Synth Site: Korg: DSS1 Sampler: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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raffi a part-time user from USA writes:
I am glad I did not buy this piece of junk. even for a $150. no sequencer on this, very little sample ram,tiny interface,very limited effects. korg makes very good synths but the DSS-1 is nothing but an embarrassment to them. people can call this the DSS-0!!!!

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-30-2004 at 17:01
Lou Gold a part-time user from Indonesia writes:
Great keyboard! still has a sound of its own and as far as todays technologies surpassing this old beast , this old beast will STILL hold its own!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-06-2004 at 15:08
Glen Stegner a professional user from USA writes:
The main review is wrong in saying that it's digital subtractive. It's an analog subtractive synth with additive harmonic synthesis and digital sampling built in. Sort of like a hybrid synth with the oscillators ripped out and replaced with sampling, waveform drawing, or additive synthesis (combining 128 sine waves) as your raw material with which to create your oscillators. It has one of the best VCFs that Korg ever put on a synthesizer. Sort of like a DW-8000 on steroids, but also kind of like a less-endowed M1 but in which you can create your own PCM samples. The DSS-1's analog filter manages to get better mileage from the more basic waveforms (sawtooth, pulse, square, etc.) It's kind of like a transitional synth between the analog/digital hybrids of mid-80s and the romplers of late 80s/beyond. Comparable in features and sonic ability to the Prophet 2000. I love this beastie.

FYI, I have just created a great resource site for this synth - http://glenstegner.com/dss1

There you will find the entire disk image library with which you can create your own floppies for use with the DSS-1. Also on the site you will find 2 great PC softwares with which you can import your own samples (SampleVision) and edit the program parameters (MidiQuest demo version with DSS-1 plug-in). The demo version of MidiQuest will still allow you to edit any patch of the currently loaded System, then you can save the patch by using the DSS-1 control panel! If you buy the program, then it will allow you to edit multisamples and save entire libraries to your PC's hard disk.

Lots of great images of the DSS-1, complete disk library (over 100 disks!), software, pointers to hardware support including how to get a replacement disk drive! Visit the site!

http://glenstegner.com/dss1

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-14-2004 at 21:14
SYNTEX77 a professional user from Italy writes:
Sampler/Ibrid analog Synth, additive synthesis width sampling and generate oscillator, analog filter, double digital delay, unison for the oscillator, this machine have a low price and can make any type of sound you have in mind... Problems, volatile memory of waveform and big dimension... This sound is very good...

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-06-2004 at 15:49
Glen Stegner a professional user from USA writes:
I remember playing one of these back in the late 80s; the drummer of the band I was in owned one and let me use it for rehearsals, but would never let me take it out on the road (one look at its size and knowledge of its weight, and you will see why). I always lusted after one, and now I finally picked one up in mint condition on eBay for $250, less than 10% of its original price!

It's a wonderful sampler/synth hybrid, capable of very thick lush analog sounds due to its analog synth engine and warm filter, as well as being able to emulate a DX7 due to the inclusion of additive harmonic synthesis and the ability to draw your own waveform using one of the data sliders. Sampling rate at 12 bits can be a bit grungy but that gives it its distinctive character. Treat it like a synth with unique capabilities rather than a sampler, and you will be happy. The samples are meant to be mangled by the synth engine anyway.

If i may digress for a moment: When I first got into synths (1984 or so), Yamaha were reigning supreme with their DX7, and musicians were practically throwing their old analog gear out of windows. My, how times change. In the 90s the techno/electronica/rave movement was singlehandedly responsible for the resurrection of the retro analogs (or rather the $$ speculators hanging around at its fringes). Because of the way I use keyboards (I am a KEYBOARDIST: not just a PIANIST or a SYNTHESIST, but a little of both, with a rig of stacked boards in the Wakeman/Emerson/Banks tradition), I still hold the opinion from the 80s that the old pre-MIDI vintage analogs really aren't worth that much, even after the 90s have passed. I would never ever pay more than $400 for one of those, even if I had a lot of disposable income, except maybe to get involved in the trading and speculation to make some money off of foolish people looking for woodgrain and knobs. The DSS1 and similar digital/analog hybrids from the mid 80s suit me just fine for the analog sounds I need to have at my disposal (alongside my digital piano and romplers for more realistic sounds), and in design, reliability and features, are actually quite superior. Knob twiddling during live performance is not my forte, since I need to have both hands on the keyboards at once, so aftertouch is very important for me as a controller - and most vintage pre-MIDI analogs lack this feature. I do need to program new sounds, and the digital one-parameter access system is no problem for me. What counts is what's under the hood, and the DSS1 has a lot going for it. If I do need to get some wild filter sweeps or somesuch, the joystick and data slider do just fine (how many knobs can you twirl at once?) Another thing I need for gigging is reliability and durability, oscillators not drifting out of tune, etc. That's why I'm so happy to finally get the DSS1 for so cheap. As far as I'm concerned the hiking up of prices of the old analogs has worked in my favor; since I don't do electronica, techno or rave (and don't particularly care for that style, which is basically just a form of mind-numbing disco with electronics thrown in), I have no real use for those in my setup other than to impress people visually. If I ever did buy a vintage analog, it would have to be for cheap and then I would sell it right back into the market for more $$ (join the club...)

Anyway, back to the DSS1 - it's a sleek and sexy (and huge!) beast. People are immediately impressed by its enormous size - bigger than a Roland JD800 and almost measures in depth as a Matrix12. Okay, sampler is a chinzy 256k of memory but that's not important as I use a software sampler for that. The DSS1 needed this size and weight because these were a lot of features for 1986 technology. This board alongside my trusty DW8000 give me all the analog sounds I need, and the DSS1 especially does it with style. There is a massive disk library on the internet and you can use a PC program to convert the disk images to 720K floppies for use with your DSS1. I've already collected a slew of Keith Emerson moog sounds this way. I also found one disk that included a string patch so lush I couldn't believe my ears - very Matrix12-like in fact.

The only regrets are: no portamento(!) and no arpeggiator, but that's okay, the DW8000 do those. As for no sequencer, who cares - we all know what crap in-board sequencers are when we get our hands on a good PC-based sequencer. The last thing I need is a "workstation" instead of just a synth. Besides, I don't use a sequencer for live performance (it's cheating!), only for studio work. MIDI specs are good, and it makes for a decent alternate controller (my primary one is an 88-key weighted controller/digital piano). Another down-side is the rather klunky/noisy keyboard (same as on the DW8000) but I've had no problems with it and it works just fine for one-handed leads.

The DSS1 is an awsome feature-packed analog/digital hybrid with sampling and fits just nicely into my setup. And as for its size and weight, as someone else here said, "just be a man and lug it!"

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Oct-06-2003 at 00:36
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