KORG DW-6000

KORG DW-6000 Synthesizer

KORG DW-6000

The DW-6000 was KORG´s first synthesizer with digital oscillators. It has a set of 8 waveforms with different spectrums that are supposed to match the character of several (natural) instruments. Like most (or all?) synthesizers from the 80´s and 90´s the DW-6000 was equipped with presets such as Horn, Piano and what not. Fortunately one is not forced to use a synth for that purpose…

The DW-6000 is fully programmable and that includes MIDI SysEx, but I will come to that in a seperate post. Like most devices from the evolving digital age, the DW-6000 does not have dedicated controls for each parameter. Instead, you select the parameter to edit via a menu and then alter the value using the value slider or up/down buttons. Given that the set of parameters is manageable, editing is not too much of a pain, but for a realtime-control freak like myself it´s one for the minus side, so something had to be done about that.

I do love the DW-6000 for it´s sound. The features are in fact quite astonishing. Filter and amplifier each have their own ADBSSR type envelope, and the second oscillator can be detuned as well as intervalled. Combined with the digital waveforms and the rest of the circuit being true analog, this synth overpowers comparable devices like the Roland alpha Juno or Juno 106 in terms of sound variety. Of course such ratings always depend on how you intend to use such devices.

My DW-6000 has a little story. I bought it somewhere from someone some 20 years ago. When the ways of me and my fellow musician from back then parted, we split up our equipment and I left the DW with him. Fortunately we´ve never lost contact, and not too long ago I contacted him asking whether he still had the DW. He said it is sitting around in a closet somewhere and that I could come and pick it up if I wanted. And of course I did. I think he never really used it, and the sitting about left its traces on the device. It wasn´t working at all when I powered it up, but I was determined to bring it back to life!

So I opened it up, cleaned it´s insides and outsides and gave a shot at the most common problem of synths with memory: the battery. I replaced the soldered battery with a socket from an old PC mainboard and put in a new CR2032. Then I powered it up again and… Nothing! Some random segments lit on the displays but no sound. I read on the internet somewhere that it might take a minute or so for the device to reset. It took mine about five minutes but there it was. All presets gone of course but I would have overwritten them anyways (again, who needs a Horn sound on an analog…). There where some more things I had to do like desolder and disassemble the tune fader to bend the pickup shoes back into place, or disassemble the keyboard for cleaning. But in the end I had my DW-6000 back after 20 years and I will never give it away again!

Related posts:

  • DW-6000 editor panel for Ctrlr

    I have just released a panel for Ctrlr for the KORG DW-6000. This panel can be used as a mapper between standard MIDI CCs and the DWs SysEx messages, allowing all parameters to be controlled by a hardware MIDI controller. This also applies to those parameters that are combined in ...