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
April 12, 2012 @ 1:07 am
From C64 and Casio, I was attracted to the piano samples. I think it was $1500!The on-board delay section was the bomb! Although the memories of the slow disk drive, the clatteringly loud keys (which nullified head-phone praxis), the awkward slider editors, the endless button pushing (ticka-ticka-ticka), the heavy weight gigging workout, and the annoying clipping crunching and crackling in some samples, and lastly the rare but ocassional hanging notes, are foremost in my mind, the pads, the DSS native sound, and the incredible library of brass samples are etched in my mind forever!Today :NORD
Robbie Hague
April 11, 2012 @ 6:52 am
I bought the DSS1 brand new back in 1987, very expensive but excellent value. Fantastic for gigging with my then band Slaughterhouse 5. I sampled the lead guitarist and played back live it sounded great. Unfortunately I skipped it when I moved house 7 years ago as the floppy drive died and I couldn't then source a replacement. How I regret that decision!! Keep looking to buy one as nostalgia kicks in and I realise just what an incredible machine it was. Trouble is, other people probably also realise this! Great site btw.
March 31, 2012 @ 1:11 pm
picked one up off eBay last year for 300 euros (but had to pay a fortune shipping the beast!) and havent looked back.

This really is a beast in all senses of the word. I've sampled basic analog waveforms from an old analog synth and come up with some huge vintage Oberheim poly sounds. The filter is MASSIVE!
March 14, 2012 @ 10:52 pm
I have had 3 DSS_1 and still use one in the band I am in infact all the keyboards I use are KORGS. These are in my opinion the finest instruments ever made. Will use KORG till the end.
el principito
February 25, 2012 @ 2:23 pm
Just bought one of these from a local thrift shop for no joke $80! It came fully equipped with at least 40 sound and sample discs. How lucky is that?
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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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