Love patching. Hate running out of patch cords.

For all the quantity and inventiveness of iOS music-making software, only a few titles have become contenders as must-have apps. KORG’s iElectribe often tops those lists. What makes the iMS-20 especially interesting news is that it may have a bit of an edge even on hardware. Touch is a natural interface for patching sounds with virtual patch cords. We got to see a small taste of that with the stylus-driven, MS-20 inspired Korg DS-10 for Nintendo DS. With the iMS-20 for iPad, you can take advantage of the tablets far more-sophisticated sonic and UI capabilities. And you never have to run out of patch cords.

The iMS-20 is as much descended from the Nintendo DS title as it is the original Korg MS-20 analog synth. Like the DS cart, the iMS-20 combines KAOSS Pad-style X/Y control, and a “studio”-style rig with synth, drum machine, mixer, and sequencer, plus patch cord-equipped sound design.

  • 16-step “analog” sequencer
  • Claims to recreate the full MS-20 analog synth (hmmm… okay, who has the original?)
  • MS-20 mono synth, six-part drum machine, mixer
  • Kaoss Pad X/Y control. (Analog synth returns, coupled with a touchpad – sounds familiar.)
  • Share songs on SoundCloud. (very cool – although DropBox might be more convenient for adding those sounds to your computer DAW.)

The other thing that’s interesting about KORG is, alongside the likes of IK Multimedia, they’re quietly working to make iOS apps worth a little more. US$15.99 is the intro price, with the final price of $32.99 after January 31, 2011. At the same time, you get the sense that the software is something you could spend a lot of time with. It’s definitely not a throwaway. Whether that answers critics or not is another matter; overhead on Facebook: “f*** ipad – avoid this consumption madness! the more tools people get – the weaker music they produce! music is in minds – not in tools!!!!!!”

(To me, that suggests you should learn the banjo, which I have to admit, is pretty awesome.)

I’m last with this news (I was busy … you’ll understand), but that means I get to say this – both the iTunes store link and the KORG page are actually live now!

KORG iMS-20 @ iTunes (now live — really)

Here’s how on-the-ball those iPad users are, though: there are already not one but two hands-on videos, plus the sound samples (embedded below) from KORG by way of SoundCloud.

Takes elsewhere:
“Let’s hope the knobs and connectors are as fun and easy to use as on the iElectribe.” Wire to the Ear

Videos and sounds from DE.BUG, phono1337, and DETUNE/KORG:

Gain by Denkitribe


No Compromises by iNALOG

Eyeshut by KORG

More details from KORG, via their just-released press release.

Ever since the launch of the MS-20 in 1978, this distinctive monophonic synthesizer has enjoyed unbroken popularity for its thick and solid sound, aggressive analog filters and inexhaustible potential for creative patching. Using Korg’s proprietary CMT (Component Modeling Technology) the iMS-20 completely replicates every aspect of the legendary MS-20: the two Voltage Controlled Oscillators, Voltage Controlled Filters, two dynamic Envelope Generators and a Voltage Controlled Amplifier. iMS-20 also features high-pass/low-pass self-oscillating filters with the same unique distortion elements that made these filters popular back in their day, and still coveted today.

The Korg SQ-10, also introduced in the late 1970s, is effectively recreated for the iMS-20 app. Featuring 16 steps, this analog sequencer can produce either a series of pitches or create a cyclic pattern of control changes to the volume, panning, filter brightness and other synthesizer parameters. The iMS-20 version also includes new improvements not found on the original, such as easy control of notes, volume, pan, or synth/effect parameters. All of the SQ-10’s classic and unique functionality, such as three channels of voltage control and six types of sequence modes, is also included.

The iMS-20 also features a six-part drum machine. By simply pressing the step buttons, drum parts can be quickly created, with each hit having independent control of pitch and gate time. By using the seven-channel mixer, complete with several Insert effects, users can bring together the MS-20 and drum machine components to create full musical phrases.

In addition to being a complete electronic music production studio, the iMS-20 can function as a dynamic performance instrument as well. It is equipped with dual Kaoss pad control surfaces – one for note creation as made famous by Korg’s KAOSSILATOR, and one for manipulating parameter values in real-time, as found on Korg’s KAOSS series of effects processors.

Users can share their creativity via the SoundCloud integration feature. SoundCloud provides a way to publish songs or to collaborate on new music with friends anywhere in the world. Audio data exported by the iMS-20 app can be quickly published and shared, and users can access the SoundCloud server right from within iMS-20.

I still want a real MS-20, but between the Monotron and this, it’s nice to see KORG partying like it’s 1978. (Good vintage.)

Update: if you do want the iElectribe, it’s now just US$9.99, says MatrixSynth.