Korg DSS-1

Korg DSS-1 Image

A wonderful early digital synthesizer. With eight notes of polyphony, two oscillators per voice, a noise source, two multi-stage envelopes, a resonant filter and auto-bend, the DSS-1 has much in common with Korg's previous flagship DW-8000. But it went much further, boasting twin digital delays, oscillator sync, an improved unison mode, a lush analog VCF switchable between 12 and 24dB, and more. Whereas the DW-8000 got its raw material from 16 stored digital waves, the DSS1's oscillators take their source from sampling, additive synthesis, or even hand-drawn waveforms!

It actually had a warm sound and was great for creating pads and textures, as well as deep basses and drones. The synthesis method is based on altering various waveform samples via 2 data sliders. It can sample and then treat the samples as its waveforms - that includes all filtering and envelopes.

Korg DSM-1 Image

The DSM-1 (1987) was the expanded rackmount version.

It was used by Jean Michel Jarre, Joe Zawinul, Michael Cretu of Enigma, Mark Jenkins, Hiro Kawahara, Paul Nagle, Shriekback, and Steve Winwood.

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89 Visitor comments
December 15, 2008 @ 2:12 am
I used this whale for loop sampling more than synthesis. The sound was just as heavy as the board itself (like 30 pounds or something ridiculous). Great 12 bit sound, sweet distinctive filter, and yes enough sampling time--more than the 5 seconds mentioned above, more like 12. Perfect for rap and dance.
Kai Németh
October 1, 2008 @ 2:58 pm
It's been also used by Depeche Mode,see live Videos on YOU TUBE!!!
Andrew Beddoes
September 17, 2008 @ 12:36 am
A well-designed, easy to operate, sampler with lots of programming options. The echo units, noise generator, and filter resonance are lacking in the rack mount version, but the keyboard version can't stack voices or do multi-timbral. No flash RAM- everything has to be loaded up on floppies.
September 2, 2008 @ 1:16 pm
I mainly use my DSS-1 for pads and basses. I don't know why, but this machine sounds wonderfully lush and thick... It's digital, but when it comes to laying carpets I mostly go with this one. You can create sounds that never stand still. If you have the time, the waveform-drawing plus harmonic synthesis can result in some very unusual soundscapes. I feel well-equiped for years to come with this machine. Okay! It's HUGE and HEAVY, but it comes at bargain prices these days due to people who seem to give up timeless quality in order to buy some virtual analog toys;-) This beast has beautiful analog filters to sweep along to your favorite song!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.56 (966 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 Voices
  • Oscillators - 16 - 2 oscillators per voice
  • Sampler - 256k
  • Memory - 5 sec sampling
  • Synthesis - 128 Sine waveforms you re-shape using 2 sliders
  • Keyboard - 61 keys w/ velocity and aftertouch
  • Filter - Lowpass 2 or 4 pole + envelope
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - DSS-1: 1986, DSM-1: 1987
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Thanks to Glen Stegner for providing info.

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