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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88 Visitor comments
June 20, 2009 @ 1:59 am
It is a fat mother. I use mine with a mo-fx to crunk the stereo out of it, and it sits nicely on the large real estate of the top. I would be comfortable doing a noise gig with just those two. The entire library is available online free and I copied it all. Plus it is one of the very rare few synths that let you draw a waveform (frankly an over-rated option) but it does that. And it samples in mulitple lo-fi modes under and more than 8-bit. Stereo outs, great great analog filters, internal efx. Personally I find the korg joystick modulator approach not my style compared with moog wheels, but that is minor. Great synth, played regularly in my arsenal. Very very underrated. Huge though.
Douglas Cain
May 26, 2009 @ 7:39 pm
The first time I ever played this wonderful instrument, I immediately laid down a song. The filters sound like velvet and the tones can go from glassy to villainous. Also, this is my favorite keyboard to play. The after-touch and velocity sensitivity are quite expressive. The unison mode rules.
May 12, 2009 @ 4:30 pm
I owned this monster.Huge sound,a killer unison mode, loved its delays also.Funny thing, i was so impressed with the sampled piano.
May 11, 2009 @ 4:29 pm
Huge and heavy ??? C'mon ! Never worked with a Rhodes Chroma, eh ? ;-)
I've used my DSS on stage after my Chroma became unpredictable because of tuning problems. The DSS's fatness didn't come near the Chroma's but still it was good enough. Now I use the Triton. Funny, the way the Triton is configured still bears distant resemblance to the DSS. In fact it is an ancestor of the Triton. In the studio I still use the DSS to fatten the Triton pads and of course for basslines.
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.
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Rated 4.55 (930 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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