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New Korg MS-20 Mini
Old 19th April 2013
  #1681
Gear Nut
 
coverup0204's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Understood and no offense taken. I think the general gist of it was that the store manager agreed that it was too noisy, so they called Korg on the phone. Korg rep said hey, it's like that by design, but we'll ship you one more on the double so you can compare them. So they had the new one out for me when I went back today.

I'm not the one who said they are all like this... I initially was sure that mine was defective because I had heard the sound files and rave reviews from CDM, etc., which in turn is why I didn't bother to take sound recordings. The Korg rep is the one suggesting that there is nothing wrong and they are all supposed to be like this.

Even if the rep was dumb, two units in a row with the exact same problem isn't very promising.

Anyway, this is the only store in my city that has them in stock. Nothing to do for now except wait for other reviews and hope the next batch is better. I still want one if they really can be as close to the original as Peter Kirn et al are claiming, but that wasn't the case with two in a row.

EDIT: This video illustrates the issue I am talking about with noise.

Listen from 3:53 to 4:10

The triangle wave at 4:05 is a good example because you can really hear how the noise is audible over the top of subtle sounds. The high end of a brash sawtooth masks it to a certain extent.

You can hear just the noise itself for a brief moment at 4:09 where he does the pulse width all the way to max and the wave disappears, leaving just the unwanted noise.

At first I thought this was his mic brushing against his clothes or something, but listen closely and you will hear that this fuzzy soft noise is over the top of everything and comes in and out with the VCA. This is exactly what I found to be a problem.

Last edited by coverup0204; 19th April 2013 at 10:51 AM.. Reason: Added video to illustrate issue
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1682
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duvalle's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverup0204 ➑️
The pain it takes to be right on the Internet...
lol ...
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1683
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🎧 10 years
Would you say that other online, like Marc Doty's extensive videos, sound like what you had? Just overall, noise aside (or including the noise).
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1684
Gear Nut
 
coverup0204's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ.MacReady ➑️
Would you say that other online, like Marc Doty's extensive videos, sound like what you had? Just overall, noise aside (or including the noise).
Yes. If you look at his Oscillators Part 1 video around 1:20 you can hear that ****ing static noise that covers everything in a blanket of mush. And at 3:40 you can hear the noise coming through as he does the same thing as Ujie above where he makes the duty cycle of the pulse wave 0%. For some reason Marc's videos didn't initially strike me as noisy, but then when I played it, noticed the noise, and then came back to the videos, I could hear it and know that it wasn't Youtube compression artifacts.

His Filters part 1 video illustrates the same issue. Listen to how that white noise rides on top of the sound every time he pulls the LPF down.

The original (vintage) MS-20 I tried at the used shop just seemed to have a much richer and gooey filter, and far less noise interference - although there was some, but it was acceptable for a synth from the 70s/80s. The vintage MS-20 I played might have been the mkII. But everyone raves about the superior sound of the mkI right?

Is this something that people are supposed to get used to? It's a pretty high noise floor, it's always there when the VCA is engaged, and I found it very distracting...

EDIT: Here is a good comparison

Listen to 1:54 how that note fades out but the hiss stays...
The original doesn't have this problem - pure sound for the most part. You can hear it again at 2:42 where he is comparing the slow sweep... as soon as he presses that key, hisssssssoundhisssssss

I want to hear the oscillators and details of the filter of this synth, not the noise of the components... what was all that about improving the s/n ratio on the VCA? Wasn't that a selling point of the mini?

Also, in this thread, some people suggest that the meat and bass of mkII design is better, with some saying they would take mkII over mkI, so I am willing to drop that point and say there is a chance that I just tried the mkII at the used store. Neither of the vintage models seem to have the hiss problem though.
Old 19th April 2013
  #1685
Deleted 0fc8128
Guest
I think that everybody is expecting these days DSP clean sounds with a high bandwidth. One of the things I noticed instantly, switching from VA to RA is the bandwidth that is limited in the case of real analog, at least on my vintage stuff.

