DW-8P Programmer for Korg EX-8000, DW-6000 & DW-8000 Synthesizer
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Latest firmware: Rev 2.0 (Please message us for a copy of latest firmware)
The DW-8P is a 3U rackmountable MIDI controller that can program Korg DW-6000, DW-8000, and EX-8000 synths. The programmer will allow users to select the model (DW8k, EX8k, or DW6k) and can control 2 separate units (they can be any combo of DW or EX models) individually or simultaneously. There's an on-board patch generator with multiple categories, including BELL/METAL, PAD, ELECTRIC PIANO, ANALOG/CLASSIC, DIGITAL, CHORAL, BASS and completely random. There are 3 assignable controls that can each control up to 5 DW parameters simultaneously (CTRL A, CTRL B, and EXP PEDAL), where the range of each parameter and direction (inverse or normal) can be affected by the ASSIGN. This allows users to do things like turn the filter up while turning resonance down and increasing envelope release all with one slider or pedal.
Memory Card Expansion - Optional MXB-1 memory expansion card adds 40 banks of sound storage. Sounds can be dumped in from the synth or from a librarian. MXB card also allows users to store setups, assigns, and FX. (A setupconsists of a MAIN tone, AUX tone, and 3 assigns)
CHORD MODE - The MAIN and AUX layers each support chord mode. Chords can be up to 8 notes each, and a separate chord can be used on the MAIN and AUX synth.
If controlling two DW or EX synths with the DW8P, VOLUME slider can act as a CROSSFADE between the to units. This allows some beautiful animation and layering of your synths.
MIDI Data Filter - Filter out incoming program change, aftertouch, pitchbend, mod wheel, and other data.
Incoming mod wheel, breath control, and aftertouch messages can be routed to control any 5 DW parameters each, which makes it easy to create expressive sounds that can be controlled in real-time.
DW-8P can convert CC messages into sysex messages. The programmer uses sysex and CC to communicate with the synth. In CC mode, moving a slider will send a CC message (for recording the CC with a DAW) and a sysex message (to the synth). In CC mode, playing back recorded CCs or sending CCs from a controller will result in that CC being translated to sysex and sent to the DW. Incoming MIDI data can also be re-mapped to a different channel (useful if using the DW8P to simultaneously translate incoming CCs from a DAW while also recording new slider movements from the DW8P).
When the unit is set to translate CC---->SYSEX, there are several choices of modes:
CC+SYSEX MODE - When a parameter on the DW8P is changed, a sysex message and the corresponding CC (for your DAW to record) is transmitted.
CC ONLY MODE - When a parameter on the DW8P is changed, only the CC is transmitted (For your DAW to record, then send back into the DW8P and be translated into a sysex message for the synth)
SYSEX ONLY MODE - Incoming CCs will be translated, but none will be transmitted. Use this mode if you have already recorded your CC track, or you are using CCs from a controller keyboard.
To prevent a feedback loop, MIDI can be translated on one channel, then "bumped" to another channel and transmitted to the synth. (Synth must be in omni mode for this to work) This is useful if people are recording and playing at the same time.
When translating MIDI CC messages into DW system exclusive messages, the DW-8P automatically converts values from 0-127 into the correct parameter ranges for each DW parameter. For example, the VCF CUTOFF control on the DW has 64 steps. RESONANCE has 32 steps. This causes erratic behavior and difficulties when controlling the DW synths using a universal controller. The DW-8P eliminates this headache by automatically translating the 0-127 CC values into the correct ranges for each of the parameters on the DW/EX.
We've changed some of the "redundant" controls on the DW, such as the F ENV + or - switch. Now there's an envelope amount slider. When centered, the env amt is 0. The top half of the slider will bring in + F ENV, while the lower half will bring in the - F ENV. Same thing with the RAMP GENERATOR function. This is a more straightforward and less tedious implementation. A FENV POLARITY message will be sent whenever the DW8P senses that the FENV AMT slider has moved past the zero mark.
The RAMPGEN AMOUNT & TIME can now be controlled by incoming note velocities (As implemented on Korg DSM-1 and DSS-1) , allowing for each played note to have a different amount of RG applied. This is a very beautiful sounding effect, reminiscent of the CS-80.
The PATCHGEN features not only a random patch generator, but also a manual mode (transmits all current slider positions), and a "scratch patch" generator. The random patch gen allows each block of the synth to be "masked" (not changed when a random patch is generated). The sections that can be masked are : DCO1, DCO2, RAMP, VCF, DELAY, MG, AENV, FENV, and TOUCH. The amount of randomness can also be dialed in, to add variety to programs. If using multiple synths, a separate tone can be generated on each synth in the layer. Categories included in patch generator are BELLS/METAL, E. PIANO, BASS, ANALOG, DIGITAL, PAD, CHOIR/VOCAL.
PATCHGEN MENU includes MANUAL MODE (transmits all slider positions when pressed), and a "SCRATCH TONE GENERATOR", which generates generic starter-tones for use as an empty canvas when creating a new sound.
The DW8P provides multiple banks of preset CHORUS, FLANGE, DELAY, and ENSEMBLE effects, allowing for fast auditioning of FX when calling up a new sound. This feature works on DW8000 and EX8000. On DW6000, the CHORUS button acts as a CHORUS ENABLE/DISABLE. When using DW8000 and EX8000, the CHORUS button will toggle the FX AMOUNT between its last positive value and 0 (OFF).
DW-8P can function as a universal MIDI controller. Create and save up to 8 USER CC MAPS (Each map has 43 sliders, and each slider can transmit on any MIDI channel independently) for controlling other equipment with the DW-8P.
For DW-6000 users, many know that the DW6000 uses "shared ID's" for several parameters, meaning that if you try to change one, then two parameters will actually get changed on the synth, which is usually quite annoying. If OSC1 RANGE gets changed, then OSC2 RANGE will also be changed. This is why universal controllers do not work well for DW6000. The DW8P allows the current DW6000 program to be dumped into the DW8P, so that the 8P can calculate and create data bytes that only change one parameter. For more info on this, look at the MIDI SYSEX implementation chart in the DW6000 owners manual. (34 parameters share only 25 parameter IDs)
The unit is a 3U 19" rackmountable controller measuring 19" x 5.25" from the front, and sits at a forward tilt if set on the keyboard or a tabletop and used as a desktop controller. The rear panel features a recessed compartment allowing for easy cable connection when rack mounted. Unit is powered by a 9VDC wall wart style adapter. DW-8P weighs about 8 pounds and is housed in a heavy-duty metal chassis with screw-in rubber feet for no-slip tabletop use.
June 2020 - Prices have been raised on these because we have been forced to pay a 25% tariff on our pots, sliders, slider caps and knobs. These are only available from one place in the world, and if we buy from there, an excessive 25% tariff is assessed. We are forced to pass this cost on to our customers. China doesn't pay for these tariffs, Retroaktiv does. Tariffs are bad for US based businesses and force us to hire less, pay more to make our goods, and charge more to the consumer.