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Roland MKS-20 Piano Module


PaulSchwarz

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Hey Guys, I'm looking at this MKS-20module. Does anyone else have one and can you recommend this to no ? I'm looking for a warm EP sound only. Not interested in it for the accoustic pianos.

 

Also would there be a major let down if I got the P-300 module (which I hear is a scaled down version) ????

 

Also what is a good price to pay for MKS-20 ?

 

Thanks for the advice.

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I shopped both the 330 and the MKS back around '88 during the brief period that both were available. The MKS had a markedly richer sound that went far beyond its chorus, so I ended up buying it. I'd go for the classic and get the MKS.

 

One story I've heard (completely unsubstantiated) is that the Roland engineer who came up with the technology behind the MKS (which I believe uses some early, computationally-efficient form of DSP modeling?) died shortly after it was released. The story goes that he did not have time to document its design before his departure, and that Roland was unable to reverse-engineer his complex algorithms after the fact to release the usual slew of faster/better/cheaper sequel modules. Though the P330 represents their best attempt, the magic behind the MKS-20 remains elusive to this day.

 

This story may be total bullshit, but that's how I've heard it told.

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I have a P-330 and wouldn't sell it for the world. it stands well alone and it adds a bit of punch under some of today Rhodes sounds. I processed it thru my Triton on a whim (compressor, amp sim and autowah FX) and it came to life like I haven't hear it before...

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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  • 1 year later...

I adore my MKS-20! It's a wonderful-sounding instrument. In addition to the killer EPs, the SA vibes are the best I've ever heard anywhere...

 

Kirk

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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I have the same sound engine in my Rhodes MK80. Like everything else, if you spend some time with it you find it does some things very well indeed! I've found I prefer its acoustic piano sound to many of the sampled pianos I've heard. On their own thru headphones those samples do sound more like a real piano, but they lack the 'immediacy' of the MKS20's piano and they also lack the harmonic interplay of the MKS20. With some careful EQ, the MKS20 piano works great in a rock context - and it lacks velocity-switching problems :) .

 

The EPs, as you've already mentioned, are very good too. And definitely check out the Clav sounds... if you can get the MKS20 for $250 or less it's a good deal. Odds are you'll be able to get it for much less.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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The MKS-20's most famous sound is probably not its Rhodes, but the 'supposed' Yamaha Electric Grand (Piano 3). It doesn't sound that much like the real thing, but it cuts through a live mix like nothing else and became very well known on its own. I love to midi it to my Yamaha P-90, which has very realistic pianos which nevertheless get lost in the mix.

 

Billy Payne from Little Feat uses this MKS-20 sound to this day.

 

I'd have to second the opinion that the P-330 doesn't sound as good as the MKS-20.

Moe

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"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Originally posted by EZB:

One story I've heard (completely unsubstantiated) is that the Roland engineer who came up with the technology behind the MKS (which I believe uses some early, computationally-efficient form of DSP modeling?) died shortly after it was released. The story goes that he did not have time to document its design before his departure,

This story may be total bullshit, but that's how I've heard it told.

Has to be at least partial bullshit. If you have the code, even in binary (which everyone owning one has of course) you can reverse engineer it. Its not even particularly difficult. It can however take a significant amount of time. So its really a question of how much are you prepared to spend to do it.

 

Much more likely there were parallel streams of development and those were the ones they went with. DSP technology changes rapidly and code written for one DSP may not easilly transfer to another. The company probably never felt there was value to reverse engineering the existing unit. Most likely they went to a stream of development that could be continously developed and retargeted due to being written in C rather than assembler.

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I love my MKS-20. Use it everyday, either by itself or in some kind of midi config. I see them for $350 all the time. The mks -20 sounds better than the p 300. It shines for Rhodes, both dynomy and 88 suitcase and the vibes are really good, as well. It's one of those pieces I think should be in everyones rack. For 350 it's a steal.
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  • 1 year later...
I used to like the acoustic piano )better than my DX7!) until the Alesis Quadrasynth came out. The Rhodes sounds - I use #7 with hand-tweaked chorus and eq as #15 - were better than anything I played until Gigastudio, and I still prefer the MKS20 for some songs. It is the oldest piece of gear in my rig that gets regular use. Every time I consider getting rid of it, I hear something else that I can't find in any other EP...
Dasher - don't ask me about those other reindeer, all I can tell you is Comet's in the sink!
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I had an MKS20 for several years, and LOVED it. It was the staple piano for Michael W Smith for many years until he got endorsed by Korg, but he still has 2, I think, in his studio, getting a regular workout (sorry for the reference, but I learned to play by imitating a bunch of his material). The slightly electronic acoustic piano sounds really cut through in a rock mix, similar to the CP70/80. They just seem to have a little more bite.

 

Jay

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I had two MKS 20s, a P-330 and a MK-60 for the last 15 years. I sold them all about 18 months ago. Their EPs do fill up a track nicely as a pad. I was really into them ten years ago when there weren't many other choices. They sound more like a "fusion" hybrid of a Rhodes to me. I played an MK-80 again this week and wasn't really excited about it. Now days I would rather play the Vintage 74 in the Motif, the Scarbee Rhodes or the Electro for a "Rhodes" clone. The MKS-20 didn't have a "vintage" Rhodes sound to me, it had more of a fusion sound.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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I also once owned a P330 and I could play an entire job just with that. The acoustic piano sucked but the Rhodes was very nice. I always regretted selling it. I am not familiar with the MKS20.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I had a P-330 for a while. The electric pianos were the definite draw there. Nothing comes close to the MKS-20; a very unique product! Every now and then Roland releases a product that has that "timeless" appeal: Super Jupiter, MKS-80, MKS-20, JD-990, etc. I think the V-Synth XT is probably in that category as well.

Composer/Performer at Roger Hooper Music

Product Trainer at CASIO

www.rogerhooper.com

 

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Yet we nearly all stopped gigging with them.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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