This is the Korg MS2000, released in the year 2000 and was Korg’s analog modelling synthesizer, aimed at evoking memories of the classic 1970s MS series including the MS20, SQ10 analog sequencer and VC-10 vocoder. In 2023, there are plenty of actual analog synths available at affordable prices, like Korg’s Minilogue, but at the start of the millennium that wasn’t the case. So, a virtual analog with real hands-on controls for around £600 was extremely exciting.
I scanned my original MS2000 brochure if you want to download it.
Analog modelling synthesizer
The MS2000 has a traditional subtractive system architecture. Two oscillators that feed into a mixer (with noise), ring mod and sync, two envelope generators, two LFOs, digital delay and Chorus/Flanager. There is a virtual patchbay, trying to bring back the memory of synths like the MS20 where you can route LFO, velocity, envelopes and midi inputs to destinations like pitch, oscillator control or the filter.
The MS2000 can be operated in four voice mode or you can have it in split or dual modes (reducing your polyphony to 2 notes). Oscillator 1 has Sawtooth, PWM and Triangle waves. There is a sine wave that can be modulated using FM, vox wave, noise, audio in and DWGS waves. The DWGS waves come from synths like the DW8000 and are 64 single cycle digital waves. The filter has 12/24dB low pass, band pass and high pass options and is self-oscillating. The filter has its only envelope generator as well as a distortion effect that beefs up the sound.
Mod Sequencer & Arpeggiator
Another powerful feature is the mod sequencer. This is a 3 x 16 step sequencer that you can use to adjust pitch, filter, or any of the other synth parameters. You can create some interesting sequences and effects with this. You can use it for musical sequences or just to add some movement to the sound.
There is also a decent arpeggiator with six different types. When in split or layer mode each timbre can have its own arpeggiator.
Effects & Vocoder
There is a digital delay, equalizer and Chorus, Flanger and Phaser effect. There are no reverbs on the MS2000. There is a vocoder which via the external microphone input using a sixteen channel bandpass system.
It has full sized MIDI in, out and through. Stereo outputs, two audio inputs and foot pedal inputs.
As well as the keyboard version, there was also the MS2000R, a rack mount version and in 2003 Korg released the MS2000B. This had an updated sound set, black colour and dedicated vocoder microphone but that was the last version that was released.
In 2002, Korg released the MicroKorg, a small minikey version of the MS2000 synth engine based on the MS2000 (less flexible Vocoda, improved arpeggiator and lack the MS2000 motion sequencer) and without the real time controls of the MS2000.
Amazingly the MicroKorg is still being manufactured in 2023 and is one of the best selling synth of all times. Korg have even produced a VST version of the MicoKorg which is part of the Korg Collection.
In this video I explain the architecture of the MS2000 and demonstrate some of its sounds and features.