More detail on the Korg iMS20

I posted on this earlier as soon as I knew it was out. Now here’s all the details which you may have read already. There’s a video at the end of the app description too.

KORG iMS-20 is an analog synth studio; a complete recreation of the Korg MS-20 analog synth, an analog sequencer, a drum machine, a mixer, and even Korg’s Kaoss Pad technology. Plus, you can share your songs online via the SoundCloud network!

The regular price is US$ 32.99; a special introductory price of US$ 15.99 is being offered until January 31, 2011.

iMS-20 is a complete music production app for iPad. It consists of a complete recreation of the legendary Korg MS-20 analog synth with the patching capability, plus a 16-step analog sequencer based on the Korg SQ-10, a six-part drum machine which can create drum parts by simply tapping the buttons, and a seven-channel mixer with 14 types of effects.

iMS-20 is a complete music production app for iPad, consisting of a complete recreation of the legendary Korg MS-20 analog synth with patching capability, a 16-step analog sequencer based on Korg’s SQ-10, a six-part drum machine with dedicated pads, and a seven-channel mixer with 14 types of effects.

In addition, iMS-20 offers dual Kaoss Pads allowing you to generate music by simply stroking the pad and moving your fingers over it. Experiment to come up with wild musical phrase! And with access to the SoundCloud audio platform*, you can publish your songs, or collaborate on ideas with people anywhere in the world from within the app!

*You will need to register for a SoundCloud account in order to publish data on SoundCloud. A variety of choices are available, ranging from a free account that allows up to two hours of data to be uploaded to a paid account that allows unlimited time. For details, refer to the SoundCloud website: (English only)

βˆ—When using SoundCloud, you must observe SoundCloud Ltd.’s terms of use, such as the prohibition on uploading songs whose copyright is the property of a third party.


  • MS-20 monophonic synthesizer: 1 unit
  • Analog sequencer: 1 unit
  • 6-part drum machine: 1 unit
  • Mixer: 1 unit
  • Song/Pattern composer: 1 unit

MS-20 monophonic synthesizer:

  • Analog modeling synthesizer (MS-20 modeled by β€œCMT” Component Modeling Technology)
  • 2VCO / 2VCF / 1VCA / 2EG / Patch Panel
  • Additional functions: Modulation Key/Tempo Sync
  • Insert effect (selectable from 14 effect types as below)

Analog sequencer:

  • 16-step analog sequencer
  • Control notes, volume, pan, parameters, and voltages via knobs
  • Configurable steps (1-16) and sequence mode (6 types)
  • Trigger out per channel or step position

6-part drum machine:

  • 6-part/16-step drum machine
  • Create sounds by sampling a single note from a built-in MS-20
  • Controllable notes, volume and pan by knobs
  • Configurable steps (1-16) and sequence mode (6 types) per a part


  • 7-channel mixer
  • Double needle meter indicates VU level
  • Master effect (selectable from 14 effect types as below)

Song/Pattern composer:

  • Compose a song or select a pattern, built-in mixer
  • 16 patterns and 256 bars per a song
  • Tempo setting (20-300 BPM) and Swing function

Effect type:

  • 14 types: Short Delay, BPM Sync Delay, Reverb 1, Reverb 2, Chorus/Flanger, Equalizer, Compressor, Tube Simulator (Valve Force), Low-Pass Filter, High-Pass Filter, Band-Pass Filter, Talking Modulator, Decimator, Grain Shifter


  • Keyboard: Recording function, Variable width (22, 26, or 29 keys)
  • Kaoss Pad: 2 units, Recording function
  • Performance pad: Key/Scale (31 types) settings
  • Parameter control pad: X-Y axis parameter settings


  • Audio export function (Bouncing a song or pattern, and Real-time recording a performance: 16-bit/44.1 kHz stereo WAV format)
  • Publish and share songs online with the SoundCloud audio platform
  • Various template patterns by music genre are included
  • Various template sounds by sound category are included

*KORG iMS-20 is a dedicated iPad app ( iOS 3.2 or later) and cannot be used with iPhone and iPod touch


iPads at the Apple Store Clip to Evernote


  1. Had a quick play with this today…looks very good and sounds brilliant. The inclusion of example templates was a nice touch for the uninitiated and will provide a nice starting point for many I would imagine.

    It has quickly drawn my attention from the latest Curtis update though (which includes a revised UI and scratch facility!).


  2. How much? Are they crazy? You know what though, I'm not that impressed with this either, as Korg already released a virtual MS-20 some years back. What makes the iMS-20 any different, apart from the interface? All we have got here is a rehash of a (very) old idea, both analogue and digital. And I bet they won't listen to users either about updates.

    Apps like Curtis and Jasuto are where it's at. Not Korg. Sorry.


