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DSI Prophet 12
Old 2nd December 2014 | Show parent
  #2551
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redloheb's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D ➡️
It is 1 curtis chip (p12) vs. 1 circuit board (pro 2) for the filter. It is possible that DSI get the curtis chips for much cheaper than the filter boards of pro 2. On the other hand, the filter boards of pro2 may not be too expensive either. Only Dave knows.
What is the source of your information (i don't have p2, and I can't say anything exact)?



Their hw design ideas in p12 look pretty clear: osc dsp -> dsi custom chip -> dsp (delay, feedback)
So why they need another circuit board, if they could pack it to the chip?
Old 2nd December 2014 | Show parent
  #2552
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Fuseball's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by redloheb ➡️
What is the source of your information (i don't have p2, and I can't say anything exact)?
Pro 2 insides...
https://www.icloud.com/photostream/#A25oqs3q2tSa9
Old 2nd December 2014 | Show parent
  #2553
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redloheb's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuseball ➡️
Wow, thanks. Don't you have similar hi-res for pro12 by the chance?
Old 3rd December 2014 | Show parent
  #2554
F5D
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by redloheb ➡️
What is the source of your information (i don't have p2, and I can't say anything exact)?



Their hw design ideas in p12 look pretty clear: osc dsp -> dsi custom chip -> dsp (delay, feedback)
So why they need another circuit board, if they could pack it to the chip?
Sorry, I do not find the link right now (having my morning coffee quickly before going to work), but there was some guy who already posted a video on youtube with Pro 2 open, showing the circuit boards. You can probably find the information going through this thread. The main difference between Prophet 12 and Pro 2 is that DSI use the Curtis filter chips in Prophet 12, whereas in Pro 2 they use two filters with discrete components instead of chips, so they consume much more space inside the synth. It is a very expensive process to make that all into IC, and with the volumes DSI sell, maybe not reasonable. There are also problems with reliability of ICs. In the history of synths, there have been many ICs that failed quite easily. With discrete design, components can be changed afterwards to fix for example too big current draw and heating. And, having a filter with discrete components in a synth could be the reason for somebody to get that synth. It can be more easily repaired afterwards too. Of course, if DSI go and make an IC of those filters, then they could eventually bring the price down if the same filters are used in all the new products for like 10-20 years. The good thing about the Curtis chip that DSI use is that they have a lot of experience of it. It works well and I believe has proven to be very reliable. I do not see much discussion about DSI synth voices going bad.

But, of course, I would like to see a new DSI poly with the new filters, who would not! It could even be a 6/8-voice.
Old 3rd December 2014 | Show parent
  #2555
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Fuseball's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by redloheb ➡️
Wow, thanks. Don't you have similar hi-res for pro12 by the chance?
They weren't my photos. I found the link in a thread on the DSI forum, when I had a similar discussion on there over whether it was the CEM or SSM filter design that was in the Pro 2.

