KORG DSS-1 SCSI AND MEMORY UPGRADE
Introduced in 1986, the Korg DSS-1 was Korg’s answer to the 12-bit samplers of the day, namely E-mu’s EMAX, Sequential Circuits’ Prophet 2000/2002, Akai’s S612, and a plethora of others that were jockeying to become the sampler of choice.
The DSS-1 shared some similarities with one of its earlier siblings, the DW-8000 synthesizer. The front panel layout was similar, with the parameters silkscreened on the front for easy reference. However the DSS-1 added several unique features, some of which have not been duplicated to this day. The first of these was waveform drawing. You were able to create a sample by moving the data slider up or down, as the LCD scrolled by. The second was additive synthesis, which had previously been only available on high-end instruments like the AXCEL resynthesizer and the Fairlight CMI, and the Kawai K5/K5m. Additionally, all sounds were processed through a warm, 24db/octave analog VCF.
However the DSS-1 had a couple of drawbacks. First of all, it was a very large instrument, and at the time cost $2900, which put it in the mid to upper price range of the 12 bit sampler market. It is internally quite complex, with several circuit boards and wiring harnesses, which made it much more expensive to manufacture than its competitors, like the Ensoniq instruments which typically have only one main board and a minimum of wiring. Also, due to the miniscule amont of RAM for samples (256k x 12-bit words), a feeble 8085 CPU, and very slow floppy-based storage, many musicians chose other instruments with SCSI capability and more expansion possibilities.
Korg apparently realized that the instrument had some shortcomings and attempted to address these by contracting Sound Logic, (not the same as Sound Logic USA, a manufacturer of third-party memory expansions), to design and make and upgrade board. This board, the DSS-MSRK (Memory-SCSI-Retrofit-Kit), added a faster NEC V40 CPU, a SCSI controller, 2 Megabytes of 12-bit memory, and enabled DMA for the floppy drive for faster read/write performance.
Very few of these kits were sold and installed in DSS-1’s. I’m told the number is around 250-300. Part of the problem was the extremely difficult upgrade procedure, which involved removing PC boards from the instrument, shipping them off to KORG for modification, modifying the power supply, installing new wiring harnesses, and punching a hole for a DB25 connector (for the SCSI port) on the back of the instrument. The cost of this whole procedure is uncertain. I’ve been told by one owner that it was almost $3000, which is more than the DSS-1 cost new!!! Faced with this exorbitant sum of money, I’m sure most DSS-1 owners put the instrument in the closet and bought an EMAX or S900….
For several years, any DSS-MSRK’s that appeared on the used marked were quickly snapped up. It seems like this was the end of the line for the DSS-1…until now…
Recreating the DSS-MSRK
After searching in vain for a source for the DSS-1 upgrade, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’d had success with the OB-Mx voice board, so I decided to give it a shot.
Luckily, the schematics and modification procedure for the DSS-MSRK were readily available online, and the DSS-1 schematics were easily obtained. As I began to study them, I wondered if it might make more sense to create a completely new design, essentially merging the original KLM-780 CPU board with the design changes from the DSS-MSRK. It was a lot more work but in the end would mean a lot less hacking inside the DSS-1 and an easier installation. This was important as the goal was to offer the upgrade to DSS-1 owners who might want to install it themselves (or have their local service center do the work).
However, the first step was to make exact clones of the DSS-1 and DSS-MSRK so I could first verify the designs, and then merge the necessary parts together. I used a slightly different technique than I did for the OB-Mx, mostly because I was using the EAGLE software, and another great piece of free software called Afloat. I depopulated the PC boards, scanned them, and used them as overlays to place the components and tracks in EAGLE. I started with the schematic first, copying the originals into EAGLE, then placing and routing. Using the overlay as a guide, I was able to verify and correct any discrepancies between the PC layout and the schematic.
Once that step was completed, I began to merge the two designs together. The first thing I realized was that there were some redundant components, which were no longer necessary in the new design. One of the goals of the new design was to reduce power consumption by changing the LSTTL logic to HCTTL, and reducing chip count was another goal. I wanted to stray from the original designs as little as possible, to ease the debugging process which I knew from experience would be inevitable, especially with a project this complex. Most of the chips had HCMOS equivalents, and the DSS-MSRK was an all-HCMOS design to begin with.
I was able to eliminate the pull-up resistors necessary for LSTTL to HCMOS interfacing and rearrange some logic gate placement, which EAGLE makes very easy to do. The important thing was to have the finished board as similar electrically to the KLM780/DSS-MSRK as possible. The one major difference would be the custom gate array that KORG used to control the expanded memory. The likelihood of getting this part was slim to none, as it was custom made for the DSS-MSRK. (update-it was apparently also used in the DSM-1 and Sampling Grand, so it wasn’t DSS-MSRK specific). I did some digging and found that the part (a uPD65012C) was a gate array from NEC, that had to be mask-programmed at the factory, similar to a mask ROM.
