MATRIXSYNTH: Roland MKS-20 review - Old school synth-pop tutorial workflow and LIVE performance

Dave Smith Instruments
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Roland MKS-20 review - Old school synth-pop tutorial workflow and LIVE performance


Espen Kraft
Published on Aug 30, 2017

"The Roland MKS-20 from the mid 80s. A fantastic retro digital piano module with analoge chorus and tremolo built in for immidiate 80s gratification.
The analog chorus board built into the module can be though of as a cross between the Juno 6/60 chorus and a Dimension D.

Elton John used it for years and Spectrasonics has included it in their Keyscape plugin recently to great reviews. A standard piano sound in many gospel recordings of the day.
Software doesn't cut it for me and I had to get the module. It's getting pretty rare these days so I'm happy it now sits in my rack.
I play it from the Roland S-10 in this video.

I use it mainly because of the preset 7. E. Piano 1. I find that sound irresistable for my 80s sound when I go for a piano/pad with reverb.

In this showcase episode I use that sound with the Chorus enabled and some reverb from a Strymin BlueSky and a TC flashback delay.
The track "Arrivederci" is performed completely LIVE. Just the drum machine providing a little beat. The Juno 6 arpeggiator has a hold function so it can play the same pattern throughout the track.

Listen to more of my music on: http://www.espenkraft.com

My tracks pay homage to all synth.pop acts of the 80'ies like Howard Jones, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Thompson Twins, Tears for Fears, Ultravox, OMD, Euryhmics, Duran Duran, Giorgio Moroder, Jean Michel Jarre, Jan Hammer, A-ha and many more.

A use mostly old gear on my tracks and among them Roland Juno 6, Alpha Juno 2, D550 and JX-8P, MKS-20. Korg DW-8000. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Yamaha DX7 and TX802 and drum machine RX11. I use the Novation Mininova as a vocoder on all my tracks. Effects are usually handled by Strymon and TC electronics. Sampling is done on my E-MU ESI-4000, Akai S1000 and Roland S-10."

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