Before I start talking about the fact that there’s a full-featured, stylus-controlled, vintage-gear sampling, officially-sanctioned, drool-inducing Nintendo DS synth plus drum machine plus sequencer reimagining of the classic Korg MS-10 analog synth, I have three words you really don’t want to hear:


Correction: Despite what the website says, the DS-10 is in fact getting an international release!

Product info, specs, samples [AQ Interactive; English]

Blog [Japanese only]

Music sample

Via Music Thing and CDM comments (thanks, Thomas)

image image image


  • Dual dual synths: Two patchable virtual synths, with two oscillators each
  • Drum machine: Four-part drum machines loaded with samples of the virtual synth
  • Sequencer: 2 synth tracks, 4 drum machine tracks, 16 steps
  • Effects: Delay, chorus, flanger
  • Input methods: Touch-control screen with real-time sound control, a keyboard screen, and matrix screen

As far as connectivity, you can “exchange sounds and songs and play multiple units simultaneously through a wireless communications link.” Now, if someone in the homebrew community were able to hack that, perhaps you could add MIDI compatibility, so you could use this alongside a DS running homebrew software, or perhaps bridge to hardware MIDI and plug in a Tenori-On. (See previous discussion of DSMIDI.)

AQ Interactive is a bona fide game development house and publisher in Japan. They haven’t exactly had a spotless record, producing Vampire’s Rain for Xbox 360, but they have worked on “Cry On” with Hironobu Sakaguchi (writer) and Nobuo Uematsu (composer) of Final Fantasy legend. (I think that game may have been delayed.) Update/revision: Cavia, the Japanese game house published by AQ, appears to be the actual developer of the engine and the title. They also worked on Cry On and the Dragonball Z DS game, along with various other titles. Nothing really related to a synth, but we’ll see how they do. (Not to be confused with Clavia, the synth maker!)

Take action

I can’t read the blog, but of course some of our readers can. So, Japanese readers, let us know when the blog says something about “giant mob of people with torches saying something about ‘international release’ and ‘implement open source homebrew MIDI’; don’t know what that means but we’re scrambling to do what they want.”

If you’re at Messe, AQ is apparently there (perhaps at the Korg booth). So, maybe not torches per se — maybe just feed them top-notch German beer until they put their arm around you, laugh, and start writing the international release plan on a napkin. (I’m sure the Germans are as eager to get this as us Americans.)

And if that doesn’t work …

Anyone familiar with the legality of, oh, CDM importing a whole bunch of these and shipping them around the world? (You’d need a DS capable of playing Japanese titles, of course.) Or we could just all meet in Tokyo this summer. Airfare sales anywhere?

Never mind! The DS-10 is going international; stay tuned for details!

Availability: July 2008

Pricing: 4,800 YEN (tax included), which works out to slightly less than US$50.

  • Two additional words: REGION FREE.

    One more word (with a couple of dots):

  • A friend bought me a Japanese DS game, and it works fine on my American DS. If anyone is concerned about importing problems, don't worry. DSs are region free. I'm importing this as soon as I can.

  • B

    Here's the Japanese to English translation via Google:
    <a href="″ target=”_blank”>…” target=”_blank”>

  • I wonder if there is any kind of save preferences feature….

  • Mighty Pea

    What are they doing at MusikMesse with a japan-only gane, though? Makes me wonder if those words at the bottom of the page aren't just about the release-date or distributor. After all, the small print is without a corresponding asterisk to make clear what they're talking about specifically.

    But yeah, this is definately worth importing, although I'm not looking forward to tweaking it with non-descriptive labels.

    Only 32 Euros, as well, although just 'translating' Yen into Euro is never too reliable, what with Europe getting severely shafted on Game-prices.

  • Paul

    Cool. I live in Japan.

    Who wants one?

  • I DO!!!

  • Wilbo

    2 words:


  • dead_red_eyes

    I am so very tired of this "for Japan only" bullshit when it comes to the DS and Wii. Thank goodness that the DS is region free! Boo that the Wii isn't! This program looks great, and I've got to get a hold of it. I've been hooked on Electroplankton for way too long.x

    “Cry Onâ€ย is still in development as far as I know peter. If these rumors about “Lost Odyssey 2â€ย are true, the Guch will get to it after Cry On.

    For the love of your god, if anyone reading this goes to Musikmesse please try and convince these guys to make sure there is English support if they don't plan on releasing it outside of Japan!

  • janosch

    i couldn't really see.. is the button labeling in japanese or in english?

  • Paul

    Listening to the audio demos, it doesn't sound all that good. IMO of course.

  • Adrian Anders


  • Totally sounds like a ms200. Thats bad. But hey its only $50 if you already have a ds.

  • John

    what do they gain by releasing this "for japan only"? they just lost the $50 i would have instantly spent to order a copy… and i bet the eventual ebay price will be insanely inflated.

  • cobalt

    Jam Sessions was originally Japan only, and it took some time (maybe 9 months) before they made a version for the US market. Same with Elektroplankton. I was hoping for something more like the Kaossilator, but this is also great.

  • Peter, there is no such thing as "Japan Only" for DS. You can run Japanese games on any non-japanese DS (actually, I do). The only problem might be with the Japanese instructions, but seeing as the interface displays VCO, VCF etc… that should not be a problem!

    Too bad it seems they didn't use the microphone input as a breath controller :-))

  • "Japan only" is there description, you'll see … but I agree, English even probably isn't needed in this case, looking at those videos!

    So, yeah, we'll have to see if we can get some to our shores. ๐Ÿ™‚

    What I couldn't tell was whether they're doing any significant run of these — it looks like a small, one-off promotional thing, thus even less likely to get an official release outside Japan.

    But anyone at Messe to chat with them?

