27
Aug
07

How more synths should be designed.

MS2000br

The Korg MS2000br recently joined the ranks among my shelves and stands. When I was making the decision to buy a new synth I heavily considered the MS2000 alongside the Roland JP-8000, JP-8080, Alesis ION, and the Yamaha AN200. The AN200 only squeeked into consideration due to its relationship to the an1x and it’s very low selling price. I may still buy one (actually, im more interested in the DX-200), it looks like a very fun unit to have on the coffee table useful for sketching out ideas as an all-in-one synth/drum machine/sequencer (groovebox) solution similar to the Korg Electribes. It’s not what I was looking for, but it was an attractive bargain at under $200.00.  However, as far features and this conversation go.. it doesnt really fit in, just thought I’d mention the low price anyways.

 “…what I was looking for…” was a programmer’s synth. Something harking back to analogue synths of the late 70’s and early 80’s with an editor based on front panel access and as little page editing as possible, while retaining some modern sensibility and flexibility. I also wanted something modern so I could easily incorporate it into my setup (im tired of arguing with CV Sync and MIDI conversion).. which at the price range I was considering, meant Virtual Analogue. When it came down to the VA quality argument I’ve already been aware for the past 5-6 years that the MS2000 gets alot of love in that department and often wins out in comparison to others. However, I don’t want to turn this into a pissing contest of which of these synths are better.., anyone that owns one of these synths knows of their individual strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses of the MS2000 are pretty straight forward. 4 voice polyphony is one, and while the build of the MS2000 is solid as to be expected of Korg – the knobs can feel a bit worrisome and prone to damage.. Easy to avoid though, just take proper care of your gear.

Out of all the programming features on the MS2000 my favorite might simply be the virtual patching options (though I do wish there a few more routing destinations). You can easily drive values like keyboard tracking and parameters like the cutoff into the -/+400% range.. allowing for some very creative programming on Split setups, etc.

 The mod sequencer is a thing of passion. Either you love this type of sequencer, or you don’t. MOD Sequences can be a total of 16 steps long, however.. each step length is fully customizable and there are several run modes (loop, alt1 (bounce), alt2, etc) and each Timbre can have its own independant MOD sequencer. 3 per voice infact,.. allowing you to experiment, expand, and automate each Program with up to 6 fully assignable (pitch, mix, cutoff, env amount, lfo, whatever) MOD sequences.

When first using the synth it is easy (too easy infact) to get deep down and dirty into all the modulation and sequence options. One must really pull themself back for a moment while editing and show some restraint or you’ll bypass all the great Analogue synth programming available to you.

So anyways, I have to say I’m in love. This is a perfect addition to my studio and was everything I was looking for and then some. Getting the rack module also ended up being a smooth move as well because in truth it’s a table top with rack ears… so I’ve spent many countless hours already programming the thing from the comfort of my couch. The front panel note jam option is nice as well as it provides another reachable trigger area when I’m using my smaller 2 octave portable keyboard and can’t flip down an octave for one reason or another.

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