The Poly800 series (i.e. Poly-800, EX-800, Poly-800II) starts with a square waveform (along with harmonics and noise), while the DW-6000 and DW-8000 (EX-8000) expand the waveform count to 8 and 16, respectively. The DSS-1 and DSM-1 top that by replacing the DW waveform ROM with sample RAM, allowing the user to sample or harmonically synthesize waveforms (i.e. additive synthesis). Additionally, the DSS-1 has oscillator sync and allows the user to hand draw the waveform. The DSM-1 is the only synth in the group that does not have noise.
The Poly800 series enables each octave (16'/8'/4'/2' with either flat or decreasing weight) for crude additive synthesis, while the DW series and DSS1 only enables a single octave (16'/8'/4') and the DSM-1 doesn't allow octave switching. The DSS-1 also has a more capable additive synthesis engine, featuring arbitrary levels for 128 sine wave harmonics. The Poly800 series can have 1 or 2 oscillators per voice (8 or 4 notes polyphony, respectively), while the DW series and DSS-1 are set at 2 oscillators per voice (8 note polyphony, except DW-6000, which has 6). The DSM-1 is set at 1 oscillator per voice (16 note polyphony), which explains the lack of oscillator sync (compared to the DSS-1). The DW/EX-8000 and DSS-1 also have unison (i.e. monophonic detuned voice) modes.
Perhaps a more concise article title would be "2069 based synths", since all of these models share the Korg NJM2069 2/4 pole filter. However, the Poly-800 routes all voices through a single filter IC, while the other synths have a dedicated filter for each voice. However, only the DSS-1 allows access to the 2 or 4 pole cutoff slopes (all others only use the 4 pole slope). Incidently, any of the models missing 2 pole access (i.e. Poly-800 series, DW series, DSM-1) could be modified to have the 2 or 4 pole filter selectable from an additional front panel switch (email service department for details). Curiously, the DSM-1 doesn't implement filter resonance.
All models implement a 6 element (ADBSSR) VCF EG (envelope generator), but only the Poly800 series substitues a second amplifier EG, instead of the DCO (pitch) EG (all ADBSSR) found on the other models. Subsequently, the Poly800 amplifiers are pre-filter vs. post-filter on the other models. While all models in this group have VCF keyboard tracking, amplifier keyboard tracking is only available on the DSS-1 (decay) and DSM-1 (decay and release).
LFO is routed to oscillators and filter in all models, but the DSS-1 and DSM-1 have a dedicated LFO for each. The waveform is only selectable on the DSM-1 (triangle, square, sine) and DW/EX8000 (triangle, up saw, down saw square). All keyboard models offer a joystick to control LFO and bend.
While the Poly800 series and DW6000 do not have velocity or aftertouch sensitivity, the other models (DW/EX-8000, DSS-1, DSM-1) route aftertouch to LFO (DCO only for DW/EX-8000), VCF cut-off and VCA level. The DW/EX8000 routes velocity to the VCF cut-off and VCA level, while the DSS-1 and DSM-1 expand velocity sensitivity to sample switching, auto-bend, VCF and VCA rates (attack, decay, slope).
All models have auto-bend, except the Poly800 series. All models, except the Poly800 series and DSM-1, have portamento. Instead, the Poly-800 series models have a step sequencer, while the keyboard versions (Poly-800 and Poly-800II) also have chord memory. The DSM-1 introduces the multitimbral (4 voice) "Combination Mode", used by subsequent generations of Korg synths.
The Poly800, EX-800 and DW-6000 have stereo chorus. The DW/EX-8000 and Poly800II have a single stereo delay (with dedicated LFO), while the DSS-1 also has dual LFO's (summed) for dual DDLs and a two band shelving EQ. Instead of effects, the DSM-1 has 16 individual outputs.
Korg 2069 filter