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
Steppenwolf von Mensch
June 1, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
This is the best Synth directly after the Korg MS-20.
Together with the DSI Tetra it makes a real great live-set within a band, not even the Bassist can sound this fat!
The Keys are very loud when released, but all in all it's just a perfect synthesizer/sampler with perfect warmth.
May 11, 2012 @ 5:34 am
I just wanted to notice that this synthesizer is NOT just digital. The DCO's are digital (guess what the D stands for), however, the audio path including the Korg custom VCF/VCA ICs is completely analog. This is what it makes so awesome...
BTW the delays are digital, nevertheless the dry audio signal bypasses the FX unit. so only the wet signal is digital - something we can live with, eh?
May 5, 2012 @ 9:25 pm
I just picked up one of these. Bought it from the original owner for $200, which included the synth, a Korg pedal, an Anvil hard case, and a couple of dozen floppies. The latter included the four original system discs from Korg, all of the Greytsounds discs, and a bunch of homemade patches. I guess it shows that the synths can still be had at a reasonable price.

Also, in case you're wondering, this thing is really huge and heavy. When it's in the Anvil case, I can barely lift it!
April 25, 2012 @ 9:59 pm
This is an amazing synth for pads. The description is a little off calling it a "digital synth." It's actually a hybrid. The filter is analog and incredible. I also have a Yamaha SY77, said to have an amazing filter for a digital synth, and the Korg's filter is hands-down the more powerful and organic of the two. So, yeah, pads are great, especially with filter modulation, and there are some good piano and organ and synth-bass patches out there, it being a sampler and all. If this had retained the DW8000's arpeggiator it would be even better, but it's pretty sweet as it is.
April 14, 2012 @ 11:30 pm
I just wanted to add that once you finish drawing a wave form, go into the parameters and change the keyboard setting from poly to unison. Doing this will get you one hell of a MONSTER sound! It even has it's own delay effect without the help of a mixer! Holy moly! This will suffice my needs for now... I still can't figure out how to load those disks. I'm still in shock I got this for only $150!
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Rated 4.56 (969 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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