Even if the part was still in production, I’m sure NEC would have little or no interest in doing a low-volume production run.
It seemed like the function of this chip would be pretty simple to recreate in a modern programmable logic device. I had used Xilinx’s XC9500 parts and design tools, so I decided to go with them. I also purchased an Intronix LogicPort and a 40-DIL logic probe adapter. After a few days of analysis, I decided that the custom KORG IC contained a bunch of bank select registers and a multiplexer. The registers were controlled by the main CPU, and the multiplexer was controlled by the DMA engine on the KLM-782 voice board. All I had to do was recreate these inside the Xilinx CPLD, and test…
I decided to build a board to test out my Xilinx design with the original DSS-MSRK, as not to introduce more possible problems with a new, untested design. This board would adapt the Xilinx device (an XC9572) to a 40 pin header that would plug in in place of the original uPD65012C. After a couple of false starts (love that Xilinx flash-based architecture), I had a working replacement for the KORG custom IC.
Another departure from the original design was to split the design into two boards. The first, the main CPU, would be a pure plug-in board swap for the KLM-780. The memory expansion, which in the original design involved lots of track cuts, ribbon cables, hacking of metalwork, double sided sticky-tape, etc. would be a separate board, containing the new Xilinx memory controller, and using (relatively) modern 1 Meg x 16 bit DRAM, instead of the original 256kx4 DRAM of the original DSS-MSRK design. The original, stock memory IC’s (256×1) would be removed and sockets installed, and the new board would simply plug into these sockets. The added benefit of this approach was that the DSS-1 could be returned to the ‘stock’ configuration by replacing the original KLM-780 board and the 256kx1 memory IC’s. Also replacing the expanded memory (if necessary) would be much easier.
Protyping and Debugging
Now that the ‘easy’ part was done (!), I had to build a prototype.
First, getting a PC board made. I had used a few companies in the past, including PCB-Pool, AP Circuits, Advanced Circuits, PCB Express, and Century Circuits. Both AP Circuits and Advanced circuits offered a ‘prototype’ service, which would be fine for the first run. I chose Advanced Circuits ‘Bare-Bones’ since it was inexpensive and I’d had good luck with them before. Besides, what other PC board manufacturer sends you free popcorn?
Sourcing components was not as easy. Although most of the parts were readily available, a few, like the NEC V40, and the SED9421C were very hard to find. I had used a few different component brokers in the past, and two companies, US Bid and American Microsemi were able to find the harder to get parts. EBay is also a great resource for obsolete components.
The boards and components arrived, and I built up two boards. Having boards with a ground and power planes and no soldermask meant I had to be VERY careful soldering to avoid solder bridges. I installed the first board, powered it up and….nothing. Well, this is why you build prototypes…
By using a CMOS version of the 8155 , which was used on the KLM-780 to drive the LCD, along with the changes introduced to the address decoding by the DSS-MSRK, was enough to cause the board not to work. It turns out that the propagation delay that was introduced by this change was enough to be outside of an 81C55’s timing window, but within a regular 8155’s window.
Lucklily, I had a couple of unused gates on the board and was able to use these to correct the problem.
The memory expansion was more of an unknown. Because I was using components completely different than the original, it would be more difficult to debug any problems. I got the boards made at a new manufacturer I hadn’t used before, PCB Cart, who are based in China. Their boards were very inexpensive and I needed a full solder mask and silkscreen since most of the components on the board are surface mount.
The boards arrived, I built them up, installed them and…the memory came up with an error halfway through the memory test. A quick check on the boards found that I had missed a couple of solder joints, and upon reinstalling the board, the memory checked out flawlessly.
Odds and Ends
With the prototype debugged, I ordered 25 boards from PCB Cart. I decided to get them with a red soldermask, just to be different…
I made a couple of ‘tweaks’ to the finished board. One issue is that the passive SCSI termination used in the DSS-MSRK draws current even when idling, the resistor packs actually get quite warm. As part of the low power approach, I swiched these for active SCSI terminators. I also removed a redundant bus buffer IC (not needed with the V40) and corrected the timing issue with the 81C55.
The final ‘pain in the ass’ was making a hole for the DB25 SCSI connector. I decided to forego the approach used by KORG and use a proper DB25 punch. The results look much nicer.
A common component failure in the DSS1 (besides the floppy drive) is the LCD. I installed a white LED backlit unit, which is much brighter and easier to read.
Here’s some pictures of the boards installed in a DSS-1.
