thread: DSI Prophet 12
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Old 4th August 2022 | Show parent
Gear Nut
It was naive to think that a Hydrasynth Deluxe could replace the Prophet 12 as my main controller keyboard. I'd like to get poly aftertouch in the studio, which is why I thought of making this move. But the Prophet 12 shows its timelessness.

The Hydrasynth is a labor of love and does so many things really well. But after a few days and returning back to the Prophet 12, this is what the Prophet 12 IMO does better.

1. User Interface. I give credit to the Hydrasynth for their bold design. It’s pretty easy to get around. However, it falls short of Dave Smith’s designs when it comes to placing dedicated controls where needed. An example, clicking on any of the P12's LFO’s you can immediately select a source and destination. With the hydrasynth you end up having to go back and forth between the LFO and matrix editor. The same with just wanting to modulate a pulse wave. The Prophet 12 is just so efficient (the same applies to all the Prophets). So after using the Hydrasynth for a few days, getting back on the Prophet 12 came with a sigh of relief. Meaning, less overhead for doing things. It’s just a natural design.
2. Sound. The hydrasynth has very powerful sound shaping options. So much so that I was able to nicely replicate the filter of my vintage Yamaha CS-30 synth (using the 2 pole fat filter). However, when you start stacking oscillators with the filter open, digital aliasing artifacts start swimming around. This is a no go for me considering it being a 16 oscillator synth. The fact the P12’s oscillators send an analog signal through analog filters, means no digital artifacts. The Prophet 12 sounds almost indistiguishable to both the original Prophet 5 and Rev 4 and Prophet 08.
3. Power. The Prophet 12 has some more powerful options in the matrix than the hydrasynth. I expected more from the Hydrasynth being basically software in a box.
4. Keyboard. This also applies to the new Prophet 10 Rev4. The keys have great feel and are second to none. The hydrasynth keys are light with a heavier spring pressure. They aren’t bad, but just not in the same league as the Prophet 12.
5. This sounds like a small complaint but it’s actually pretty big. You can’t rapidly move knobs on the Hydrasynth without it skipping. So, of you want to just open or close the filter with some resonance to hear what it sounds like, it skips and jumps. You have to move it slowly. You would think they would have put enough processing power in the Hydrasynth to make it feel 1:1 connected. The Prophet 12 does have digital controls but it feels every bit as connected as analog controls.

Sometimes you need to step away from something to gain more appreciation for it. This IMO really shows just how a beautifully designed instrument is timeless. Dave Smith said the Prophet 12 was his all time favorite synth.
Attached Thumbnails
DSI Prophet 12-img_4246.jpg  

Last edited by ScottA2A; 4th August 2022 at 08:55 PM..