Over the years I've had many email exchanges with people trying to get their DW-8000s to work again, many of whom used my DW-8000 Battery Replacement HOWTO to replace their memory backup battery. Since I have a ton of experience and knowledge about this particular synth, I decided to create a page that collects all the knowledge and resources I've got related to this great synthesizer.
Unless noted, everything here is stuff I created myself (as in, not ripped off from some other web site). Exceptions are annotated with a source URL. Contributions are welcomed, and will be attributed (email me).
NOTE: Almost everything here also applies to the Korg EX-8000, which is just a keyboard-less DW-8000 as a 2U rackmount sound module.
COMMERCIAL AFFILIAITONS: I DO NOT work for or have any other commercial
affiliations with any of the companies mentioned on this page. Long ago, Korg
bought and re-sold my patch editor software through their dealer channel, but
I no longer have any business ties with Korg (only nostalgic ties).
Click for larger image. Source: Passagen.
Source: DW-8000 Owner's Manual.
Owners ManualThe Korg DW-8000 Owners Manual (.pdf, English, 11MB). Copyright © 1985 KEIO Electronic Laboratory Corp. Thanks to David Strand for the OCR, so the above file is searchable.
Service ManualThe Korg DW-8000 Service Manual (.pdf, English, 4.6MB). Includes schematics. Copyright © 1985 KEIO Electronic Laboratory Corp.
Check out my DW-8000 Patch Page.
The DW-8000 has a CR-2032 coin-sized battery to maintain its patch memory when it is powered off. The failure of this battery is the most common failure mode for the DW-8000—the battery was meant to be replaced after five years. In reality, many of these batteries survived much longer than that.
In order to save 4¢ or something in the manufacturing costs, and to ensure a continued revenue stream for Korg Service Centers, Korg chose to actually solder in the backup battery, rather than put it in a socket. For this reason, replacement of this battery is a bigger deal than it should be. If you're handy, however, you can replace the battery yourself, and put the battery socket in there that Korg should have provided in the first place. For the full procedure, see my DW-8000 Battery Replacement HOWTO.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Over the years I've answered hundreds of emails related to
the DW-8000 - usually when people are having problems. I've collected a lot of
the most common questions and answers here. If the wording seem a little awkward
here and there, it's because I'm using word combinations that will maximize
people's ability to find these answers using an internet search.
A: Check that you have the Arpeggio Clock (parameter 87) set to 1, 2, or 3. If Arpeggio Clock is set to 4, 5, or 6, the arpeggiator will be waiting for MIDI Clock messages at MIDI In, and if none are seen, it will appear that the Arpeggiator is "stuck." This is the most common solution for apparently nonfunctional arpeggiators.
Q: I'm using my DW-8000 as a controller keyboard. How do you octave-shift the keyboard up or down?
A: Sadly, the DW-8000 has no octave shift or keyboard transpose capability, which does limit its usefulness as a studio controller keyboard.
Q: Is it possible to get just one patch out of a tape load?
A: No. Tape loads set all 64 patches at once. If you need to extract a single patch, you'll need a computer patch editor/librarian, such as the free one at Deaf Eddie's.
Q: How do I do a tape load using the DW-8000 tape dumps on your page?
A: First of all, if you're thinking, "I don't have a cassette player any more!" fret not. You're sitting in front of the modern replacement for a cassette player - your computer.
If your computer has a sound card or some kind of on-board audio, you're already close to having what you need to do tape dumps into and out of your DW-8000.
To load the DW-8000 from your computer, you need to connect the line out from your soundcard (the green jack) to the "From Tape" jack on the DW-8000. To do this you'll need a 1/8"-male-to-1/8" male audio cable. Then follow these steps below (which are tailored for PC):
Q: Is there a computer patch editor/librarian for the Korg DW-8000?
A: A guy named Anthony Ruggeri wrote a PC patch editor/librarian that is availble free from Deaf Eddie's cool EX-8000 site. If you're running XP or Vista, make sure to set the the compatibility mode to "Windows 95" for that program.
There are also a number of commercial products for both Mac and PC that know how to talk to the DW-8000 such as MIDI Quest.
Q: What is the procedure for resetting the patches on the DW-8000 to their ROM presets?
A: Believe it or not, the DW-8000 doesn't have any ROM presets, so there is no way to restore them. The only way to reset its patches is to send a set of SysEx patches (which is what they did in the factory) or do a tape load.
