Korg DW-8000

Korg DW-8000 Image


Take Korg's first digitally controlled analog synth hybrid (DW-6000) two steps higher and you get the more popular DW-8000. Sound is digitally generated from the DWGS (Digital Waveform Generator System) and has been doubled from 8 sampled digital waveforms to 16 simple analog to complex digital waveforms. The DW-8000 has 8 voice polyphony in two modes, or one monophonic mode with all eight voices stacked. The analog VCF resonant filter and VCA both have independent ADBSSR envelopes. Parameters can be altered in real time via a single programmable slider. There are 64 presets that can be reprogrammed by the user.

Korg EX-8000 Image


In comparison to the DW-6000, the DW-8000 expanded to 8 notes polyphony, 16 sampled waveforms, a velocity sensitive keyboard with programmable aftertouch, auto-bend, a simple arpeggiator and a digital delay unit. The Digital Delay was an astonishing goody for the time, offering up to 512ms delay, phasing, flanging, chorusing and other time effects. Both the Arpeggiator, Auto-Bend and Digital Delay make this synth an inspiring and great sounding machine to use for great 303 basslines, techno and house bass and synth sounds and more! The EX-8000 (pictured above) is a rackmount version of the DW-8000. Several 3rd-party developers offered expansion boards for the DW-8000 providing up to 1024 presets, layered sounds, keyboard splits and Sample+Hold for the LFO. Though later overshadowed by the M1, the DW-8000 has been used by Divine Masquerade, Juno Reactor, Depeche Mode, Dream Theater, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Emerson.

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131 Visitor comments
September 12, 2013 @ 12:49 am
just to clear things up, the DWs are technically ROMplers. State of the art in the mid '80s, the DWs use a Z-80 core, with word oscillators reading from 8KB wave ROM, software DEGs and MGs, though a fully analog VCF/VCA and out a DDL. The M1 dispenses with the VCF/VCA, and implement a DCF/DCA, 4MB ROM and dual FX only a couple of years later. 8bit v 16bit. They both use subtractive synthesis, but the DWs are hybrid.
September 11, 2013 @ 12:03 am
One thing about my EX 8000 I really appreciate these days is that I can tell at a glance the current patch and parameter/value without my glasses. And of course, the sound. Very '80s hybrid poly - designed to both compete with, and compliment the then king, the DX-7. It does a good job of electric keyboards, synth sounds, some good emulations and FX, and it's easy to edit. I use a BCR to edit with, and it's comparable to a JX/PG combo.
August 30, 2013 @ 5:35 pm
I got one of these cheap in non-functional condition, and I've gotten it mostly fixed; some keys still aren't working, but it works fine over MIDI. Glorious piece of gear; as people have said, it's big and dark in a way even a lot of classic synths can't manage. Some of the waveforms aren't great, but there's plenty to work with, and the filter is excellent. Its character, plus the hybrid approach, reminds me strongly of the C64 SID chip on steroids. Clicky keys are kind of irritating, but the real leaf switches give it the nicest aftertouch I've encountered. Get one while they're still cheap!
August 11, 2013 @ 1:46 pm
I bought two of these DW-8000s last year - the first one I bought worked, but the keybed was shot. The second one had a good keyboard but was in terrible cosmetic shape. So, I spent several hours one Saturday creating my FrankenKorg - I took parts from both machines and re-assembled one nice-looking, great-sounding DW8000.

Radio Shack sells a tabletop cassette recorder for about $50 that works well with the DW8000 as a patch storage system, the model CTR-121 (Cat.No. 140128). The DW-8000 will receive SysEx patch bank info, but will not SEND SysEx.
August 10, 2013 @ 4:38 pm
Thanks nb! I'm most likely going to get either this or a Wavestation A/D.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.52 (1415 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 - 2 DWGSs per voice; 16 sampled digital waveforms (including saw, sqr and sin)
  • LFO - YES
  • Filter - Analog Low-pass resonant filter with ADBSSR 6-parameter envelope generator
  • VCA - ADBSSR 6-parameter envelope generator
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (with velocity and aftertouch)
  • Arpeg/Seq - 64 note arpeggiator
  • Effects - Digital Delay
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1985-87

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