I'd love to see the new filters in a new 6-voice Prophet but I think it will be a challenge for DSI to get into the right space/price point. I wanted a Prophet 08 Rev 2 with the subs and feedback from the Tetra but that never happened... so I don't think it's as inevitable as many think.
Old 3rd December 2014 | Show parent
  #2556
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D ➡️
The main difference between Prophet 12 and Pro 2 is that DSI use the Curtis filter chips in Prophet 12, whereas in Pro 2 they use two filters with discrete components instead of chips, so they consume much more space inside the synth. It is a very expensive process to make that all into IC, and with the volumes DSI sell, maybe not reasonable.
Well, it looks like they have their own IC for P12, so it wouldn't be that hard to add couple more legs for SVF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D ➡️
There are also problems with reliability of ICs. In the history of synths, there have been many ICs that failed quite easily. With discrete design, components can be changed afterwards to fix for example too big current draw and heating.
Which is right statement for synths from early 80s, but if you look since 80s to now, reliability has been improved alot. It's actually a trend in all electronic -- technology become less revolutionary and engineers got more experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D ➡️
And, having a filter with discrete components in a synth could be the reason for somebody to get that synth.
Yes, that especially matters on Gearslutz but it's mostly marketing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D ➡️
It can be more easily repaired afterwards too.
Resoldering SMD... hmmm good luck with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D ➡️
Of course, if DSI go and make an IC of those filters, then they could eventually bring the price down if the same filters are used in all the new products for like 10-20 years. The good thing about the Curtis chip that DSI use is that they have a lot of experience of it. It works well and I believe has proven to be very reliable. I do not see much discussion about DSI synth voices going bad.
Yes especially if P12 chips are designed by DSI -- it wouldn't be that hard to modify them, changes are not that big. If it's not DSI custom design, than we're somewhat doomed.
And yes, DSIs are reliable and stable, I have evolver desktop from ~2005 and it's still have no issues (except falling off knobs, common problem, I'm okay with it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D ➡️
But, of course, I would like to see a new DSI poly with the new filters, who would not! It could even be a 6/8-voice.
Well, I really hope they would work more on generation of basic waveforms, it takes some effort to turn them to the analog-ish side: they are too perfect/sterile/good looking on oscilloscope etc.
Old 16th December 2014
  #2557
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genetic92's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Could somebody that has a P12 tell me how they like it's Keyboard action? And the feel of the keyboard?

Are they semi weighted?
Are they the exact same as the Prophet 08?
Are they better? Do they feel luxurious?

Thank you!
Old 16th December 2014 | Show parent
  #2558
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by genetic92 ➡️
Could somebody that has a P12 tell me how they like it's Keyboard action? And the feel of the keyboard?

Are they semi weighted?
Are they the exact same as the Prophet 08?
Are they better? Do they feel luxurious?

Thank you!
Yes, Semi Weighted
Yes, similar to Prophet 08
Sorry, No swarowski attached
Old 7th January 2015
  #2559
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EDGEK8D's Avatar
Can anyone comment on the Prophet 12 as a wavetable or FM synth? ALL of the demos I find are your basic "analog" type sounds....which is fine, I like those too, but I'm more interested in hearing some wavetable type pad sounds.....maybe with some FM bells mixed in. The FM sounds I'm hearing are not very good at all. I know, "FM" on a synth that isn't really an FM synth is always shoddy at best, but it sounds almost worthless to me.

I like the P12 sound, and its a gas to play with. I spent a good 90 minutes with one last summer in a store.......at which time, of course I tried to make analog sounding patches

I guess I want to hear from people what it can do besides those types of sounds. All of the demos are good ol' VA stuff with lots of distortion and what not. I can't seem to find a good demonstration of the wavetable features and what they sound like. If anyone knows of one, I'd like to see it.

Of course like most, I've considered getting one a few times, and if it can deliver in the wavetable department, it makes sense for me. I really wish I hadn't just listened to that Solaris demo though........jeez, 100% digital......but just sounds like its form another world.
Old 7th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2560
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zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D ➡️
Can anyone comment on the Prophet 12 as a wavetable or FM synth? ALL of the demos I find are your basic "analog" type sounds....which is fine, I like those too, but I'm more interested in hearing some wavetable type pad sounds.....maybe with some FM bells mixed in. The FM sounds I'm hearing are not very good at all. I know, "FM" on a synth that isn't really an FM synth is always shoddy at best, but it sounds almost worthless to me.

I like the P12 sound, and its a gas to play with. I spent a good 90 minutes with one last summer in a store.......at which time, of course I tried to make analog sounding patches

I guess I want to hear from people what it can do besides those types of sounds. All of the demos are good ol' VA stuff with lots of distortion and what not. I can't seem to find a good demonstration of the wavetable features and what they sound like. If anyone knows of one, I'd like to see it.

