Dave Smith Intros Prophet 12 Synthesizer Module – ‘The Ultimate In Synthesis Power & Portability’


Dave Smith Instruments today officially introduced the Prophet 12 Module – the power and sound of the Prophet 12 Keyboard, in a synth module.

Each of the Prophet’s twelve voices is composed of a brand new hybrid digital/analog architecture that sounds different than any other DSI line of synths, yet ‘retains the true Prophet vibe’.

Here’s Dave Smith introducing the Prophet 12 Module:

The Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 Synthesizer Module

The Prophet 12’s hybrid voice has a digital front end followed by an all analog signal path output. Each voice has five high resolution digital oscillators, a digital character effects section, a resonant Curtis low-pass filter, a high-pass filter, a tune-able feedback circuit, a four-tap delay line with feedback per line, four loopable five-stage envelope generators, four syncable LFOs with slew and phase offset, a sophisticated arpeggiator, and a sixteen slot modulation matrix with 26 mod sources and 97 modulation destinations.

Check out the details and let us know what you think of the Prophet 12 Module!



  • Five DSP-based oscillators per voice (including one sine wave sub oscillator)
  • Four classic wave shapes (saw, square, triangle, sine) per oscillator
  • Twelve selectable complex shapes per oscillator
  • Three noise types per oscillator: white, pink, violet
  • Analog VCAs
  • Shape modulation
  • Oscillator cross modulation: frequency modulation (FM) and amplitude modulation (AM)
  • Hard sync on each of the four oscillators

Character Effects

  • Five high-quality digital effects. Thicken the signal and add harmonics or completely destroy the signal pre-filter.
  • Girth and Air are high and low shelf equalizers with harmonic excitement. Useful for thickening and/or adding air to the signal.
  • Hack and Decimate are sample and bit rate reduction algorithms which can add subtle grit or completely destroy the signal. It’s harsh yet musical!
  • Drive is a soft saturator for adding soft distortion and harmonic content to the signal


  • Famed Curtis 2- or 4-pole resonant analog low-pass filter (self oscillates in 4-pole mode) per voice
  • 2-pole resonant analog high-pass filter per voice

Feedback and Delay

  • Tuned feedback
  • Four-tap syncable multi delay with feedback and amount per delay per voice


  • Four Delay + ADSR envelopes (LPF, VCA , and two Auxiliary envelopes)
  • Auxiliary envelopes 3 and 4 freely assignable to multiple modulation destinations
  • All envelopes can repeat/loop


  • Four syncable LFO’s with phase offset and slew per LFO


  • 16 x 2 modulation matrix with 26 mod sources and 97 mod destinations
  • Modulation assignment buttons enable quick and easy modulation routing


  • Sophisticated programmable arpeggiator with up, down, up+down, random, assign modes
  • Re-latching arpeggiator

Programmable Distortion

  • Independent programmable stereo analog distortion per layer.


  • 12 knobs and 34 buttons enable deep and comprehensive editing with little to no menu diving.
  • Crisp OLED display is easily visible in low light situations and from many angles.


  • 396 user and 396 factory programs
  • Direct program access using numeric keypad and dedicated User, Factory, and Bank buttons
  • Playlist mode for generating easily accessible setlists of your favorite programs. Create four play lists with up to forty programs each!


  • 1 MIDI In, 1 MIDI out, and 1 MIDI Thru port
  • USB port for bidirectional MIDI communication
  • 1 Sustain/footswitch input
  • 2 expression pedal inputs
  • Main stereo output (2 x 1/4″ phone jack)
  • Layer B stereo output (2 x 1/4″ phone jack)
  • Headphone out (stereo 1/4″ phone jack)


  • 1 universal IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
  • Operates worldwide on voltages between 100-240v, 50-60Hz, 30 watts maximum power consumption

Physical Specs

  • Oiled walnut wood end panels
  • 16.5″ L x 6.8″ W x 2.85″ H (41.9 cm L x 17.3 cm W x 7.2 cm H)
  • 4 lbs. 14 oz. (2.21 kg)

Pricing is TBA; DSI expects it to be available in January.

See the DSI site for details.

47 thoughts on “Dave Smith Intros Prophet 12 Synthesizer Module – ‘The Ultimate In Synthesis Power & Portability’

    1. I got the module and it doesn’t need
      more knobs especially since I’ve got it
      connected to a knobby controller. I don’t want to pay for knob overlap, so thumbs up from me.

    1. dave: i Reallly …. bla bla bla bla bla
      them: where are …..bla bla bla bla bla
      dave: well, bla bla bla bla

  1. would it have been too much to add four ADSR knobs with a single button to select Filter/Amp? with the filter controls, at least then you could have instant access to sound shaping.

    1. Indeed, a slightly smaller P12 logo could have made space for yet another set of knobs. But every hardware component comes at a cost, while software solutions are generally cheaper. The full keyboard version comes at approx 2700 EUR. Saving about 1000 EUR apparently means quite a lot of hardware elements have to go…

      1. while Henry is right less knobs equal a cost savings… it has to be noted that less knobs come at a PRICE… less intuitive snappy workflow. it is a real shame that a different approach wasn’t taken with this module as the sound is interesting. but unfortunately menu diving is not nor likely ever be the preferred method of synthesis. even if its a simple 1-2 button presses. some knobs are just meant to be the bare minimum. ADSR, filter, amp, and I would even say rate is on that list. hope DSI drops a dedicated knob module or something for this an any future units they may wanna release with this minimal approach.