New Software, New Hardware
I revealed the new upgrade kit on the DSS-1 users’ group on Yahoo! groups. The initial response was varied, ranging from ‘this is awesome, how do I get one’ to ‘what’s the point, it’s a 12-bit 20-year-old synth’ to ‘I can buy 2MB for $20 on eBay, this is a total rip-off!’ I explained the nature of the upgrade, that it wasn’t JUST 2MB of memory, it also had SCSI, faster CPU, etc.
One person who inquired about the upgrade turned out to be Jim Babb. Jim, along with Paul Kreter, were the initial designers of the DSS-MSRK. Jim kindly offered to trade me the last released version of software for the DSS-MSRK in exchange for a kit. We started talking about the history of the upgrade, how and why it was done, and Jim was actually able to dig out his source code from 20 years ago and compile new versions of the software.
Suddenly, there were many new possibilities.
First, it was relatively easy to allow the DSS-1 to see more memory banks, 64 in fact, for a total of 16M Word (24MB) of memory. I decided to redesign the memory board, using higher density DRAMs and a new memory controller.
Jim also brought to my attention a self-contained USB module by Vinculum, that he felt would be able to be added to the motherboard. After several discussions, I decided to make a plug-in daughterboard for the module (the VDIP-1). Also, the amount of RAM was increased to allow for more multisounds and programs to be in memory at once. The three original EPROMS (two 27C256 and one 27C512) were replaced with a 512K Flash ROM, to allow for more OS code and easier updating.
I did the first revision of the board in February 2009. Initially, there were a few problems with the design, mostly related to not using a solder mask and having microscopic solder bridges. Note to self: Spend the extra money and get it done right. Once Jim (finally) had a working daughterboard, he was able to get the USB module up and running. However, in order to use DMA for the fastest possible data transfer, another revision of the daughterboard needed to be done.
After several months of back-and forth debugging, software writing, (which all had to be shoehorned in between our real jobs), the USB storage was functional.
USB and More
There will only be 25 of the original rev of boards. A complete redesign is in progress, which will make more use of programmable logic, which translates to a smaller board and lower cost.
Some of the new features include:
- 16M X 12-bit (24MB) of memory (64 banks)
- USB file storage with subdirectories (FAT file system for easy PC transfer)
- more comprehensive diagnostics
- ability to assign sliders to program parameters
- ability to have all 4 systems from floppy (A-D) in memory at once
- up to 64 multisounds at once (instead of 16)
- 128 programs at once (instead of 32)
- samples stored on USB drive are in .WAV format
- Auto Portamento has been implemented
- Update from USB drive has been implemented
More features will be added. Stay tuned….
New Version Update, July 2012
A lot of changes this year….
- Newly designed CPU board. Now a daughterboard that plugs into the original CPU board. More work for the end user to install, but less expensive and easier to build. The memory board remains the same.
- SCSI is only available by request. USB has made it obsolete.
- I don’t supply the LCD and Floppy drive anymore but these are easy to obtain from any number of suppliers. I recommend the Koutech IO-FPM220 for the drive, and displays from Newhaven Display or Crystalfontz. Also have had good luck getting them from eBay. The specs for the display are: 20×2 characters, HD44780 compatible controller, 116mm x 37mm
- Price of the kit is $250.00. This includes the two boards and components needed to install them. I do the board modification for $100.00, and modifying the entire DSS-1 (board removal, modification, reinstallation and test) is $50. Shipping is extra, and I will use USPS unless you request someone else.
I highly recommend having someone with good electronics experience do the modification, it’s very easy to damage the DSS-1 boards and Korg will not sell you a new one. I also recommend finding someone local to do the modification because shipping to and from the USA (Los Angeles) can get very expensive. I have contacts in Canada, USA, UK, Germany, and Spain that can help you out.
Hello I own 2 DSS-1 and I live in Vienna Austria. How much is the item with all included (shipment?). Can I pay with paypal?
Hi, the kit is 250 USD plus shipping, and if you order more than 1 I will discount the order by 10%. You can pay with paypal. Unfortunately there are none available at the moment, the last one was just sold. I will be making more in January. If you want, add yourself to the mailing list by filling out the form on the website.
I am living in VIenna too and got (only one) a DSS1….
i am interested in the mod too; so if someone in Vienna could do it for me:
That would be nice!!!!
Any music store with a service center should be able to do the work; if not I have people in Germany that you could send the boards to for modification.
i just bought a korg dss-1 and read about this upgrade you did. wanna ask you if one is available and i can buy soon.
thx and regards from berlin, uwe george
Send me your PayPal information and I’ll get a kit ready for you.
Hi, is this upgrade possible for the DSM1.
Unfortunately the DSM-1 is quite a bit different inside, so the mod won’t work with it. I may develop a different mod in the future to upgrade the DSM-1
I’m just about to pick up a DSS-1 (it’ll be my first Korg!) and came across the info for this upgrade.
