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
March 29, 2009 @ 10:29 pm
Interesting take on this machine. I bought one in 1986 and pretty much everyone considered it a sampler with a few tricks, rather than a synth that could sample. I used it on stage for several years. It was a bit tricky because it took so long to load samples from it's floppy disk. I could usually get two or three songs worth of samples on board at once, but every fourth songs had to be one that didn't use the DSS-1. It had amazing bass capabilities - with unison at max I once blew up a PA.
February 25, 2009 @ 3:51 pm
I use the same DD discs in both my DSM-1 and DSS-1. Also, should be noted you can play DSS-1 discs on a DSM-1, but not vice versa. And yes, this is a wonderful machine!
February 1, 2009 @ 7:12 pm
Used by Phil Lanzon (Uriah Heep) and Gilles Snowcat (Awaken) both in the mid-90s.
Jim Wicked
January 29, 2009 @ 9:44 pm
Just to clarify here, there are a couple other differences between the DSS-1 and the DSM-1. The DSM-1 had more sample RAM (2 megs) and used HD disks unlike the DD disks the DSS-2 uses. Also, the DSM-1 doesn't have resonant filters.
January 5, 2009 @ 7:28 pm
A monster, weights a ton, kbd extremely clattering, great sounds,
a hilarious sample arrangement system, splendid VCF and VCA,
should be seen as a synth with user waves and not a sampler.
Unison mode that kicks ass!
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Rated 4.56 (960 Votes)

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  • 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

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