MATRIXSYNTH: Something New from Dave Smith Instruments This Way Comes

Monday, August 13, 2007

Something New from Dave Smith Instruments This Way Comes

Via David Bryce on this VSE thread. Sent my way via HarriL. And, no this is not the Boomchick developed with Roger Linn:

"This has been developed in almost complete secrecy. Only a few people know about it. This is the first time it's been mentioned publicly.

As I mentioned earlier- it ain't gonna be secret for much longer. The first run is being built right now, and will be ready for shipping next week.

dB
DSI"

The only hint as of this post is black with wood ends.

Updates in the thread (thx goes to ben of mus-ok for the tip):
"sizzlemeister wrote:
It's got to be a 5 or more voice simple Rev 4.0-like Prophet.

Basically correct.

Quote:
It'll be like a PEK using the CEMs DSI uses in the Evolver, but minus EVERYTHING digital excepting patch-storage and MIDI.

Again, basically correct.

Quote:
This to address the market demand for a modern, affordable analog polysynth from DSI that has 5 or more voices. So, keeping the voice architecture "simple" like a P5 with no bells and whistles allows to maintain a "lower" price-point.

Yes...but it does have some bells and whistles. We kept the sequencer, added the arpeggiator, and tacked on one or two more fun little functions.

Prophet '08. Eight voices, all analog. Shipping next week.

dB
DSI"

"It does use the same CEM chips as the Evo stuff, but they sound different because Dave tweaked them differently, and the system isn't the same without the digital stuff in the signal path.

I think you'll be surprised. I sure was...

dB
DSI"

regarding pics:
"
I don't have any good ones, and I believe we're waiting on the production models to take a formal one. We've all been working on hand built prototypes. I think I'm the only one who has one that has the knobs with the silver caps.... Very Happy

As far as the price point goes..$2199 MSRP, $1999 MAP.

dB
DSI"

Update (thx to Xavier for the tip in the comments):
And we have a teaser video from non other than Stefan Trippler.

And some samples:
"http://www.trippler.net/files/p8/p8k.mp3

Drums from Spectrasonics Stylus.

And one more old Style tune, all synth sounds:

http://www.trippler.net/files/p8/p8i.mp3"

Update via Mr. Array: More samples:
"Copy the following link and paste it into your address bar:

http://www.trippler.net/files/p8/p8a.mp3

Then change the p8a.mp3 to p8b.mp3, then p8c.mp3 and so on.

Thanks to Mr. Array for the tip."

Update: There have been quite a few more posts since this one. If you are just seeing this, click on the DSI tag below for the rest. Be sure to scroll as it will bring up all posts tagged with DSI.

77 comments:

  1. hopefully it won't be another version of the Evolver...

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  2. Maybe a monosynth with a tightly integrated x0x step sequencer? That one would make me quite happy :D

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  3. "This is not an Evolver...." :)

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  4. What I REALLY hope it's not is some lame effects pedal.

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  5. An 8 or even 5 or 6 voice PEK would be heavenly.

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  6. "An 8 or even 5 or 6 voice PEK would be heavenly."

    Only if it has better knobs than the original! ;)

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  7. monosynth with stepsequencer pleasepleaseplease

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  8. Um... Starting a thread like that is b-ass-turdy.

    Zam

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  9. I heard that the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and various ultra-secret black-ops phone-taping groups all gave 3 inch thick reports on exactly this to George W., but he ignored it and claims it's not going to happen.

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  10. An 8 voice PEK would cost $5398...

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  11. So an A6 equivalent 16 voice PEK would cost only $10796.

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  12. A Storm that Gathers Here = A Collaboration with Buchla... Thunder + Lightning + PEK.

    That would thrill me but I'd be happy with a BoomChik too. And oh... an 8 or 16 voice PEK
    would be yummy.

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  13. I want a deconstructionist synth. Something with 1/2 a voice polyphony. Sometimes it would play every 2nd note, and sometimes only 1/2 of the waveform, or 1/2 of the frequencies. But it'd only be predictable 1/2 the time.

    You'd have to buy two to have a whole voice, and each unit, just to be difficult, should cost twice as much as is reasonable.

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  14. "I want a deconstructionist synth. Something with 1/2 a voice polyphony. Sometimes it would play every 2nd note, and sometimes only 1/2 of the waveform, or 1/2 of the frequencies. But it'd only be predictable 1/2 the time."

    Yes. We must think alike.

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  15. A prophet-64!

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  16. It is a new all analogue poly. "Beware the storm that gathers here..." The prophet song. ;) Think about the market. Everyone complains that there is not a new affordable analogue poly. Look at the clues that have been put forth.

