Dave Smith Instruments Intros Pro 2 ‘Dream Synth’

dave-smith-instruments-pro-2

Dave Smith Instruments today introduced the Pro 2, a knobby new monophonic ‘dream synth’. Dave Smith calls it his “most powerful mono synth ever.”

“As synth geeks, we asked ourselves what our dream mono synth would be,” says Smith. “Then we built it.”

Here’s the official intro video for the new Pro 2 synthesizer:

Here are the details:

pro-2-synthesizer

The Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 Synthesizer

A hybrid instrument, the Pro 2 features four digital oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) with super saw waves and newly-designed, dual analog filters, inspired by classic designs. The filters (one low-pass and one state-variable) can be run in series or parallel, with the state-variable filter providing low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass modes.

Oscillators can be routed in pairs to either filter for a variety of tonal possibilities. “Our new analog filter design gives the Pro 2 a depth and presence that’s immediately recognizable,” says Smith. “It has a sound all its own, distinctly different from our other instruments such as the Prophet 12.”

Step Sequencer

The full-featured step sequencer operates in 32 x 8, or 16 x 16 mode and allows real-time input. It can sync to external MIDI clock and can also be driven by an external audio input. Sequences can control not only oscillator pitch, but any parameter in the Pro 2’s extensive modulation matrix. It supports both rests and variable-length sequences.

dsi-pro-2-synthesizer-rear

Modular Synthesis Features

Another notable feature of the Pro 2 is its 4 rear-panel control voltage inputs and outputs, which make it compatible with modular synthesizers. The control voltages can be assigned and routed from within the modulation matrix and can run at audio rates for extreme modulation effects.

“A primary goal was to make the Pro 2 as open-ended and flexible as possible,” says Smith. “The four control voltage ins and outs really open up a world of interfacing possibilities with other gear. You could almost call the Pro 2 our own mini-modular.”

Paraphonic Synthesis

Smith says that the surprises don’t end there:

“A very cool bonus features is that, even though we designed it primarily as a very powerful mono synth, it’s actually 4-voice paraphonic – you can play 4 notes simultaneously, if you want to. Add in the super waves, and you’ve got a very big sound.”

In paraphonic operation, the 4 individual voices share a common filter and envelopes. Paraphony has gained popularity in recent years and was found in such vintage instruments as the ARP 2600 and ARP Odyssey, which were duophonic.

More Uber-Synth Features

The feature set of the Pro 2 is rounded out with a multimode arpeggiator; 4 stereo, multi-tap delays with analog modeling; 4 LFOs; tuned feedback; analog distortion; Character controls with sound sculpting options such as Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air; and extensive modulation possibilities.

The LFOs, delay, and arpeggiator can be synced to either the internal clock or an external MIDI clock. Two programmable position- and pressure-sensitive touch sliders and pitch and mod wheels provide nuanced control over live performance.

“Right now, there’s a trend of reissuing classic synths from the past,” notes Smith.  “People have been asking for a reissue of the old Sequential Pro-One for quite a while. But as a synth designer, I’m happiest creating new instruments – synths that with every iteration put more power and better sounds into the hands of musicians. The Pro 2 is light years beyond the Pro-One in every way. It’s the most powerful mono synth I’ve ever made. You’ve got to keep moving forward.”

The Pro 2 is scheduled to start shipping late July with a street price of $1,999. For more information, see the Pro 2 product page.

189 thoughts on “Dave Smith Instruments Intros Pro 2 ‘Dream Synth’

      1. hmm, the DSI Pro 2 seem’s to have a bit other user / musician audience as target then the DM1 and might be more comparable to “smaller” DSI synths (except that they have less plugs for CV etc.).

    1. Has anyone confirmed anywhere that this is going to sell for 2K (as I’ve seen only in a couple of threads)? I am now faced with the delima of whether to replace the Poly Evolver with one of this.

        1. Damn. *Street* price is $1999 and list is $2199. Was hoping *list* was $1999 and street would be closer to $1699. I’ll still get it, as this looks very appealing to me, but it *does* seem high for what is essentially a mono-synth with digital oscillators.

          1. DSI’s “digital oscillators” are not “cheaper” by sound or tech then DSIs “digitally contolled” ones, The signal “going out” the oscs are analog. Which you still could find in smaller / cheaper synths from DSI. I have several DSI synths and i like the flexibility of the Pro 2 oscillators plus their sound – if i really need “hardly bad analog” for a sound i take my good old DSI evolver or use one voice of my DSI Tempest drum machine, but with the right tweaks you are able to get a “bad” analog signal of “known” analog synths out of the Pro 2s ocs by i.e. waveshaping it slightly (beside the slope / glide features the pro 2 has).

      1. You must not be a Tempest owner or know any Tempest owners. Anyone contemplating purchase of a new DSI product with an onboard sequencer would do well to take a good look at the sorry state of the Tempest OS and feature set, keeping in mind that Tempest is almost THREE YEARS OLD now and also sells for $1,999.

        1. Nope – not a Tempest owner, so it would be helpful if you’d say exactly what you’d like to see them fix or change.

          I know a lot of people that love their tempest and I’ve considered getting one, so I’m wondering what you can’t currently do and if they’ve ever said that they’d add those features.

          1. If you’re genuinely curious, I’d recommending checking out the Tempest thread on the DSI forums, if they ever come back up. They have by strange coincidence been down for over a week now.