  • eS

    craptacular demo, but still want it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • poopoo


    Distributor AQ Interactive, Inc.



    …as in AQ Interactive, Inc. is the distributor…but only for Japan. The distributor for the other parts of the world will be someone different.

  • guidedbyVOIP

    jeez I totally missed this and posted in the forums.

    this thing is based on Korg's old MS-10. some of the sounds are okay, but nothing to write home about. i will still pick up a copy a la import, just for kicks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jim Thorn

    Jeez people, other the potential language barrier of the software, you can buy Japanese Nintendo DS software IN the USA from or from I don't know if Tronix still carries imports but they used to be my dealer for Japanese Saturn games.

  • Art

    it will be a Rebirth 338 for Nintendo DS

  • Paul

    this is very strange to me because i had talked about doing this exact idea a while back and i ended up returning my dads MS20 to him yesterday

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  • josh g.

    Ha ha, I just finished emailing this to the editors and then refreshed the front page and saw it was already posted. Oops!

    P.S. I totally want one of these and then jam with someone running Electroplankton.

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  • BirdFLU

    IF Elektroplankton got released in the US, this has to. This would sell way more copies than Elektroplankton ever will.

  • Nintendo DS is region free. still, i'd like to see more of this before getting it. i better keep playin on electroplankton for a while.

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  • ferruccio

    I thought the virtual analog times were over? Honestly, I find this a little uninspired and superficial. Almost 10 years after nanoloop, there's finally an "official" full synth/seq for Game Boy / DS and all they do is a simulation of their 30 years old synth.

    Those old synths are great, but there are certainly better ways to implement their timeless concepts on a DS than virtual knobs and cables.

  • JS


    I thought the virtual analog times were over? Honestly, I find this a little uninspired and superficial. Almost 10 years after nanoloop, there’s finally an “officialâ€ย full synth/seq for Game Boy / DS and all they do is a simulation of their 30 years old synth.

    Those old synths are great, but there are certainly better ways to implement their timeless concepts on a DS than virtual knobs and cables."

    Blah, Blah, Blah… it is a fun little piece of software. Just because it is a homebrew you have to slag it. Typical hipster nonsense.

  • JS

    I meant not homebrew…

  • ferruccio

    I didn't mean to slag it and I don't care if it's homebrew (nanoloop isn't exactly homebrew either I think and the actual homebrew are usally trackers which is just as boring as virtual analog). It's definately a nice program and probably great fun to play with, but nothing really innovative – given the endless possibilities of the DS.

    The last post about the Circle synth said it: "On-screen routing designed for the computer screen, with color-coded circles, drag-and-drop, previews — and no silly virtual cables. (Sorry, Propellerhead.)"

    And here we have those virtual cables and 3-knobs again.

    Again, those old synths are great modern classics, their concepts are still valid and worth to get ported to todays platforms. I just find it a little superficial to do that with 1:1 virtual analog. Such a simulation lacks the futuristic character the original synths still have, it's retro.

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  • ferruccio

    > Blah, Blah, Blah…

    > Typical hipster nonsense.

    Well, that's pointless blahblah. You neither got my point nor do you have anything meaningful to contribute. If you disagree with my criticism, please let us know why the DS-10 is a great innovation instead of making false, offensive assumptions on my motivation. Thank you.

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  • @ferruccio: Well, having been the person who said that about virtual patch cords, they do make *more* sense with a stylus than a mouse… and I do know people who like using Reason with a tablet PC. But I agree this isn't exactly innovative design.

    That said, I'm a bit surprised you say "finally" there's a synth of this type for DS. I mean, sure, *I* might dream of a world with dozens of tools developed for DS, but let's remember our tastes aren't *exactly* mainstream — nor is the DS, as a developer platform or in terms of its audio hardware, exactly tuned for easy music development. I'm with the others in that this looks like fun, whether it's a leap forward in software design or not.

  • ferruccio

    Just to clarify: I'll definately buy one and I think it's great that there is a MS-10 for my pocket.

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  • mex

    crap sound, boring, pointless, moving on.

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  • Michael Pearson

    I was really surprised to find out that this hasn't been done before on the homebrew front.

    There's nitrotracker, but it can't make its own noises – you need to import samples.

    I want a pattern sequencer and softsynth on my DS. I don't care if it sounds awful: it's for mucking around on the go.

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  • Awesome. I played with a heap of homebrew stuff for the PSP but my DS has only had Zelda on it since i bought it. This could be great.

    PS: That video is pretty silly… one riff not changing much for the whole time? Thats the best they could edit up to promote this?

    PPS: WANT!

  • Yeah, they need someone to come up with a better video. Perhaps a notable … oh … music tech blogger, for instance?

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  • tendria que usarlo a ver que tal. mientras, prefiero mis controladores m-audio y el laptop con native instruments. y bueno soy full fan de nintendo y uso mi DS casi a diario, pero igual no se si me sienta muy bien usando este software aca. prefiero electroplankton y DScratch!

  • it would be really nice if they made a slot 2 (GBA port on the DS) device allowing you to plug a regular midi controller to the DS. that would rock: your DS with the Korg cart and a 25 key controller!

  • Otend

    To Algarcia: Agreed. And either Max/MSP or Pd for DS. Those would rule.

    And as for myself: I could seriously use this at school.

    Teacher: —, WHY are you playing videogames in my class???

    Me: Miss —, I'm not gaming, I'm making music!

    That would be fun. And this seems sweet.

  • mostasch

    I think this is a very nice release from korg, but I'm surprised it took them so long…still waiting for AbletonLive hitting the iPod touch format, I guess I'll have to wait another decade.

  • Mark Mathews

    Did anyone else notice that Clavia is credited with "Game Design, Game System and Game Engine"?

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  • sounds like a ms200

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