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About the product
- World's first music tool software created for the Nintendo DS
- Two patchable dual-oscillator analog synth simulators with a four-part drum machine
- Six-track, 16-step sequencer with delay, chorus, and flanger sound effects available from the mixing board
- Three note-entry modes: Touch Screen control with real-time sound control, keyboard screen, and matrix screen
- Exchange sounds and songs and play multiple units simultaneously through a wireless communications link
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The KORG DS-10 is music-creation software for the Nintendo DS that combines the superior interface of the Nintendo DS with the functionality of the famous MS-10 synthesizer. The sound sources in the KORG DS-10 come from KORG - one of the world's top musical instrument producers - and no effort was spared in creating these ultra-high-quality sounds. The Nintendo DS Touch Screen controls are used to the fullest to provide unsurpassed feel and operability. This innovative musical tool is perfect for aspiring musicians and professionals alike.In addition to the two analog synth simulators and drum module, a 6-track/16-step sequencer enables precise control and provides a wide range of musical possibilities. Up to eight units can be connected and played together through a wireless link, and this and other features make the Nintendo DS and KORG DS-10 almost limitless in their application - they can take you places that no single synthesizer can.
Whether you are just looking for fun on the run, or a way to work out your next hit song, the KORG DS-10 Synthesizer for Nintendo DS could be your newest best companion. The DS-10 combines the superior interface of the Nintendo DS with the design concept of the famous KORG MS-10 synthesizer to bring you portable music-creation software without rival.
The ultra high-quality sound sources for the DS-10 come from KORG, maker of some of the world's finest musical instruments. Korg spared no effort in creating this ultra-portable yet powerful and easy-to-use music software with tons of the latest features-- and all with the unique accessibility of the Nintendo DS touch screen.
The KORG DS-10 Synthesizer gives you the choice of sculpting your own unique sounds with expansive on-screen controls, or starting from a preset template. With two dual oscillator synth parts and four synth/drum parts, users can create synth and drum lines using the on-screen touch keyboard and drum pads, or engage the elegant six-track, 16-step sequencer.
With powerful features such as KORG's KAOSS technology, users can add custom modulations in real-time, tighten the mix with a full-featured mixer, polish their grooves with multiple effects, and create complete songs that they can save on the spot.
The DS-10 features a chorus, flanger, and delay parameter that can be applied individually to each synth or the drum machine, either individually or as a whole. In addition, each of the editable drum sounds can have a separate effect added to it. Various sound textures are made possible by implementing the two VCO's, three filter types, and more, while notes can be recorded in the sequencer, allowing for further editing. This broad functionality, combined with patching functionality, makes the DS-10 suited to even the most avid sound designers.
Intuitive and Easy Use
The sounds made by each of the two analogue synthesizer emulators are modified using virtual knobs, and users can patch particular parameters for further modification. The user interface is mainly through the DS's touch screen. Notes can be played using a two-octave keyboard, or through an interface that detects the X and Y position of the stylus on the touch pad, simulating a KORG KAOSS Pad.
The Nintendo DS's dual-screen touch panel is used to the fullest to provide a feel and operability that is unsurpassed. Although there are many expert-level features available with synthesizer, the DS-10 can be appreciated by the complete novice as well as the seasoned professional.
Music Without Limits
The KORG DS-10 Synthesizer offers two types of wireless play in Multi-player and Data Exchange modes. Up to eight separate Nintendo DS players can connect via a wireless link to perform as an ensemble. Each DS-10 synthesizer can be played as its own independent instrument, or they can be assigned a part to create a band, allowing for virtually limitless applications.
What's more, users who have created new riffs, tunes, or complete songs can exchange their session data with other KORG DS-10 users. It is even possible to send session data in advance to your friends, so you can all play to the same tune. Not only does the DS-10 bring stylus music to the world for the first time, but this robust connectivity allows for performances and compositions that simply aren't possible on a single Nintendo DS.
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You get two monophonic synths with their own sequencer tracks for note/gate/pan/volume, plus a couple more tracks that can be assigned to modulate a long list of parameters and settings. The synths are simple but have most of the things you need to replicate classic analog synth patches, and there are a few relatively novel routing options and modulation sources. Synth patches can be saved and loaded separately from whole compositions.
You also get four "drum" voices which turn out to be four more instances of the same basic synth, though with a few less options and much simpler pattern programming. So in total you get as many as six sounds happening at once, plus a very basic global effects section. The drum sounds each get their own FX though.
A complete song is made of up to 100 strung together instances of 16 different "patterns". Each pattern encompasses up to 16 beats/notes plus the programming for each synth and all its sequencer data. So each pattern can sound and act completely different.