            Speaking for myself, I’d like the complete MIDI implementation and free-running LFOs that were promised when it was announced, and more importantly I’d like not to have to choose between running a bug-ridden beta OS or an ancient ‘official’ one (that also has bugs!) that lacks many of the new features that have been added in the dog’s age since the last ‘official’ one was released—I didn’t pay $1,999 to beta test a three-year OS development cycle.

            Like I said, though, check out the forum if it ever comes back to life; there’s a litany of bugs to be fixed and features that have been promised, and every time DSI comes out with a new product it means that addressing these legitimate issues gets pushed onto the back burner.

            1. I hear this complaint from so many different people using so many different products (not just music gear). “I didn’t pay $X to beta test!”

              Look, just use a product for what it is and if you don’t like it, figure that out fast and get a refund. Everyone who buys something for what it “could be” is doing themselves a real disservice, because it doesn’t seem like that ever works out for anyone.

              1. You might be mistaking me for someone just looking for excuses to gratuitously bash DSI, when on the contrary I really want both DSI and the Tempest to be the best they can be.

                I didn’t realize when I bought Tempest that I was signing up for this torturous cycle of buggy betas and broken promises. If I had known I’d almost certainly have passed, hence my complaints and warnings here.

                And I know plenty of people who constantly flip and cycle through gear (including stuff they really like!) but I just don’t have that mindset, for better or worse: I bought the Tempest and have remained ‘committed’ to it, even though it can be a real drag at times. I’ve gotten plenty of use out of it, too, but I still want the functionality that’s been promised and, more importantly, the overall STABILITY that you just don’t get playing the ‘try the latest beta’ game.

                1. I hear ya, & agree. I have the Tempest & P12, not just the Tempest side of the DSI forum, I started thinking the P12 is heading the same way as the Tempest with the bugs list.

                  You pay a premium price for DSI but seems that that want to treat their products like software & only do 3/4 of the job at release… plus the fact that DSI has really bad communication once the produce has been released.

                  I would like to consider the Pro-2, but I don’t think I can with what’s happened/not happened from DSI.
                  At lease Moog is quality – itchin for the Sub37!

      2. I like DSI synths, and would love them if their follow through and support for their instruments were maintained with integrity. Even there older ‘flagship’ synths like the almost beautiful PolyEvolver (of which I am an almost proud owner) and their owners have been woefully and shamefully disregarded in terms of addressing bugs/functionality. In the case of the PE, the Crippled ‘Combo’ functionality is both sad and enraging. In the Tempest, Midi and more…I love Dave’s innovation and new instruments…I just wish he would put some of that energy into adequately supporting the instruments he’s already put out and getting them up to spec. It’s a shame. Bad Karma. Bad Business. Hope you’re listening, Dave.

        1. I hear this all the time and it definitely slows me down from buying one of his latest products. At first listen to his presentation, I get very excited and could easily see this as my controller/centerpiece of my studio. But with the repeated talk of the support and update issues/complaints it doesn’t make me thrilled to “buy in”.

          it’s one of the things I really love about the Elektron products; they keep putting updates and bug fixes out. Now not constantly, it ends after a while but still. But it keeps going knowing that the folks care about their product.

          I wonder if it harkens back to his early days where they didn’t have OSes to upgrade and fix and he’s not accustomed to thinking this is an important part of the business? I mean honestly, it’s something any software or hardware/software company plans for. And it can be just as innovating and exciting. You maybe hold back a few super cool features you can’t quite work-out at time of launch, but you plan to push them out in the future. And at the same time, quash bugs that come out that people using the product discover.

          Dave, it has to come from the top. I’m happy to come-out and lend a hand leading that effort! 😉

          1. It is true that the Service support was and is the main problem of many US manufactures like SCI, DSI, EMU, Oberheim, Ensoniq. Alesis.

          2. they sell their required units…and then figure theres no more money to be made. so why sink money into fixing firmware when it will not return new sales $$ back. its that short-minded mentality that turns us off complete brands like DSI, not just turns us off one particular instrument. they need to see that this damage flows on to their other product sales and future product sales.

            I really wanted to buy a Tempest. but i resisted to sit back and see how its functionality would pan out. it seems i was right to hold back….i would have been frustrated as hell.

        2. +1 I too have been spoiled by Elektron and now expect an altogether higher standard of after sales support and continued product development.

          I’ve also been looking at drum modules and the Tempest was among the shortlist, but when I found the grumbles over midi and the bugs, it got struck off the list. Sounds great sure, but I want to buy something that is essentially complete, not something that’s half-baked and still gooey in the middle, ugh, all that uncooked dough – makes me constipated – stopping the flow of my sh*t man!

          Sorry Dave, this does look very nice and I’m sure you will still sell plenty!

          Perhaps if the reviews declare trouble free OS functionality then I will reconsider 😉

          1. wish elektron could have changed the crappy nobs on my octatrack in the same way DSI u-turned on theirs, i would pay good money to rid my self of them.

        3. I don’t know what you are talking about. I bought a P12 a few months ago and unfortunately it had some issues. It has been dealt with efficiently and in a super nice manner by DSI. Also, the bug list has been dealt with quite openly in the forum (at least until it imploded), and even more fantastic functions like the sequencer. I don’t feel in any way that my Prophet 12 is an unfinished product or has bugs that make it impossible to use. Do you remember synths from the 90’s? There was no way to update the OS, and for example my Korg Z1 has way more bugs than the P12. It can’t be upgraded but still i love it for what it is.

          So, yeah… you are bashing DSI just because you have unrealistic expectations of continuos development of new functions. I understand the Tempest can be a special case… but don’t feel the same about all DSI products.