  3. @Tom

    The price is high, but compared to their plugin suites including a virtual MS-20 which sells for 200$ and more, it sure looks affordable (for the people who would really want it, which I don't :P)

    I guess they have found a nice way to repackage some code they developed before (I mean the Korg Legacy Collection sounds really great).


  4. I bought it as soon as I saw the vids. I love DS-10+ and this looked similar enough for me.

    First brief impressions – incredible fun but massively complicated. Also needed my glasses to read most of the dinky labels (I know you can zoom).

    I agree with everyone who says audio copy/paste is needed and midi control with iOS4.2 would be fantastic.

    Also if Korg wants to release all of their soft synths onto the iPAd that's cool with me :o)


  5. I love Curtis and Jasuto, but this is a wonderful thing too! I'm slightly surprised at the lack of excitement in this comments thread. I suppose as someone who really loves the ds-10, this was like an early, totally unexpected Christmas present. On a superficial level, the UI is amazing and scratches that (albeit virtual) patching itch. Just looking at it just puts a huge grin on my face!! Audio copy would be nice down the line, but right now I'm having enough fun without it…


  6. I agree apps like Jasuto and Curtis show more innovation than something like this, but I'm happy to see an older vst like this ported over. I think there's certainly room for both types of apps. My early impressions of the sound engine were quite good, and I hope copy/paste is added soon. Overall a great surprise release.


  7. @johnnyg0

    I know how much MS-20's sell for as I just sold an original for $2000! πŸ™‚ The PC/Mac version also came with a separate hardware controller, which has now been taken over by the multitouch interface of the iPad (see ReBirth on iPad video). But that's not really the point.

    For the record, the software version sounds similar but not quite like the real thing (hmm- shades of the Nutramatic drinks machine here from THHGTTG?!).

    And there is no way (or it seems?) to use the MS-20's greatest asset, the external signal processor, which to be honest was the only real reason to own an MS-20 in the first place! I saw Aphex Twin in 1993 and he had a Studio 440 sampling drum machine wired to three MS-20's, and the sound was mind bending- but hardly 'pocket-sized'!!

    The new Curtis looks amazing. So does WireSq, and I just can't wait for Jasuto Studio. I'm afraid the latter products are the future, not these old half-baked re-runs from old Japanese dinosaurs Korg. πŸ™‚


  8. This is incredible, I can,t stop playing with it. It,s nice to see a company staying in touch with it's classic roots. The vintage synth market is thriving on bay and korg is paying attention with things like this and the monotron.

    Those other apps you mentioned are also great but are totally different things. You can't compare the sonic possibilities, the ms20 app is a mini synth workstation.

    I wish Roland would pay attention and start doing some similar things with there classics.


  9. One thing that nobody's really mentioning so far, maybe because they don't quite understand it or because they're newbies to the concepts or whatever, is that the 6-channel “drum machine” is not sample-based- it's literally six more fully-featured MS-20's and SQ-10's plus effects. Even Korg's own literature says “Create sounds by sampling a single note from a built-in MS-20,” but this woefully misrepresents what's actually available. The six “drum machine” tracks work more like “freezing” tracks in DAWs like Logic – they're not editable in realtime while the song plays, but each can be edited on it own (as a full MS-20, SQ-10, and effects) and is then “refrozen” when not in edit mode. This is totally awesome, and ridiculously flexible when you start to realize that you're really working with 7 MS-20's, 7 SQ-10's, and 7 effects units (plus master effects), rather than “one MS-20 and some drums” – a far cry from “sample one note” like they claim!

    For example, you can dedicate one of the “drum” tracks to a bass patch and then use its SQ-10 to play a bassline sequence while
    still having the other 5 channels for drums and the main MS-10 for
    your lead. Plus, the individual part effects can be different, so you can have the compressor thwacking on your snare, bitcrusher on the bassline, distortion on the kick, and delay on your main lead, etc. without breaking a sweat.

    I'm totally loving this app. There has been a real dearth of “classic” synth designs when it comes to iOS – it seems like everyone favors abstract interfaces like wireseq, Jasuto, Curtis, etc. with their colored blobs and pulsating shapes. There's definitely a place for that approach, but I love to see “hardware”-style synthesis on the iPad with knobs and sliders to turn, cables to “patch,” buttons to “push,” etc.


  10. you've got to give some thumbs up for DETUNE which collaborated on the developments of this product with Korg (my guess is that they did most of the work). Quality is definitely what they are about, apparently. They're doing the korg m01 on the Nintendo DS and the guy in charge, Sano, did the Korg ds-10 on the Nintendo DS with AQ interactive. For 16 bucks (even for 32), it's a real bargain assuming you already have the ipad.


  11. In all fairness Rod, Jasuto wires up just like the Korg too, it's just that its interface is a little more modern, and innovative. I mean why do an MS-20? Why just not go that little bit further without all that cheesy retro look- what about ala Nord Modular? I don't get these Japanese designers.


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