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 3, 2011 @ 6:27 pm
Floppy disk on mine wasn't working. I cleaned it the old fashioned way with swabs and alcohol, works fine now.
One of the finest synths i own. True 8-voice and capable of very analog sounds. Can be controlled by midi and nice onboard effects. What more would you want ? For me, it's a poor mans Fairlight.
Not nice for stage use though, it weighs a ton and then some.
February 17, 2011 @ 8:59 pm
Wanted to clarify a few things about the DSM-1 (rackmount).

The DSM-1 is expanded in some areas as the article indicates, but cut back in other areas and just different in still other areas vs. the DSS-1.

Expanded: It has double the sample memory of the DSS-1, and uses DS-HD floppies vs. DS-DD.

Cut back: It does not have the dual digital delays that give the DSS-1 much of its character. Also the resonance of the VCF's on the DSM-1 is not adjustable.

Different: Rather than 8 voices with 2 VCOs each (sync-able to each other), it has 16 voices with 1 VCO each (non-syncable).
February 13, 2011 @ 4:22 pm
If you look around online you can find replacement floppy drives for them. Check out this website for more info. There have been upgrade kits that allowed the use of a SCSI hard drive.

October 11, 2010 @ 12:38 pm
Still have my original from 1986 - $2,500. Unison synth patches are unlike anything I've ever heard. I drive it with pedals. I draw my own wave forms then load a program's parameters over top of it. You can stay up weeks on end with pots of coffee, etc. creating sound that re-defines 'patch'. The sampler is best for percussion or sound effects to be processed by the filters and digital delays. - source waveform. We blew a conch shell into it at a good clip and used this as a souce sample - add stereo separation and X-fade.
M. L.
October 1, 2010 @ 5:16 pm
I love it since i got it for 140€. I have been nagging the seller for about 1 year. Now It´s mine.
Damn great synaptic of analog and digital. Only Bug: dead floppy drive - it can be replaced by a lot of usual floppies on the market. Just look for schematics or mod manuals on the net (like comodore amiga floppy mods, as an original a500 drive worked fine on my dss-1 - no jumper settings needed to be changed). For som other models you need to solder a bit around.
More infos soon on luetti.prv.pl
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Rated 4.56 (966 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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