  1. Wow. This seems like the final word in the recent trend of mono synths. (Which is funny because you could say that the Mopho started it). This is it guys, it’s not going to get better than this.

  2. Ok, this kicks the butt of my Mopho keyboard. I think it will be a nice upgrade but not a nice addition. Either one or the other.

    1. most likely was built for prototyping or just ease of testing boards and circuits ect.

      its branding + logos makes me question that though.

      1. labeled as “DSM00” (possibly DSM01 – bit blurry when enlarged) from “Dave Smith Modular”
        curtis filter, with vca incorporated. vc resonance, vc cutoff, switchable poles – can output post filter or post amp.

    2. Sharp eye! Considering that he included VC in/out on the Pro 2 it only makes sense that he would use it as a pathway into the modular market.

    3. haha now people can build a poly synth modular. here’s hoping he adds patch storage to his modules. considering he’s one of the innovators of features like that in synths…

  3. Looks like he wants to give Moog some real competition!

    This looks very favorable compared to a Minimoog – with 4 oscillators, dual filters, more flexible routing, on-board effects, sequencer etc. Very nice!

    1. Except for one thing that makes me love my Moog gear over my DSI gear — continuously variable waveform selection. I hate “clicking” between triangle, square, sine, etc on my Mopho when right beside it have a Slim Phatty that will let me use everything in-between.

      Except for that _one thing_, I would really like to add this DSI to my collection. As is, I think I’ll just pine for Prophet 12.

        1. Not really. How do you sweep through them when it’s “this wave or that wave”? What about modulating the waveform selection with an LFO?

          1. I guess you could add an LFO to one of the OSC’s amplitude. If the LFO’s are freely assignable and their phase adjustable, you could do a poor man’s vector synthesis.

            1. With the “shape” feature, you can morph smoothly between 3 different wavetables per oscillator, then you can apply LFOs to fade in the the 4 oscillators in polyrhythms in or out of sync with each other, making this an uber-deep Vector Synthesis synth!

      1. There is a “shape” feature for the oscillators on the Prophet 12 (and the Pro 2 I assume) which goes FAR beyond the capabilities of Moog’s wave morphing on their phatty synths, however, the Moog’s waveforms are morphing between 4 analog waves, vs. a ton of digital wave (and wavetable) morphing possibilities…

      2. I have a P12 with the Sub Phatty sitting beside it – I have the same experience as you James.
        The P12 is for deep programming, the Sub is for instant fun an satisfaction. For this reason (and that DSI don’t deliver on after sales), I’ll be hugging the Sub37 soon & looking at Voyager next. DSI have lost me.

      1. I believe he means “Total Integration” (like the Virus TI), which means Audio & Midi over USB with a dedicated plugin, to be able to use your hardware like a plugin in your DAW and use your hardware as a dedicated surface control…

        With today’s workflow with computers, DAW and plugins, some people would love to buy hardware for the sound but without loosing all benefit of the software. The only way to solve this is with a system like the “Total Integration” from Access.

        For once, I do agree that any hardware today should have a complete and total integration. Using external editor with midi cable, audio cable on your audio interface, etc… this is not a good solution and in the end, it’s easier and better to just use software.

        If I would be a hardware manufacture today, I’d make sure people could use my hardware product the way they want, including the software guys.

        My 2¢

    1. I think soundtower does this for their older synths… I see no reason why they wouldn’t continue the trend.
      You can do the same with SYSEX and NRPN’s with no plug in at all… all the DSI synths have a robust MIDI spec (full disclosure: I have not used a tempest)

  4. Looks bloody great, although I think the analog four/keys has a much more sophisticated sequencer (parameter lock automation).

    1. The sequencer is obviously intended to be something different than on the A4. DSI have quite some history in this kind of “sequencer” implementation – not least back to Prophet ’08.

        1. Seems like an outrageous claim. On a thread over at Muffwiggler’s Pym from DSI confimed that multiple steps can be adjusted or set all at once and that each step has a rest toggle button. That’s a step up from the other DSI sequencers. I will only know how I like it by playing around with it in real time. I really hope designers catch on that cool designs have be performance ready!

    2. without knowing the full details, it looks like each step can be set to any value you want. all we see is real time record, but it’s likely you’ll just be able to hit a button and manually turn the knobs. and 16 tracks. also it does MIDI out lol.

      analog4 got me to sell my polyevolver, and the pro2 isn’t going to get me to sell the analog4, but i think i’ll save up to get one. 🙂 it basically addresses everything that annoyed me with the evolver.

    3. He did show recording parameter edits in a ‘Live Record’ mode in this demo ^^^. That’s pretty much the same as P-locks.

    1. Good question – I don’t think the build quality looks quite as solid as the Minimoog Voyager, and the Voyager has the nice touchpad. Also, the Voyager XL is basically a modular synth, but costs $3,000 more.

      The oscillators on this are vastly more flexible, though and the analog connectivity looks great for this price. Also – what great monosynth has had an effects section anywhere as good as this?

  5. I love Dave, his synths and his enthusiasm with innovation. I also like that there is a bottle of wine in the background. He’s the real deal. Love my polyevolver and can’t wait to get this crazy awesome mono synth.

  6. A fucking mono synth?!? It’s half digital for Jesuses sake! 4 voices wouldn’t have costed that much more.

    And the 12 voice version SHOULD have had that damn step sequencer!!! These are not Pikemon, I cannot collect them all.

      1. Are you sure? I searched hi and low and found no reference about the sequencer update.

        And there are no controls for it anyway.

