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Monday, October 4, 2010

2007 - Korg MS10

The MS10 is an under rated synth, though considering the specs, a bit expensive for what you get.
But what you are paying for is a bit of hype dripping from its bigger brother. Don't get me wrong, I love this synth. It oozes bass and the filter makes a brilliant guitar distortion.

Actually if you're after some interesting guitar tones, the MS10 is great for using as a wah and a filtered tremolo!

The thing that makes it nicer than some of the MS20 filters is that, in the MS10 the diode clipping stage is before the filter. In the clones and later model MS20's the clipping section comes after it and the sound is totally different. I A/B'd the MS10 with a Frostwave Resonator. While both sounded good, the distortion on the ms10's filter was more pronounced and aggressive.

What's clipping? That's a fancy name for distortion.

When you distort your instrument through a pedal, more often than not, the tone controls come after the distortion stage. This is for a reason, it generally sounds better that way (not a rule, but it does work nicely).

The oscillators are the typical Korg sound.
My favourite is the Square wave with a bit of Pulse Width Modulation. It adds a stringy pad like bottom end that sounds great on pretty much every synth out there. The MS10 might not have a whole lot of range, but it does it's thing nicely. Not too many parameters to get your head around and it's great for learning how synthesis work. For the most part you don't even need patch leads as the common options are pre routed via the knobs along the front panel.

Mine had some mod on it when I made my purchase, but I can't actually recall what it did.
I ended up changing the mod to enable audio frequencies from the LFO, which in turn allowed a sort of FM synthesis. I also added a 2nd audio output and a Ken Stone passive ring modulator. This came in handy when I was selling it on later down the track.

Mostly I used it for standard basses, leads and the odd laser gun sound. Typically I'd control it via a Frostwave MC-1. Calibrating it was a pain. The MS10 has a tendency to drift off the calibration for the keyboard and the trim pots were overly stiff and would often go back to the pre-adjustment position.

I ended up selling it on ebay. Shortly after selling it, the new owner destroyed the filter cutoff and asked me to fix it. As a result of that repair, I ended up building several other synths and joining a band with him. Incidentally this also led to being exposed to the wonderful world of Man or Astro Man?

As much as I like the MS10, I don't regret passing it on. I still have other synths that do what it does and if I do get nostalgic, I only have to ask to borrow it.


Specifications

    * Polyphony - Monophonic
    * Oscillators - 1 VCO with mixable white/pink noise generator
    * LFO - One LFO w/ multiple waveforms
    * Filter - One lowpass VCF
    * VCA - ADSR with Hold
    * Keyboard - 32 keys
    * Arpeg/Seq - None
    * Control - CV/GATE
    * Date Produced - 1978

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