Korg DS-10 & Korg DS-10 Plus

The other night, Conan O'Brien visited my dreams. It was a semi-normal dream for me. Some friends and I went to some event at a movie studio. The event was a tribute to Conan O'Brien that showed his legacy on Late Night. It took place in a parking lot type area. There were only about 30 of us, and we all sat in desks, like in a classroom. I sat near the projector, which was also near the speaker, which was somewhat in the middle of all the desks.

We watched some clips, introduced some acts, and the speaker started playing a piano as Conan O'Brien showed up and started his speech. In the middle of the speech/musical act, he hopped on the piano bench and tried to play, but could not. Eventually the original speaker took over, and Conan sat in a desk in front of me.

He murmured something like, "I guess I should've learned the piano before trying to play." I mentioned something like, "That's ok. I don't know how to play either. Though, I've always wanted to." To which he retorted, "Well, if you want to play the piano, you should buy one and start playing."

That's about where the dream ended for me. I woke up with the phrase "Buy a Piano" echoing in my head. It really reminded me of that episode of Futurama when advertisers implanted product placement in Fry's dreams. Which WILL happen someday...

I do want to learn the Piano, but I think there's other things I've already started learning I should specialize in first, such as other facets of Software Development and Japanese Language. I should probably return to Drawing at some point too... But music is very much a part of my life.

Korg DS-10

I really don't have the money or room to buy an actual Piano, but I do already own a music instrument of sorts. Almost one year ago, XSeed released Korg DS-10 in the states, which was originally released in Japan on July 27th, 2008. Korg is the world leader in synthesizers, but those are pretty expensive and sometimes huge.

Korg DS-10 is 'software' for your Nintendo DS that mimics the basic functionality of a synthesizer. It gives you two synth tracks, four drum tracks, and plenty of FX and fades to mix them together, along with a song timeline to bring everything together and actually compose music.

Thanks to Conan's advice, I actually played around with it for a substantial amount of time last night. I got the feel of how all the synths and drum synths are laid out, how they interact, and how everything comes together.

I am an extreme novice when it comes to actually making the music, and everything I did always had the exact same sound. I tried changing the demo song to be more ambient, but everything I did still kept it in the realm of techno. Ya know, the whole "unce unce unce" feel.

Techno is just fine. Personally, I had a hard time getting away from the demo song (again, I'm a novice), but other people have made some pretty fun songs.

Such as Jetdaisuke's Express #471:

Also, the Demo videos on youtube are pretty good too:

It's kinda simple...

Many of the other songs I came across all follow this style of music, but I want something ambient, progressive, and maybe a little trance, which is the style of Electronica I adore. Or at least something more complex.

The third demo video gets closer to this:

But, as the video demonstrates, it requires more than the 2 synths and 4 drums on the single Korg DS-10 cart. You can cluster up to 4 Nintendo DSes and Korg DS-10s for a total of 8 synths and 16 drums, but that's a bit much to spend. (Especially in Japan where Korg DS-10 was only available through Amazon.co.jp and cost $50 each).

Korg DS-10 Plus

A year after Korg DS-10 was released in Japan, AGI released Korg DS-10 Plus, which made use out of the recently released Nintendo DSi. You could still get the same functionality from DS-10 Plus if you used it on a DS, but with the DSi, you effectively doubled your processing power and functionality.

With the DSi, Korg DS-10 Plus has 4 synths, and 8 drums. Plus, you can edit your composition while playing in Song mode, which you couldn't do previously. Korg DS-10 Plus is like having two regular DS-10s in one.

This really branches the synthesizer into more complex songs with a single cart:

Such as Magomusume's Mago_004:

And S_Ishimaru's Millenium:

February 16th!

Korg DS-10 Plus comes out in America in a mere two weeks! Unlike the release of DS-10, XSeed is planning for a much wider distribution for DS-10 Plus, so you might be able to find it at Best Buy and Wal*mart. It has all the functionality of the original, with twice the amount of functionality for DSi owners.

It's not a piano, but it's definitely something. And it's the cheapest and most portable synthesizer you'll ever buy. ^_^