        And it should have been there day 1. With the controls.

        Such a small omission making such a big synth a no buy for me.

        If they weren’t so ridiculously expensuve, I could buy the mono version and the module.

  7. It looks beautiful, it’s got all the ins and outs, it’s got (almost) the same architecture of the P12 (oh, and don’t start that analog vs. digital oscillators discussion, again, please), it’s got wheels and those touch sliders (!!), all the knobs and buttons you could ever think of, the great display of the P12 (which is even better than the one on the Tempest, IMHO), 396 user and 396 factory programs (eat this, Moog!) – and it does the paraphonic thing.

    Now, do I remember correctly that you could do similar things to the Korg Mono/Poly back in the day with its four oscillators? Anyway, this one is one nice competition to the A4, the Sub 37, and definitely also the MFB Dominion 1.

    Would be nice, if you could polychain it with a P12 module and have all the hands-on control and keyboard…

    1. You are the first to mention the Dominion 1 van MFB. A synth which no one should bypass because i.m.o. that one has a lot to offer and for a very competitive amount of money.

      1. A lot of the features are things they cut their teeth on with the MEK. This release has inspired me to spend a lot more time with my blue beastie and I think it’s entirely reasonable to say this is more an updated MEK than updated Pro One. The sequencer is absolutely integral to sound shaping on the MEK, and they’ve kept and expanded it. The feedback is hugely advantageous, and again they’ve kept it (and improved it, sounds like). Hack, distortion, multi-tap delay, I feel at home already…
        I don’t see myself selling off just yet though, there’s still that full stereo path and wavetable sequencing 🙂

  8. I thought it’d be a p12 based mono synth, but the CV I/O is surprising. I think it’s an indication of DSI’s intended direction, confirmed by gojoe’s nice spot in the video.

    I expected it to be different enough to make p12 owners consider picking up the p12. As one myself, I have to be honest and state that seeing the sequencer in action really makes me wonder why it wasn’t included in the p12. I am curious if it is possible to add those additional waves to the p12 in an update.

    1. 4 CV ins and outs is genius! He said that the outs can send audio rate signals, so this means that you could also route the 4 voice paraphony into four separate outputs, plus have a stereo mix out still!

    2. Software wise it’s probably not a problem to add the sequencer to the Prophet 12, but what about the UI?

      The P12 already has a limited form of sequencer with the arpeggiator editor they added in the 1.1 software, but since there’s no dedicated knobs or buttons the interface is a bit limited.

      1. if you have an iPad: I`m currently working on a controller for the stepsequencer using Max/mira. it will work bidirectional, with knobs for pitch and bars for velocity+ i`m adding 2 additional lanes for parameter automation.
        anyway, i would love to have that sequencer on my p12 too 🙂

        1. i didn’t know about the update. I’ve checked the DSI website looking for one, but somehow missed it. I’ll be updating my P12 this weekend. Thanks guys. What Synthtopia is good for.

  9. I am confused, are they actually digital oscillators? Or DCO’s? If it’s a digital synth, it’s not something I have to have, even as cool as it looks. I love my Mopho and would trade up in a minute if I was replacing analog with analog.

      1. I concur – just for the record

        VCO’s are analog
        DCO’s are analog oscillators under digital control
        These newer synths use DSP generated oscillators fed through an analog signal path.
        The last option would allow for more complex wave shapes that are richly harmonic.
        We are seeing modular synths now with these sorts of hybridized oscillator modules also and I don’t think it should be discounted on the basis of DSP generated oscillators 9especially when modulations are available at audio rate.
        I don’t own a P12 but have used one and the synth is great at FM, AM, RM and is probably the nicest DSI synth I’ve heard to date next to the Evolver,

    1. “I am confused, are they actually digital oscillators? Or DCO’s? ”

      Digital wavetable oscillators that output an analog signal. Best of both worlds, baby!

      Dave Smith is one of the few synth designers that really puts a lot of thought into intelligent hybrid designs. Analog makes more sense for things like filters and distortion. Digital is more powerful for wavetable oscillators, effects, etc. By combining the best of both worlds, this really gives you a much more powerful synth and better sounding synth than any pure analog or pure digital.

  10. If this beautiful synth does indeed sell for only $2K then it is definitely destined to find a place in my studio.

    1. It’s called a dco and they have been about on thousands of great recordings since the early 80s. Like all dsi it’s a hybrid that’s more analog than digital and he is one of the few people who gets a perfect balance .

      1. DCO = Digitally controlled analogue oscillator

        Digital Oscillator = Digitally generated oscillator

        Not that it really matters, but the Pro 2 sports digital oscillators, which are not the same thing as a DCO.

  11. Ok so it’s basically a ESQ-1 under the hood. I know that’s a very crude way of thinking. But that’s why I have a modular and many mono and analog poly synths. I guess I would have to play one, but that’s not an easy task. So sorry Dave, if I am shopping muscle cars I want a V8 not a turbo charged 4 cylinder. I will hold out for the Korg Odyssey. This is a cool synth without a doubt just falls short on paper, I simply don’t like the idea that my sound would originate as 1’s and 0’s.

