Dave Smith Instruments Prophet REV2 Synthesizer Review

In his latest Sonic Lab video, host Nick Batt takes a look at the new Dave Smith Instruments Prophet REV2 keyboard synthesizer.

The REV2 retains all of the key features of the Prophet ’08 and expands on them. It has twice the polyphony, twice the mod matrix, waveshape modulation on all waveforms, digital effects per layer in stacked or split voice mode, a polyphonic step sequencer per layer, and more.

Features:

  • 16-voice polyphony lets you allocate voices as you wish
  • 5-octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch
  • Dual DCOs, sub-oscillator, and 2/4-pole resonant lowpass Curtis filter per voice
  • Waveshape modulation, Modulation Matrix, bi-timbral operation
  • Onboard FX engine with reverb, delays, chorus, phase shift, ring mod, and distortion
  • Polyphonic step sequencer, advanced arpeggiator
  • Per-knob programmability and real-time tweakability
  • Crisp OLED display is easy to see on darkened stages
  • Integrated power supply, USB support

REV2 Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability 

The REV2 16-voice poly synth is available now, with a street price of about $2,000. See the Dave Smith Instruments site for more info.

25 thoughts on “Dave Smith Instruments Prophet REV2 Synthesizer Review

  1. And the most important feature of all, full keyboard microtonal support. Tune any key to any pitch using the MIDI Standard Tuning protocol, which can be embedded in sequences and supports real time tuning changes. Also has a 0.006 cent tuning resolution.

    World class. Outta the park.

  2. I should say that my Prophet 08 desktop module really put the joy of analogue back in my heart – reaches parts other VSTs can’t reach – so the 16-voice rev-2 is a welcome dream 🙂

  3. Why buy the Prophet 6? Oh that’s right. VCOs sound better than DCOs. Pfft. Yeah, right.
    Four octaves are better than five. Pfft. Yeah, right.
    Six voices are better than sixteen (or eight). Pfft. Yeah, right.
    The REV2 costs less. So, it must not be as good. Pfft. Yeah, right.

    Cue the naysayers.

    1. I’m using a Prophet 6 for an overall sound the REV2 can’t deliver. If you have no clue about that, fine with me. I also love the 4 octave space and weight exactly as it is, for what I need, live and in the studio.

      They are both fine instruments for different reasons. But trashtalking efforts towards the Prophet 6, for the obviously pathetic reason of wanting to feel better with the cheaper model, isn’t that a bit childish?

      1. I spent a lot of time making the choice between the Prophet 6 and Prophet Rev2. Once I took a hard look at modulation options, I decided I would rather have a modern analog synth with lots of options, rather than a reissue of a 1970’s classic. I can understand that a modern reissue of a 70’s synth is just what some keyboardists are looking for, so I won’t cast aspersions on them for that. I do know this, I owned a Prophet 600 and sold it because it was so simplistic and sonically limited. There is only so much you can do with that sort of instrument.

  4. i don’t know if it was the patch but as soon as the video started i liked the patch as nick stated he didn’t connect with it. i felt the same. while dave has always been innovative and gave great features i never enjoyed the overall sound. but just this video sounds very nice to me.

  5. I think this is a great sounding synth that maybe isn’t as flashy as some other stuff out there, but is a solid performer and gets down to business. I think it’s a great update, and I felt that I noticed a higher quality sound compared to the Prophet “08 (which I used to own) as well.

    One thing I really appreciated when I tried it is the higher quality keybed. This is the first DSI synth to use this higher quality keybed on a 5 octave instrument. This isn’t the cheapest analog poly, but it is one of the best made. Quality parts, sockets that are mounted to the chassis, internal power supply, etc. I think it’s a great value overall.

  6. Someone always alludes to Prophets being too creamy or etc., but that doesn’t stop numerous players. If you don’t think they have enough bite, its because you haven’t programmed them deeply enough yet. Its in there, especially with the ones that offer effects. I’ve owned a couple of them and they have power to spare, especially when you stack them with other things. The REV2 manual should make great summer reading.

    1. Actually, I think the one criticism I would have (as a Prophet 08 and former Prophet 12 owner) is that the Curtis filter is too bright and a bit harsh on the ears – not creamy at all! (unless you were referring to sour cream 🙂

      Meanwhile I’ve been rediscovering the joys of using the audio mod on the filter, that’s a nice way of getting a bit more grunge into the sound.

