|The DSS-1 was Korg's first foray into sampling. The unit merged digital sampling with analog filters and two digital delay lines and was probably best summarized by Mike Metlay on Analogue Heaven: "The DSS-1 is what you get when a deranged Roland S-50 rapes a helpless DW-8000 in an alley." The DSS-1 has several unique features not found on other samplers of the era, but for each unique feature there is an equally bothersome quirk in the operating system.
The eight voice DSS-1 starts off with two 12 bit sampled waveforms plus noise per voice. There are several sampling rates available, and the output bit resolution can be lowered to 8, 7, or 6 bit. (And they say the Mirage is grungy!) An added bonus: you can draw your own single cycle waveforms. Korg was generous and gave the unit a selectable slope 12db/24db resonant analog filter. Also available are two digital delays (with independent LFOs) which can be run in parallel or series. I find the delays to be a great asset and are killer on lead sounds. Did I mention the unit has mono-mode with detune?
The DSS-1 features a 61 key velocity sensitive keyboard with aftertouch. The pitch bend joystick features both normal modulation (-Y axis) and filter modulation (+Y axis). There are four front panel sliders: volume, tuning, and data entry A and B. A two line 32 character LCD with backlight and adjustable contrast is also provided.
Now about those quirks. Well, for one, getting your newly sampled sound mapped so you can use it in the synth section can be time consuming. It takes several button pushes and saving to disk before you can make the sample available for synthesis. Editing the sample and looping it takes even longer.... If you are looking for quick and easy sampling, look toward the Akais. The stock DSS-1 has relatively limited sample time. The unit is fitted with 384k of RAM, which is only 256k words - not exactly enough to load up lots of loops. An upgrade by Sound Logic increased RAM to 3072k or 2048k words as well as added SCSI. See below for details. The final flaw is its weight. Don't even think about using the DSS-1 for gigs, as it weighs more than most 88 note controllers and is almost as large.
DSS-1 Upgrade: An upgrade for the DSS-1 was manufactured by Sound Logic. While these are extremely scarce and no longer available, they added a multitude of functionality to the DSS-1. First off, the original Intel 8085 processor was thrown out in favor of a much faster NEC V40. The upgrade provides an additional 21 sockets for memory allowing 3072k max, or 2048k words. The third and final addition is a SCSI port, allowing quicker access to samples. I thoroughly enjoy having the extra RAM and SCSI, although I had to sell off my previous DSS-1 and purchase one that was already upgraded, as I could not find the upgrade alone. The installation instuctions for the upgrade are available here and the user guide here.
Complete Korg DSS-1 Sample Library
DSS-1 SCSI Retrofit Format Procedure