    1. Nope the ESQ1 and SQ80 use 12 BIT sampled waveforms as their oscillator base.
      I’d equate those to something like the Emax SE or EIII which sampled but had a VCA/VCF/LFO etc….
      A DSP generated waveform will not have a static duty cycle as it is calculated in realtime (which is why it will do sync, pulse width modulation, ring modulation, amplitude modulation and frequency modulation) and all other modulations within the audio rate domain.
      May I suggest you try out a Prophet 12 before passing judgement as the oscillator generation is the same or similar in both of these synths. It just doesn’t sound like anything sample based fed through an analog signal path to my ears and is a great hybridization of old and new technologies.
      Each to their own but I don’t find digital to be a dirty word.
      I have only one analog synth in my studio these days with everything else being VA, FM, Formant, Additive, S&S, SID, Sampling and Physical Modelled (MOSS) and field recordings – I work primarily with hardware bar Tassman, Reaktor, Aalto,ACE and still use an analog desk.
      The quality of ones music isn’t determined by the analog or binary nature of the sound source IMHO.

  12. The Prophet 12 used 6 Sharc DSP chips to create 12 voices. I wonder why DSI didn’t include 2 voices (presumably from 1 of those chips) in this? I wonder if the extra processing power is needed for the sequencer feature or if they ordered a cheaper, less powerful chip to save cost, which could only handle 1 voice rather than 2?

    1. I wonder this myself. I believe they use the CPU for the sequencer and the DSPs are purely used for the oscillator function. GIven that the SHARC 21479 (what’s in the P12) are less than $20 in manufacturing level quantities, putting a total of 6 of them and the additional filters seems like it would add up to a total cost similar to the current P12, but you’d have true 12-voice, sequencer, CV, extra waves and so on.

      1. Don’t quote me on this, but over in the GS thread I think Pym mentions the filter is discreet components, so adding a second voice is more than just tacking on a couple chips. Adding the summing stages, the bells and whistles that come with the P12 like unison spreads… it’s not trivial, and more than that starts to lose focus. I think they’ve got this one pretty well squared – my only question is how well the sequencer deals with the paraphonic stuff.

  13. Looks way cool. I was wondering when someone was going to get back into MS2000 territory and raise the bar. I think they just did it.

    You’ll still have to pry my MS2000BR from my cold dead fingers though.

    1. I second the request for a desktop/rack version of this. I’d snap it up! ALTHOUGH I’d really hope it wouldn’t turn into one like the almost knobless Pro 12 module! Not a good design decision that.

      @Kdub. I got an MS2000BR recently from eBay, and for a relatively simple synth, it’s amazingly rewarding to programme! Such a good design and such a useful instrument.

      I’ve had more than a few analog and digital synths down the years, and I couldn’t care less where the signal comes from. What matters is that you can get sounds that you like and that work in the musical context. Easily my favourite sounding synth, of the ones I’ve owned, is the Virus C. It has way more sweet spots than my Analog 4, amazing though that machine is too. I like the fact that modular geeks are introducing digital sources and processing into their monster systems nowadays. If I can ever afford this, it’ll be me too.

      1. Yeah, man you’ll probably get a kick out of this, coming from an owner of a Virus C and MonoEvolver Keys. They play really well together and a lot of the modulation routing philosophy is shared. Using the beefed up sequencer in the Pro 2 to control the virus simultaneously is sounding like a fun lost weekend in my mind. Maybe 2 or 3 even…

    1. All of them! I think the primary advantage with the DSI synths is the massive flexibility. If you want to set up some crazy modulation chains, they’re generally happy to accomodate. I’d be thrilled to play any of those, but the moog will get you a smaller set of sounds (although done very well) and the AK/A4 looks to be a great composition tool (though I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on on yet).

  14. I love reading all the digitalphobia. You’ve got people with no idea what an oscillator does or how it works saying that digital is a deal breaker, as if it sounded any different or somehow worse. People are conflating a primitive stereotype of an aliasing DSP synth with DSI’s digital waveform generators.

    Or maybe folks somehow think that high-resolution sample rates are perceptibly “stair steppy” which is a discredited myth.

    A properly implemented sawtooth coming out of a D/A converter will scope identically to a VCO or a DCO. Identically! How those identical sawtooth waves got there is irrelevant. And DSI can do way more with a digital oscillator bank than any pair of VCOs.

    Digital is a deal breaker? Talk about a viral placebo effect and hype feedback loop. This might well be the ultimate mono.

    1. I can’t recall if I found this here or somewhere else but this video went a long way to explaining D/A and A/D conversion to a lot of my friends, fully explaining how there’s no stair stepping, etc. It also goes into band limiting filters and how they eliminate aliasing, etc. It’s excellent for anyone who really wants to understand this stuff at a high level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ9IXSUzuM

      Aside from the waveform ‘smoothness’ not being a real issue, VCOs have tuning instability that’s sometimes desired. That can be effectively reproduced with ‘slop’ and other techniques on DSP/CPU-based engines (or even with DCOs as on DSI’s DCO-based synths).

    2. I agree, but I think some people are being put off by the digital oscs due to the price.

      A Novation ultranova is $699, has more digital oscs, filters, envelopes, LFOs, true wavetables, and it fully polyphonic… I know that the filters and VCAs, US manufacturing, etc.. cost money… but a $2000 mono with 90% digital parts is going to raise some eyebrows.

      As a comparison… this synth is half the price of a virus TI2 keyboard (which uses similar DSP and has over 80 voices of polyphony, MUCH more powerful synth engine, and is 16 part polyphonic)… it’s more expensive than the fully polyphonic Analog Keys (also a hybrid). It’s a digital monosynth that costs more than TWO Moog Sub Phattys (which have much better build quality AND analog oscillators.)

      I think digital is awesome. Much more flexible… I just think that a hybrid mono for $2000 is overpriced when there are MANY other DSP based synths that cost less and have much more power already on the market.

