2014 NAMM Show: This video, via sonicstate, captures synth pioneer Dave Smith giving a quick overview of his latest synth design, the Prophet 12 Desktop synthesizer.
Details on the Prophet 12 Desktop are available at the Dave Smith Instruments site.
23 thoughts on “Dave Smith Introduces The Prophet 12 Desktop Synthesizer”
Indeed it defines what a modern polyphonic synthesizer should be
thank you dave smith. i have been waiting for someone with clout to say that just because an osc is analog doesnt mean its better. analog is great, in most every case analog trumps digital, but sometimes an analog synth just doesnt give you the sound you want.
You got that partially right except in stating that “analogue” trumps “digital” in almost every case. Academically speaking it does not. And the practical evidence is already out there. Modelling can not only replicate analogue signal profile, it can exceed analogue in ways that simply cannot be done with analogue circuitry.
Dave incidentally worked on one of the first VA’s in the industry.
i love both and don’t understand the either/or versus mentality. It’s a lazy mindset that only hurts music. My hope is that some sort of equilibrium will be born from the popularity of both analog and new forms of digital (ios), but we have a tendency towards all or nothing in our pro-sumer community.
That said, I have no doubt that the workflow on the module is great. I have the keyboard version, and as complex as it is, I have not once felt the need to read the manual. I typically read the manuals cover to cover before diving in. That said, I still believe I would miss all those knobs.
Well said. Instruments should be a means to creating music, and not the goal itself. If analog (digital) helps the sound a musician needs, then its useful. It’s all about the music! These religious arguments about analog vs digital (or corporate name religion wars, eg. Korg vs Roland, Ableton vs FruityLoops, etc…) to be on the nerd level of Star Wars vs Star Trek. Embarrassing.
Needs moar knobs! I thought Dave liked knobs, but you could land a cessna on that thing!
Its $800 cheaper though.
If it was more knobby(but not as knobby as the whole p12), the price difference wouldn’t have made sense to lot of people and the workflow would still have been similar to this.
Knobs all the way!!!
But if it’s not all the way, I say
I’m hoping they learned their lesson on the (failed, in my opinion) Mopho desktop interface. If I recall from a previous demo video touch the button for each section brings up those parameters on the screen and then you can page up/down through them. So it’s not as nice as having one knob/function but at the same time likely an improvement over the Evolver desktop control matrix that had me memorizing arbitrary groupings of parameters. This way it’s all laid out visually like the P12 keyboard is with sub group editing on the main knobs. Seems good.
I say what I said before: this synth is ugly like hell. Such an awful design. The «eyes also eat».
I’d like to see what u design…I’m sure your way better than Dave Smith…it’s not meant for looks its meant to create sounds. The good news for you is Roland MC 303s can be bought for $150 on ebay and if in good shape they look awesome!
It’s your opinion.
What design is? It’s not just making something look something, there are different parameters and preferences. They wanted it to be as small as such a monster can possibly be, and still be functional, reliable and relatively affordable.
To me it looks so good, that I want rub my cheek into it…maybe even all four of them.
Synths are generally just BOXES, so debating the look is pointless when its the nature of the GUI that matters most. A guitar with inlaid rosewood and mother of pearl is gorgeous and I laff at the fun way a few people decorate their keys. But this? Nah, Dave has a streak of Moog in him when it comes to what gives a synth a feel you can really embrace. I could easily see pinstriping this thing, installing the editor and hunkering down with it. If you’re serious, you know what this is and why its humbling to behold. The look is only the portal to the VOICE.
I’m a huge fan of analog equipment but in this case I think that the Digital element compliments the Analog element quite nicely. I had a chance to play around on this synth today and it sounds as good if not better than any analog synth that I’ve ever listened to.
if i had the cash i would buy one, because digital or analogue its about the character of the instrument and this has got bags of it
If I’m going to spend big money for a Analog Synth or Dum Machine it’s going to be From DSI because I know I’m getting my money’s worth with FULL midi capabilities, Quality build. and most of all the great SOUND.
If DSI can give the P12 full MIDI, then why does the Tempest not?
I’d be holding fire a while.
I’ve owned almost all the biggies over the decades, including Prophet-5 serial# 0012. The P-12 is the best poly-synth ever made. (OK- maybe there is something I’m not famliar with) It is the equivalent of a huge modular, only neatly packaged for performance. 60 oscillators, 48 LFOs, beautiful-sounding analog VCA, VCF, 4-tap DDL, massive patching options, and on and on. Get a Voyager & this and you are set for life. Anything else can be done with inexpensive software now.
For me the discussion is about good recallable sounds, be it analogue or digital. It is a discussion about hardware and real time control. Dave Smith is who we partly owe midi too and for that he is a serious part of musical history. None of his endeavours can be rubbished easily,
From the Mopho upwards, his synthesizer productions have forced other companies to produce for the budget end as well as the ‘moneyed’ end.
I am confident those with cash , will make fairly shit music on their expensive gear .
Dance music has been about the trickle up affect not the trickle down affect.
Vst/Audio integration like the Virus-ti would be great, (for that price it should be possible)
today is 2014, just to remember.
Sounds like you should get programming then.
I really liked the Desktop evolver interface. It was simple and very easy to control, for an insanely complex synth. I sadly just sold mine, but you know…. rent.
Dave’s getting real sick of defending those digital oscillators
ON MY LIST!