179 comments on “The Upgrade Story

  1. 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.

    • Hi there!
      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!!!!



      • Hello Clemens,
        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.

  2. Hi there,

    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?

  3. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the reply… Do you have any service-contact in Melbourne, Australia?



  4. Hi Tom,

    Will there be new documentation for installing the most recent DSS-1 upgrade kit?

    Thank you

    • 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.

  5. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your blog?
    My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from some of the
    information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with
    you. Regards!

  6. Hi Tom,

    Getting my second DSS-1 soon – do you still have an upgrade kit available for me? I like the first so much… 🙂

  7. 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:).

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Hello Tom,

    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?


  12. Hi~Mr. Tom
    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.)

      • Hi Tom,
        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 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!

  13. Hi!

    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
    Tobias Leo

  14. 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!

  15. I too am very interested in the 2016 DSS kit. Anyone know a good service center in the midwest?Chicago, Milwaukee, Mpls.

  16. Hi Tom

    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?

    Best regards

  17. Hi Tom
    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.
    Best Regards,

  18. Hello Tom,

    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!

  19. Tom, sorry, I forgot to ask, would you please recommend another floppy? I thinkKoutech IO-FPM220 is not available anymore.

    Thank you!


  20. 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)


  21. 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.

  22. 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 😀

  23. 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.

  24. 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
    many thanks

  25. Hello Tom. Please let me know when your kits are available again. I’d like one too.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. Hi Tom,

    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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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…

  32. Hi Tom, following all this with great interest. Please add me to your next upgrade kit list. Thanks!

  33. 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.

  34. I also wanted to express interest in an upgrade kit.

    Thanks for all of your hard work on this!

  35. 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..


    Bill Tomlinson

  36. 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 🙂

          • 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… 😉 🙂

  37. Hi Tom,

    I’m interested in your latest DSS-1 upgrade kit, I would like to purchase one when they become available again. Thanks!

  38. Hello! Is it possible to buy an upgrade, or is the production still on hold?

    If it is, I’d like to buy one 🙂


  39. Hi Tom,

    I own an original/unmodified DSS-1 with a defective floppy and ask therefore for an upgrade kit as soon as available.


  40. Hello!
    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.
    Thanks you!

    • 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!

  41. Hello Tom.
    Keep me on listing for a dss1 upgrade kit, please.
    Best regards.
    José Pereira

  42. Hi Tom,

    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!

    Best regard,

  43. Hi Tom,

    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!


  44. Hi Tom,

    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.

  45. Hi Tom,

    Good to hear you’re working on a new version!
    Please sign me up for an upgrade kit.

    Best regards,

  46. Hi Tom
    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.
    Much appreciated!

  47. 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!!

  48. So excited for the new upgrade kit – please do add me to the waiting list and thank you for your innovations!!!

  49. 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


  50. Hello Tom
    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.

    Best Wishes

    • 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.

  51. Hello Tom,
    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.

  52. Hello Tom,

    Please add me to the waiting list for your DSS-1 redesign upgrade. Amazing work!


  53. 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.

    Many thanks


  54. Hi Tom!

    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!

  55. Hello, please add me to your waiting list, when new upgrade will be available. Thanks. Will you ship it worldwide, isn’t it?

        • 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.

  56. 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)

  57. 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.



  58. 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.

  59. Hi Tom,

    can you tell me how your work on a new edition of upgrade is going on? When can I one?


    Florian (Austria/Europe)

  60. Hello Tom.

    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 ?


  61. Hi Tom,
    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 !

  62. Hello Tom
    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.

  63. Hi Tom,

    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.

    Joseph B

  64. Hi Tom,

    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.

  65. I’d be very, very interested in a DSS-1 upgrade kit as well. Just adding my name and interest to the list.

  66. 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

  67. Hello Tom
    Hope you’re well.
    Will you email us when you have kits available?

  68. Might try to get DSS-1 out of storage unit again if kits are available (sometime in early 2021?). Will stay tuned…

  69. Hi Tom
    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.

  70. Hi Tom,

    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.

  71. Hi Tom, just double checking, but from your comment in March ’23 it sounds like you won’t be making any more of these ever. Is that right? In any case, thanks so much for all the effort you’ve put in keeping some of these old synths and samplers alive! A real labour of love!

    • I won’t be producing any more of the DSS-1 upgrades in its current form. I’ve been working on a new version on and off for a while, but with family and work obligations there’s really no time. The pandemic and resulting component shortage hasn’t helped. I’d like to complete the new version but it’s going to have to wait.

  72. Hi Tom …
    So thats an very excellent news … so We will wait for the next update DSS… Hope you Can find some Time to finish it …


    PS . Do you have a newsletter or something else to inform ? because if you doing presales before batching, I Hope to get the information at the right Time …

  73. Hi Tom
    I’m interested to buy upgrade for my dss-1. Could you email me please, when new version of upgrade will be done
    Thanks in advance and good luck 👍

    Vitalie, London, UK

  74. Hi Tom.

    I just wanted to ask for clarity: when adding a .wav file to the usb drive from somewhere else (to use on the upgraded dss1)…it should be 16 bit mono and 31khtz correct? Thanks! And thanks for doing the upgrade kit!

    Best regards.

  75. Hi Tom,
    I am also interested in ordering the new version upgrade kit for my DSS-1.

    Looking forward to hearing the good news!

    Mert Topel

  76. Hello Tom..I understand that you dont have the time to develope more upgrades but is it possible to buy on as a kit and I will solder everything by myself?
    Maybe you have a list with the components needed and circut boards.
    I have great respect for you work with this upgrade and ask you to help me with this.

    • I don’t have any boards left. But even if I did, the boards are difficult to assemble with many fine pitch SMD components. Once they’re assembled you need three separate programmers, for the flash rom, usb controller, and programmable logic. And if something goes wrong, which it probably will based on past experience, I don’t have the time to help someone try and fix it. Sorry.

      • sad that stuff like this doesnt get more interest, im down to make a full tutorial video if that is something that could help. also would be super cool if you could post some files on github or smth so this mod can live on. i mean your a legend for doing this regardless. much respect.

        • The problem is, based on past experience, 99% of people do NOT have the skills to do this upgrade and end up destroying their instrument. I don’t have (and have never had) the source code for the software, so that limits what can be done with the mod. If I’m going to spend the time (which I currently don’t have), I would continue the redesign which would be an all new hardware and software platform that is much easier to install. A tutorial video for this would be welcome.

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