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
January 2, 2013 @ 6:15 pm
a fat sounding synth with anaolg filters no doubt. Unfortunetly the operating system is the most backwards and illogical I've ever come across. (It's as bad as an old Yamaha TX16 sampler I had!). You'll also need a huge studio to fit it in which is probably why you can pick them up for around £200
Jason Basson
December 21, 2012 @ 1:23 pm
As an owner of the DSS-1 I can confirm with a big smile what the people of VSE think of it: that this sampling synthesizer is AWESOME! It has unlimited sounds in itself, you can load samples in it and work these samples in a fantastic way.And you can switch to UNISON, and that turns a normal sound into a superfat sound! The 2 digital delays inside are outstanding! Korg made a classic milestone! If you see one, buy it, whatever is the price!Greetz
December 17, 2012 @ 12:23 pm
This board is a killer. Incredible filter and the sampling ability means anything can be an oscillator, if you don't mind that it's not '90s hi-fi. If it had kept the DW8000's arpeggiator and added portamento it would be perfect. As it is, it's still very powerful. This hybrid makes a wonderful companion to an all-digital synth, especially for those on a budget (like me) who can't afford a pure analog. The velocity and aftertouch set it apart even further from its contemporaries.
December 17, 2012 @ 7:30 am
The sound of this synth is incredible and unique. I like very much the very warm and "imperfect" sound of this beast, the analog filters, env, lfos ,...and the 12bit sample based oscillators are the cause of this. With the integrated digital delays and eq you can magnify the sound.

The negative side is the realtime control of the parametes and the floppy disk. It can be upgraded to improve this (google).

I have VA's, digital and analog synths and nothing like this. Trust me.
November 25, 2012 @ 12:24 pm
@Alim - I own one of these and used to own a jp8. Dss-1 is absolutely awesome and can compete with JP8. The only setback is: no knobs, so live tweaking is difficult anda lot of programming is required.
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Rated 4.56 (961 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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