Having said that, the noise is pretty low compared to what I get out of my PPG. Once you turn up the Oscillators it is not noticeable. I guess you need to have a certain S/N ratio for some electronic to work correctly. Cannot have it all. And after all, I always inject a little noise with my "clean" synths in general. Maybe my ears are shot by now anyway...
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1686
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riddimshakk's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverup0204 ➑️
Yes. If you look at his Oscillators Part 1 video around 1:20 you can hear that ****ing static noise that covers everything in a blanket of mush. And at 3:40 you can hear the noise coming through as he does the same thing as Ujie above where he makes the duty cycle of the pulse wave 0%. For some reason Marc's videos didn't initially strike me as noisy, but then when I played it, noticed the noise, and then came back to the videos, I could hear it and know that it wasn't Youtube compression artifacts.

His Filters part 1 video illustrates the same issue. Listen to how that white noise rides on top of the sound every time he pulls the LPF down.

The original (vintage) MS-20 I tried at the used shop just seemed to have a much richer and gooey filter, and far less noise interference - although there was some, but it was acceptable for a synth from the 70s/80s. The vintage MS-20 I played might have been the mkII. But everyone raves about the superior sound of the mkI right?

Is this something that people are supposed to get used to? It's a pretty high noise floor, it's always there when the VCA is engaged, and I found it very distracting...

EDIT: Here is a good comparison

Listen to 1:54 how that note fades out but the hiss stays...
The original doesn't have this problem - pure sound for the most part. You can hear it again at 2:42 where he is comparing the slow sweep... as soon as he presses that key, hisssssssoundhisssssss

I want to hear the oscillators and details of the filter of this synth, not the noise of the components... what was all that about improving the s/n ratio on the VCA? Wasn't that a selling point of the mini?

Also, in this thread, some people suggest that the meat and bass of mkII design is better, with some saying they would take mkII over mkI, so I am willing to drop that point and say there is a chance that I just tried the mkII at the used store. Neither of the vintage models seem to have the hiss problem though.

I've been reading this part of the thread & having one on pre-order myself ,i'm intrigued !
I watched those video's you posted for sound demo & comparison & all can hear is what i heard when i first watched them a month ago. Is it just my speakers then ?
I can't detect anything wrong. Sounds great.
Old 19th April 2013
  #1687
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Starspawn's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Yep, I hear it, that is kind of annoying, youd want to be able to fade to silence properly.
Old 19th April 2013
  #1688
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goldphinga's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I tested the ms20 mini next to my original korg 35 version. Because the general tone is brighter in the mini it accentuates the noise in the circuitry. Believe me the original is also hissy!
Old 19th April 2013
  #1689
Gear Nut
 
coverup0204's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldphinga ➑️
I tested the ms20 mini next to my original korg 35 version. Because the general tone is brighter in the mini it accentuates the noise in the circuitry. Believe me the original is also hissy!
I believe you, but based on what we see in the video above the original is considerably less hissy, and Korg was advertising improved signal to noise ratio with the mini, which is confusing. It is pretty silent when nothing is being played though, so maybe that's what they meant?
Old 19th April 2013
  #1690
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Spider_Dan's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbb5mNFgfKk

Here's an awesome video of the Mario Bros theme on MS-20 mini, monotron, and MINIPOPS120. If only the Volca Beats was out! They could have an all Korg video.
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1691
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laikenf's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider_Dan ➑️
KORG MS-20 mini "Super Mario Bros. Main Theme" - YouTube

Here's an awesome video of the Mario Bros theme on MS-20 mini, monotron, and MINIPOPS120. If only the Volca Beats was out! They could have an all Korg video.
HA!, thanks for this bro! this video made my day
Old 19th April 2013
  #1692
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Stevism's Avatar
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
ok so i listened to the examples you posted / pointed out...sounds pretty normal to me.

are you new to analog?

sometimes instruments aren't perfect, and they pick up static, etc.

perhaps you are just a bit too used to working with VA or itb synths

honestly though, if you have to go out of your way to point out a major "flaw" then meh
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1693
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riddimshakk's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevism ➑️
are you new to analog?

sometimes instruments aren't perfect, and they pick up static, etc.

perhaps you are just a bit too used to working with VA or itb synths

honestly though, if you have to go out of your way to point out a major "flaw" then meh

I kinda got that idea about his post too. When i listen to all of the demo's (& there have been loads right) i just hear cool sounds with character. Some of that character comes from circuitry. It's exactly that kind of element that i look for in a unit such as this & part of the draw & charm of analogue synthesizers.