        1. Furthermore… who doesn’t realize that placing knobs ABOVE a screen forces your hand to block view of the screen? smh oh … them and ableton/akai smh really this is common design 101 people.

          1. I do agree with both your posts – it is indeed a bummer that we don’t even get the bare minimum of just a few knobs with this module. While I believe that plain sound programming can easily be done either way, pure live tweaking, e.g. in a performance situation, is definitely not a job for menu diving.

          2. Well, actually, having knob on top or the bottom of a screen is exactly the same. It all comes down on the view angle. If the screen is flat on a table, if it’s mounted in a rack, if the rack is lower or higher of your eyes, closer or farer than you. Depending the situation, both layout with knob on top or bottom could block the view of the screen.

            Adding that by the human nature of your arm and hand morphology (regardless if you’re righty or lefty), your arm/hand will come from the side of the knob and therefor the side of the screen. It would be different if we would talk about fader that we push/pull because in that case the gesture of that arm/hand force you to have it flat and then covering the whole screen. But for knobs, since we twist them, it’s a another story.

            I’ve been doing a lot of test on that domain (this is my work), and in the end, there’s in fact no better solution. As soon as the knobs are close to the screen, they can be on top or the bottom, they will block your screen view with the same percentage, depending your setup layout.

            That’s also the reason why companies such Ableton/Akai/DSI and more are coming to the same conclusion than I did and can build products with knobs on top of the screen. You might not like it (that’s fine), but from a “design” prospective, it’s not more “wrong” than having them on the bottom.

            However, if you don’t believe me (you don’t have to), I invite you to do your own test, but not only based on your work layout, but all kind of work layout. Commercial products need to fit to all customer setups they’re targeting, not only a specific one that would prove it right or wrong 😉

  2. Yes, yes, the knob thing again. I remember it had been discussed over and over – also in earlier posts here sneak previewing the P12 module. And I remember having seen comments from Chris Hector of DSI in dsiforum.org that the OS inside the P12 module will cater for the lack of knobby feeling that we all love and admire so much about the Prophet 08, for example.

    I cannot say whether or not it is going to be like that, but considering my experiences with the amazing work Chris did for the Tempest OS, I can just say that his statements are usually extremely reliable. He is a trustworthy man and does definitely not promise things that DSI would not (be able to) keep.

    So, long story short: If you want a P12 with the footprint of just another Tempest – wait for the module.

  3. For what it’s worth – the display is gorgeous, and it seems like one could get used to the interface without too much time. The portability is impressive. I wonder what the cost wil be.

  4. Another great synth from DSI, They must be selling enough of their gear to continue the production of new machines. Put accent on the next synth.

  5. backpack? i’d hire a limousine to carry those babies. dear Dave please send me a Prophet 12 rack and Tempest . Then I can happily be your slave forever!!!!

  6. Not cheap either – NovaMusic is listing for pre-sale at $2,199. Out of my price range by about $1,699.

    Now, what would be nice is one voice of this in a Mopho-ish mini box for cheap. A P-One, if you will.

  7. The one critique I can muster is the loss of the two assignable sliders. I’d expect to use an outboard controller, obviously, so the pitch and mod means would be there, but those sliders are unique. Otherwise, the module seems like a sensible option for someone who is willing to become immersed enough in it to justify the price. Its got a huge voice, hell yeah.

  8. I wonder if intercating with this is like digging into my MicroKorg… I get ‘crossword puzzle’ syndrome…. three down four across… now that should be… no, hang on it’s five down….

  9. Why not take away ALL the knobs and make it rack mounted with a software editor? Then it would REALLY feel like a VST softsynth, but i guess that was not their goal … right?

  10. I *love* DSI gear but they need to spend more time with focus groups. Seems a bit silly to position the knobs right over the screen where your hands will obscure viewing. Also, on our Prophet 12, the USB and sustain pedal jacks are right in the center on the back of the unit, meaning when it’s on our Ultimate Support stand, we have to pull the keyboard towards us about 3 inches or else the wires will bend and stress the ports. Not so great.

    1. Well theres is nothing wrong with the outputs, thats the only way to do it if its to be rackmountable as well as a desktop unit, just use angled cables and you’ll be fine. However getting to the power-switch seems a bit troublesome. They really should have put that one on the front panel.

      1. Because it is cheaper that way? Or because you already have a midi-controller? If people want the knobs there is the keyboardversion..

  11. A part of me wishes I could travel through time so I could go back to the early 70’s and bring back a module like this just so I can watch people say “It’s fucking amazing… but where are the knobs?”

  12. I don’t see the knob issue as being very credible. Seeing Dave’s hands fly smoothly through several key changes reminded me of how *I* work. I’ve played synths long enough that latching onto the flow is near 2nd nature now. Once you suss an instrument, those first-impression objections usually fade. We all have an opinion on where a design “should” have gone, but keep in mind that there is a big difference between compromise and BEING compromised. This module gives far more on its own terms than it takes away from the keyboard version.

  13. It seems like it will be way faster to edit than an esq-1 (which wasn’t half bad) and the blofeld type graphic feedback in the display looks useful as we’ll. I think it’ll be worth the street price it settles at shortly after release.($1800 would be my guess since p12 keys started at $2999 but you can find them for $2350-2450 now pretty regularly)

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