Of course like most, I've considered getting one a few times, and if it can deliver in the wavetable department, it makes sense for me. I really wish I hadn't just listened to that Solaris demo though........jeez, 100% digital......but just sounds like its form another world.
It is my understanding that the Prophet 12 is not a wavetable synth at all, but a synth with digitally generated wave forms. So, if you're looking for a Waldorf/PPG style synth, keep looking, the P12 isn't it. If the Solaris is out of your price range (as it is for me too) I can recommend the Virus TI though as an excellent modern wavetable synth. I also like the sound of the Blofeld, but never picked one up due to the many reports of bugs. It's CPU bound sister, Largo, is quite good. However, if we're abandoning dedicated hardware, I could give you a very long list of good wavetable and FM synths.
Old 7th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2561
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D ➡️
I really wish I hadn't just listened to that Solaris demo though........jeez, 100% digital......but just sounds like its form another world.
Yeah, IMO based solely the demos I've heard on the internet (because that's all you can do with some synths) I think the Solaris is the best synth out there even including Modulus 002 and Schmidt. I'm not sure why it doesn't get more notice but I guess it's either because it doesn't have RealTM analog filters or because the price is past the pain point. You hear more about stuff like Virus TI2 which can be like $3K so maybe that's the threshold, I don't know. People seem to spend as much money as a Solaris would cost, they just spend it in smaller chunks.
Old 7th January 2015
  #2562
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chemosit's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I am thrilled with my Prophet 12, but am strongly considering the Solaris, as well. I couldn't care less that it is digital, but I wonder if it will be bested any time soon. For that kind of money, it is a bit of a concern to me.
Old 7th January 2015
  #2563
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🎧 10 years
I really wish they would add more waveforms...
Old 7th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2564
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EDGEK8D's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing ➡️
It is my understanding that the Prophet 12 is not a wavetable synth at all, but a synth with digitally generated wave forms. So, if you're looking for a Waldorf/PPG style synth, keep looking, the P12 isn't it. If the Solaris is out of your price range (as it is for me too) I can recommend the Virus TI though as an excellent modern wavetable synth. I also like the sound of the Blofeld, but never picked one up due to the many reports of bugs. It's CPU bound sister, Largo, is quite good. However, if we're abandoning dedicated hardware, I could give you a very long list of good wavetable and FM synths.
I know it isn't "proper" wavetable. I found this demo earlier today and there is a lot I hear that I like that approached that Microwave/PPG type sound. Have a listen....it's long, so just click every couple minutes to hear this guys patches.



I like the Blofeld, and it can do a lot, but its really close to softsynth sounding IMO.

I have a Virus B. I guess I need to explore it more. The thing I have noticed is that the Virus B is not very bright when compared to other Virus models. Almost like the filter doesn't open all the way. A lot of people say its the "warmest" of the bunch, but I think its more to do with that filter seemingly locked at 24dB/oct around 12kHz.

I had a Waldorf MW1 lined up. Best sounding Waldorf ever IMO save for the Wave. Deal fell through though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorguy ➡️
Yeah, IMO based solely the demos I've heard on the internet (because that's all you can do with some synths) I think the Solaris is the best synth out there even including Modulus 002 and Schmidt. I'm not sure why it doesn't get more notice but I guess it's either because it doesn't have RealTM analog filters or because the price is past the pain point. You hear more about stuff like Virus TI2 which can be like $3K so maybe that's the threshold, I don't know. People seem to spend as much money as a Solaris would cost, they just spend it in smaller chunks.
I agree, Solaris sounds incredible, and I don't care whether the filters are digital or not. It sounds better than the P12 filter and its obvious to me anyhow. Lets not get into all of the different filters available on it. Yes, its pricey, but if I'm willing to drop $3K on a P12, and another $1500 on an Eventide, then why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chemosit ➡️
I am thrilled with my Prophet 12, but am strongly considering the Solaris, as well. I couldn't care less that it is digital, but I wonder if it will be bested any time soon. For that kind of money, it is a bit of a concern to me.
They offer 2 weeks return for full refund. Also, and more impressive, is a 3-year warranty. That's a long time and makes me feel safer.


Thanks for the discussion guys. What do you think of that demo? Lots of B of C sounds, and it sounds like a wavetable synth to me.

