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
October 25, 2012 @ 7:21 pm
When the analogue anorak brigade take their eyes off the usual Moogs and ARPs and discover this analogue monster you will not be able to get hold of one.
My advise? If you have one do not even think about selling it.
At the moment they do not know that what hides beneath that smooth black casing is an analogue poly synth that puts most others to shame....£5000 for a Jupiter 8 LOL do me a favour. Grab a DSS-1 and learn what analogue pads should sound like.
The bass on this and Unison mode would bury a Jupiter 8.
Let the analogue anoraks sleep on this one so the price does not sky rocket.
October 5, 2012 @ 12:41 pm
@rené thanks for replying that clears things up quite a bit for me! Sounds like an awesome and unique synth I'm going to try to get a hold of one :)
October 4, 2012 @ 7:33 pm
@ neil The DSS-1 doesn't have any presets saved. To produce sounds from it, you can create your own sounds using the waveform drawing option, record your own sounds from any source connected to the DSS-1 or you can just load sound samples using floppy disks. After that, you can go into the easy to use parameters to tweak the sounds to your liking.
October 4, 2012 @ 6:51 pm
So I'm a little confused with this synth. Does it have any ability to produce sounds on its own or does it rely solely on floppy disks? If it does need floppy disks where is everyone getting good samples for it? I saw that there is a free sample library for it on retrosynth.com but how are people generating other sounds out of it? Any help is greatly appreciated!
October 1, 2012 @ 8:21 pm
The Korg DSS-1 are probably the most under rated synth out there. I live in Austria and it's impossible to find them here but really want to get one as I used one before in a studio and Wow! what a great sound. They are like having an Oberhiem polysynth but much cheaper!
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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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