The DW-8000 is a hybrid synthesizer that uses digital single-cycle waveforms along with analog amplifier and filter circuitry. Korg called this the Digital Waveform Generator System (or DWGS). It was released during the years of transition from analog to digital synthesizers and sits firmly in the space between. Other hybrid synthesizers of the era are the Kawai K3 and the Ensoniq ESQ-1.
The DW-8000 is also available in rackmount form as the Korg EX-8000. The DW-6000 is a lower-end version with less polyphony. An optional MEX8000 expansion was available and it provided extra four banks of 64 patch memories.
The arpeggiator can be synchronized to an external MIDI clock, but doing so will disable it when no clock signal is present. If the arpeggiator is not working, check parameter 87 and make sure it's set to 1, 2, or 3.
To check your firmware revision, hold down the 1 and 2 buttons while turning on the power. The last value section of the display will indicate the firmware version. Version 12 is the most recent and fixes a problem with stuck notes. However, an old DW-8000 may also suffer stuck note and mistriggering problems if it has dirty contacts and a good internal cleaning should help with that.
The DW-8000 uses a 3v CR2032 lithium battery for its memory backup. This battery is soldered to one of the circuit boards and is difficult to replace. When replacing the battery, it's a good idea to replace it with a battery holder to make future changes easier.
Unlike most synthesizers of the era, it uses a 2-prong C9-type electrical cord instead of a standard 3-prong IEC computer power cord.
Patches can be loaded and saved via tape. You can also play .wav files on your computer and connect your headphone output to the tape input of the DW-8000 to load patches. The factory preload patch banks are available below. Do not listen to them directly, they are not intended for Human ears.
Year Released: 1985
Keyboard: 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
Polyphony: 8 notes
Multitimbral: 1 parts
User Patches: 64
Effects: digital delay with 2-512 millisecond range
Arpeggiator: 64-note arpeggiator
Oscillator: 16 DWGS oscillator waveforms
Power Consumption: 31 watts
Dimensions: 998 mm x 338 mm x 101 mm
Weight: 10.9 kg
MIDI Connections: in, out, thru
Korg DW 8000 ($480)
Korg DSS-1 ($455)