      That said, I’m probably still buying one. 🙂 The heart wants what it wants….

      1. You’re comparing apples with pears. The Virus is completely digital, including all “components” and effects up to the D/A converter at the anolg audio out. The P2 is analog all the way except for the digital oscillators and some of the effects. That means, the Virus is basically a computer in a special box.

        The Sub Phatty can do a sub set of what the P2 can do in terms of sound design, starting with the 2 (not 4) analog oscillators. These are probably great, but they can do just a couple of waveforms – not as many as the P2. The Sub Phatty has 16 presets, the P12 has 2x 396. And so on…

        I am not saying one is better than the other, but when comparing instruments, please compare instruments of the same range…

  15. nice sounding filters, a lot of money for digital oscillators though. i don’t understand why analog modeling synths still exist, and why one would have CV. Just do the real thing. Or something new.

    1. “analog modeling” “why one would have cv” Wow. I don’t know, Make Noise, Harvest Man, Buchla, Intellijel? There’s just no shortage of people on the interwebs that just don’t get it.

    2. So much confusion among synth noobs!

      This sort of hybrid approach has been going on in the modular world for a decade or more, and most of DSI’s synths are hybrids too. Dave Smith helped pioneer wavetable/’vector synthesis. Tell us why the Prophet VS is not a classic, great-sounding synth!

      There’s a place for simple analog oscillators – but most modular synthesists also pay more and get some digital oscillators that have more advanced feature sets.

      1. To be fair to the noobs, they know that they like the sound of analog, and unless you’re one of the few people who have made a synth out of pieces (or connected the pieces in a modular), how would they be expected to know what parts of the signal paths need to be analog to get the sound they want?

        It’s dead-simple to code an oscillator. It’s a bit trickier to program a band-limited oscillator without losing high-end punch. But getting a dsp filter “right” is a real pain in the ass, especially once you’ve put an envelope or LFO on it. When I program a synth, I always end up spending 10 times as long fussing with the filters as I do with the oscillators.

        For most people, I think, it’s the analog filter they are responding to. They just know they like analog. Sticking to all-analog is simply a defensive stance to make sure they are getting the kind of sound they like.

  16. Great to see Dave presenting in person =) looks impressive! Looks very similar to P12, almost too similar that I wish it had some distinct markings/colours. So.. if one had to choose, P12 or Pro2?

  17. i-dsi mini ,
    i-dsi maxi ,
    i-dsi P38 ,
    i-dsi pod ,
    -dsi minipod ,
    i-dsi P19 ,
    i-dsi P19x4
    etc etc etc
    synthh makers are king of segments-market !

  18. Seems like a nice synth, but for a bit less money I could get an Elektron Analog Keys:
    4 voices (analog oscillators), a more advanced Step sequencer and soon Bridge, the Elektron take on the TI concept.
    So, is it really the best mono synth on the market?… maybe, but…

    1. The Analog Keys lists for $150 less and is a nice synth, but it’s not an Apples to Apples comparison.

      This is specifically designed to be a mono synth and has a very sophisticated voice design, modulation, connectivity and effects. It’s more of a one-knob-per-control design, too.

    2. Very different approaches to be sure, but there’s something to be said for sound design on a knobby synth – I lose track of time on my MEK like nothing else I own. That said, my ideal plan would be to pair this with an octatrack and get the best of both worlds! Make love, not h8 bra!

  19. ‘i can’t tell you how excited i am’ – and in the back we see a bottle of grappa. 😉

    nevertheless: wonderful machine. informative video.

  20. Ok it’s look cool but I still have my doubts about the price. 1,999$ really ? An additional 200$ and you got your prophet 12 or even 200$ less and you will end with the module one. They seriously need to revise its price, at least in my opinion.

    1. What are you talking about? The prophet 12 is 1,000 dollars more and the module is 200 dollars more. Plus this does offer several features that the prophet 12 doesn’t and its clearly intended to serve a different purpose.

    2. There’s usually a big difference between a monophonic synth voice and a polyphonic synth voice.

      With a monophonic voice, you want to have the ability to make huge, complex sounds that can cut through anything. You want to have tons of modulation options, approaching modular complexity, and tons of real-time control.

      With a polyphonic synth, you are typically using them to play polyphonically, so the voices are generally designed to create sounds that blend together well. As an example, look at the voice architecture of the Roland Alpha Juno synths. They’ve got extremely basic voices that sound absolutely fantastic played polyphonically.

      Smith’s definitely gone this route with the Pro 2. If you want to compare it to something, try comparing it to a Voyager or a Voyager XL.

      1. I compare it with the prophet 12 because the Pro 2 is clearly one voice of the prophet 12 with some additional “software” features. In the same way as the Mopho was for the prophet 08. And the Mopho was (and actually is yet) sold less than half of the price of the Prophet 08. So this is why I don’t understand the street price announced by DSI on this one.

        Even compared to a minimoog Voyager I still think it is overpriced. But as usual, this is just a comparison on paper. Maybe I will change my mind when I will test a Pro 2.

    1. I just bought a “demo” p 12 module on eBay from pro audio star for 1750. They then offered me a new one for 49 more a “one day sale” I declined and got a new one anyway…the guy knows what he’s talking about w prices if u. Know where to shop

  21. Here is a little known fact. Most modern virtual analog synths do not model the oscillators. They are playing static 12 bit samples of analog waveforms.

