Fans of the Nintendo DS may have been immune to the siren song of Nintendo’s tweaked DSi model. Unfortunately, I have a feeling a bunch of you are about to upgrade your handheld game system. Why? Because the folks at AQ Interactive are doing an upgraded version of the DS-10 software synth for the game platform, now on the DSi. Palm Sounds gets the scoop.

New in this version:

  • Twice the analog synths (4 of them, instead of 2)
  • Twice the drum machines (8 instead of 4)
  • Twice the tracks (12 instead of 6)
  • Expanded song mode: programmable track mute, realtime editing (that is, edit parameters inside the song mode

They’re also announcing distribution through retailers. The new features appear to be platform-specific — that is, all this doubling business appears to be thanks to the greater horsepower of the DSi. My guess – though this is unconfirmed – is that if you can get this for the pre-DSi DS, you won’t be able to switch to the “Dual Mode.” The other slight disappointment is that it doesn’t sound as though online features or collaborative features have been enhanced. On the other hand, AQ is promising that they’ll be in brick-and-mortar retailers, not the online-only distribution they had on the original. I’m hopeful that may also mean distribution outside the US — either for an online DSi purchase, perhaps, or for the cartridge. (The DSi still supports physical carts – hence the mention of retailers.)

The best part of all of this, though, is watching Nobuyoshi Sano – the composer/arranger behind Namco games like Ridge Racer and Tekken – do a Steve Jobs keynote impression.

Via Brandon at the best-game-blog Offworld, who notes that in US dollars this represents a $10 discount.

  • I really, really hope this can still sync with older DS-10 carts for performances. I have three of those frickin' things. I'd love to get one of these in the mix to handle chord work via the four synths.

  • didel

    I'm actually kind of disappointed by this upgrade. I wish they had upgraded more than just the number of voices, actually added more to the synth (more LFO's and virtual patching for instance) and drum portions, and of course the online stuff (A non-local online patch trading system would be amazing). And if this is truly just for the DSi, and not compatible with the original DS and DS Lite, I'll be super disappointed (which, being a long time user of nintendo products, I'm kind of used too).

  • clockart

    how fake can that laughter be?

  • Matt_C

    That's got to count as one of the weirdest keynotes I ever saw – just in terms of the fake reverb and fake audience.

    I'm not sure about the fuss over distribution – I bought mine from a bricks-and-mortar store in the UK.

  • dan

    does it do longer patterns? the tiny pattern length in the original is the one thing that drives me berko.

  • Funny Steve Jobsian video. Strange, yet informative.

    Yes, the upgraded features are a bit disappointing, but since I was never expecting any kind of upgrade to come out at all, it's kinda cool. I will buy one (mostly because I lost my first one)

  • lol at that video

  • I know this runs counter to the 'standalone cute ultratiny toy synth' thing that appeals to many, but I really wish there was support for external sequencing added.

  • Oh crud. This gives me a possible reason to upgrade.

    Must resist!

  • this is straight propaganda. the canned applause is nauseating.

  • blipmusic

    People, people. You need to have a look at a couple of Apple presentations. It's clearly a comedy spoof of those and a caricature of Steve Jobs doing his thing on stage. Pretty funny one, at that. 😛

    As for release all it says is this fall just at the end, but I'm presuming that's for Japan. Oh, well. Another import for me then.

  • Joe


    Those extra voices will really expand the sonic pallete. Along with a proper song mode, people are gonna be making awesome sounding full length techno masterpieces… on a DS.

    For me, this is the only thing that would make the DSi worth the upgrade. We shall see. Or peerhaps I can perfect a tone of stubborn ludditism when this comes round, as in "back in my day, we had two synths, four drums and were grateful that we could even switch between patterns, sonny"

  • Hahah Nobuyoshi Sano is awesome.

    If you haven't listened to any DS-10 music yet, check my 20 track album out at

    I'm excited for this 🙂

  • rondema

    I agree with dan-
    the pattern length issue must be addressed for me to even consider buying DS10+ and a DSi…

  • Wonder Dog

    I also wish for longer patterns. And hopefully they'll make it easier to buy, too. I couldn't find the cart in Canada, but I did get one form a bewildered Gamestop in the US. (Salesperson: "It's called what? It does WHAT?!")

    Longer patterns is the #1 thing would encourage me to create full track with this, instead of tidbitty loops to use in other DAWs. Kudos on letting us tweak stuff in song mode, though.

  • hey Rutger! I´m listening to your DS-10 Dominator album and loving it! great job…

  • It's definitely a joke — I don't think the DS-10 people take themselves as seriously as Apple does, don't worry. The silliness of the applause is absolutely intentional. 😉

    I'm with you guys on wanting some of these other features. You know, it's why we still like the homebrew stuff. If a serious music homebrew dev could get officially on PSP or DS, I'd be utterly thrilled, unlikely as that is…


  • @Peter – I've heard recently that Sony may be opening up a download store for PSP apps and that they might even be interested in non-game applications as well. If so, we'll see if this felonious homebrewer can find the time to port their app to Sony's official dev environment. 😉

  • BirdFLU

    There was a screenshot of what must be the new DS-10 on matrixsynth a couple days ago and there were some small changes (it was hard to tell exactly what). SO maybe there will be some other things changed too and they just haven't said so yet.

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  • wow this is terribly exciting, i must attain a dsi by the time of the u.s. release of ds-10+

  • You know i've watched it like 5 times hoping that i missed the release date… but i'm just not seeing one.

    Anybody know when the new version will be released?

    The first version was more than a distraction for me, it was a full blown obsession for a good month (see soundcloud set here:

    I had wanted to do a full album, but felt like the limitations were beginning to seem less like fun things to work around and more like things that demanded i buy another DS and another cart — so this upgrade is good.

    Those that wish for more patching/LFO's – i could be wrong but it did look like there might be some new knobs to twiddle and modulation destinations for the synths. Here's hoping :]

  • Found the release date via – "September 17th, for about $40"

  • Downpressor

    Neat! if I manage to get a job anytime soon this is something to spend my Yen on.

  • workingit

    Sorry for the sharp word Peter.

    Now when is DS20 coming out?

  • i can't wait! no more improv/live takes!

    and… i thought i'd contribute my synthy scribbles.

    all %100 DS-10

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Going Mobile: Nintendo DS-10 Comes to North America()

  • They should have called it DS-20 since everything is doubled.

  • Patrik

    Does any of the ds** sync with Midi? I use a Microkorg synth and would like to use DSi as drum machine. Does any one know if next generation LL or XL will have it?

  • Patrik you might want to check this out

    I've got a new album out made with DS-10 Plus, but on a DS Lite. I used the new track muting in song mode a lot. Get it for free at

    Hope to see DS-10 arrive in Europe soon.

  • Trev

    I'm having a hell of a game buying this online in the UK. Does anyone please please please know if I can get it in the UK. There's one on ebay that says it doesn't work on a dsi, but everywhere else says that's what this version was for. Amazon won't ship it to UK, and the only on is from a seller with an 82% rating. Please help! Thanks.