limited edition’ ? … it won’t have the opportunity to drop in price, and I don’t see people selling this for less than the original outlay.

  • Devin

    Ooph. That’s a $700 premium for basically the exact same synth with a tiny bit more sheet metal and slightly bigger keys.

    • Oliver

      Exaactly – and only for ECLUSIVE people. Not you… lol

  • Dogshit McPukeface

    What a cocksuck pricetag. of course, they’d have to go with 1/4″ jacks too. why not put the extra filter in the mini ? so that we could use it with euromods ? cocksuck. COCKSUCK.

    • Oliver

      Please go and die! Thanks!

    • Dogshit McPukeface

      cocksuck.

  • NILights

    Interesting, had the ms-10, so this looks great..

    http://www.nilights.co.uk

  • PocketUniverse

    According to Engadget there will only be 1000 units made, so I’m afraid that this one will just be a niche product that sells out way before it hits the streets. This also means that vendors will probably ask more than MSRP for this lovely kit.

    http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/23/korg-ms-20-kit/

  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    if you can afford a car, you can buy a synthesizer