I remember quite well around the year 2000 here in Tokyo Japan that the big three music manufacturers had released a fine trio of VA Synths. They were the Yamaha AN1x, the Roland JP-8000, and the Korg MS2000. All of these synths were usually displayed together in the stores and I recall wanting all three very badly. Well since then, I’ve managed to acquire used a Yamaha AN1x, the Roland JP-8000, and the MS2000R which is the rack module. The Korg MS2000 synth itself with keys and the wooden sides always remained quite elusive. The main couple of reasons for this were (1) the Korg MS2000 was and still is a very popular in Japan and (2) it’s just simply a more rare item then the Roland JP-8000. In fact, the Yamaha AN1x is also quite rare in Japan although since I already have one I have not really had to look for one of course. Still I have yet to see a Yamaha AN1X for sale in Japan since 2000 or so in my area.
Despite already owning the Korg MS2000R, I had to have the keyboard version because in my opinion it simply is much better to have everything all together when both playing and programming this thing. There is some distance when using a keyboard controller and I have found that using the original synth version to be much more accessible with the mod wheel, keys, and proximity of everything. Despite the 4 note polyphony which hasn’t really been a problem yet, I have had nothing but fun and success with the Korg MS2000. The Arp and Mod Sequencer is fantastic. I particularly like using the Korg MS2000 to lay down a hard edged arp or mod groove over which I can layer a nice guitar track. Most understand that the Korg MS2000 can be a bit more n the grungy side. With that said, I can get some decent rhodes, wurly, and DX style pianos with this synth. Pad are nice, but it’s the “MOTION” that you get that really makes this synth shine. If I had to choose a central synth for a “one man band”, the Korg MS2000 would definitely be a top choice.
The Korg MS2000 is often a synth that people add to their work set, but not necessarily a synth that is used by itself. Perhaps this might be true, but I also think it’s indispensable for creating a layered or tracked groove in a song. Apollo 440 was excellent with the Korg MS2000 and a major source of inspiration for what the MS2000 is capable of.
Hands down, I absolutely prefer the Korg MS2000 keyboard version over the rack version. Features may be identical, but playing it will be much different. Adding a Rack MS2000R or MS2000BR to the MS2000 keyboard is also great because you can increase the polyphony or you can create more complex SEQ tracks. In Japan, I’d definitely say the Korg MS2000 synth is a classic and if you find one here definitely grab it. It has five stars on Vintage Synth and I would have to agree!
Note I also bought the “SEXUS* for Korg MS2000 series patches -by Avangarde Audio” off Ebay and they are excellent. Just FYI in case anyone wonders about them. I have also collected the many patches off the Yahoo Groups as well. There are a lot of patches out there for the Korg MS2000. Nice!!
Here’s probably the best Korg MS2000 demo I could find on Youtube.