The Prophet 12 Synthesizer – Dave Smith’s ‘Best Synth Yet’


At the 2013 NAMM ShowDave Smith Instruments today introduced a new polyphonic synthesizer, the Prophet 12.

“After 35 years of creating synths, this is simply my best synth yet,” said Smith. “We sort of started from scratch on this one rather than spinning off another product from our previous designs.”

Here are the details:

The Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12



  • At twelve voices, the Prophet 12 boasts the greatest polyphony of any instrument Dave Smith has designed.
  • Each voice features four oscillators capable of generating classic and complex waveforms, a sub-oscillator, resonant analog low- and high-pass filters, and analog VCAs.
  • The new Character section adds a variety of wave shaping and sound sculpting options, like Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air.
  • Additional features include a tuned feedback path, a four-tap stereo delay per voice, expanded arpeggiator functionality, deep modulation capabilities, and bi-timbral operation.
  • The LFOs, delay, and arpeggiator can all be synced, either to the internal clock or an external MIDI clock.
  • Two programmable position- and pressure-sensitive touch sliders take the performance controls beyond the standard pitch and mod wheels (also included).

“We’re already blown away by the sonic breadth of this synthesizer’s new voice architecture,” Smith continued. “It doesn’t sound like anything else and I’m very excited for people to hear it.”

Here’s the official Prophet 12 intro video:

The Prophet 12 is expected to be available Q2 of 2013 with a projected MAP of $2,999.

62 thoughts on “The Prophet 12 Synthesizer – Dave Smith’s ‘Best Synth Yet’

      1. Een kroket zegt tegen een pizzacado: gaan jullie maar naar de Hal, ik ga naar Texas instruments. Als hij niet zo duur was zou hij verkocht worden als slim fats domino d-day

  1. For $2,999. you have to look to the other two keys and they will automatically go down.
    Ah yeah everybody was nagging for a polysynth ,here it is .
    I think it’s the most beautiful synth I have ever seen.
    And the demo from dave sounds super,especially the formula 1 race sounds 🙂

  2. Korg Mini MS-20 (retail $499; MS-20 recreation)
    Buchla Electric Music Box (Music Easel recreation)
    Dave Smith Prophet 12 (Prophet 5 grandson)

    ….what a year !!!

    1. I think that’s fair appraisal. It’s pretty spectacular and genuinely seems (and sounds) like something different from the usual. Would I buy it? Probably not, ive a JP8/JP4, but this does sound like its got more guts than the P08.

  3. …amazing man, amazing synthesizer!

    OT: what is going on with the bottle and the glass in the video?…it’s sorta moving around on that prophet 8 in the background, magic!

    1. funny these bottle and glass : sort of new marketing technique ???
      What you haven’t seen is the Glasses worn by the synth player (while Dave doesn’t wear glasses)
      Anyways….MONSTER SYNTH made in California……….

    1. I’m yawning too… Gear lust is a funny thing man… Every one is getting worked up over a product DSI has been making for years now…

      O.K… It has more polyphony… But if you really look at it from specs alone…. It’s nothing more than a Prophet 08 with 4 more voices and 2 multi timbal parts. (With a few of the Evolver features thrown in).

      everyone bugging out about how awesome this synth is could have bought a poly-Evolver 5 years ago and got even better features (but lower polyphony).

      RTFM guys… It’s cool… But not “a newly designed synth from the ground up.”

  4. I’m pretty excited by this synth… really excited, actually, but it has been my experience that it’s usually a good idea to let DSI synths mature a little bit before picking one up. Damn you, Dave, and the havoc you’ve wreaked on my bank account.

    A good day for us synth nerds.

  5. It is spectacular. And inaccessible to more budget limited players. I know that’s not DSI’s niche, but some of us would like to get a smaller more portable keyboard for under a grand. I know, the and the the Mopho x4 exists. But for under a grand. I suppose I’ll look for some of those used Prophet 08’s hitting Craigslist.

    1. I’d say that’s an extremely good idea. I got my almost brand new PEK for $1600 (as in turned on a few times) and my new Tempest for $1400. I won’t even think about picking up the P12 until it’s been out for a while and there are deals to be had and OS’s have been upgraded.