I went & plugged my laptop into some high end speakers to listen for that noise. I turned it up loud & waited for the horrible noise but it never happened !
In fairness i don't want to dismiss the claim altogether but it does sound a bit extra fussy.
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1694
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jimmyklane's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverup0204 ➑️
Yes. If you look at his Oscillators Part 1 video around 1:20 you can hear that ****ing static noise that covers everything in a blanket of mush. And at 3:40 you can hear the noise coming through as he does the same thing as Ujie above where he makes the duty cycle of the pulse wave 0%. For some reason Marc's videos didn't initially strike me as noisy, but then when I played it, noticed the noise, and then came back to the videos, I could hear it and know that it wasn't Youtube compression artifacts.

His Filters part 1 video illustrates the same issue. Listen to how that white noise rides on top of the sound every time he pulls the LPF down.

The original (vintage) MS-20 I tried at the used shop just seemed to have a much richer and gooey filter, and far less noise interference - although there was some, but it was acceptable for a synth from the 70s/80s. The vintage MS-20 I played might have been the mkII. But everyone raves about the superior sound of the mkI right?

Is this something that people are supposed to get used to? It's a pretty high noise floor, it's always there when the VCA is engaged, and I found it very distracting...

EDIT: Here is a good comparison

Listen to 1:54 how that note fades out but the hiss stays...
The original doesn't have this problem - pure sound for the most part. You can hear it again at 2:42 where he is comparing the slow sweep... as soon as he presses that key, hisssssssoundhisssssss

I want to hear the oscillators and details of the filter of this synth, not the noise of the components... what was all that about improving the s/n ratio on the VCA? Wasn't that a selling point of the mini?

Also, in this thread, some people suggest that the meat and bass of mkII design is better, with some saying they would take mkII over mkI, so I am willing to drop that point and say there is a chance that I just tried the mkII at the used store. Neither of the vintage models seem to have the hiss problem though.
At first I thought you must be full of it.... BUT... in the video you linked in this quote, if you listen at 2:05 to the VCA noise of the original, and then go directly to 2:43 to the VCA noise of the mini, there IS a big difference. What is strange is how it is almost gated...when the oscillator tone becomes audible, it is no more noisy sounding than my other analogs.... It CAN be an issue, especially with stacking mono voices for poly or for super rich and thick sounds, and even worse when adding compression, as the noise is all over everything at that point. Part of the "price" for using all analog synths in any production is the "sheen of noise" over your sounds. Using noise gates/expanders is the only transparent way to deal with it, as even excellent NR tools make them sound like VA synths! For that reason I've still got 4 of my 2-channel, 1/2-rack DBX 363x racked up, even though I almost never track bands anymore... I hear what you're saying, and I agree that you are right on the "increased noise floor" part of your statement.... as for the "weak tone/weak filter" part, I am not hearing that in any of the demo videos.

One more thing: a VCA is really a pretty simple device. There is a service manual, as well as schematics floating out there for the original MS-20, and therefore if it REALLY bothers you, you can purchase either some better discrete components, or (better yet!) if it's op-amp based, go get something from burr brown or analog devices and call it a day....no more VCA hiss getting in the way of your enjoyment!

Last edited by jimmyklane; 20th April 2013 at 09:48 PM.. Reason: Spelling error causing confusion
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1695
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R3Member's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I do certainly hear the noise he's talking about, but all of the older analog synths I've played on have had a little punch of noise to it, so it all sounds pretty normal to me. If anyone is concerned that this is going to be a problem for them, to my ears it sounds exactly like the same amount of noise that's on the Monotron boxes. Considering they both use the same filter and possibly other similar components, this makes total sense.
Old 19th April 2013
  #1696
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slujj vohaul's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Noise issues aside, here is a glowing five-star review from Music Radar. Pay close attention to the "Go Compare" section.

Korg MS-20 mini | Tech Reviews | MusicRadar
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1697
Gear Maniac
 
dexfx69's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverup0204 ➑️

EDIT: This video illustrates the issue I am talking about with noise.