Q: How do you do a MIDI "bulk-dump" on the DW-8000?
A: The short answer is "you can't." The DW-8000 dates to the dawn of MIDI, and while it does have a fairly robust SysEx protocol, it doesn't have a single SysEx "dump all patches" request. That was a painful oversight, and one that they corrected in virtually all subsequent instruments. The only way to back up all the sounds at once is to do a tape dump or use a MIDI patch librarian that knows about the DW-8000.
Q: How do I hook my DW-8000 up to my computer so I can save/load SysEx patch files?
A: These instructions are tailored to PCs:
A: Not directly. You could either do a Tape Save on one and a subsequent Tape Load on the other, or use a MIDI patch librarian to store the patches from one and load them onto the other.
Q: I just got this new <insert fancy MIDI controller with lots of knobs and sliders here>...how do I program it to change the DW-8000's cutoff and resonance?
A: Be warned: you probably can't. The DW-8000 predates the standardization of controllers, such as controller 74 for cutoff and controller 71 for resonance. It even predates the NRPN thing. So the way you do it is you send a SysEx "parameter change" message. The message contains the DW-8000s MIDI channel, the "address" of the parameter you want to change, and the new value. The message is documented in the DW-8000's manual.
To get a hardware controller to send this kind of message, the controller has to know how to plug the slider or knob value into the middle of a SysEx message. There aren't very many controllers that are sophisticated enough to do this - the Kenton Control Freak is, and that's what I use. With it, each slider movement causes as SysEx to be sent. This allows me to do what you're wanting to do (resonance and cutoff), along with a bunch of other parameters, all at the same time.
Q: But I'm super hardcore! Show me what SysEx bytes I need to send to the DW-8000 to change cutoff and resonance!
A: OK, you asked for it.
To change filter cutoff, you need to send the following SysEx to the DW-8000:
To change filter resonance, you need to send the following SysEx to the DW-8000:
If your controller can do this (especially the "scaling knob/slider values" part), it is officially kickass. So if you succeed, send me an email to let me know which controller you used and I'll list it here.
If you need to get patches into your DW-8000, by far the easiest and most reliable way to do that is by sending SysEx dumps to the synthesizer from a computer. My patches page has lots to choose from and a brief description of how to download patchblocks.
If you don't have a working computer-MIDI setup from which to download SysEx data, you're stuck using the old-skool tape dump mechanism. Here are 44.1 KHz 16-bit recordings of the Preload A and Preload B tape dumps, directly off my original factory preset cassette.
To use these, you'll need to connect the line out from your soundcard to the tape in on the DW-8000. Start the tape load on the DW-8000 and play the .WAV file on your computer. This is logically equivalent to a tape load from an actual cassette tape.
DW-8000 Factory Card Side A (via Greg Audrey)
DW-8000 Factory Card Side B (via Greg Audrey)
SPEAKER DAMAGE ALERT! These WAV files are recorded HOT so watch those speakers!Preload Bank A (.wav, 4.8MB).
Preload Bank B (.wav, 4.8MB).
Here's some little-known facts about the Korg DW-8000. If you have any little bits to contribute to this list, please email me.
Kenton Control Freak Patch
One annoying thing about the DW-8000 (and many synths in the industry's first wave of digital synths) was the lack of knobs. You can really only control one parameter at a time in realtime with the Data slider. Of course, you want to do things like change both Cutoff and Resonance at the same time.
In the case of the DW-8000, it's so old that it doesn't respond to the now common controllers for things like Cutoff, Color (Resonance), Decay, etc. It is, however, possible to control these parameters with MIDI, but via an ugly SysEx parameter change message.
Once again the Control Freak pulls it off. Here is a Control Freak SE patch I created that allows you to control a ton of the DW-8000's most important parameters all in real time. You won't believe how much life this breathes into your DW-8000 until you try it. Here's the list:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Because SysEx messages are channel-specific, this Control Freak Studio Edition patch will only work if your DW-8000 is set to MIDI channel 2. If you want to modify the patch for whatever MIDI channel you usually keep your DW-8000 set to, email me and I'll tell you how to rechannelize the patch.Control Freak Studio Edition DW-8000 Control (SYX, 6.13KB) patch.
© 2004-2019 Bryan K. Ressler, all rights reserved worldwide.
If you find any errors in this page or have suggestions for improvements, please email me.