To clarify, the P12 offers 12 "complex waveshapes" aside from saw/tri/square, etc. Now, it is my understanding that the back and forth morphing between these waveshapes, and seemingly the ability to assign different ones to each oscillator should you choose, can produce wavetable type sounds, no? I ask because I didn't explore that part of the synth when I tried it.
Old 7th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2565
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zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D ➡️
I know it isn't "proper" wavetable. I found this demo earlier today and there is a lot I hear that I like that approached that Microwave/PPG type sound. Have a listen....it's long, so just click every couple minutes to hear this guys patches.

Yeah, it does sound cool and doubtlessly is cool, and perhaps it's ability to "morph" between it's waveforms is indeed more powerful than a standard wavetable, but I like precision in language. I saw a lot of "wavetable" talk about the Prophet 12 when it was first released and it seemed... well just wrong. Why use a term that doesn't describe the function? Isn't "morphable digital oscillators" even more exciting than using the inaccurate "wavetable oscillator" moniker? I'm also a bit unclear as to whether or not the P12 is actually "morphing" between waves or just crossfading. Perhaps it doesn't matter, but I'm curious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D ➡️
I like the Blofeld, and it can do a lot, but its really close to softsynth sounding IMO.
Well... one might say that Largo is a very hardware sounding softsynth. Frankly, I spent a ton of time listening to Don's Largo and Blofeld demos and in the end I decided I liked them all and did not find a quality difference between them. Yes, I know the Blofeld does more but I'm talking about quality of sound.

This is going to be scandalous, but I'm pretty much of the opinion that save for polyphony, a software synth can be every bit as good sounding as a synth like the Blofeld, Virus TI or even the Microwave. I can't speak for higher end machines like the Modulous .002 or Solaris.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D ➡️
I have a Virus B. I guess I need to explore it more. The thing I have noticed is that the Virus B is not very bright when compared to other Virus models. Almost like the filter doesn't open all the way. A lot of people say its the "warmest" of the bunch, but I think its more to do with that filter seemingly locked at 24dB/oct around 12kHz.
I'm not familiar with the B, but I had the C and it had digital wave forms but not in a PPG style wavetable kind of format. Now I have the Snow, which for $800 used is a fantastic wavetable synth IMO.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2566
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing ➡️
Yeah, it does sound cool and doubtlessly is cool, and perhaps it's ability to "morph" between it's waveforms is indeed more powerful than a standard wavetable, but I like precision in language. I saw a lot of "wavetable" talk about the Prophet 12 when it was first released and it seemed... well just wrong. Why use a term that doesn't describe the function? Isn't "morphable digital oscillators" even more exciting than using the inaccurate "wavetable oscillator" moniker? I'm also a bit unclear as to whether or not the P12 is actually "morphing" between waves or just crossfading. Perhaps it doesn't matter, but I'm curious.
The Prophet 12's oscillators are loaded with 12 real wavetables...not sure what y'all mean by it not being a "real" wavetable synth.

The morphing is not just a crossfade between wavetables.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2567
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🎧 5 years
Morphing and crossfading would be different things when referring to a sample. But when it's a single cycle waveform, wouldn't morphing and crossfading be the same thing? The waveform would generate a set of partials that have no envelopes but remain constant volume. Then crossfading would gradually change those into the static partials of the second waveform. True?
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2568
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Synth80s's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I'm not one to exaggerate, and believe me when I say I have no agenda here, but I will firmly state that the Solaris is significantly more capable than the Prophet 12 in terms of sonic variety and sound quality.

Simply stated, the Solaris is the best sounding synth I've ever played. As I've said before (see https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...u-just-do.html), it exudes fidelity, but it also sounds quite natural and organic. I'm trying really hard not to use the "W-word" (you know the one), but I think the sound of the Solaris is unlike what many/most people would expect from any digital synth or VA. Of course, with all the Prophet VS and Waldorf Wave material on board, it can also sound quite "digital" -- it's incredibly versatile.

