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Korg DSS-1




Korg Dss1

infoCountry: JAPAN
Weight: 18,5 Kg
Dimensions: 1171 (w) x 436 (h)x 123 (d) mm
audio demo trend price : 250€
manual schematics demo video comments

Korg DSS-1
Digital Sampling Synthesizer (1986)


A huge digital/analog hybrid sampler with some basic synthesis functions. It looks like a bit like the synthesizer Korg DW-8000 but on steroids

DSS-1 is one of the most underrated sampler ever, boasting 16 digital oscillators with analog filters.

edit functions
edit functions

info KEYBOARD SAMPLER 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch.
The main panel features a 2 x 20 LCD backlit display, 4 sliders, 25 buttons, a disk drive and a joystick lever for both modulation and bending functions.

Rear panel terminal connectors:
- main outputs
- MONOsampling signal input
- Midi interface
- headphones
- pedalswitch damper input + pedalswitch "program up" input
- LCD contrast trimmer
- switch for high/low out impedance



edit TECH main core based on 8 bits CPU Intel 8085 manages 8 voices polyphony.
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:

structure - 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).

editSYNTHESIS the DSS1 features 3 kind of syntheses:

syntheses - sampling at 12 bits resolution (1)
- cycled waves digital creation (2)
- additive harmonic synthesis (3)


edit 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, 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).

Frequency Transpose limit Sampling time (seconds)
16 kHz 24 semitones up 16
24 kHz 17 semitones up 11
32 kHz 12 semitones up 8
48 kHz 05 semitones up 5.5
sample mode
demo Hear lowering from 12 bits to 6 bits


edit 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).

metal wave

TIP: It is quite impossible to draw something interesting on the fly: most of the time the result are buzz and harsh waves.

demo HEAR Metal wave created by ADDITIVE


edit 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.

harmonic synth demo HEAR generated cycled wave

editPERFORMANCE 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
- velocity switch threshold (plays osc1 or osc2 according to velocity)

- key transpose


edit 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.

NJM2069 demo HEAR filter resonance

edit LFO
2 triangle-shaped delayed modulators MG"(Modulation Generator).
The modulators are retriggered at each note press, relative frequency is quantized into 32 values with variable depth amount. LFo Destinations are:


- pitch (OSC1 / OSC2 / both)
- filter cutoff
- modulation for delay effect



edit 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.

edit 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 + level. demo HEAR delay

MEMORY the internal sample non-expandable memory is limited to 256 Kb + 32 slots for sound patch programs and 16 multi-sounds. Sounds and samples can be stored to primitive 720 Kb floppy drive,


- LEFT - Dss1 internal guts.

- click to enlarge picture -


edit 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).

harmonic synth


edit DSS-1 MAINTENANCE / Modding. The DSS1 is quite a reliable machine, never had a trouble after years. Common problems are:

dss floppy drive replacement

- backlight LCD

- faulty Canon floppy drive The disk drive is like the Amiga standard: infamous Shugartdifferent from PC. Personally I always managed to clean the drive head with success, or it is possible to install a more modern USB emulator disk (like HxC).

- 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.



edit 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
dss1 editor



Korg DSM1

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


effet VST PLUGIN / SAMPLED VERSION there is no plugin VST / reliable DSS1 samples sounds available for the moment.

effet NONE n/a


demo Pad with CVF MG
demo Strings
demo raw pad
demo brass pad
demo Resonance1
demo Resonance2
demo Cylone brass
demo arpeggio resonances
demo (another) resonant pad
demo Brass with 2 delays
demo Fat LFO
demo EBM bass like
demo Warm Rhodes
demo Clavinet
demo TEST: "organ" created by ADDITIVE
demo TEST: "Square" created by ADDITIVE
demo TEST: "Metal created by ADDITIVE
demo TEST: LFO pitch all frequencies
demo TEST: lowering from 12 bits to 6 bits
demo TEST: delay 1 / delay 2 / delay + MG
demo TEST: generated cycled wave
demo TEST: square wave --> Unison --> detune


demo1 video2 video3
Demo Demo2 Demo3





Company: Korg
Model: DSS-1
Class: sampler
keyboard: 61 keys
Display: 2 x 20 LCD
Dates: 1986
Resolution: 12 bits
S. rate: 16->48 kHz
Polyphony: 8 voices
Multitimbric: 1 part
Filter: lowpass analog
Envelope: 2 EGs
LFO: 2 modulators
Effect: digital delay
Memory: 256 kb
Storage: DD disk
CPU: I 8085
Demo: 22





DSS1 Testmode

No factory reset procedure, since it is automatic when you switch on. Instead a nice test mode holding both DATA ENTRY A buttons (increase/decrease)




dss1 brochure
info original brochure


dss1 brochure
info original brochure
(Steve Winwood)


dss1 brochure
info original brochure


dss1 brochure
info original advert


dss1 brochure
info original brochure


dss1 brochure
info original brochure


dss1 brochure
info original brochure


dss1 brochure
info original brochure


info original brochure


info original advert










IC dss1 display dsss1 KLM 780 A
solid solid
UNDERRATED Bang for the $


REVIEW "THAT's a sampler! . The Dss1 is great for synth sounds mainly for the resonant filter and 12 bits combinations. Of course it is bulky, tedious to edit, and obsolete as "standard" sampler". Totally underrated! go for them until ther're cheap!"

manual manual
-sounds - bulky
- memory
-filter - storage
-delay - edit interface

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