Synth Site: Korg: MS2000R: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Zeb a hobbyist user from cambridge, MA USA writes:
Hello you workaholics...i'm a newbie so please bear with me...i'll be speaking in VERY naive terms i think, but this is how it went down:

Okay; i've been searching for the best FIRST KEYBOARD Synth to buy, in around the $600-$800 range...CS2-x, XP-10, etc...but i caught my hands on this beauty and said....okay, i'll spend a bit more. Prior to buying the MS, i've been working lots on software synths on a PC, but it's a pain in the nads to interface with just one mouse. I used to be a real cheapass when it came to music production, but now i know the value of Hardware...

Anyhow, the MS is quite powerful; the sounds are very warm, the real time mod sequence editing aspects are very easy to use and master; however, the MS does lend itself to only a certain genre of music...for a beginner, you may be satisfied with modifying the preset patches, but soon be tired of them and wanting more...but there's loads of possibilites with the MS, and the bass potential is very good.

I've had a chance to play with the Roland JP8000; i may return the MS for the JP, mainly because the MS is much more aggressive(which is great!) but lacks the subtlety of the JP. Although Several years older, the JP is i think a superior Analogue Modelling Synth, simply because the range of the JP is much larger than the MS. If techno/trance/squeaky ambient is your thing, get the MS.

Once i get the JP, maybe later i'll get the MS2000R to round out my studiostash..All in all it's loads of fun to play with, instant gratification, but for me, if i keep it, it won't be my workhorse synth...i still need more!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-01-2000 at 11:43
Nippokoski a part-time user from Sweden writes:
Sucks ass:

Two timbres is a lie, you cant use different effects on the timbres, not even delay or something. The LFO`s cant be used either, like 4 lfos totally, So if you wont to use the two "parts" buy something else. The knobs feel like they could break very easily and they are in thin hard plastic. When i make som agressive sounds the volume seem to die out a bit sometimes, quite strange.

Kicks Ass:

Very nice sounding! I cant find something that dosent sound very analougish. The interface is relly good, and the 16 knobs for use for the mod sequense. Best of all gotta be the vocoder, it sounds so extremely phat.

Yep, thats it... Its good and its bad.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Sep-24-2000 at 08:47
David Smith a hobbyist user from Scotland writes:
I've had a couple of months to get used to the MS2000 but it really only takes a couple of days. It really is incredibly easy to program and on the first night I had it I made a patch that, in my eyes at least, was much better than any of the presets. So if its so easy to program why are most of the presets so poor. I know you need to show off a synth's diversity but there are just too many ordinary sounds. When I try out a synth in a shop I like to hear amazing sounds and a hint at sonic diversity, just so I know its there. I try not to use presets as a general rule but they can sometimes offer great inspiration so its nice to have good ones.

Another criticism I have is certain aspects of it's architecture. Why do you have to wade through menus to change how the arpeggiator is targeted? Couldn't they have had an arpeggiator for each of the timbres, I've programmed real time systems before and I know that something like an internal (it doesn't even transmit over MIDI) arpeggiator wouldn't be a significant strain on the processor. There should also be some sort of routing possibility for the effects unit. It's ridiculous that the same effect settings have to be applied over both timbres. Both timbres are processed separately up to the arpeggiator so why not keep them separate and offer the user the choice of whether to send one or the other or both signals through the effects unit. They can always be combined after. It seems like quite a major limitation to me, and it compromises it's mult-timbral capabilities quite considerably.

Another problem I've found with it is it's timing. It's far from rock solid and the arpeggiator sometimes miss-triggers. I'm using Windows and I know that a lot of the time the timing problems are to do with it, but even setting the tempo to a division of 24 (120bpm) causes problems. I've experienced similar problems with my ER1 and syncing it's delay unit. I tried e-mailing Korg about it but they didn't even reply. My Orbit and Pulse don't have any problems so I wonder if its a design flaw on Korg's part.

Although all I've mentioned is criticism I still enjoy using the machine and it's motion sequencer and the ease with which you can program it offers amazing possibilities. A well-designed synth should let you create the sound you have in you're head as easily as possible and also offer some surprises for inspiration. The MS2000R easily accomplishes this so despite all my complaining I still rate it as an excellent piece of equipment that I've found myself spending more time playing with than sequencing.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-14-2000 at 08:18
x a professional user from United States writes:
I've been following the MS2000 and MS2000R reviews and between the reviews and demos on the net was concerned that they were going to be upscale 4 note polyphonic groove product. Thankfully that's not the case.

Some reviewers have said this synth lacks character and complained about the filters. I agree it's easy to filter so low that the volume disappears but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I'd rather have more control than less and the filters seem pretty musicial while still being very edgy.

What really impressed me were the pads and rhythmic (mostly Mod Sequenced but some LFO driven) patches. There's a lot of cool stuff here including some serious contenders for Waldorf XT style wavetable sweeps. Very impresssive especially considering the MS2000 is being marketed to the dance market.

The analog emulations are excellent and have balls when that's what you're looking for. People have complained about the presets, hey, get rid of them, this is far to simple a synth not to program and take advantage of. The buyer of these synths will be sound programmers. There is depth and quality in the design.

And that polyphony issue, well hell, I'd love 16 notes and several midi channels but for the $650 we paid I can live with using the MS as a single channel instrument. And for a 4 voice synth you can do a hell of a lot. The only synth at this price range I'm familiar with that can get so much out of one patch is the Clavia Nord Micro Modular, which by the way, sounds great in use with this synth.

So it sounds good, is easy to program, what else? The vocoder is very good. The mod sequencer is very cool, the virtual patch bay is great. I don't know, it's useful, it can create patches that are minimalist pieces in and of themselves. It's all good here.

Things to improve, the knobs seem flimsy but you can see why they are so small, it would be a six space rack unit if they used larger buttons and knobs. Some stuff that should have been on the MS2000, LEDs by the arpeggiator's range and type buttons, it's a drag to flip to edit mode just to see where you are. The angle on the back of the unit should have been steeper. I prefer to use this as a tabletop unit and the way it sits is somewhat difficult to access. Waldorf did a good job with the XT, it's angled much nicer. Speaking of which, I went through 2 of them, they weren't stable. The MS2000 is being grouched at because it isn't built like a tank like the XT. Maybe it's me but being built like a tank means nothing if the synth doesn't work. :)

This synth fits any kind of music and is the first VA including the Z1 that made me feel like I was listening to some of my old favorite analogs. If not in exact replication, in the way some instruments just sound "right."

This is a keeper.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Sep-01-2000 at 01:25
Doug Melbourne a part-time user from UK writes:
I've only owned my MS2000 a couple of days so I haven't had much chance to experiment, but I have to say that so far I am very impressed. It's the first VA I've been tempted by (I am a collector of analogue synths and have an ARP ProSoloist, Prophet Five, MS10 and Pro One amongst others) and it really feels like an analogue when modifying sounds, with some nice extra non-analogue additions such as digital waveforms and effects.

It comfortably simulates many of my fave ARP sounds and has quite a range of it's own surprises. Highly recommended.

Downside - possibly a bit flimsy but I thought that about the Pro One and it hasn't let me down in nearly 20 years. Internal PSU would have been better. It's also annoyingly addictive!

Polyphony isn't a problem for me as it's there to compliment my Roland XP30 which does all the clever multi timbral stuff and general bread-and-butter sounds, but you shouldn't buy it thinking of it as a general purpose instrument. It's a lead instrument with some bonus polyphony, rather than a full polysynth with limited polyphony.

In short - buy one! Buy a whole bunch!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-23-2000 at 05:46
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