I have pretty basic soldering skills (no SMC thankyou!) and am fairly comfortable pulling synths apart – I’ve cleaned and performed a few simple fixes on Rolands and EMU, so could probably have a go at this kit.
Could you give me a bit of info about exactly what’s involved with the install?
Plus shipping costs (if you have any boards still available!) to Melbourne, Australia, if you could?
Download the installation manuals (under Downloads) to see what’s involved. Please note, I no longer support user-installed kits. The installation must be done at a service center to be supported. This policy is due to the number of damaged boards caused by user installation. If you have ‘basic’ soldering skills, it’s best to have the work done (at least the component removal) at a service center. Shipping the kit to Australia will be approx $20 USD.
Thanks for the reply – I actually discovered the manual just after I sent the message (sorry, fingers working faster than brain!). It doesn’t seem to tricky a task, although my soldering iron is pretty basic and doesn’t like desoldering ICs! Fair enough, regarding not supporting user-installs… Do you happen to have contact info for any local (Melbourne, Australia) synth repairers?
Thanks for the reply… Do you have any service-contact in Melbourne, Australia?
I don’t have anyone in Australia at the moment, however you can try your local music shop, I’m sure they’ll be capable.
Will there be new documentation for installing the most recent DSS-1 upgrade kit?
At some point I’ll do a new guide with pictures, but for now, the original guide plus the addendum for the KLM780 (CPU) board is what I’m giving people. They can be found under the Downloads section. The KLM-782 modification is still the same.
Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long
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information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with
Sure, I don’t mind. What is your website called?
Getting my second DSS-1 soon – do you still have an upgrade kit available for me? I like the first so much… 🙂
I’m in the middle of unpacking from moving to a new house. It will be a while before I’m set up again to make boards. Possibly by the end of March.
Got you! Well, have a good move and hope to see you surfacing again soon! 🙂
Are you accepting orders yet?
Yes, there are kits available
Hi I have a dss-1 that I would like to modify I also read that you don’t sell the kit anymore. I own a small electronics repair shop that we service older synths and sound reinforcement repairs from the 70’s and 80’s and also work on plasma TV ‘s I work with mainly smd and other technologies so I have the knowledge to install it. has anyone tried to set one of these up that would retain the patches in memory with the installation on a backup battery? I haven’t looked at the schematics on this yet to see if it even feasible
Thanks for any help
Yes, it’s true, the DSS-1 kit is sold out. I will not be making any more for a while.
Currently, it’s not possible to have the patches retained by a back-up battery since the software initializes all of the RAM upon boot-up. However if you have an upgrade it IS possible to have a bank load automatically by naming the system DEFAULT.DS1 and have it in the root directory of the default USB device (B:).
Thanks Tom for the reply I have seen the USB upgrade in place of the floppy drive but I think the conversion software for converting floppy disc to usb is no longer available of difficult to find
Again thanks for the reply I just put a new floppy drive in a friends DSS-1 and was just wondering if there was an easier way of booting these we had a long conversation on this subject
The DSS-1 doesn’t boot from a disk, the OS is in ROM. Using a floppy emulator (which is what you’re describing, I think) requires making an image of the floppy (probably using OmniFlop) to put on a USB stick. This will be faster than an acutal floppy drive but still slower than the upgrade. The floppy emulator still goes through the 765 floppy controller, where the upgrade talks directly to the USB microcontroller.
Thanks Tom we were talking about the sound banks on the floppy’s I will check back from time to time to see if you have made more conversion kits
again thanks for the replies
I am interested and have a dss-1 that I either want to upgrade or sell.
Hello and happy new year, Tom.
Are there any plans for new kits to be available this year?
Am I right in thinking the USB connectivity means I could place my own WAV samples in a USB drive (FAT 16 or 32) from my computer and then connect to the DSS-1 and load the samples?
I was planning on using a program called SampleVision to do this via MIDI dump, but it will only run on Win98.
i have a 1 unit korg dsm-1.this mod is possible on dsm unit?
This modification only works with the DSS-1. However I am working on a similar upgrade for the DSM-1, to be available later this year.
HI Tom, please keep me posted when the DSM-1 upgrade is available. Looking forward!
I have an old non-upgraded DSS-1, and would love to get my hands on the upgrade kit. I read through the docs/tutorials, and I believe I can install this myself. Do you have any kits available? If not, any plans on making more in the near future?
I’m always beeng impressed with your great and respectable job.
Last year, I’ve waited your reply for upgrade kit for my DSS-1 and DSM-1 for long time.
Still do you have new or upgraded stock?
I wanna purchase your tressures soon.
Happily waiting for your reply.
Have a nice day.
(Now I have DSS-1 and DSM-1 together in my hand.)
