Korg DS-10 Review
Korg DS-10 box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: AQ Interactive / Cavia 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Xceed Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 4, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Making sounds on the DS-10 is easy and fun. There's nothing you can do that will in any way damage the software, although you might damage some eardrums if you have the system connected to a loud stereo system or musical amplifier. If you really want to revel in the rich sonic goodness this instrument emits, I highly recommend plugging it into an alternate sound source. A signal buffer is recommended to boost the volume level due to the low output of the DS. Headphones are a good alternative, but forget the DS's built-in speakers.

Korg DS-10 screenshot

A virtual onscreen keyboard lets you input the notes, but it's very small, which will make it really difficult for live performances. Or you can place notes individually on a grid using the stylus. This is a form of sequencing known as step-time, since you do it one step at a time. There's really no other way to input such data unless the system was capable of utilizing an external peripheral such as PC keyboard or an actual musical keyboard. Fortunately, with the various sequencers available, you're going to be more concerned with composing and arranging than playing live and improvising. To keep things interesting, various parameters can be adjusted on the fly, which aren't necessarily musical but they "massage" and "distort" the audio signal to make it breathe. These are essentially effects such as echo, delay, distortion, chorus, flanging, and a variety of other sonic tweaks that can shape the timber, not necessarily the tone, which will affect the melody.

Up to four DS systems can be linked together via the DS's wireless feature. This would ultimately give you access to eight keyboards and 16 drum tracks. That's a lot of sounds to handle. This would be useful for more symphonic productions. Each DS will require a single copy of the software, with one unit acting as the master. It's similar to MIDI; what digital keyboards and outboard gear use to link and sync up together. These units can be manned by individual players who can tweak the various parameters during the performance. Compositions can be sent to other systems but only locally. You can't share songs online. Although the multiplayer mode accommodates eight units, it's rather limited and not entirely useful.


So, who is likely to get the most out of this software? Keyboard players and independent music producers can use it to add various flavors to their sonic arsenal. Other musicians can use it as a portable composer to capture their inspiration wherever and whenever it strikes. Employing the Kaos Pad, DJs will be able to supplement their mixes and live performances with a variety of textures, tones, and techno beats. You don't have to be a musician to play with the Korg DS-10, but there's a chance that it might interest you enough to want to become one.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Interface is extremely easy to discern and navigate thanks to realistic hardware simulation.
Virtual keyboard is awkward to use. Input, arranging, tweaking, and playback are flawless.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Amazing sounds. I doubt few could tell the difference from the real synthesizer.

Play Value
As long as you're creative juices are flowing, you can play this as long as your DS lasts.

Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • World's first music tool software created for the Nintendo DS.
  • Two patchable dual-oscillator analog synth simulators.
  • Four-part drum machine that uses sounds created with the analog synth simulator.
  • Six-track (analog synth x 2, drum machine x 4) / 16-step sequencer.
  • Delay, chorus, and flanger sound effects available from the mixing board.
  • Three note-entry modes: touch-control screen, keyboard screen, matrix screen.
  • Real-time sound control mode via touch-control screen.
  • Exchange sounds and songs and play multiple units simultaneously through a wireless communications link.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Korg DS-10 screenshot - click to enlarge Korg DS-10 screenshot - click to enlarge Korg DS-10 screenshot - click to enlarge Korg DS-10 screenshot - click to enlarge

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