Synth Site: Korg: DW8000 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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DSP a part-time user from Venice, CA writes:
I love this amazing synth, unlimited sonic possibilities here...It's fairly common out there and the price is simply amazing. The build quality is very good (plasic top, metal bottom), unlike the newer plastic toylike korg cheese! Bottom line - it's a powerhorse synth that performs beautifully!! It's also extremely easy to program. The delay effect really helps the sonic sculpting too - great for slapback or long whacky dub sounds. This is one warm sounding synth too... Has some great organ sounds, great strings, space pads, beautiful bass... If you're thinking about a Juno 106 or Prophet 600 forget 'em - this synth will slap 'em both down. If you see one, pick it up - you'll save a bundle!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-02-2004 at 11:13
Scott Vincent a hobbyist user from US writes:
This is a mighty fine synth. Those ppl who have spent some time with it know the truth... it can create probably 80%+ of the sounds you will hear on any other synth 10years +- from it's release (up until the M1 put glassy digital on the map). The pads on this thing are totally off-world.

The presets are fair but it's fairly easy to program (no DX7 by any means) and it's capable of lots of cool tricks for the inventive synthisist.

It's a sound synth, not a gigging synth... big difference (unless oyu have a rodaie who'll lug this beast around for you).

This is the only hard synth in my studio now (gone the VST route) because the sound is so damn thick! Plus it's like a good friend... always there when I need it. I would pick one up immediately if something were to happen it.

Ok, time for me to get my hands on the UC-16 to DW8000 conversion program!!

Best... Scott

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Mar-31-2004 at 00:47
Glen Stegner a professional user from USA writes:
Oh well, guess not too many people post for this synth, so here I am again ... just wanted to share some info about programming this synth for use with the Evolution UC-16 (a 16-knob MIDI controller) or probably any controller that uses standard CC's.

I just got the UC-16 specifically to use with this synth. Unfortunately after unpacking it and hooking it up to the DW8000, the synth continuously ignored every numeric CC setting that was sent to it. Lo and behold after some net researching, I discovered that the DW8000 does not accept CC's, it only understands proprietary sysex strings to control the parameters. (Duh! I should have already realized that! - the Juno 106 from the same time period does the same thing, it was years before CC's were established as a standard).

After almost throwing in the towel, I discovered a nifty little utility called Bome's MIDI Translator. This will translate the incoming CC's from the UC-16 and translate them to sysex strings that you define. Then came a couple of hours with the DW8000 manual, pulling my hair out converting binary numbers to HEX, and putting these into the translator. Presto! Now I have instant 'knobby' control over 16 of the DW8000's parameters!! You can also store more 'setups' so that you can get to another 16 parameters at the press of a button! This combination of DW8000 synth and Evolution UC-16 hardware controller is just too cool for words. Just get a ripping bass arpeggio going on the DW, and twirl those knobs!

The MIDI translation for a single parameter (e.g., resonance) looks something like this:

UC-16: B0 12 oo DW-8000: F0 42 31 1D oo F7

Not exactly those numbers, just giving you the idea (the "oo" represents the variable control data when you turn the knob.) Since I have already spent some effort creating this DW8000 parameter map for the UC-16, just e-mail me if you're interested and I will send you a copy. You will need to download a copy of Bome's MIDI Translator to use it.

The only downside to this arrangement is having to have a laptop running between the controller and the synth just to do the small job of MIDI translating, but I am always using the laptop for other MIDI applications in my setup anyway, so it's no big hassle, and the translator program will run in the background and use up very little resources.

Besides using the UC-16 for control of the DW8000, I have also tried it with the VAZ Modular software synth (which is much easier to set up since VAZ recognizes CC's), and that works like a charm too.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Feb-03-2004 at 22:39
Glen Stegner a professional user from USA writes:
I agree with some points made by anonymous poster just after my review - points about lack of cross mod, ring mod and PWM; however, I think the stepping quantization of the envelopes are sufficient enough so that when altered by one step, they are virtually unnoticeable by anything other than a spectrum analyzer. I am interested in what people can hear. Besides, I consider even digitizing the envelopes to be more or less a "digital housekeeping" chore having to do with shaping a sound -- whereas the filter (VCF) and amplifier (VCA) have to do with actual sound production and harmonic alteration, and are more important to have as analog controls.

The posting by "Vince, a part time user" should be summarily ignored. If 80's sounds bother him, he should learn how to program a synth. (My DW8000 is full of 70's and 90's sounds because I dumped most of the presets and created my own patches.) Here is a guy who probably picks up a synth, tries out a few presets, and goes thumbs up or down based on that. No discussion at all about synthesis or how the thing actually works. My purpose as a musician is to recommend a good instrument to other musicians; Vince's is to play tastemaker to collectors who really don't know how to play or work any of these instruments anyway (probably like Vince himself).

The DW8000 does not qualify as a "rompler" because a rompler is essentially a keyboard with samples burned into ROM (SAMPLES: being complete recordings of an actual sound event, with complex waveform harmonics evolving over several seconds). The DW8000 has none of this. If we want to call the DW8000's digital oscillator a "sample" (for the sake of argument), it is nothing more than a tiny fraction of a second worth of unlooped sample ... just enough to create a kind of raw material to be processed via analog synthesis. Another point (actually missed by the aforementioned anonymous poster, whom I respect) is that a separate "sample" is used for each octave on each of the 16 waveforms, and the waveforms are actually recreated using additive harmonic synthesis. So what you are hearing in the DW8000's oscillators is, in fact, real-time additive synthesis that gets its component parts from tiny fraction-of-a-second "samples" built into ROM. What sets it apart from a purely digital synthesizer like the DX7 is that none of this additive synthesis is editable.

One last point: I never said (or implied) that the DW8000 is the "best synth ever" - I certainly don't think so myself. But I do think it's the best of its type you can get for that price, very much so - and the most important implication of this is that the actual benefit you get from a "better" synth costing 6 times as much is indeed very little.

posted Tuesday-Sep-02-2003 at 01:06
Vince. a part-time user writes:
It's ok. Not a great synth by any means. The sounds are 80s stuff. Not the easiest synth to work with. Not in any way as good as a prophet of any type. As for a Jupiter8..get real. A cheap rompler type of synth that has been largely and most probably, deservedly forgotten. A poly61 type of thing. Ok, but no one really wants one. There's always something better to be had. Only buy if they are very cheap. Much fan talk has made this sound better than it is. It's an under dog synth. Everyone has a go at it, so fans stick up for it. Just like the JD990. Everyone knows that the JD800 is better! I love some of the nonsense talked here. Classic filters..synclavier sounds. Old rompler , more like it. The best sounds were sampled into the M1's waveforms. They are the worse sounds on the M1. DX sounds, and not nice ones.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Saturday-Aug-30-2003 at 12:54
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