Thursday, January 29, 2009

Introduction to the KORG DS-10

The KORG DS-10 is a synthesizer/sequencer for the very popular Nintendo DS portable gaming system. It is meant to be a simulation of the old KORG MS-10, a quite popular analog synthesizer.

What you can do with this little marvel is create beautiful music. To make a song, you have to create patterns first, from just 1 to 16. A pattern on the KORG DS-10 may have two keyboard/synthesizer tracks and four drum tracks. Each track is made up of steps, typically, a note. So, if you think about it, each pattern can have up to six tracks or channels. In other words, at any moment the DS can play up to six channels/notes at the same time.

korg ds-10

This above is the main control board for the KORG DS-10. At the top, it says that we are currently in pattern 1 which is set to have 16 steps (default value). Remember that each step corresponds to a note (or a silence of course). For each pattern, you have a bunch of tracks to work with : 2 synthesizers (SYN1 and SYN2) and 4 drums.

When you work on a synthesizer track, there are many different ways to actually enter notes or sounds : with the keyboard (KBD), with the KAOSS pad (we'll get into that in a later post) or directly in the sequencer (SEQ). The drum tracks are edited just like in the synthesizer sequencer but it's more streamlined.

The notes that you enter in the sequencer can be modified in many ways with the GATE, VOLUME, PAN, KAOSS X and the KAOSS Y controls. Even the plainest of melodies may sound incredible with KAOSS.

Once you are satisfied with the pattern tracks, it is time to mix the 2 synthesizer and 4 drum tracks to your liking. After that, special effects (DELAY, FLANGER and CHORUS) can be applied to the tracks separately or as a whole.

The last step in making music is the actual song creation. It is nothing more than a collection of patterns. Just like with any sequencer, you may place any pattern anywhere along the song timeline. Couldn't be easier.

Needless to say, this is an amazing piece of music software.

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