The Prophet 12 is an excellent synth and the modulation capabilities are fantastic, but I find that the basic building blocks (i.e. the oscillators and filters) are somewhat limited, especially compared with the Solaris, a Virus TI, or even some other DSI products (the Poly-Evolver and even the Tempest come with a lot more waveform material to work with). You can certainly tease a lot out variety of the wavetables using the modulation capabilities, but you really have to work at it.

But beyond their respective synth engines, there's a key distinction between the Solaris and the Prophet 12 to my ears. I will probably explain this poorly, but here goes:

No matter what I do with the Prophet 12, it always sounds like a Prophet 12. There's an ever-present sonic signature to the sound kind of like it's playing back through a tape deck or a D/A converter which imparts its sound to everything. To be clear, I'm not saying it sounds poor by any means -- it's actually stands out quite well in a mix IMO -- but I think there's an inescapable sameness to it that's somewhat limiting. Again, it's hard to explain, but it's clear to my ears.

By contrast, the Solaris is more of a sonic chameleon, and not just in terms of the variety in the synth engine. The Solaris has less of a signature sound to my ears, so it can easily emulate a wider variety of synths quite convincingly. Better stated, I don't feel like the Solaris has a distinct sound, it just sounds great no matter which direction you push it. Of course both the P12 and the Solaris can (and should, dammit) be used to create other-worldly sounds beyond emulation of well-known synths, and the Solaris' ability to push further into every sonic direction makes it more versatile.

Perhaps most telling, I had an immediate visceral reaction to the Solaris the first time I played one. It feels and sounds alive in a way that belies its digital innards. Of course I can fully understand someone feeling the same way about the P12, but that's not been my experience.

You can't go wrong with either synth -- we really are spoiled for choice these days -- but if you're trying to choose between them, I'd strongly recommend that you try to define what you expect to get out of the synth, and, if possible, try to get an in-person demo of each (easier said than done with the Solaris, of course). Good luck!
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2569
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Synth80s's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mekohler ➡️
I really wish they would add more waveforms...
Agreed. While I recognize that the P12's sound engine is completely different than that found in DSI's earlier synths, it would be really exciting if the single cycle waveforms from the Evolver/Tempest would make their way to the P12 to expand its palette. As I understand from reading this and other threads, that's not possible, but a kid can dream, can't he?

Heck, I'd even be happy to see the superwaves from the Pro 2 make their way to the P12 which seems like a more reasonable possibility considering how much code they share.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2570
Deleted 0fc8128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbmd ➡️
The Prophet 12's oscillators are loaded with 12 real wavetables...not sure what y'all mean by it not being a "real" wavetable synth.

The morphing is not just a crossfade between wavetables.
I think that is an understatement here, because you can combine these 12 Wavetables further into combination of 3 (lower, main, and higher wavetable). If you want to, you have a little, internal Waveterm. For a wavetable example, listen here:


https://www.soundcloud.com/lesartsno...ophet-12-space

Regarding the sound quality and variety, I can only say good things about the Prophet-12. To say that this synth always sounds the same, that is not my experience. Au contraire, it has a wide spectrum of sounds, reaching from analog to digital. Compared to the Solaris, of course the spectrum is somewhat different and limited. This is due to the full analog structure of the filter and amplifier. And you can say whatever you want, but I would prefer a real analog filter over a virtual filter any day. Try doing FM on filter on a VA and compare it to a full analog filter FM. You always will hear the difference, even with a Solaris.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2571
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Endorfinity's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth80s ➡️
Heck, I'd even be happy to see the superwaves from the Pro 2 make their way to the P12 which seems like a more reasonable possibility considering how much code they share.
I believe this will be implemented sooner or later
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2572
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 0fc8128 ➡️
Regarding the sound quality and variety, I can only say good things about the Prophet-12. To say that this synth always sounds the same, that is not my experience. Au contraire, it has a wide spectrum of sounds, reaching from analog to digital.
I want to make sure my statement is not misunderstood. I agree that the P12 is capable of a wide variety of "sound types" for lack of a better term. It can sound analog-ish (though not its strength), digital-ish (much more comfortable in this realm) and more. What I'm referring to is the overall tone of the output regardless of how its programmed.

