Korg MS2000 Bricked by Firmware Update

ACB readers are sure to be aware from previous posts that my Korg MS2000 is one of my favorite and most indispensable synths. Embarrassingly I seem to have turned it into a drink stand during a firmware update. I used the firmware upgrade utility on korg.com to attempt the update. The process failed part way through and now my beloved instrument is a brick, well more like a cement block, that shows a blank back-lit display after turning it on. I’ve tried resending the update at all the available speeds that the utility allows with no impact on the results. I also tried a factory reset to no avail. I’m going to try again tomorrow with a different MIDI interface, but I’m afraid that this isn’t going to be an easy fix. I’ve searched the forums for a solution, but haven’t found anything. If anyone has any suggestion, please let me know. I’m desperate to get this thing up and running again.

13 thoughts on “Korg MS2000 Bricked by Firmware Update

  1. Well, I don’t know much specifically about the MS2000, but if it’s like any other embedded device there should be two components, the bootloader (probably on some kind of ROM) and the OS (probably in some kind of Flash memory). That bootloader serves exactly one purpose, loading the OS, and it is probably just fine (unless of course this FW update modifies the bootloader as well…in which case this can get tougher).

    It can be done. At the factory they have to have a way of getting that bootloader and OS into the various embedded devices, the trick is going to be figuring out how to replicate that where you are. I’ll poke around a bit and see if I can figure out what’s inside that thing. What I’ve done in the past is create a cable, usually some kind of JTAG, that you can connect up to the chip to program it. You may have to get some info from Korg though…as there are typically override jumpers and pins that need to be enabled before you can do this…

  2. Thanks, Grant. I’m gonna give it another shot with my MIDISport 4×4 interface. For some reason I want to blame my M-Audio Firewire 410.

    UPDATE: I think I have found a solution, but will have to wait to try it until this evening (or perhaps tomorrow depending on St. Patrick’s Day festivities). Apprently there’s a 10 entry limit for MIDI devices in the Windows XP registry. It’s likely that I’ve exceeded that on the old laptop that I dug up to do the update. The fix is to remove the unused registry keys then reapply the firmware update. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Here’s the thread:

    Article from Cakewalk on the Windows registry problem:

    Utility from M-Audio that automatically fixes the registry:

  3. might be simpler than that what app are you uploading the .syx files with ? i hade issues updating my evovler and ended up being solved using midi-ox(pc and free) hope it helps.

  4. Ooooooh! Sorry John I thought you were doing this with a Mac! I’m actually well aware of that shortcoming with Windows XP…I would have pointed that out.

    Let us know if that actually works.

    BTW, MIDI-OX, the tool trainspotter mentioned is invaluable for tracing MIDI problems on Windows. If you’re still having trouble you might capture a log with that and post it up here.

  5. Thanks Grant and Trainspotter. I have brought it back to life. Seems I was a victim of the 10 MIDI entry limit in XP. Odd thing is that manually deleting the entries in the registry then applying the update with my M-Audio FireWire 410 didn’t work. However when I used the utility to clear the entries and swapped the 410 with a Midisport 4×4 it did. I think there’s got to be a bug in the MIDI support for the 410. I have had midi sync problems with it too.

  6. I had a problem updating my MS2000 from V1.04 to 1.07. The Win XP Midi reg entry fix didn’t resolve the issue. I was recieving the following error regardless of what transfer speed I chose in the Korg Updater app:

    “The MS2000 returned a bad message.” <— or something similar.

    I was using a CME USB to MIDI cable (CME U2MIDI). I ended up installing Windows 7 onto my laptop and used the Windows Vista driver for my USB/MIDI cable which I downloaded from CME's website and performed the transfer again and it worked fine. CME don't provide a WINXP driver for this cable on their site, because XP uses the Microsoft Plug and Play driver for the cable. This may have been where the issue lied, just thought I'd post this here in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation as I couldn't find this issue or the above error message documented anywhere on the web, hope this is of some use to someone. I'm now rocking v1.07 on my MS2000.



  7. what does the ms2000 upgrade do? I wanna try it but the crash thing is wiggn me out

  8. That’s a good question. I thought it might help with some of the aliasing I was getting in the filter and choppy external sync, but it made no difference. I’m sure there’s bug fixes of some sort. Please chime in if you find details.

  9. Wow, I just went to hell and back with this issue! I had a problem updating my MS2000 from V1.03 to 1.07. I followed the above advise but didn’t have another midi interface to work with. I ended up downgrading my m-audio driver back to around 2003 and it worked… I was running Delta_6_0_2_5_10_0_5074 on XP SP3 for the better interface, but tried Delta_WDM_5_10_00_5057v3 and it worked… Phew! I ran it in slow just to be sure… I have since gone back up to the newer driver and everything seems fine again and I have V1.07 :) ps. when the instructions say remove maudio product with computer on, I just took the cable out of the back of the computer, I didn’t want to remove the card inside with the computer running!!

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