The Korg DW-8000 Synthesizer

The Korg DW-8000 synthesizer was released in 1985, along with its cheaper stable mate, the Korg DW-6000 synthesizer.

The DW-8000 is an eight note polyphonic hybrid digital-analog synthesizer instrument. By the time of its launch Korg had already begun a common trend in 80s synthesizer design of using numerical parameter access as with the Korg Poly-800 eschewing the heavily laden control panels of earlier designs. A more unusual feature of the instrument for the time was the use of sampled waveforms as the basic building block of sounds, and the inclusion of a digital delay effect.

This latter feature was one significant factor in the relative success of the DW-8000 compared DW-6000 released the same year.

The DW-8000 has been used by Juno Reactor, Depeche Mode, Dream Theater, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Emerson.

If you’ve used the Korg DW-8000, leave a comment with your thoughts!


5 thoughts on “The Korg DW-8000 Synthesizer

  1. I had a DW-8000 for a couple of years in the late 80s and there were some things it was very very good at. I used it primarily as a sampling instrument, but you could get super freaky with your samples.

  2. I just purchased a DW8000 for 250.00 in great condition. I compared it head to head with my Yamaha DX7IIFD and my Roland D50 and surprisingly I prefer programming and playing the DW8000. I enjoy my DX for the electric pianos and vibes among other cool FM sounds but the strings are lousy and thin and very fake sounding. Most analog sounds on a DX are harsh, very digital and unusable. My Roland D50 sounds great even with the inferior built in effectsand it has plenty of analog sounding patches that sound big and vintage but when I play the DW8000 there is a warm lush and full quality in the charateristic of its sounds that the other two boards cannot match. I fumble through hundreds of sounds on my disks for the DX and can only truly find about 10 or 15 truly useful ones. The DX has a very small pallette of truly useful patches and the rest are all brittle cheesy sounding patches. The D50 tries to sound warm by the added effects and it has much better horns and strings than the DX but still lacks something not to mention there are no decent electric piano patches anywhere on the D50 and I have spent months trying to come up with something and find nothing that’s useful. It is however unmatched in Hammond B3 emulations and it does some good flutes, organs, horns among good analog and spacy pads but I find myself getting bored rather quick with the D50 and it really sounds dated for the most part. The DW8000 however has the best pads, strings, anologness, and cleanest sounds of the two….and believe it or not it has an electric piano sound that was way ahead of its time…and I mean way ahead because I have compared to Korg’s very M1 and I find the DW8000 satisfies more. It’s not as hard hitting on its attack as the DX but it is so full and warm and inspiring and has a sweet chorus built in and even digital delay efects to make it sound as though it is gong thru reverb…the kind that brings out the best in a ballad. Also take note that programming the DW is so simple and one can come up with amazing larger than life clean sounds. I am privately placing the DW8000 among the top 10 greatest synthesizers in History and head to head contender with any moog, Super JX, Prophet, Oberheim etc. At 40 years old I have seen and played all the greats and this one is my personal favorite and I plan to buy several more because of its significance. It is way undervalued and underrated

  3. I’ve got one, picked it up cheap recently. It’s an absolute screamer for leads, and does some excellent string sounds. Good at bass and pads too. And brass. Good at everything really. And it’s not all that hard to program.

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