Again, I may be explaining it poorly, but to my ears, everything coming out of the P12 has somewhat of a similar tint or commonality to it. To be fair, I think a lot of synths are like this, analog and digital. My trusty old JX-8P can't be disguised -- it always sounds like itself. I'm not saying this is good or bad or indeed placing any value on my observation, but I do think the P12 has an overall characteristic sound and that potential buyers should know that going in.

In addition to being capable of more "sound types" (there's that lame term again), the Solaris is simply less identifiable as itself. Here's a tangible, albeit limited example: like many synths, the various patch banks that come with the Solaris were developed by different people. Naturally, the sounds vary significantly because each programmer took a different approach with the sound engine. But what's more surprising is that the various banks really sound like they're coming from completely different instruments. Again, it's not easy to describe, but I believe it's obvious once you spend some time with the Solaris.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 0fc8128 ➡️
And you can say whatever you want, but I would prefer a real analog filter over a virtual filter any day. Try doing FM on filter on a VA and compare it to a full analog filter FM. You always will hear the difference, even with a Solaris.
I don't know if you've actually played a Solaris, but if not, I'd urge you to be open-minded about its capabilities and try to leave your biases behind. To me, the virtual filters in the Solaris sound more "analog" in the traditional sense than the analog filters in the P12, and they're more flexible to boot. It may sound heretical, and I didn't expect that going in, but the convincingly analog nature of the modeled filters and VCAs in the Solaris turned out to be it's biggest selling point when I demo'd one in person before ordering mine.

Another example: after spending a few minutes learning my way around the Solaris the first time, I set about trying to create the sound of my favorite departed synth, the OB-Xa. The thing that always struck me about the OB-Xa was how the filters and VCAs worked together to subtly overdrive and create a slightly fizzy but soft edge to the filter, especially as the resonance cranks up. I've never been able to recreate that OB-Xa sound with any other VA, but after about 20 minutes of fiddling with the various parameters in the Solaris (especially filter type and, more crucially, VCA drive), I was able to pretty much nail it. The Solaris can do a 95% OB-Xa IMO, and that was an eye-opening (ear-opening?) revelation.

As for FM, I haven't played with it much yet on the Solaris, but again, I don't think it's fair to assume anything just because it's DSP-based. I'm continually surprised by the Solaris, and its ability to sound analog-ish is just part of the equation. If you haven't spent time with a Solaris and you're basing your opinions on the online samples and/or your current conceptions of analog vs. DSP, again I'd urge you to be open-minded.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2573
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 0fc8128 ➡️
Try doing FM on filter on a VA and compare it to a full analog filter FM. You always will hear the difference, even with a Solaris.
Are you talking about modulating the cutoff frequency of a filter at fast rates or even audio rates? If so, then true, I've never heard software emulate the speed of real electrons for doing that. I guess you have to decide if the tradeoff is worth it to you, whether creating those squeechy squelchy sounds is more musically useful than what you get with digital filters---more variety and more of them.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2574
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EDGEK8D's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth80s ➡️
I'm not one to exaggerate, and believe me when I say I have no agenda here, but I will firmly state that the Solaris is significantly more capable than the Prophet 12 in terms of sonic variety and sound quality.

Simply stated, the Solaris is the best sounding synth I've ever played. As I've said before (see https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...u-just-do.html), it exudes fidelity, but it also sounds quite natural and organic. I'm trying really hard not to use the "W-word" (you know the one), but I think the sound of the Solaris is unlike what many/most people would expect from any digital synth or VA. Of course, with all the Prophet VS and Waldorf Wave material on board, it can also sound quite "digital" -- it's incredibly versatile.

The Prophet 12 is an excellent synth and the modulation capabilities are fantastic, but I find that the basic building blocks (i.e. the oscillators and filters) are somewhat limited, especially compared with the Solaris, a Virus TI, or even some other DSI products (the Poly-Evolver and even the Tempest come with a lot more waveform material to work with). You can certainly tease a lot out variety of the wavetables using the modulation capabilities, but you really have to work at it.

