TECH main core based on 8 bits CPU Intel 8085 manages 8 voices polyphony.
STRUCTURE each voice is composed bv 2 syncable digital oscillators (for a total of 16 oscillators) + a white noise generator with own gain mix. Each OSC has the following parameter:
- mix balancing between osc1 and osc2
- octave set at 4' / 8' / 16'
- pitch detune amount
adjustable semitones interval
- amount of unison detune
(must be set in mono mode).
SYNTHESIS the DSS1 features 3 kind of syntheses:
- sampling at 12 bits resolution (1)
- cycled waves digital creation (2)
- additive harmonic synthesis (3).
SAMPLING engine samples at 12 bits but It can be set to 10 / 8/ 7 or even 6 bits for total crispy low-fidelity sound!
DSS engine samples at 4 fixed frequencies (check table below). Once sampled, there are some standard sample edit functions e.g reverse, merge, chain samples (LINK) truncate, loop, crossfade, copy and zone assign (up to 30 samples can be mapped).
||Sampling time (seconds)
||24 semitones up
||17 semitones up
||12 semitones up
||05 semitones up
CYCLED WAVES DRAWING it is possible to "draw" a waveform moving the the slider during a time of 4096 steps, then levels can me manually edit in a specific address (but quantized into 512 different positions).
It is quite impossible to draw something interesting on the fly: most of the time the result are buzz and harsh waves.
Metal wave created by ADDITIVE
ADDITIVE is a non real-time process based on 128 sinewave harmonics with adjustable level. This process also includes some preset shapes: square, saw, organ, metal and clav.
Created waves can be saved as normal samples.
MEMORY the internal sample non-expandable memory is limited to 256 Kb.
Sounds and samples can be stored to primitive 720 Kb floppy drive, but it is possible to install a more modern USB emulator disk (like HxC).
There are 32 slots for sound patch programs and 16 multi-sounds.
PERFORMANCE system handles 8 voice only in monotimbric with some special features:
- mono unison : 2/4/6/8 voice can be stacked with detune option. Quite fat, but sadly there is no portamento and even if you stack only 4 voices it will result monophonic.
- 2 polymodes: like old analog, voice rotate or restart from first
- aftertouch can be assigned to LFO, cutoff and VCA
- adjustable pitch bend range
- treble and bass EQ
- key transpose
- velocity switch threshold (plays osc1 or osc2 according to velocity)
FILTER resonant lowpass analog filter based on 8 X chips NJM-2069 (same found on Korg Poly 800 but not paraphonic of course) at -12 or -24 d/B slopes.
Proportional Keyboard tracking function is implement into the VCF section.
LFO 2 triangle-shaped delayed modulators MG"(Modulation Generator) and 3 destinations:
- pitch (OSC1 / OSC2 / both)
- modulation for delay effect
The modulators are retriggered at each note press, relative frequency is quantized into 32 values with variable depth amount.
ENVELOPE 2 EGs based on VCA each with 4 segments + 2 times:
- EG1 amplitude
- EG2 filter cutoff (bipolar).
DSS1 features also a bipolar AUTOBEND function for the pitch on a range of time + 2 slimmed-down EGs for the VCF/VCA touch sensibility.
EFFECT up to 2 internal digital delays (up to 500 ms) that can be routed in parallel (stereo) or serial mode.
Some parameters can be edited for each delay:
- feedback amount
- modulation intensity.
- delay time
- delay level.
MIDI basic control change, but all parameters can be modfied using Exclusives hex strings.
SAMPLE IMPORT it is possible to dump the samples bidirectionally by Midi (sadly non-totally compliant to SDS sample dump protocol).
The DSS1 is quite a reliable machine, never had a trouble after years.
Common problems are:
- backlight LCD
- faulty Canon floppy drive.
The disk drive is like the Amiga standard: infamous Shugart generally different from PC IBM one, it is of course possible to mod a standard IBM depending on the model. Personally I always managed to clean the drive head with success, so give it a try before.
(Upper) disk failure is quite common
MODIFICATION other common upgrades : for a short period, a third-part company by Tom Virostek released an upgrade kit with new board, faster CPU, more memory and SCSI option.
EDITORS there are some free and commercial computer-based editors:
- Turtle Beach samplevision (for old PC ->no more available) PIC
- Midiquest (PC/MAC, commercial) PIC
- Clyphx (Ableton script)
- Edit DSS (Atari ST, no more available) PIC
- Softynth Digidesign (Atari ST, no more available) PIC
- Digidesign Turbosynth (Atari ST) PIC
- VSTizer DSS-1 (plugin, commercial) Pic below
DSM-1 more or less the rackmount module with some substantial differences:
KORG DSM-1 VS DSS-1s
- DSM1 has HD disk1,6 mb VS DD 880kb
- DSM1 has more RAM (4 times more )
- DSM1 has more 15 analog outs
- DSM1 has no OSC sync (ouch!)
- DSM1 has only 4 poles filter VS. 2/4 mode
- DSM1 ha no resonance Q (big miss!)
- DSM1 has no delay engine
- DSM1 has no "DRAW waveform" function
- DSM1 has more additive presets
- DSM1 manages 4 parts vs 1 DSS1s
- DSM1 features 1 VCF per oscillator / DSS1 1 VCF per VOICE (2 oscillators)
- DSM1 D/A resolution is fixed to 12 bits, DSS1 can be changed also to lo-fi 8/10/7/6 bits
- DSM1 lacks the noise generator
VST PLUGIN / SAMPLED VERSION there is no plugin VST / reliable DSS1 samples sounds available for the moment.