An oldie but a goldie, nonetheless, and demonstrating a sideline not often eyeballed these days — patchability.
The right hand half of the near upright front panel is dedicated to a 'field' of sockets, the idea being that YOU make the interconnections between oscillator, filter, envelope generator etc, with short jack to jack leads, as if each was a separate effects unit.
The majority of mono synths take the decision for you by wiring the various sections internally. The MS10's system allows greater flexibility, especially over modulation, but is slower than punching buttons.
The MS10's a few years old now, so in terms of your straight, no nonsense, mono sounds, it's hardly leading the race. But for weirder — dare we say wobblier — voices, it can still cut a dash. If you like fiddling with noises, you could do worse though it might mean hunting through the secondhand columns as Korg no longer produce this item.
It's a single oscillator, two and a half octave keyboard with one modulation wheel. The VCO offers 4, 8, 16 and 32 footages plus triangle, sawtooth, square, pulse width waveforms and white noise. The filter is a standard low pass type and the envelope generator has the usual attack, decay, sustain and release sections.
The field of sockets mostly comprise inputs and outputs for the individual departments, and the overprinted map looks devilishly confusing at first, but makes sense after a few moments of study. A line of six knobs determines the strength of the effects you've patched up and since it's possible to cross-link various modulation waveforms and external sources, that degree of command is essential.
The inputs are for an external signal (pink and white noise), frequency control of the oscillator, pulse width control of the oscillator, filter frequency cutoff and amplifier gain. The modulation wheel can be linked to control the pitch of the VCO, the filter cutoff or the pulse width.
The outputs are for the mod wheel, modulation generator (LFO to you), sawtooth/triangle and mod gen square wave. Unfortunately, as this is an early Korg, it sticks to its own strange laws on control voltage and trigger information — no MIDI — so it's not interconnectable to much else.
Review by Paul Colbert