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Korg DW6000


Article from International Musician & Recording World, April 1985

Digital programming of digital waveforms at your fingertips

Digital still appears to be 'where it's at' if the latest offerings from the land of the rising sun are anything to go by. This new Korg polysynth gives itself away with its number's prefix of 'DW' — Digital Waveform. By now, most people are becoming immune to the lure of the word digital — we have had analogue synths with digitally controlled oscillators, or digital programming of analogue synths, and here we have the real McCoy of digital programming of digital waveforms, more akin to the system found on the big digital synths such as the Wave. As such, the DW6000 looks as if it might just be something a bit special.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and first impressions of the DW6000 are very reminiscent of their ill-fated (ish) Poly 61 polysynth of a few years ago. The fascia, switches, lay-out and keyboard feel are all very Poly 61-ish, I suppose a little on the plasticky side for a synth with this price tag; however, there are hidden treasures within.

Digital Waveforms

The DW6000 uses eight predetermined digital waveforms to form the basis of its sound generation. These are of the characteristically 'hard' nature of digitally generated sound, imaginatively labelled one to eight. These are generated by two oscillators for each of the 6000's six voices. Each oscillator has its own individual octave, waveform, and level selection, whilst oscillator two has a parameter control for interval between oscillators, and detuning, as well as a noise generator. The filter has the obligatory controls for cutoff, resonance, keyboard tracking (only having a choice between Off, Half or Full Tracking) and EG intensity, as well as its own envelope generator with polarity switching. The envelope generators on the 6000 are a bit more versatile than your ordinary four-poler, as both the filter's EG and the VGA's EG have their break point and slope controls (as on the Poly 800), providing the programmer with fairly decent keyboard scaling.

Next in the signal chain is the previously mentioned VGA's envelope generator, following which is the modulation section. This is of a modest design consisting of frequency and delay controls with routing option to both the oscillators and filter section — one would expect at least a selection of waveforms for modulation on a machine of this calibre.

MIDI data control is reasonably comprehensive with channel selection, enable on/off of either just the note data or all data, as well as an omni mode. Finally, going back up the parameter list is a chorus control, which is from where we get our two outputs.

Front panel controls are fairly standard for Korg. Moving from left to right, we have a volume and tuning slider, below which is the standard Korg joystick (which I must say I have always found revolting). Key assign push-buttons for either of the two poly modes or unison mode are to be found to the right of the tuning slider, next to which is a memo pad with a listing of the factory voices, over which one can have new listings of the current memory contents. Then there are the controls for the digital access programming section, with a slider for coarse parameter adjustment, and two buttons for fine adjustment. When programming, it is possible to leave a parameter in the edit display, and even when in the voice select mode the slider remains active.

Another nice touch is the ability to return to the memorised parameter settings by pressing the two data entry buttons simultaneously (as on the Poly 61).

The remaining buttons in the programming section are for voice selection (also doubling as tape data transfer controls), and finally the red button for memory write, and a bank hold button.

Over on this machine's rear panel, you will find the two output and headphone sockets, and more sockets for damper, portamento and programme changing footswitches, and then the various connections for cassette dump/loading, memory protect switch, MIDI sockets (In, Out and Thru), and finally over on the other side is the power on/off switch.

Eight predetermined digital waveforms form the basics of its sound

The Sounds

The theory behind the design of Korg's DW6000 is such that it should make the programming of digital patches very accessible, whilst at the same time not limiting the potential of the digital tone. The practise of this theory is not so simple, as depth and thickness in the oscillators is a little lacking to start with. This is evident when you are left with quite a thin sound. At the same time, the sounds can be very un-analogue — the acoustic piano patch, for example, has much more in common with a Wave 2.3 than anything else that comes to mind, as do some of the bells, chimes, electric piano and some of the basses. The interesting thing here, though, is that whilst some of the thousands are definitely of digital generation, others are much more conventional and would not sound out-of-place popping out of a Poly 800.


Unfortunately, I found the feel of the keyboard to be over-plastic and lightweight. However, to be able to undercut the prices of this machine's closest competitors, some corners have to be cut — most people would argue that the final sound is the main priority. Certainly the sound can be of a very high standard — though you'll always have a few naff patches in any synth, and this one is no exception.

A big plus on the 6000 is the ease with which it is possible to programme digital sounds, though — conventional programming methods with the latest technology in expensive digital sound generation seems to be a pretty good combination, and in that respect, the DW6000 is on the right track.

KORG DW6000 — RRP: £1099.00

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Browse category: Synthesizer > Korg

Previous Article in this issue

Steinberger GP-2 Six String

Next article in this issue

Roland Super Cubes & JC-77

Publisher: International Musician & Recording World - Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
More details on copyright ownership...


International Musician - Apr 1985

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Gear in this article:

Synthesizer > Korg > DW-6000

Gear Tags:

Analog/Digital Hybrid Synth

Review by Curtis Schwartz

Previous article in this issue:

> Steinberger GP-2 Six String

Next article in this issue:

> Roland Super Cubes & JC-77

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