[ms20 title]

[owners manual]

This booklet shows you how to get a variety of specific a sounds with the MS-20.
You can use these settings as they are, and as a base for discovering new effects.

Use these blank charts to record the settings you find useful.


1. Patch settings

2. About patching
[bullet] Why use a patching system
[bullet] Patching procedure

3. Patching examples

Musical instruments
Synthe sounds
Sound effects


[bullet] Why use a patching system  ^

The greatest pleasure of using a synthesizer is being able to listen to actual sounds that you create from your imagination.

A patching system is something that was thought up to infinitely expand the possibilities of creating your own sounds. Since there are input and output jacks on the front panel for all synthesizer functions, it is possible to have completely free external control.

With these jacks available, you can use a microprocessor, another synthesizer, or even a homemade control unit to vary each of the basic elements of sound.

Although you can get a lot out of the synthesizer merely by using the knobs in the control section on the left hand side of the from panel, you'll need to set up a patch if you want more different effects or if you want to connect two synthesizers together.

Practically speaking, patching is not that complicated.

[asterisk] Patching means using patch cords to connect those sections of the synthesizer that are not already connected by the internal patch (the built-in circuitry). In other words, it is a temporary alteration that expands the synthesizer's capabilities according to your needs.

On the MS-20, each module (VCO, VCF, VCA, EG, S/H, MG, etc.) is basically independent; some of these are connected by the internal patch (shown by the white lines on the patch panel), while other modules are completely separate and are only provided with input and output jacks on the panel. You think up an effect and try to recreate it on the synthesizer by connecting these jacks (when the internal patch cannot do the job). In this way you can go beyond the limitations of the internal patch and have more freedom and creative control of the sounds you produce.

[asterisk] Important points to remember when setting up a patch

Since the synthesizer is voltage controlled, you must be systematic in your approach if you want a specific effect. If you don't follow the rules dictated by voltage control, either you'll get a sound you weren't looking for, or nothing will happen at all. Therefore, keep in mind the following basic rules:

(1) Always check to see whether you are using the appropriate type of voltage signal and voltage range for the sections you want to connect.

This means checking the control voltage displayed below the jacks of the sections you wish to use.
(Marked -5V~+5V, 0~+5V, [ground], etc.)

For example, if you connected an output marked "-5V~+5V" to an input marked "0~+5V", the effective control range would only be from 0 to +5V; nothing would happen during those portions of the signal between -5V and 0. This is similar to what happens if you try and pour 10 litres of water into a container that will only hold 5 litres. Since 5 litres are going to overflow, your effective range is limited to only half your input.

(2) If you connect an output marked "-5V~+5V" (or any other continuously varying control voltage) to an input marked GND (which is a digital ON/OFF switch-type input), the section you are trying to control will turn OFF when the control voltage goes above +3V and it will turn On when the voltage goes below 0V. You can try this by connecting the Control Wheel output (-5V~+5V) to the EG1 TRIG IN ( [ground] ) input.

[bullet] Patching Procedure   ^

You can divide synthesizer modules into three groups:

1. The EG-1, EG-2, MG and control wheel. These "manipulators" can be thought of as being like the different sections of a supermarket since they supply the raw materials.

2. The S/H, modulation VCA and ESP. These "convertors" are like a kitchen. Here the raw materials are chopped and cooked. Of course the kitchen can be bypassed, and the materials eaten raw.

3. The VCO, VCF, and VCA. These are the mouths that eat the food. If the raw materials and cooking suit these palates, you got the effect you wanted. In other words, these modules are what they eat.

When you set up a patch, you first have to consider the following:

1. What kind of modulating signals are available from which modules?
2. If you are going to process the modulating signal, in what way do you want to change it, and what is the best module to do the job?
3. Which part of the sound signal are you going to control (pitch, tone color, volume).

With the above concepts in mind, let's go on the actual patching procedure. If you follow the steps below when thinking about setting up a patch, you have a reasonable chance of getting the effect you want.

1. Analyse the effect you want.
2. Select the modules to use based on your analysis.
3. Set up the patch using the modules you selected.

If you want the synthesizer to work for you and make the sounds you want, you have to use it in this kind of step-by-step fashion. Otherwise it will be like the blind leading the blind; you'll bump into all kinds of strange effects, but only by accident.

Exactly the same rules apply when you use the internal patch. There are usually several ways you can go about getting the same effect; try and use the simplest method possible. If you get into this habit, it will be much easier when you get around to synthesizing a really complex sound.

3. Patching examples  ^

Musical instruments
Synthe sounds
Sound effects

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