The kits are all gone, I’m developing a new one for both the DSS and DSM. No date on when it will be available.
I’m interested in purchasing your upgrade kit for a dss-1.
When would you recommend I check back with you regarding availability?
Thank you in advance ..
Hi Adria, the current kit is no longer available. I’m working on a new version which should be ready sometime in 2016.
Hi Tom, that’s bad news (and good news)! I just revived my DSS from a 20 year sleep and with a little stubborn persistence got it working 100% (in total factory trim)…then I stumbled across your site and upgrade. Just wanted to drop a note that I will be upgrading as well (Allen will do the install, great guy BTW)…I suppose in the meantime, I just need to deal with the slow, limited loading lol. Thanks for all you do in supporting the DSS user community!
Please let me know when you have dss-kits ready.
And also if you know of any techs in Sweden that can install it.
All the best
(in swedish language)
Jag har beställt och väntar på mitt kit.
När jag installerat min kan jag installera din.
Du hittar min kontaktinfo på:
Glad to hear there’s a version coming out for 2016.
I own a DSS-1 and two DSM-1 samplers and would be VERY interested in upgrading …
… especially if I can find a tech to install it here near Raleigh, NC.
Tnx, & keep up the awesome work!
I can install your upgrade kit. Local to Raleigh, NC.
I too am very interested in the 2016 DSS kit. Anyone know a good service center in the midwest?Chicago, Milwaukee, Mpls.
Would you be so kind and send me the list of service guys in Germany. I am astudied electrical engineer but I assume to get it done by “profis” is much better for this maschine.
Do you have an idea when the 2016 rev. will be released?
Hi Thorsten, please see the ‘Links’ page for a list of service centers in Germany (and the rest of Europe)
I am very interested in getting a kit for the DSS1. And I own a DSM1 too, so when a kit will be finished, I would like to get one.
I live in Germany and could do the installation by myself.
Please, if you got any idea of a date on your new upgrade, would you please be kind enough to share with us?
I have a DSS-1 and I must say i am very keen.
Thanks in advance!
Tom, sorry, I forgot to ask, would you please recommend another floppy? I thinkKoutech IO-FPM220 is not available anymore.
I am also super interested in the new DSS-1 upgrade kit, it sounds like the solution to limited memory! Thanks for all the effort you’ve put into this!
I will be checking in occasionally to see when it might be available, but as it’s 2016 now, do you have any estimate of when they new kits will be ready? (I’m in CT USA)
I will order this soon. But I have many recommendations for modifying the FIRMWARE and I do not know how deep you can get into this to add functions.
– PORTAMENTO is a big feature I want to use.
– When blending OSC1 and OSC2, I’d like it to move as follows;
0% to 100% from full OSC1 to OSC1+OSC2, then 100% to 0% from OSC1+OSC2 to full OSC2. This way we don’t have to bash out head on the useless way the blend works….. So in the center, both should be 100% instead of 50% / 50%…..
I have other requests but I would need to explain them in depth. Basically to make this machine more pro. For example the pitch bend when putting it 12 semi is bad, some tones don’t pitch bend properly. There must be a way to have all the notes in tune then?!
The upgrade already implemented Portamento. The OSC1/OSC2 level balance was already requested. I’ll keep the other requests in mind when developing the software.
Hey Tom, Nice to see that things are progressing. Do you think the upgrades will be ready this quarter? Or later in the year? Pretty stoked about getting my hands on one my DSS-1 needs this 😀
Hello Tom –
I have been following your progress for a few years now and I finally got my hands on a DSS-1 again. I too would be very interested in getting the latest version of the upgrade board when it is available again. Do you have any updates on availability?
No updates at the moment. I hope to get back to work on it soon, and will post updates when I’ve made some progress. I don’t expect to make any significant progress until 2017.
Tom, put me on your buyer list for when the upgrade comes available again for the DSS1
Put me on the list as well I have 2 DSS-1’s that I would like to upgrade!!!
Fantastic project – please let me know when kits become available! 🙂
hi tom i’ve got a dss1, that i’ve had you kit fitted with the jim babb usb installed and a usb stick with the sound library , but unfortunately i didn’t get any loading instructions and wondered if you email a simple set of command sequence to load
Please put me on the list! Thanks!
Hello Tom. Please let me know when your kits are available again. I’d like one too.
Long time owner of this wonderful beast (bought it while in college back in ’87) and it’s my baby.
I would love to get the new kit when it’s available, so please add me to your list!
I am in too. Let me know when you get around the new kit. Thx
I would also like to purchase a new kit. Please advise me once available.
I love love would love one of these upgrade kits as well. Please add me to the list.
I too may be interested in the kit. Engineering a trade for a DSS-1 and would love to install this.
