Five controls are about all I need when I'm looking for some instant inspiration. I switch the arpeggiator on; I tell it which direction to scan the keys and over how many octaves; I hit a fistful of notes; I latch them and then adjust the speed to taste. Yes, I know that today's arpeggiators are considerably more sophisticated, and I enjoy using them too, but this kind of immediacy is not to be sniffed at.
The arpeggiator will happily clock to incoming MIDI clock data for synchronisation to your sequencer or drum machine. Parameter changes can be applied on the fly, and patch data can be dumped to external storage devices much better than using the included tape interface — ugh! So, are there any flies in the ointment? Catch the tuning slider during a live performance and you could lose a few friends. The stereo outputs are also problematical.
The unwary would plug a pair of cables into them and assume that their machine was delivering glorious stereo sound. In reality, the only aspect of the sound that is in stereo is the digital delay. Fair enough, you may think. If you still haven't figured out why this is a problem then I hope you never hear your recordings played back in mono — where the left and right delay signals will cancel each other out, leaving your DW sounds bare and stark to the world!
The answer is to make use of the mono output only to avoid any such problems. My only other gripe is that the darn thing always starts up in Omni mode and promptly tries to play every other MIDI instrument's part! Basses are probably one of the DW's strongest suits. The low end is generally thick and powerful and sits under a mix with confidence. Lead patches are capable of both aggression and subtlety, as required. There are certain characteristically 'nasal' lead sounds that I have never managed to recreate on any other synth — a kind of 'oboe on acid' for want of a better description.
Autobend adds a certain slurring to note attacks that is inspiring to fool around with. The DW is very much a synth, not a sample playback device, so don't expect the acoustic piano waveform to render anything much like a Steinway! The waveforms are essentially raw material to be mangled by the synthesis engine. Pad sounds are thick and rich, but never seem to sit in a mix particularly well in my experience.
String sounds are also warm and powerful, but just don't seem to cut it when other sounds are around. I mention these points not as damning aspects of the machine, but as a reminder that no synth will be all things to all players. Utilise a device to exploit its strengths, forgive it its weaknesses, and it will pay you back accordingly. The optional MEX memory expander provided for additional banks of 64 patches.
If you set out to buy a DW then look out for models with the optional MEX expansion fitted which gives an extra four banks of 64 patch locations — well worth a few quid extra. This is not hard to cure, and could prove a bargaining point if you are willing to take the risk that it's nothing more serious. The EX is the rackmount alternative see above , but is more difficult to find than its keyboard cousin. Previous article Next article. You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive. The system can be thought of as an early sample playback system where only extremely short, single cycle waveforms are stored on four Kilobit ROM chips, played back through the two free running digital oscillators and processed by relatively familiar subtractive synthesis facilities. The waveforms themselves were the usual staple sine , sawtooth , and pulse waveforms, but more unusually featured waveforms such as emulations imitations of acoustic piano and saxophone.
To aid the user in appropriate selection, each of the sixteen wave samples are printed on the right-hand end of the operating panel along with the parameter reference below. Any two of the digitised waveforms could be used by the two digital oscillators provided.
A noise source could be added separately to add further timbre or tone colour. The synthesizer makes use of two polyphonic modes and two monophonic modes. Each of the two monophonic modes arranged the oscillators into a single note stack of slightly detuned oscillators. Use of these two monophonic modes changes the character of any given patch quite considerably, generally imbuing it with what could best be described as a powerful or "fat" sound.
Whilst the source sounds were digital, the subsequent major sound shaping stages consisted of an analog variable-gain amplifier VGA enveloper using six stages and similar arrangement also for the analogue filter. The filter is unmistakably analog and can be pushed into self- oscillation using the filter-resonance parameter. Further modulation of the sound could be applied using the single LFO which could either modulate oscillators to produce vibrato effect, the filter, or even both at the same time should such be desired.
A significant creative limitation of the DW architecture was that the user could not control the LFO depth with respect to each oscillator, as they were both modulated in common. The final key part of the architecture was the digital delay section, which provided an effect unit that could be applied to the sound. As the rest of the synthesizer architecture up to this point in the sound chain was analogue, the signal had to be converted back to a digital signal so that it could have the effect applied.
This fact is evident in the increased noise when using the delay effect. Despite this, it was a flexible digital delay that gave times ranging from 2 to milliseconds in length. Delay effects are similar to reverb. Added to this was a modulation depth parameter so the user could create chorus and flanging effects as well as delay. While contemporary synthesizers with built-in sequencing facilities were quite rare in , the DW included a note arpeggiator with an optional latch function and an "assignable" mode which allowed the user to cumulatively add up to 64 notes to the arpeggiator's input.
The arpeggiator also includes options to span multiple octaves and an adjustable tempo control slider. While DW may not have represented a great leap in synthesis, the hybrid architecture of digital waveforms through analog filters was to become an important approach used in Korg keyboards during the second half of the s.
Other manufacturers were developing instruments using similar ingredients of samples and effects, though still using traditional subtractive synthesis with better technology. The Korg DW was monotimbral and had trouble competing with the Roland D and MT introduced two years later, which used samples of real attack transients to synthesize increasingly realistic acoustic instrument sounds.
The MT32 also introduced multitimbral capabilities, with relatively high quality onboard effects. Korg took longer to develop a competitive synthesizer, but by the end of the decade achieved considerable success with their M1 workstation keyboard which included 14 of the 16 DWGS waves from the DW From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Hybrid digital-analog synthesizer. See also: Table-lookup synthesis. Sound On Sound. December Archived from the original on 8 June
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