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.