Hello Tom; you upgraded my DSS1 a couple of years ago, what a dramatic improvement to this great Sampler. My Son was poking around in attempt to play it, and It appears he accidentally erased my sounds… can I purchase another USB stick with all needed info and sounds installed to get my synth playing again? You are a blessing, the Korg community appreciates you!!!
Hi Paul. You can download .zip files that are archives of all the libraries that I put on the flash drive. Download them, unzip them, and copy them to the USB drive (has to be in FAT16 or FAT32 format). The link is under ‘downloads’ on the site.
Hello T; God Bless you for always supporting your customers and fellow musicians. Your upgrade took my DSS1 to the next level; I would be a buyer for any sound libraries or future update revisions you offer. You are the man; I’ve owned my DSS1 since 1986, I appreciate your dedication and smarts investment into this great instrument. Blessings to you my friend; PH
Please let me/us know when they will be available again.
I just can’t wait to have this in my DSS1.
This must be absolutely amazing.
Thanks for this great work. If and when you have more DSS1 boards available I would be very keen to buy one. Please put me on your waiting list.
Hi there! I too would like to know when the new boards will be available. Cheers
Any news on the upgrade kit for the DSM-1? I have the ability to pick up one for dirt cheap and would love to have expanded memory in the sampling engine for recording waveforms and loops…plus the ability to save to USB storage??? Please tell me you’re still developing this…
I’m still working on it when I get a spare moment. I’ve started to work on my backlog of projects and am getting close to finishing them.
Hi Tom, following all this with great interest. Please add me to your next upgrade kit list. Thanks!
Hello I’m interested in an upgrade kit for my Dss as well,please let me know when there will be more available,thanks. Best wishes from New Orleans.-Ras David.
I also wanted to express interest in an upgrade kit.
Thanks for all of your hard work on this!
Hi. I fear I have waited too long to put in for a DSS-1 kit. Please add my name to the list if abd when you start production again..
we are very interested in our upgrade kit. let us know when they would be available
Awww, I have been away from music for many years (family/work), but stumbled over this just now. I bought my DSS-1 brand new 1987 for $2900 in Sweden, it was such a big deal. Later it seems here, I was one of the few who actually upgraded to DSS-MSRK with SCSI (It was a must as I used i live) It came in a white cardboard with the extra components + photocopied papers instructing you how and what to do! 0.o It costed me back then $500 (~5000 SEK) for the kit + work to get it fitted. (Not sure I remember exactly but I think it was 88/89!?). It’s still operational and I love the keyboard and the sound library, but it’s too slow for use, even with SCSI. I can’t departure of it as it’s part of my story. the USB option seems cool and maybe a usability extender. (this is one heavy beast though…….)
If there is a path for me with an existing DSS-MSRK pls. let me know.
Cheers, this keyboard for sure deserve the attention.
The USB option does make it much quicker, however the new version currently in development will be much faster than even the current upgrade (now out of production). It will be possible to upgrade your unit, though it means un-doing the modification from 1987.
Man, why do I have the feeling I have to get a science degree!?!?! 🙂
I have the channel open here now,, will monitor the progress..
Thank you for responding AND for keeping this alive 🙂
Hi Tom, just checking in, are you still working on a new version?
Yes, I’m still working on it.
Happy to hear that! I Will be super happy if I’m able to include my old DSS baby back into rotation 🙂
A little worried though as my DSS have the MSRK upgrade that I somehow need to roll back before the upgrade. :/
For those situations, I did originally do a 100% identical (well, maybe 99.9%) clone of the stock KLM-780 board as a starting point for the modification. I may manufacture some for those people who have modified or disposed of their original KLM-780 boards.
Hope all is well with you in these troubled times and that you manage to use the selfisolation time on projects of rewards, desire and joy… 😉 🙂
I’m interested in your latest DSS-1 upgrade kit, I would like to purchase one when they become available again. Thanks!
Please count me in for one upgrade 🙂
Hello! Is it possible to buy an upgrade, or is the production still on hold?
If it is, I’d like to buy one 🙂
I own an original/unmodified DSS-1 with a defective floppy and ask therefore for an upgrade kit as soon as available.
Perhaps my questions will seem tricky to you, but I will ask you to treat them with understanding.
Please describe the difference in the KORG DSS-1 modification in the example from the original KORG DSS-1.
How profitable is it and will it meet today’s standards? Is KORG DSS-1 worth such attention and renewal, or is there more interest in its age and history, something like a WOW!!! Vintage Synthesizer, and so on and so forth.
I understand perfectly well what work you are doing and thank you for it, you are super, but I still wanted to get answers.
Look at the ‘new features guide’ under ‘Downloads’ on this site. Whether is is ‘profitable’ or not is up to you to decide, or whether it is up to today’s standards. Most people seem to like it for its sound, it’s certainly not going to blow away a modern sampler in terms of features.
