New Sounds For The DSI Pro 2 Synthesizer


Synthesist Robert Rich is working with one of the first Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 synthesizers, and shared this preview of the patches that he’s created using the new monophonic + paraphonic synthesizer:

Here’s what Rich has to say about the audio demo:

Here’s a quick run through some of the sounds I just finished making for the new Dave Smith Instruments Pro2. Many of these will be included in the preset library. This recording uses no external processing, no compression or clean-up, no external MIDI control. The only editing consisted of some overlaps to keep it snappy, and selecting the best sounding riffs. I was simply playing the keyboard and turning knobs, or using the internal sequencer or arpeggiator.

The Pro2 features two discreet filter designs, which can be used separately or mixed together in series or parallel. One of the filters resembles the original Prophet 5, a thick sounding fully resonant low-pass filter. The other filter is based on Tom Oberheim’s SEM State Variable design, with LP, HP, BP and notch, and a lighter resonance that doesn’t quite ring. Together they make a monster.

My own approach to sound design is not purist analog by any means, and the Pro2 is perfect for its ability to give punchy analog sounds while also offering a deep array of modulation and digital control. You may notice some of my sounds almost resemble a DX7, which is due to the ability of these digital oscillators to modulate each other, and interact with the filters, delays, feedback and other unusual sound-shaping tools. Technically, this is a monophonic synth, but it’s a very deep one, and also capable of 4-voice “paraphonic” polyphony.

Check out the audio demo and let us know what you think!

You can get more info on the Pro 2 at the DSI site.

26 thoughts on “New Sounds For The DSI Pro 2 Synthesizer

  1. Heard these over at the GS thread first, liked enough to listen again here. I love that the DSI devs are talking and taking questions on this. I’m very attached to my MEK, but this sounds amazing. Also hope that DSI has learned from past mistakes and there won’t be any nasty surprises.

  2. It’s not the least or the most interesting synth sound. It sure is cold though. Frankly, this demo could have passed as a recording of a cheap DCO, such as the Casio HT-700, processed through an Evolver (for the extreme modulations). Of course, to each their own and I’m sure many will enjoy the Pro 2. But it’s just not a texture I’d want to use except only sparingly.

    1. Using terms like “cold” or “cheap DCO” does not really do much for your case. You mean pitch-stable? Do you mean the patches themselves are not your taste?

      I’m guessing these patches were programmed to show off tones that you can’t get from your average analog synth. If the demo was just a bunch of “phat” sloppy bass tones with phasing oscillators, well, you can get that anywhere and at a fraction of the price.

      Using the term “DCO” like it was an insult is pure silliness. A DCO contains the full frequency range with no alising of all waveforms. An analog wave is a wave, no matter if it’s voltage controlled or clocked. If you want a DCO to drift around like a temperature-unstable VCO, that’s the job of the control side, not the DCO chip. And DSI control is extensive and high-resolution.

      1. No insults were stated or implied. Just facts. There are cheap VCO synths too, but the Pro 2 doesn’t sound like them to my ears. The Pro 2 demo happens to sound very similar in tone to the Casio HT-700/HT-3000. Hence, it’s appropriate to use the word, “cheap” to describe the Casio’s relative dollar value.

        If price tags are irrelevant and money is no object to you, then perhaps that’s the reason why the comparison went over your head. Apparently, you aren’t appreciating the point, that is, to get the sound of a cheap Casio, you can buy a Pro 2 for a couple grand!

        All that said, the Casio is actually a digital wavetable synth with analog filters, rather than a DCO synth. But, then again, the Pro 2 also uses digital waveforms with analog filters. Hence, the comparison is fully valid.

        1. Brrrrrrr

          It seems that you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. Also, the snarky response to Astro Spy comes across as pretty douchy.

          The term DCO, as traditionally used, refers to a specific type of analog oscillator, not a digital oscillator. On DCO’s, the sound generation and audio path is analog.

