As we wait patiently for the MS20 Mini to arrive for review, they are still as rare as a rare thing - at least around these parts, Korg continue to tease us with snippets of information on the new incarnation of the 35 year old synth.
In this interview posted on the official Korg Japan website with the original designers (Mr. Fumio Mieda - left and Mr. Hiroaki Nishijima - right) we get some more snippets of information.
Is there a point at which MS-20 mini is better than the original MS-20?
We've added MIDI input and a USB port that were not available on the original MS-20, allowing the new model to be smoothly integrated into modern music production environments. Another advantage is that that it's slightly smaller than the original MS-20, saving space. In particular, the newly compact body is something you'll appreciate once you've used it.
Why Did you Choose to make it smaller?
We have great respect for the original MS-20, so we felt that it would be devaluing to make the new model exactly the same size as the original. That's why the size is different than the original. We also felt that it looked good in a slightly smaller size.
What gave you the most difficulty in recreating the design?
As with the original MS-20, there was much deliberation in deciding on the transistors. That's because the performance of an analog
synthesizer is greatly affected by things that don't appear on the spec sheet, such as the pairing characteristics of the transistors, and their response and consistency in the micro-current domain.
There were different filters in earlier and later versions of the MS20 - which did you use?
The MS-20 uses the KORG35 circuit that was on the earlier version of MS-20. Preferences vary between users, but we felt that the earlier version of the filter created a sound that had a more distinctive presence, and thus it was the appropriate choice for this reincarnation.
Do you have plans to release the circuit diagrams as with the Monotrons and Monotribe?
As we did for the monotron and monotribe circuit diagrams, we will consider this if there is user demand. However, the MS-20 mini is more complex than the monotron and monotribe, so it will be more difficult to modify.
Do you plan to revive the other models in the MS series - the SQ-10 perhaps?
We want to give people who have never actually touched an analog synthesizer the chance of experiencing how much fun it can be. Just how necessary such a device would be in the present day is something that we'll decide after seeing the response from MS-20 mini users.
The MS-20 Mini will be available soon - honest! At around £500/$600
Two new USB microphones from some of the leading manufacturers
Nori Ubukota takes us through his instrument
Prototype alert, Karplus Strong in the house