But beyond their respective synth engines, there's a key distinction between the Solaris and the Prophet 12 to my ears. I will probably explain this poorly, but here goes:

No matter what I do with the Prophet 12, it always sounds like a Prophet 12. There's an ever-present sonic signature to the sound kind of like it's playing back through a tape deck or a D/A converter which imparts its sound to everything. To be clear, I'm not saying it sounds poor by any means -- it's actually stands out quite well in a mix IMO -- but I think there's an inescapable sameness to it that's somewhat limiting. Again, it's hard to explain, but it's clear to my ears.

By contrast, the Solaris is more of a sonic chameleon, and not just in terms of the variety in the synth engine. The Solaris has less of a signature sound to my ears, so it can easily emulate a wider variety of synths quite convincingly. Better stated, I don't feel like the Solaris has a distinct sound, it just sounds great no matter which direction you push it. Of course both the P12 and the Solaris can (and should, dammit) be used to create other-worldly sounds beyond emulation of well-known synths, and the Solaris' ability to push further into every sonic direction makes it more versatile.

Perhaps most telling, I had an immediate visceral reaction to the Solaris the first time I played one. It feels and sounds alive in a way that belies its digital innards. Of course I can fully understand someone feeling the same way about the P12, but that's not been my experience.

You can't go wrong with either synth -- we really are spoiled for choice these days -- but if you're trying to choose between them, I'd strongly recommend that you try to define what you expect to get out of the synth, and, if possible, try to get an in-person demo of each (easier said than done with the Solaris, of course). Good luck!
Excellent information, thanks. Also confirms what I hear with my ears, that the Solaris sounds very luxurious to me.....Hi-Fi is a good way to put it. Those filters sound really good. I think it has been shown that digital filters can sound desirable ala Mutable Instruments and even the Virus can sound pretty nice. Plus, oh my gosh, having so many different sounding filters available, as well as multimodal, series or parallel......really nice for sound design.

The P12 is amazing no doubt. I certainly can hear that it has a VCA/VCF going on and I think its awesome that DSI made the leap to full on digital oscillators. I would have enjoyed 2 of the SHARC DSP osc's and two of the Prophet 08 analog osc's together instead, but whatever. I guess that would eliminate the need for anyone to buy a Prophet 08 which is still for sale new.

I already own a couple DSI things though, and the filters all sound very similar to me. Not the same, but have a similar character. Of course the new Pro2 filter is very welcome, but of course......DSI would never put everything we need in one box......they would prefer us to buy them all, right?

I'm getting closer to deciding. Had a deal lined up for a PEK and a Waldorf MW1. Fell through. Was thinking P08 over P12......but after more demo listening, I think the P12 has way more sound design potential, and can still sound analog-ish as one said. 12 voices doens't hurt either. Rarely but occasionally 5 note chord-pads without voice stealing would be nice. The wavetable "type" sounds I hear from it are not bad at all. I agree, there seems no reason why DSI couldn't offer WAY more waveforms to use. Of course I 'm sure its how you combine and morph between that makes the timbre, but it would be nice. 12 doesn't seem like much.

Both seem very much worthy of consideration even at these prices.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2575
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Synth80s's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by minorguy ➡️
Are you talking about modulating the cutoff frequency of a filter at fast rates or even audio rates? If so, then true, I've never heard software emulate the speed of real electrons for doing that. I guess you have to decide if the tradeoff is worth it to you, whether creating those squeechy squelchy sounds is more musically useful than what you get with digital filters---more variety and more of them.
Again, I'd urge anyone who hasn't already to lay ears on a Solaris before making any assumptions about what it can or can't do. As I understand it, the Solaris engine is currently limited to 10-note polyphony because it reserves a lot of DSP to make sure you can go nuts with modulation without stealing voices, etc. including modulation from audio sources without losing fidelity. It's basically the opposite of the Virus TI engine in that regard (the Virus dynamically balances polyphony against complexity, which is also useful in its own right).