Listen from 3:53 to 4:10

You can hear just the noise itself for a brief moment at 4:09 where he does the pulse width all the way to max and the wave disappears, leaving just the unwanted noise.
This is normal behaviour for this early design of the filter - it's part of the character of the sound. This is not a squeaky clean unit. Enjoy the haze - this is true analog, thank God!
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1698
Gear Maniac
 
dexfx69's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldphinga ➑️
I tested the ms20 mini next to my original korg 35 version. Because the general tone is brighter in the mini it accentuates the noise in the circuitry. Believe me the original is also hissy!
True, and the recent interview with the designers has one of them stating clearly, you have to use the lowpass filter to shave off a little high end if you want the original, less bright, sound - due to the fact that the components are new.
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1699
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I don't mind the noise. Hell, I dig the noise, it's part of the charm of analog. Then again I'm one of those guys who has always loved the surface noise of a vinyl record and the warm hiss of magnetic tape traveling at 15ips. YMMV.
Old 19th April 2013
  #1700
Gear Nut
 
coverup0204's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Ok, I can see that some people are willing to be forgiving of the worsened noise performance. That's fine because this is ultimately about taste and pleasing your own ears.

My opinion is that it's 2013, and the reason you pay the extra for analog is for the unique sound experience and interface. The noise performance of the mini is not standard for 2013, and it performs worse than the original from 1978, despite Korg's claims of improved noise performance to the contrary. It's a step back, and an obstacle to enjoying the sound. When you play it in person, drop the LPF and think "WTF is that fuzzy hiss on top of everything? Shouldn't that be filtered too?" you'll realize that you are paying for a slightly inferior build of a classic.

It's lazy thinking to drop the analog word like its supposed to be this way for all analog synths... Anyone who has experienced more than the mini will know that there are plenty of analog mono synths with perfectly acceptable s/n performance, including the original MS-20.

It does cost less. Maybe we should be forgiving. I do wonder if I could get past the initial disappointment and learn to enjoy the mini if I were stuck with it.

My impression was that you can't escape the laws of economics on this one and you do get what you pay for, but ymmv.
Old 19th April 2013
  #1701
Gear Addict
 
80SR's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Ive always digged noise. When this synth comes I am planning on making industrial/noise/ebm power electronics.
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1702
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R3Member's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverup0204 ➑️
you'll realize that you are paying for a slightly inferior build of a classic... My impression was that you can't escape the laws of economics on this one and you do get what you pay for, but ymmv.
I really don't think this is new news to anyone here, especially since it's appended with the word "Mini" and priced as low as it is. If you want to bring up economics, many of us here have already compared the inflated cost of the original release to this one. There's a huge difference in price between the original and Mini for what appears to be such a minor difference in sound. Much like the situation you described, I also have access to buying a cleaned up original MS-20 from a local ship as well, but it's priced four times the amount of the Mini. While it's great you're informing us of the noise issue, I don't think this is going to a make or break deal for a lot of us. Like I posted before, it doesn't sound any worse than the Monotribe, which to my ears, sounds amazing. I really don't consider it an issue, it's more of the tonal character. It might actually be related to the outputs, rather than the synth engine itself. My JP-8000 has slightly noisy DACs as well compared to my newer digital gear.
Old 19th April 2013
  #1703
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for your input coverup0204. If the noise is really that bad then time will tell if your experience applies to every Mini in the first production batch. We'll all just have to wait and see (or rather hear) for ourselves. As I've said I don't mind a certain amount of analog noise in a nostalgic sort of way but even I have my limits.
Old 19th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1704
Gear Nut
 