    2. Prophet ’08 is awesome and underrated in my opinion. 😉

      But man… 4 oscillators + sub oscillator * 12 voices + evolver madness/feedback/distortion/who knows what? I’m almost tempted to get a synth with a built-in keyboard, even if it lacks the mythical poly aftertouch of the Prophet T8…. 😉

  6. Bog moi… It’s an analog renaissance. Prophet 12. Mini MS-20 (will it be analog?) Sub Phatty. Minibrute. Mopho x4. It’s Christmas in July! In January!

  7. This was my dream. I’m aching to know if its got more modulation destinations than the evolver… LFO’s on the bit crusher and things like that would be amazing. I’m also so glad they added a pre-filter drive too. The high pass filter is resonant, which is another improvement I wanted from the evolver. I’m absolutely smitten with the idea of this synth. My only disappointment is that you can’t have 4 different sounds like the poly evolver.

  8. Amazing features but from what I’ve heard of the sound it’s no smoother or warmer than previous DSI stuff. Sounds just like the Evolver really. Sure you can distort it but thats not gonna make it any less harsh or gritty. I want to love it and I hope more sound demos will prove me wrong but I just don’t like that new DSI sound. I am lin love with the sub phatty though – sounds just like a synth should – if it doesn’t sound good to you it doesn’t matter how many fancy features it has. I really expected Dave to listen and do something more vintage and vco – however he just brought out a synth that sounds exactly like all the other DSI stuff. Bit annoyed really as I didn’ want that harsh bright gritty sound from the osc.

    1. Eh? The sub phatty sounds exactly like Moog has sounded the last 2 decades, with more base. You think that is innovative? Bad example dude.

    2. 1) I can hear the difference between an analog oscillator and a digital oscillator
      2) I’ve been working with a digital oscillator lately (see electricdruid dot net ). By itself, it clearly sounds digital. With an analog filter the sound improves significantly.
      3) the main point is that the sub oscillator (also digital) on the digital oscillator does remarkable things to beef up the sound. Because of this experience, I’m not ready to dismiss this instrument because it has digital oscillators.

      Also love 1) the KNOBS!!! 2) those slide controllers (Dave seems to have mastered that technique!) 3) digital delay (about the only thing I would have added to a P08, if I had one).

  9. The Tempest is still my dream production machine but I kept looking at that thing all day.

    Well unlike the beautiful but very rare Voyager XL, I am expecting a lot of P12 video reviews on youtube this year and enjoy it that way for a long time. 🙂

  10. As someone who owns a poly evolved rack, this addresses a lot of things I would have improved on the evolver. I’m suspecting some of the people talking never owned an evolver and spent time with it. This is great news, make no mistake

  11. Curse you synthtopia. Forecast for 2013: overstuffed space, empty bank account, months spent messing with analog synths. Worth it? Hmmm…… 😉

  12. I was leaning towards the Prophet 8 for this year….Now it looks like I am going to have to save up a little more! What an amazing sounding synth!

  13. This is very nice surprise. And the best Namm in ages!!! So good, that for me even the MS-20’s resurrection was left behind. I will buy that too if I have money left, but P12 is now where I’m heading right now.

  14. I love how Dave turns around in the beginning to say “Hello” after playing…very PBS. Anyhow, I was contemplating on getting a Poly Evolver until seeing this. Sounds great!!!

    1. Yeah, the polyevolver is a great synth, but 4 voices can be very annoying, and it has various rough edges that have been smoothed in DSI’s later synths (e.g. UI and patch architecture can be quite confusing).

      The P12 fixes all those issues and obviously adds a lot more… :]

      [No sequencer though, and I did like the polyevolver keyboard action more….. 🙁 ]

  15. This looks and sounds great, i hope it has a true analog signal path, without any A/D-D/A in the middle like the Evolver.
    Would it be safe to bet that after a while we can expect a Prophet 6 with one layer, 6 voices and a lower price?

  16. Mr Dave Smith is a Visionary Designer now he is leading the Concept of what others big brands should do, im talking about Access Virus, Roland, Korg, Nord and the list dont stop.

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