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
May 3, 2011 @ 10:38 am
Of all the synths I have owned, I think for some strange reason this may be my favorite. I think I paid $150 for it with a broken disk drive. I replaced it with a chinon drive (like $5 on ebay) and it is good to go. I use Omniflop to make disks and I still haven't tried all of them out there. I haven't even touched the programming (except to make a fat simple saw) or the sampling, and I still love this thing. There is a lot of support for the DSS out there. The drive load time is a bit of a nuisance but it really isn't hard to find a bank of 32 good patches that you can use in a set.
April 23, 2011 @ 1:13 am
The DSS1 is different than anything else. Dan, You're on the right track. Put the new DD disk in and Disk Utililites/Format and let it rip and wait. Look at the screen and it should tell you when its formatted. However, this is just now a blank disk which can only be read by the KORG DSS1.
The old disks (and some new) cause more read problems than the drive itself.
You have to build sounds on to your newly formatted disk. This is why people avoid this incredible synth/sampler. I can load the original factory sounds on blank disks for you and mail them.Sorry VSE, I have to help him.
April 10, 2011 @ 7:34 am
Can someone provide guidance to me that is up-to-date on their recomendation for how to get one with an apparent bad drive up and running...the kboard appears mint however every disc reads immediately upon spinning up - "data error"...I ordered what I knew were 'regular' 720K DD discs-think they're formated (?) but figured if they're the right discs they should 'format' in the DSS under Disc Utilities-is that a correct assumption-that if you have the right disc, regardless of its format or whats on it, will it spin up and format in the DSS?-the drive is definitely spinning and I cleaned it
April 1, 2011 @ 7:41 am
superb underated "SYNTH"!
Think of this as a true analog synth that can also sample. Great analog filters and stereo delay effects. I honestly prefer the DSS-1 over my Roland Jupiter 6 for analog synth sounds!...just a shame no knobs (typical 80's!)
March 29, 2011 @ 3:06 pm
Also, the size and shape of this thing makes it like a REAL 'workstation'. The surface is so deep you can put mixers, controllers, computers, (infants), music books and a DW-8000 right on top of it. The floppy drive is often the subject of scorn but the DSS-1 was the only synth that would hold a can of beer - on top of the floppy drive. (and yes, honey, I did use a coaster). Taj Mahal strings turned everybody's heads.
VSE Rating


User Rating

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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