coverup0204's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by R3Member ➑️
Much like the situation you described, I also have access to buying a cleaned up original MS-20 from a local ship as well, but it's priced four times the amount of the Mini. While it's great you're informing us of the noise issue, I don't think this is going to a make or break deal for a lot of us. Like I posted before, it doesn't sound any worse than the Monotribe, which to my ears, sounds amazing. I really don't consider it an issue, it's more of the tonal character. It might actually be related to the outputs, rather than the synth engine itself. My JP-8000 has slightly noisy DACs as well compared to my newer digital gear.
Sounds like you have pretty realistic expectations, and you're right about the pricing. I had the monotribe for a time and remember liking the sound of it, but I can't compare it to the mini. Hope you enjoy yours when you get it!
Old 20th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1705
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R3Member's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverup0204 ➑️
Sounds like you have pretty realistic expectations, and you're right about the pricing. I had the monotribe for a time and remember liking the sound of it, but I can't compare it to the mini. Hope you enjoy yours when you get it!
Much like you pointed out in the videos, the Monotribe "noise" is most noticeable on the triangle, then second on the square wave. It didn't occur to me till one day I was randomly doing side-by-side comparisons of the waveforms and filters with some of my other gear. The saw wave sounded pretty clean though, so it's hard to pinpoint where the problem lies. It could be that maybe the saw masks it better.
Old 20th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1706
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atma's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
if i crank my speakers up, i actually can notice the noise difference in the mini vs the original. kind of disappointing.
Old 20th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1707
Gear Nut
 
coverup0204's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by R3Member ➑️
Much like you pointed out in the videos, the Monotribe "noise" is most noticeable on the triangle, then second on the square wave. It didn't occur to me till one day I was randomly doing side-by-side comparisons of the waveforms and filters with some of my other gear. The saw wave sounded pretty clean though, so it's hard to pinpoint where the problem lies. It could be that maybe the saw masks it better.
Listen to 3:50 ish here - this sounds like a pretty acceptable noise level to me on the monotribe. Pretty much what I remember it sounding like, and I think most people can live with that for inexpensive analog. The mini is worse, perhaps due to vastly more complicated circuitry. It also sounds like the monotribe has a more solid low end when you pull down the cutoff, but that remains to be seen when more people start getting their units. Different gear anyway, but since we're comparing...
Old 20th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1708
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riddimshakk's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The way i see it, it's another piece of (hopefully useful) gear. Nobody owes the synth or korg any defense for any of their glitches or shortcomings ,e.g. red hot & noisy outputs from the emx1 & esx1 electribes to mention just one.

If my order arrives & it sounds bad and if i'm genuinely unhappy with any unwanted noise then i will send it back but not without testing the unit well first to make sure weather or not it's supposed to be that way. There are always other synthesizers out there if the ms20 mini is a failure. No worries !

The question still begs though.....Why, on every video demo i have seen since winter namm 2013 has this synth sounded so incredibly good that it has lit my fire to the point where i can't NOT have one ?....It really does sound superb & without doubt has a character all of its own. It can make tones that sound unique to the ms20 & they are very nice tones too !
Surely it can't just be the demo models out there that sound this good ! I very much doubt it.
Also ,going back through this thread again (very long) Remember what Marc Doty said about it. He's had 3 original ms 20's & claimed that at no time did it seem like he was playing anything other than an ms 20 !
Old 20th April 2013
  #1709
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lu77's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
so my local music store has a demo machine in to play with. but no orders have been filled yet. anyone else in the same boat? I pre-ordered so hopefully I'll get one from the first shipment.

personally I am not too worried about how exact the mini is to the original. I trust that the engineers have done their damnedest and have used the best components available to day and built a machine to last. being analog each one will sound different over time to its sisters.

the video from the creators and the fact korg made those interviews to begin with shows their hearts and minds are in the right place. I was really impressed with how passionate they were with recreating this machine faithfully from a musicians point of view as well as an engineers.

that alone is worth rewarding with my dollars. I think korg have been incredibly smart about choosing what to reproduce from their old product line and their test products from the monotron/tribe line have whet many an appetite.

I DO hope an SQ-10 is in our near future!
Old 20th April 2013 | Show parent
  #1710
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
"if i crank my speakers up, i actually can notice the noise difference in the mini vs the original. kind of disappointing. "

If I crank my speakers right up I can notice the hiss on my r2r as well.

If I crank my speakers right up I can notice the hiss on my console as well.

If I crank my speakers right up I can notice the hiss on my buss compressors as well.

What you don't need to do is crank up is the level of absurdity displayed in this thread.

Its at maximum already.

G
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