All the programming and composing is pretty much done at the pattern level.
Just about any knob or setting can be twiddled in real-time during playback, and you can interact with it through a two-octave on-screen keyboard or an X/Y "KAOSS" pad in addition to editing events directly in the sequencer view. You can also play the 16 patterns back manually so there quite a few performance opportunities.
The manual is of course very limited and someone could write a book about programming and making music on this thing. It strikes me as a product where the developers had way more fun than their bosses thought they should have. There are lots of well thought out details and some things that the manual can't even begin to discuss in enough depth.
It's not really a "game" of course so much as it's like buying a 1995 vintage synthesizer workstation that came with documentation in Japanese. You need to be inclined towards this sort of thing in order to have fun with it, but it has much more depth than many pocket sized synthesizers and sound modules of the past.
Anyhow, if you have any interest in classic synthesizer hardware or music software, you'll probably love this. Probably not a good gift though for a child who isn't already motivated in that direction. One of the better "adult level" titles for the DS though.
You get two oscillators per a synth engine and can mix the sounds of each oscillator. You can add white noise into the mix to create a more ambient wind or ocean like sound. There are three "kaoss pads" possible with each synth engine (again you can only play one pad at a time) where you control two parameters. They are "gate/note", "volume/pan", and "peak/cut-off". They can be re-assigned and there is a function that records the movements that you make that you can then play back in a loop. The hidden dual "kaoss pad" is a bargain, considering the cost of the usual kaoss pad series. You are able to tweak the sounds very well in a way that emulates the kaoss pad series well. There are limits here too. For instance, you cannot import sounds from an external source and modify them. The pad tweaking is only for the sounds that you generate.
The sequencer is very important and covers about 16 notes. The usual creative process is to put in some notes and loop them, and then tweak the sounds by hearing and dialing until you can the gets that you like. Otherwise you would have to go to the keyboard play a note, dial, and go back to hear it again. This would be an awkward and time consuming process. I usually start with a D and A note harmonic fifth chord. I alternative a low D and corresponding low A, alternating the notes so that there are 8 of each in the sequencer, adding enough "release" (decay after note off is activated by lifting the stylus) so that it spills over into the next note. This way I emulate a two note chord on a monophonic synth.
The patch chord screen gives you new possibilities for routing sounds and can make some very creative and rich sounds. It takes a while to master this screen and see what works. Most of the patches do not do much or make useless frankenstein sounds, but after a while you find a sect of patches that enhance the sound in many interesting ways.
All in all, the synth is very versatile. You can also save your creations in a memory sector. The newer DS-10 has more memory than the earlier one. But both give a fair amount of room. You can also manually record your settings by drawing the dials and writing notes. There is no way of exporting the creations to an external memory file. The only easy export is recording the output sound. The lack of importing and exporting has inspired some reviewers to say that the DS-10 is not a full music studio option. I think that they are correct in this assessment, but this does not detract from how much the DS-10 is able to do and at such a low cost.
All in all, I am happy with the capabilities of the DS-10. There are few other observations that I would like to make about it. One is that the lettering is a little harder to read on the DSI Lite. The XL has a larger screen and is easier to navigate. The DSI Lite seems to drain power at a slower rate and therefore you can play it longer before recharging. I like the size of the DSI Lite and, since I am only using it for the DS-10, it is very ideal. It boots up the DS-10 faster because of this. The XL can handle the DS-10 version 2 and handle more memory. This may be useful to some, but I have not exhausted the capacities of the earlier version.
I got the three different Korg Monotrons (the original, the duo, and the delay versions). The first two I returned because they have a clicking sound that happens when you lift the stylus off the ribbon keyboard. You cannot hear the click on the built in speaker, but can hear it on headphones or external speakers. I found that the DS-10 emulates these two Monotrons very well (with even extra capability) without this weakness, and is about the same size when installed on the DSI Lite. The delay version of the Monotron does not seem to have this issue. I think it is because it defaults to a kind of ambient background instead of a silence that highlights the clicking noise. It is possible through a stereo plug that is about 7 bucks at Radio Shack to link the DS-10 with the delay to combine their abilities. Together they make a very small portable synth with quite a bit of options. I might update this review when I have had some chance to explore this in more depth.
Really a well designed program, and the sound either through headphones or connecting from 1/8" jack out of the DS to a decent amp is fantastic. I've got a home studio with lots of soft synths, and this rivals many of them in terms of sound quality.
A great way to learn basic synthesis too, you can apply the knowledge learned in the synth and sequencer of the DS-10 to many others.
Highly musical, loads of fun. Highly recommend, it's a steal for the price.