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1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:22 pm
by HideawayStudio
After a couple of recommendations I got curious and got myself a little 1986 KORG DS-8 to try out....

I am quite taken by this inexpensive little beast!

The DS-8 was unusual in that although it was based on a 4OP Yamaha FM chip set it was presented with a somewhat more intuitive and user friendly programming interface which is quite a lot more inviting to experiment with than a classic FM user-interface! The synth also featured a detuned unison mode and some useful built in effects such as chorus and flanging which give the instrument quite a different feel.

I have just had a go programming some new patches on the little beast and I'm quite encouraged considering how awful the factory presets were!!

Here is a quick test recording of some of my new patches...


Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:50 pm
by desmond
I think this was the same engine used in the Korg 707 too, it was when a few companies started to be able to put out FM synths, rather than just the DX series.

Elka had an FM synth too, and there were a few others in this era...

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:51 pm
by HideawayStudio
Its is the same engine as the 707 and the little FB-01 but what makes this one a little more interesting is the friendly programming interface and the on-board effects along with a detuned unison mode.

Just added a few more new patches I made this morning....

https://soundcloud.com/hideaway-studio/ ... nd-patches

If this was a DX21 I'd have given up well before now!... not because the 21 is inferior but simply because this thing is more inviting to program.

I still can't believe how awful the factory patches were - it was almost like Korg didn't want to sell this thing!!

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:22 pm
by madtheory
Great sounds! Have you been getting tips from your customers? ;)

I hated FM back when this synth came out. In my old age I've grown to like it. Isn't the opposite supposed to happen?!?

DX sysex in FM8 is endless hours of fun. I'd like to get a TX7 though, to check out the envelope bug.

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:24 pm
by desmond
HideawayStudio wrote:Its is the same engine as the 707 and the little FB-01 but what makes this one a little more interesting is the friendly programming interface and the on-board effects along with a detuned unison mode.
Yeah, sorry what I meant by "same engine" was not "yes, it's also 4-op FM", but it's the same engine as the DS8 with the same easy edit programming scheme and a few extras, which makes it a rather different experience from the overly techy Yamaha FM stuff...

I kinda like the mid-Korg era - the DW8000/DSS1/RK100 stuff up to just before the Korg M1 when it all took a big shift into a different direction. Although I always hated the Poly800 - paraphonic bias is showing, here... :)

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:09 pm
by madtheory
desmond wrote: Although I always hated the Poly800 - paraphonic bias is showing, here... :)
Agreed! Terrible sounding instrument, very poor reward for the programming effort.

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:30 pm
by HideawayStudio
Yaye! Just managed to retrofit a new "Cool Blue" high-contrast 2x40 LED backlit display in the DS-8.

It is now SO much easier to read the display!!!

Looks just like this one:

Image

I can read it on the other side of the room now :D

Its a pretty easy retrofit for the more technically inclined..

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:42 am
by sandwich
madtheory wrote:
desmond wrote: Although I always hated the Poly800 - paraphonic bias is showing, here... :)
Agreed! Terrible sounding instrument, very poor reward for the programming effort.
That has always been my least favourite synth too. It always sounded squelchy to me :D

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:54 pm
by clubbedtodeath
Nice find. Lots of lovely patches there, but in particular - 10/10 for the brass pad and the celesta patch. Those are something.

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:46 pm
by grenert
To the OP:
I have a really dim backlight on my DS-8. When I looked into getting a replacement, the schematics look like the DS-8 uses a non-standard pinout for the display. Did you have to rearrange the lines going into the display? Or does it drop right in?
Thanks!

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:51 am
by Sir Ruff
Korg DS-8 is a weird but fun one that can still be had for very cheap. The programming limitations are made up for by the interface and effects.

The x8 overdub demo for the DS-8 here is also one of the best demos I think I've ever hear (I genuinely want a full version of this): http://www.deepsonic.ch/deep/htm/korg_ds-8.php

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:53 pm
by K-man
I own one since 4 months ago. It is a rare synth, difficult to find. I got it for 200€ in mint condition and with case included (I was lucky).

100% FM sounding and so easy to program as a sustractive synth.

I love it!!

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:11 am
by grenert
Following up with my experience, in case others need to replace a dim LCD. I bought a Futaba vacuum fluorescent display, part M402SD10FJ:
http://www.primelec.com/futaba-2-x-40-c ... kMobvCnGMA
It's characters are a little smaller than the original display, but it's nice and high contrast with instantaneous update. The mounting holes line up perfectly with the original ones, and if you desolder the LCD cable from the old display (I used a Soldapullt vacuum pump desolder device and extra flux with my iron, went very easy), you can use it exactly as is with the new VFD display. Of course, you don't have any connection to the old backlight connector. It's thicker than the original, so don't crank down all the way on the mounting screws or you will break the glass over the display. It only takes a couple turns on each mounting screw to get it mounted securely. I inserted a turquoise gel sheet between the display an the overlying clear plastic of the panel to get good contrast and nice color.
Looks pretty sharp, I think!
Image

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:47 pm
by Jabberwalky
Looks awesome! Nice find.

Re: 1986 KORG DS-8... Quite Surprised!

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 3:42 pm
by micahjonhughes
For those of you that replaced the display, do you recall what pin out adjustments had to be made to get the new displays to work?

I thought I had it figured out, but no luck.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Micah