    The oscillators on the P12 are capable of very rich, deep analog synth goodness. You can adjust the tuning slop and it will vary the tuning slightly, per voice. When I played one I was not sure if it was analog or digital at first. I was getting P5, DX7, and PPG type sounds from the presets. And it all sounded FAB! So I don’t care what’s under the hood if it sounds fab. The digital oscillators allow a range of possibility the the Arp Odyessey could never achieve. Morning from one wave to another, FM and RM between oscillators, fat detuned stacks of waveforms- just the possibilities of the oscillators alone miles beyond any other monosynth.

    CV in AND out are a big plus if you already own modular gear. A flexible sequencer that outputs CV and midi. Audio inputs. Dual filters with routing options, the ability to play chords and a ton of modulations sources and destinations in one tidy little instrument.

    I can’t wait to try one. I urge everyone to try one before passing judgement. Not just this one either.

    1. “Most modern virtual analog synths do not model the oscillators. They are playing static 12 bit samples of analog waveforms.”

      No, sorry. Where on earth did you get that idea? Most VA synthesis is a variation of bandlimited impulse trains these days.

      1. He’s kind of right about the static samples… The Roland Gaia, M-Audio Venom… just those off the top of my head… use samples instead of actually generating the waveforms…

    2. a few mentions of the Korg Arp Odyssey here. I had one. Actually two, a grey and a black. They were wonderful in 1975, but my P-12 (and I’m sure the P-2) is light years better. To compare the two in the same sentence is almost comical. I will bet you within a month of its release they start popping up all over eBay.

  22. Every time I want to buy a DSI, I hear about all these unfinished Os’s and bugs and slow updates. This synth has my attention, in a serious way, but I honestly don’t know if I can take the plunge, knowing what their reputation is like. I guess I’ll have to wait to see what early adopters say, once this thing has been on the market for a little while.

  23. I was right: a three (and half) octaves synth. But the price seems a little to high, considering that you can buy a Prophet 8 for that price…

  24. Dave states features, but how many of them will be available at release & how many will never see the light of day.
    Fool me once Dave, shame on you – Fool me twice, shame on me…. your not going to fool me twice Dave.

    1. For me, the real price difference between the P2 and the P12 makes me want the P12, not the P2, the step sequencer and CV in/outs do not save the day … i keep asking myself why should i buy this one … count the number of voices/oscillators of the P12, divide the price difference, easy choice.

  25. for 2k you’d think it would be a hybrid at the oscillator level, with digitial oscillators it would be neat if they could act as a wavetable synth as well, maybe even fm one oscillator from another which would be rad in a hybrid box

    for the price, personally i see more value and flexibility with an elektron analog keys, mayebe even a sub37, for the dsi price get a sub37 2 minitaurs and a shruthi or something

    maybe i am biased cuz i hated my original mopho, wth was up with mopho having the world’s slowest cutoff knob too btw

  26. wish i could edit my last post

    love all the cv i/o and mod matrix working together, it sounds nice and would be fun to patch in and out of gear and use as a control box

  27. Have become a bit of an Elektron exclusive gear head (not TOTALLY) and DSI version just seems well, like an incomplete facsimile. The whole OSC thing seems a bit shady too, I mean it’s a freaking DSP programmed with nuance and genius I’m sure, but it ain’t a “digital OSC”. DSI is boasting an analog tag line to be hit with retro revival. I mean Elektron is doing it too, but at least with A4 you are in fact getting DCO’s not DSPs by the by the Tempest might not seem like the way to go if you get your hands on an Analog RYTM, also an Elektron product, as mine came in not two days ago and I am all up in that beast because it’s basic conventions are the same as the Analog 4, so you get fairly instant satisfaction. It sounds wicked, sure you can get the standard issue 808 or 909 sounds, but that’s not why one buys Elektron. One buys Elektron because it can facilitate the sounds you hear in your mind, or dreams, or on your last wild trip. I am getting drum sounds I have not ever heard elsewhere from a “drum machine”. Point being I think DSI is pulling an all out assault to keep his cool currency in circulation. If you REALLY feel like this is the one ring to rule them all I say kudos to Mr. Smith and his expert team of whatever it is they do. Elektron stuff reaches further into the future and they have the best after purchase support and updates.

  28. I’m opened to Digital OSC, DCO, whatever, i own polyevolver, analog4, Sq80, nothing makes me cream my pants like my VCO synths: Roland System100, Sh101, Akai VX90, Slim Phatty, and minibrute. it is just that grain that ive never heard digital do. filters are important, but the oscilators are the real base for a great sound in my experience.
    The pro1 owners might be smilling quietly, havent heard any mention of that on this thread. That is the point. does it sound better than a Pro1 Dave? My guess is NO. prove me wrong!

  29. All things considered, and moving past the DSP/VCO debate- I have to add that I bought a Mopho in 2011 (Kb version), and have played it in the studio and on the stage constantly since then. It’s the one piece of gear that I wod never part with. That said I am a DSI fan for life. However after reading about all the bugs and dealing with my Mopho sometimes ghost jogging through patches, and a few other glitches (annoying but it’s still playable) I gotta say if DSI would support the already released gear I would be much less forgiving of this new release! Fix my Mopho, and all these Tempests for Christs sake! Then offer us new stuff?