Thank you for your reply. I will wait for information about the new modification that you are planning to create this year. I would be glad to receive from you at least some information about the new 2019 modification for KORG DSS-1 in order to subsequently purchase it from you. Thank you and good luck in the design!
Hi Tom! Count me in for the new upgrade!
Keep me on listing for a dss1 upgrade kit, please.
I’ve just read the comments and it’s awesome to see that you’re working on a new version of your DSS-1 upgrade kit in 2019.
I’m also interested in purchasing one.
So, when do you think your work on the new upgrade kit will be finished?
I don’t care if it’s gonna be weeks or months, it just would be awesome to get one.
I like my old DSS-1, haven’t used it for years.
Your upgrade kit would breath new life into it.
Thanks for your effort!
How soon will there be a new modification?
Not sure, I am still hoping for some time this year.
You may add me on the list for a DSS-1 upgrade kit.
Also for a Flash bank upgrade for Eps16+
Thank you for your contribution!
Keep up the splendid R&D!
Greetings from Asia.
My DSS1 just landed a few weeks ago, really Happy with the sound of this classic. I am using the KIWI PE for the editing & noticed, there are glitches to the audio while editing real-time. Just curious to hear from you if there is a workaround?
I think that’s a common complaint, that the system exclusive editing is not as smooth as it could be. That’s one of the things I hope to address in the new upgrade.
Good to hear you’re working on a new version!
Please sign me up for an upgrade kit.
Very nice work! Loved reading about your DSS-1 journey from the beginning to current!. I just picked up a DSS-1 yesterday in immaculate condition for $60.00!! (floppy is kinda wonky but no worries there)
Can you please add me to the list as well for an upgrade kit.
I’m super excited to see this beast shine!
Thanks again for all the support you are providing for the synth community.
Keep up the super rad work, Tom!! Glad to see you’re still working on this and super excited for the new version’s release!!
So excited for the new upgrade kit – please do add me to the waiting list and thank you for your innovations!!!
Tom, can you provide a potential update to the release of the kit….I have been on the waiting list for several years now and in hopes to soon acquire a kit.
Not rushing you just very interested in the update kit like everyone else
I don’t have a release date for the kit. All I can say at this time is that I’m still working on it when I can.
Hi Tom, If release date will be starting over – please give little sign. I will order two DSS1 kits to Baltic Sea.
Ready and waiting for the kit, I hope sooner than later
I have 2 original DSS-1, I will buy at least one upgrade kit in the future.
I would also be interested in an upgrade kit for my DSS-1.
Just to confirm my interest in one kit. Please keep me informed. Thank you for your work!
please please please need that new upgrade
ready to buy an upgrade …please make progress
Hope you’re ok.
It’s been over 6 years in the making now so I’m wondering how you’re progressing.
I’m very similar to you in that I’m an electronics engineer working as a ‘cottage industry’ and I have far more ideas for products than I could possibly find time to develop, so I understand how you might be feeling. Other priorities often dictate time and the need to pay the bills can lead to projects falling by the wayside.
If that’s the case here, I fully understand. It would be good to know your plans.
I have a ton of projects that are waiting for time to work on them. Currently having a 13 hour work day leaves me little time for anything else. I hope that once the pandemic is over I will be able to switch jobs to leave more time for my projects.
I o n ow someone that would love to take on this project with you. He has done some amazing stuff for the synth world. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll put you in touch.
Currently the project is on hiatus, not sure if I will be bringing anyone else in for help yet. This year (2020) may be a write-off as far as new project development goes. We’ll see.
Hi Tom, I’m very interested to your kit!
Keep me informed,
Hope everything is ok for you in this covid19 time. In case you can free up some time we’d all ( DSS1 users ) like to see this project comes back available especially for users( like me) who just discover that amazing project.
I am in for a kit, when ready 😉
Please add me to the waiting list for your DSS-1 redesign upgrade. Amazing work!
Hi Tom, I would also like to be put on the list, if there is one, for the new DSS1 kit when it’s ready.
SO HAPPY to have discovered you and your great work. I need at least QTY (3) DSS-1 Upgrade Kits… Please add me to your list!
Hello, please add me to your waiting list, when new upgrade will be available. Thanks. Will you ship it worldwide, isn’t it?
Going forward I will be doing all upgrades myself, so you will have to ship your circuit boards to the US for modification.
Hi Tom, will this be possible and the procedure also with the DSS-MSRK upgraded version?
It’s possible to do this modification to a DSS-1 that has been previously modified with the DSS-MSRK. It involves more work though, as you have to undo several mods that were done for the DSS-MSRK.
Count me as someone who would buy the upgrades for a dss-1.