If you try a Solaris in person and it still doesn't float your boat, that's understandable, but I think peoples' biases and past experiences often jade their optimism about what's possible with new and different instruments, and that's kind of a shame.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2576
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbmd ➡️
The Prophet 12's oscillators are loaded with 12 real wavetables...not sure what y'all mean by it not being a "real" wavetable synth.
Really? I could have sworn that I read in the SOS review that they were not that... I even seem to remember that several people here talked about them not being wavetables... Here look:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSI Prophet 12 product page
OSCILLATORS
Five DSP-based oscillators per voice (including one sine wave sub oscillator)
Four classic wave shapes (saw, square, triangle, sine) per oscillator
Twelve selectable complex shapes per oscillator
Three noise types per oscillator: white, pink, violet
Analog VCAs
Shape modulation
Oscillator cross modulation: frequency modulation (FM) and amplitude modulation (AM)
Hard sync on each of the four oscillators
If it's a wavetable synth, why not call it that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbmd ➡️
The morphing is not just a crossfade between wavetables.
How do you know this?
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2577
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing ➡️

If it's a wavetable synth, why not call it that?
I would guess because the entirety of the waveforms are not wavetable based. I do, however, know that they are wavetables because I helped select them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing ➡️

How do you know this?
I work for Dave Smith Instruments...in fact, I'm sitting just 20 feet from Dave right now
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2578
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Synth80s's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbmd ➡️
I work for Dave Smith Instruments...in fact, I'm sitting just 20 feet from Dave right now
Yes, but how can Dave be sure?
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2579
Gear Maniac
 
gerby derb's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
you should whisper in dave's ear to add superwaves to the 12
Old 9th January 2015 | Show parent
  #2580
Deleted 0fc8128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth80s ➡️
Again, I may be explaining it poorly, but to my ears, everything coming out of the P12 has somewhat of a similar tint or commonality to it. To be fair, I think a lot of synths are like this, analog and digital. My trusty old JX-8P can't be disguised -- it always sounds like itself. I'm not saying this is good or bad or indeed placing any value on my observation, but I do think the P12 has an overall characteristic sound and that potential buyers should know that going in.
I don't think you explained your point poorly. Every synth has a certain sound, I agree and the Prophet-12 is no exception. Alone the filter gives the synth a certain sonic quality. Now, to compare the P-12 with a JX-8P from this perspective is a little off-color.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth80s ➡️
In addition to being capable of more "sound types" (there's that lame term again), the Solaris is simply less identifiable as itself. Here's a tangible, albeit limited example: like many synths, the various patch banks that come with the Solaris were developed by different people. Naturally, the sounds vary significantly because each programmer took a different approach with the sound engine. But what's more surprising is that the various banks really sound like they're coming from completely different instruments. Again, it's not easy to describe, but I believe it's obvious once you spend some time with the Solaris.
I would also agree with your statement. I played a Solaris but I bought an Origin which in itself is a wonderful instrument with many facets. Wonderful to have all the models of oscillators and filters but when it comes to certain sounds (sync or FM) it shows the digital side. And yes, FM is wonderful with a settle amount on the filter, you have to try it. The vocal filter sweep here (at 0:36) is filter FM. You won't get the same results with a digital filter (unfortunately).

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing ➡️
Really? I could have sworn that I read in the SOS review that they were not that... I even seem to remember that several people here talked about them not being wavetables... Here look:
Believe me, it is wavetable. I believe the wavetables are algorithm based as some of them are in the microwaves. Since you can combine different wavetables (up to 3) you can create pretty much your own kinds.

Having said that, the wavetables itself are a little bit more on the settle side. I would not compare them with the PPG ones. I personally wish there would be more than 13 (I believe two or three of them are noise) but it is a great starting point and in addition you have your VA analog waveforms that can be wave shaped (ala ARP). I believe DSI is giving us the character section to give the sound more edge.
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