    1. I’m with you..

      I keep going back to my Mopho…it just has “it” for me.

      and once I learned to program the sequencer, it really opened up for me (I am not an accomplished player)

  30. This winter I replaced a Korg Radias I have been playing in bands and using in the studio for 6 years, which seems to have been similar design to DSI’s P12, with a Prophet 08. The Radias just didn’t sit in the mix with my Moog Sub Phatty, Moog Prodigy, Moog Opus 3, Fender Rhodes, Korg SV1. When played with band the Radias sounded separate not real ? But now The Prophet 08 KICKS BUTT in my setup. It stands up in a live band, and scores high for me in the studio with many genres of music I compose. I love my Prophet 08 !! I now want the Pro2 NOT a Sub 37 since my Sub Phatty has a killer new Moog sound, The Pro2 is in the DSI class of it’s own from what I’ve seen and heard in these videos. GO DAVE !

  31. “As synth geeks, we asked ourselves what our dream mono synth would be,” says Smith. “Then we built it.”

    That’s just like Moog except that instead of building their dream synth, they make another version of the same thing, added lights, gold plated knobs, nicer wood and call it all innovation.
    I bet the president of Moog Music couldn’t even patch a Voyager to sound like a bass.
    Dave Smith rocks because he’s got imagination and isn’t afraid.
    Moog is circling the drain because they haven’t a clue ever since Bob died.

  32. Don’t you think that Prophet 08 + pro 2 might be a better choice than just one Prophet 12? You will have pure analog with the Prophet 08 and even more capabilities with the Pro 2 and two keyboards? I was still hesitating between the Ptophet 08 and the 12, I have a roland D50, a yamaha TX802, a nord stage II, a nOrd lead 2X, a matrix 1000 Oberheim, an Emu proteus 2000 and a Nord C2 organ….I’ve been dreaming of a Moog and Prophet for the past 30 years, I was 15 when the prophet 5 was released and I think that my next purchase will be the last one for synthesizers….so, I don’t want to make a mistake….I have a lot of Moog sounds in my libraries and I think Moog are very expensive for what they offer and they are always monotimbral, so, your thoughts?

    1. Prophet08 and Pro2? I think a Prophet12 and Moog Sub-37 would be the best bet. The Pro-2 is better for bass and distorted lead sounds. Whereas, the P12 is better for cords, pads, arp, and fx. Usually, mono synths are better in the lead and bass department. And the Moog Sub-37 makes better bass and leads than the Pro2. Moog is pure creamy milk chocolate. Whereas, DSI Pro-2 is a chocolate frap from Starbucks. Sort of watered down, but still really good.

      IMHO the Prophet08 sucks in the mix. Because It overwhelms everything. This is why people like Virus and Nord because they do well in the mix and never overwhelm it. The prophet08 overwhelms a mix. The Prophet12 doesn’t have this problem and fits in a mix perfectly.

  33. It comes down to whether you want to do creative synthesis (Pro 2), you want to the best polysynth (Prophet 12) or you want to play the old-school P5 sounds (Prophet 8).

    The Pro 2 is the most powerful synth of the bunch, though, in terms of creative synthesis.

    1. You said: Pro-2 is more powerful than a Prophet12? I think you need to go back to synth 101. Or go back to Guitar Center and punch the guy in the mouth who told you this rubbish. Either way, the P12 has modulation, like the Pro2. Dave said himself: The Pro2 is one voice of the Prophet12. With your logic, a Mopho is more powerful than a Prophet08. Also, creative synthesis? Hahaha. Fruity Loops is calling you, my friend.

  34. Yes, you’re right, stating like that is quite obvious, so, i want the old Prophet 5 sound, so, Prophet 08 and the Pro 2….and sorry for Moog….

  35. This synth has wooden panel, lots of knobs, prestige and hype.
    Yet another (virtual) analog synth that makes only waves, bips and glitches …

  36. I own a Pro Two and it is certainly harsh, brittle, and as I’ve said before “lives in the middle bands” of the eq spectrum. I won’t blame this on the digital oscillators as opposed to VCO’s – because that’s not the issue. Something about the unit is making it brittle and I don’t know what it it. Signal path can be 100% analog after the oscillators but it’s not helping Dave’s cause. The ProTwo is ..bitey, icy, clinical, and non-organic.

    1. I went with the Sub-37. I like the Moog sound. The Pro-2 has a lot more features, though. However, It doesn’t have the Moog sound and that’s important to me. You get a lot for your money with the Sub-37 and I love it. You’re pretty much set with fx, bass, and leads when you buy the Sub-37. I might add a Minitaur to free up the Sub-37 for extra duties.

      I love my Prophet12, though.

  37. I own over 30 hardware synths. And I know how to mix. IMHO, Prophet08 is a crack at vintage synthesis. So it fits in that realm. The Pro2 is the ultimate modern mono synth, and The Prophet12 is the ultimate modern poly synth. All a pro-2 is: one voice of a Prophet12, has a sequncer, 2 new filters, a new bucket delay, and super waveforms. These are the main things a Pro-2 has over a Prophet12. The Oberheim filter and prophet5 filter on the Pro2 could only be done on the Pro-2. And It would’ve never worked on the Prophet12, like It did on the Pro2.
    In layman terms, the Pro2 is a Prophet12 with extra features. Most people didn’t want to spend 3 grand on a Prophet12 so dave made a synth like a Prophet12 for 2 grand and put the Pro one brand on it. DSI is going in a new direction with the pro 2.

    1. Ah, the Prophet12 is still the flagship synth. The Pro2 is the little brother. How is that possible? The Prophet12 has 12 voices, and the Pro2 only has 1. You can’t get very far with a parphonic synth, lol. Try making epic pads and cords!! Not going to happen. Even a tera has more voices, lol.

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