      1. I have to concur with Richard here. I cannot embrace the brittle and overly ‘bright’ sound of DSI synths in general. The OB-6 is the only DSI synth I actually liked in recent years.

        I realise this is subjective however what some consider an organic sound, I consider brittle and harshly bright.

    2. STD I’m not sure I agree. Yes the effects allow you to achieve some interesting things. I had some fun last night creating a group of patches using different delay times to create ring modulated chord drone tones along with the primary variable frequency harmonics. But it is just playing with fx. The basic subtractive synthesis sounds aren’t that good. The old, “If you’re not getting amazing sounds it’s because you don’t know what your doing” line wears a bit thin really. If there was a skill element then there would be more commercially available patches and demos of great sounds but they are just not out there on YT or Soundcloud.

      1. Stamp, your point is well-taken, but I stand by my comment as a good *example* of how different our ears can be. Hearing contrasting views is almost as amusing as reviewing a nice new bank of 100 sounds. I’m no stranger to enjoying that, but when I’m writing, I almost always have to tweak-to-fit. I call that “Fun.” The ultimate ‘cure’ for a synth having a seemingly brittle or soft overall sound is stacking it with something different. My old 8-bit Mirage really took off when layered with a crispier wavetable synth. You either live inside a monster like a Kronos, with its multiple engines, or you layer things. Its one good approach, anyway. My God, my initials are STD. I should change my handle to ChlyMIDIa.

  7. what on earth am i supposed to do if i cannot express myself in a multidimensional polyphonic way? no MPE no buy for me

  8. I have P08 as jamming/live synth and midi keys. Filter is only one issue of this synth. Almost all filters have interesting sound on 80-90% of their range. P08 filter has about 10-15% range of analog sounding synth filter. Maybe mr. Smith has many tons of these chips. I have no other ideas to release new synth with P08 Curtis filter chips. Filter on Pro2 is way better and musical.

  9. I have a P6, kept it because of the favourable reviews rather than loving the sound. I agree with Keymasta, DSI filters sound quite anaemic. The P6 does creamy pads very well. But so does Omnisphere 2 and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to splash £2.5k on the 6. Yes this review is about the Rev2 but DSI stuff does all sound very similar. I just bought an Akai AX73 for £400. It knocks the Prophet 6 outa the court on sound

    1. The P6 doesn’t even have the same filter design as the Rev2. One is a discreet design based on the SSM 2040 (P6) and the other is a Curtis filter. The oscillators are different too. Can’t agree that the P6 and Rev2 sound similar.

  10. I’m of the opinion that maybe the Curtis filter shouldn’t sound like a moog ladder or an OB and etc. It’s allowed to have a distinct character of its own and complement my other instruments in beautiful ways.

    I never buy a synth on the premise that it can sound like every other synth out there. They all have strengths and limitations. Learn to use them, expand your palette and STFU.

  11. I bought the 16 voice Rev 2 very recently. At first running through factory presets I thought to myself “this sounds a lot like my Oberheim Matrix” , at least the kind of classic brass/string type patches I usually use did, so I was feeling some redundancy, but then I realized my Matrix only has 6 voices, requires external effects, has no knobs, has no keyboard, has no sequencer, and doesn’t look as cool. So for me the synth is a keeper. The only thing really that bugs me a little is the placement of the pitch/mod wheels, but its not a deal breaker (actually it could have been if this was for live use or as a main controller .. old habits are hard to break) I could see adding the Prophet 6 and OB6 modules to it down the road. That Prophet 6 (like the old 5’s) is butter.

    1. I’m with you on the sound of the Prophet 6. I love mine!

      I think this synth is a great replacement for aging polysynths like the Matrix 6, etc. You raise a lot of good points. I hear you on the placement of the wheels, but the advantage of them is that a) the synth is more compact as a result and b) you can actually hold a bass note and pivot up to hit the mod wheel at the same time which is actually helpful sometimes.

      Imagine if each side of a split transmitted on their own midi channel? You could do splits over midi where one half controlled a P6 module and the other half controlled an OB-6, and layer THAT with an internal split. Madness.

  12. Yes for the split to go external with an OB6 and P6 modules….I had that in mind when I bought my P12, not done yet though….

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