Pioneer/DSI AS-1 Synthesizer: Comparable with …

… a Sequential Pro-One? You might come to this conclusion when listening to the attached video. (Possibly) surprising result: Soundwise, there is very little difference between the two instruments.

However, it is important to notice that the sounds in the video are (more or less) basic analog sounds. Basses, filter sweeps, leads – that’s it. And that’s why the Pro-One <> AS-1 comparison falls a little short. No weird FX-noises, no elaborate modulation-sounds, yet rather plain bread- and butter-sounds. Sounds that can be produced rapidly and compared easily.



That being said, we have to admit that the Pioneer/DSI AS-1 – sorry, the Pioneer DJ / Dave Smith Instruments TORAIZ AS-1 (a somewhat bumpy, overloaded product code) – still sounds great. It’s a wonderful, boutique-sized mono-synthesizer full of bass sounds, cutting lead lines, quirling sequencer-patterns and crisp filter sweeps.

“Its intuitive controls include parameter knobs that let you make both subtle and dramatic changes to the tone of your music to create your own personalised sound. Plus you can use the touchpad-style keyboard and slider to manipulate sounds during performances.” (


“The TORAIZ AS-1 is driven by a fully programmable, true analogue synthesis engine based on the discrete analogue circuitry in Dave Smith Instruments’ Prophet-6 synthesizer. It also inherits 7 on-board effects from the Prophet-6 synth as well as a brand new digital distortion.” (



The AS-1 features:

  • 2 Oscillators
  • 2 Filters (LP/HP)
  • 1 Amplifier
  • 2 Envelopes (ADSR each)
  • Mixer (Osc1/Osc2/SubOsc/Noise)
  • 1 LFO (incl. Random)
  • Glide


Besides the LFO, there’s a small modulation bus:

  • Modulation Source
    – Filter-ADSR
    – Oscillator 2 (!)
  • Modulation Destination
    – Osc 1 frequ
    – Osc 1 PWM
    – Osc 1 waveform (!)
    – LP filter frequency
    – HP filter frequency


Last, but not least: Some extra extras …

  • 2 effect-sections
  • Sequencer (up to 64 steps)
  • Arpeggiator
  • Modulation-Slider (multi assignable)
  • VEL (> ADSR) and vast AT modulations
  • Programmable pitch bend amount (+/- 12 semitones)
  • 17 (!) alternative tunings/scales
  • MIDI, USB, analog Trigger-IN

So, here’s the video. The main part (sound-comparison) starts at 2’20” …

It’s up to you to decide whether he handy Pioneer / DSI AS-1 is a modern Pro-One or not. To our ears, its bass- and sequencer-sounds come close to that classic Sequential monosynth of 1981. Remarkable!


Pioneer / Dave Smith Instruments TORAIZ AS-1

Monophonic desktop analog synthesizer
with sequencer / arpeggiator

Price: approx. 550 Euros / 500 USD



Useful links:

Filed under 2017, General

“Es genügt, einen Ton schön zu spielen” sagte der Komponist Arvo Pärt im Jahre 2005. Diese Aussage ist ebenso einfach wie ich auch exzellent: Es braucht kein Meer an Tönen, denn entscheidend ist der Klang. Dass so mancher Vintage-Synthesizer der 70er und 80er Jahre teils unerreicht hochwertige Klänge liefert, steht außer Frage. Doch tatsächlich leben wir “heute” in einer nahezu perfekten Zeit. Einerseits hat man – mehr oder weniger – noch Zugriff auf die Vintage Analogen, andererseits wird auch bei Neugeräten die wichtige Komponente des hochwertigen Klanges wieder zunehmend berücksichtigt. Doepfer, Cwejman,, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Studio Electronics, COTK, John Bowen und andere Hersteller bauen hervorragende Synthesizer, die den “Klassikern” in nichts nachstehen. All diesen (alten wie neuen) “großartigen” Instrumenten ist Great Synthesizers gewidmet. _________________________________________________________ In 2005 composer Arvo Pärt said: “Playing one tone really well is enough”. In other words, it is sufficient to play one tone 'beautifully'. I agree with that. All musical efforts are focused on the sound itself. Although I studied classical music (piano and drums), it’s the electronic sound that inspires me. Synthesizers are the epitome of new sounds and exciting tonal spheres. Today, many companies produce high-quality - excellent! - synthesizers: Doepfer, Cwejman, MacBeth, Moog, GRP,, COTK, Studio Electronics, John Bowen and others. It's their products I'm really interested in ... apart from Vintage Synthesizers, which I have been collecting for 20 years. Subsequent to our former websites Bluesynths and Blogasys, Peter Mahr and I have now created GreatSynthesizers. We hope you like it.