          Digital oscillators, like the Casio’s, generate their waveforms digitally and output an analog signal. There are a variety of technologies used on the digital side to generate waves, from crappy to high-end.

          If you really think that the Casio has the power of the Pro 2, it suggests that you are ignorant of the usefulness of multiple oscillators, flexible modulation, multiple LFOs, multi-mode filters, dual filter paths, analog effects and digital effects. If that’s the case, an old Casio may meet your needs, but you may be mistaken in your assumption that your opinion about more sophisticated synthesizers merits sharing.

          1. Admin: Personal attack deleted.

            Please keep your comments constructive and on topic.

            For all involved in this comment thread, please elevate the level of this discussion!

            1. Hey, remove the post above by Chaz. Obviously several personal attacks.

              “Snarky,” “douchy, “ignorant”. ???

              1. Brrrrrrr

                We try to encourage constructive discussion in the comments on the site, but balance that with the reality that we get thousands of comments to review per day, many of which are spam.

                Because of this, we try to limit moderation to comments that are clearly personal attacks. We expect commenters to contribute constructively and respectfully to the discussion on the site.

                There’s a difference between attacking or even mocking the content of your comments (ie., ‘that comes across as pretty douchy’) and making a personal attack (ie., ‘you’re a douchebag’). We try to catch and delete comments that clearly cross that boundary.

                Please express your opinions in a constructive way. Commenters that spam the site, engage in abusive behavior or repeatedly waste the admin’s time will get banned.

                1. “We expect commenters to contribute constructively and respectfully to the discussion on the site.”

                  Okay, but basically, Chaz was coming off as offended that when I hear the Pro 2 it sounds to me like a Casio processed by an Evolver. This person made remarks to marginalize the value of my post by insinuating I was too ignorant to know anything about synthesis.

                  Ironically, Chaz evidently failed to read my post about wavetable versus DCO! If he had been more understanding and more attentive to what I actually said, he would have not needed to inappropriately take me to task on a DCO debate I want no part of.

                  Chaz comes off as condescending by dismissing my comments as worth little merit, and may be judging me personally too as, douchy, etc. It seems obvious to me those remarks are passive aggressive personal attacks.

                  Chaz should have his post deleted.

                  1. See the part about “Commenters that spam the site, engage in abusive behavior or repeatedly waste the admin’s time will get banned.”

  3. Sounds really good – I like the fullness of the sound and the variety. Oh – and the distortion/overdrive is very musical. I’m afraid it’s outside my budget by a long shot, but maybe… someday… 🙂

  4. come on you freaky nerds… do you like this crappy old analog sound ? and do you pay more than 1500 dollars for that ? cooome ooon maaan

    1. I think this is a valid question given the flexibility and price/performance ratio of certain softsynths. It’s going to be a matter of what anyone is willing to spend and how the offered feature set and sound fits with your creative process and the kind of music you want to do. I would not go selling off my truly “keeper” analogues for this, but I would consider moving a few other things along to finance it. I’m interested to see how Korg does with their Odyssey re-issue, but this unit is likely to give that one a real run for the money when it comes down to feature set.

  5. Well….this is some mprovement. As a recent DSI ProTwo owner I have been extremely disappointed in the included patches. It reminds me of a cross between a Korg Wavestation and a Waldorf Wave rack. Lot’s of moving patches that are animated and not useable in a musical context. i’ve had to completely create my own or heavily modify the included patches. In my 25 years of synth ownership I’ve never had a synth that was so disappointing out of the box. I get moments of “wow” as I start stripping and rebuilding oscillator modulating routes but it’s a lot of work.

    I fully understand the architecture – but the DSI ProTwo lives in the middle and high ends of the EQ spectrum.

    The synth is not very inspiring, musically. It reminds me of a P12, ad is nothing like the beauty of a P8.

  6. The dedicated distortion and feedback inclusions are….unnecessary – if I want distortion I will add that on my own. Delay is nice, but synths this brittle don’t need added distortion.


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