I would like to be put on the list for a DSS-1 upgrade. I had heard of an upgrade for the DSS-1 in the 90’s which added more memory for sampling, a faster CPU and a SCSI connection to replace the disk drive with a CD writer. This upgrade kit seems to be much better.
Please let me know when a kit is available.
PS: Is there an upgrade kit for the DSM-1 Module? (I have one of those too)
I am working on making more kits available but don’t have a date for it yet. No upgrade for the DSM-1 (yet)
Hi Tom, just wanted to add my name to the list for a kit. I imagine it’s incredibly difficult for you to find time for this and just wanted to add to the enthusiasm and encouragement to create it for all of us that greatly appreciate your work.
Hi Tom – (and everyone else) if you haven’t seen this, you NEED TO: It really ups the value of the DSS-1 as a platform; and combined with your upgrade, it suddenly becomes a real contender. Perhaps you should reach out and connect to this fellow…maybe there’s some potential here for more integration with your enhanced features?
Check it out:
Blimey, that looks interesting!
Tom should at least talk with him – looks like a dynamic duo waiting to happen.
Just wanted to chime in – A hardware controller for a DSS1 is not the best idea, as the page says it can’t edit real time, and the DSS1 has certain bugs that mean for example the second digital delay can’t be controlled by Sysex. This would mean you still need to use the synthesizer and set it manually.
If anyone is interested, I have a software controller for the DSS1 that can do most of the available stuff over Sysex, except for uploading audio (it takes ages anyway) and edit multisounds (On my to-do list)
It seems like a cool product, but the Sysex implementation on a stock DSS1 is not very good sadly.
can you tell me how your work on a new edition of upgrade is going on? When can I one?
I’m also wondering in what state a new edition of an upgrade is ?
And, is it possible to purchase something now and what revision it would be ?
The new version is still under development. I don’t have any of the old kits at present.
I’m very intrested to buy your kit! If it still possible It will be great to have improvement in the use of my lovely DSS1!
Let me know how it goes.
Thank’s for your work on this beast !
I recently bought a DSS-1 and I’m impressed with your upgrade kit..I understand the work you have done and I would like to buy a kit from you when it is available.
I have worked with analog synths for many years but stopped when I did’nt got paid for my work.
I understand when people write that something is expensive but in my experience they don’t know the time it takes to do things that you do.
Keep up the excellent work and please put me on a list if there is one.
Thanks…I often get requests to make some product by people who say “it shouldn’t be too hard” or “tons of people will buy it” yet they want to pay less than it costs to produce and have zero idea what’s involved in making it.
I am also interested in your newest kit when it’s finished. It’s for my sons DSS-1. I don’t really know much about it especially the floppy disk inside the floppy-drive. Any information including a manual will help.
Thank you in advance for your support.
I am also interested in your newest kit for the KORG DSS-1. I don’t know anything about this keyboard except we cannot get any sound out of it, only static thru the headset. There is a floppy drive with a sound floppy disk inside but I don’t know how to apply it to this instrument; do you also have a manual for sale for the DSS-1, if so, I would purchase it as well.?
Please keep me posted, and if you have a price sheet on available accessories and cables I would be interested in them as well.
Thank you in advance for your support.
The upgrade kit is not available at this time. Any cables you might need can be bought online at any music store or Amazon. And the DSS-1 manual is still available for download from Korg’s website.
Ím also interested to buy one kit…greetings from Sweden
Hi Tom, Count me in for a DDS-1 upgrade board as well please!
I’d be very, very interested in a DSS-1 upgrade kit as well. Just adding my name and interest to the list.
I hope all is well. DO you think kit will be available this year?
I will have some kits ready in February.
Interested from Hungary. Could you send me more details of the new development features, please? Thank you
Hello Tom, if another set becomes available, I would be very happy for one to the Czech Republic. I have a DSS-1 for general service and would like to upgrade it right with your kit. Thank you very much for your answer. Jaroslav
Hope you’re well.
Will you email us when you have kits available?
Might try to get DSS-1 out of storage unit again if kits are available (sometime in early 2021?). Will stay tuned…
Kits are available now…
That’s great news. Thank you for all the hard work you put into this huge project. I’ve been on the waiting list for a long time and i am extremely excited to finally get a kit. How do I purchase it? and can I order more then one? I have 2 DSS-1.
Thanks for you time and hard work.
Got the KORG DSS1 home. Looking forward to Modding the Synth.
Hi Tom, is one kit available for sale?
The kits are all sold. If I make more, I’ll announce it on the main page.
Thank you for your diligence and commitment over the years on this, and through the pandemic. Interested in 2 DSS-1 boards, and a DSM-1, if/when they become available.
I have 4 DSS -1 now and would really love to have your kit in couple of them.
If you have any update, please let me know.
Sorry, no update, the kits are no longer available