Korg MS-20 Mini: A 1970's Patchable Synthesizer Shrunken Down and Resurrected

Illustration for article titled Korg MS-20 Mini: A 1970s Patchable Synthesizer Shrunken Down and Resurrected

From 1978 to 1983, Korg produced the MS-20, a two-oscillator analog synth that was patchable with 1/4-inch cables a lot like a custom modular synth setup (See the original below). People liked it because of its smooth sound and because the patch panel allowed you a limited degree of customizability without needing to invest in additional units. The MS-20 mini is this classic synth reborn in a tinier package.

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According to Korg, the MS-20 mini's guts and sound are identical to the original's despite its smaller size. The 1/4-inch patch plugs have been replaced with 1/8-inch mini-plugs to accommodate the smaller size. The new synth has also been reworked for our digital days with USB-MIDI I/O. No word on price yet, but given Korg's usual range expect something in the $700 range. [Korg]

Illustration for article titled Korg MS-20 Mini: A 1970s Patchable Synthesizer Shrunken Down and Resurrected

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Nice. Unrelated but interesting synthesizer story: In 1970 a good friend of mine showed up at a folk music coffee house we both frequented with an ARP 2600 synthesizer. He worked for ARP and they were just starting to market them; we played with it all night. That guy was Phil Dodds, who went on to do the electronic sounds for Logan's Run, some of the early Star Trek movies, and most notably for Close Encounter of the Third Kind. Moreover, Spielberg liked his looks and cast him as the synthesizer operator in the now-iconic final scenes when they're trying to communicate musically with the mothership; that's him in the middle.

- Close Encounter of the Third Kind, Columbia Pictures, 1977