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  17. Looks like my prediction was correct. Dave Bryce announced it officially not too long after my last post. At $1999 this thing should be pretty sweet.

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  18. HOOOOORAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!!

    All hale the rebirth of ANALOGUE!!!

    Thanks Dave!

    Can't wait for tape and tape machines to come back too over the next few years!!!

    And music will be born again!!!!!!!!!!

    YAHHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  19. This is exciting news!

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  20. Meh. It won't stack up that well against the Andromeda.

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  21. You just have to love Dave Smith's design talents AND business ethos. It's like he really does it to make us happy :D

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  22. Argh, well the whole reason I guess 8 voice PEK is because DocT had that P8 folder up on his site for a long time now. :-\

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  23. And I hope they didn't use those cheap looking overlays again....

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  24. After seeing an Evolver with the ends painted black, I must say it does wonders to the look of it. That shade of blue clashes badly with the wood.

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  25. Gosh wouldn't it be great if they add an 18 bit effects unit on it like they did the Andromeda!

    Imagine those ping pong delays!

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  26. To the people complaining about DCOs, you do realize that the andromeda is also a DCO synth right? DSI quality control will assure that this actually hits the markets in working condition, something that you most definitely can NOT say about Alesis. About 20% of all andromedas out there have MAJOR problems.

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  27. Andromeda has VCOs. But who cares, what does it sound like?

    Does the top left corner of that AVI video say "Breath?"

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  28. >>Gosh wouldn't it be great if they add an 18 bit effects unit on it like they did the Andromeda!

    Imagine those ping pong delays!<<

    Funny. Everyone complained that the Evolver suffered because the signal went through A/D converters for the effects before the output. Now people will want effects on the P08. You just can't win.

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  29. would be super to have a bc3 breath controller input!! also terrific would be getting the flow together to actually buy one in my case. We should all comission a bronze statue of DS!

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  30. The andromeda as far as I know has DCOs. I seem to remember that there was a lot of debate a while back so some guy broke his open to prove that it was in fact DCO and not VCO.

    And just in case that did not make it clear enough, here is the first line from The Alesis andromeda feature page:

    Andromeda’s fully analog signal path is controlled by a high-speed Motorola Coldfire microprocessor. Ie. digitally controlled analog oscillators, which is the exact definition of a DCO.

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  31. Sorry to disapoint you synthetic. ;)

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  32. If the A6 has DCOs in the way that I think of them (a digitally-reset relaxation oscillator) then can someone explain why it takes 1/2 hour for my A6 to "warm up" and end up in tune? I have the auto-tuning OFF, and the synth is horrendously out-off-tune during that first 15 minutes while it warms up. Are you trying to tell me that the microprocessor is purposely drifting, to make me think that those are actual VCOs in there? I think not! I think those are true VCOs in the A6. Its digital only in the same way running an analog VCO from a MIDI-CV converter would be considered a DCO.

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  33. I will explain that quite simply. You got one of the A6s that had tuning problems from one the faulty batches. This was a problem with a certain batch that was sent out. They had tuning and stability problems. That is why Alesis haulted production on the A6 for almost a year, to try to fix those problems that many complined about. My friend has an A6 from one of the batches that did not have any problems and it does not take more than a minute to warm up. The ones from the good batches do not drift like you describe, I would send it in to Alesis for repair or exchange if I were you. I am surprised that you have not heard of these problems with certain A6 batches, it is pretty common knowledge at this point.

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  34. Like I said, read the VERY FIRST line in on the Alesis page under features. It CLEARLY states it IS DCO. Here it is:

    Andromeda’s fully analog signal path is controlled by a high-speed Motorola Coldfire microprocessor.

    OSCILLATOR CONTROLLED BY A MICROPROCESSORINSTEAD OF VOLTAGE CONTROL=DCO

    I don't know what the confusion is. Even Alesis does not claim that they are VCOs.

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  35. Andromeda has 100% VCOs. If you look at old Prophet 5 ads you´ll find that it also said "under microprocessor control" or something like that. The Motorola processor generates all 48 envelopes, 48 Lfos, 16 tracking generators, autotune, arpeggiator/sequencer, etc. but not direct control inside the oscillator. It can tune them if you want, though.
    DCOs NEVER go out of tune.
    JZ:

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  36. Hey, as you don´t have an A6, go download it´s manual at Alesis web site and you´ll find the word VCO several times.
    JZ:

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  37. The Andromeda probably has either VCO's or some other analog element that affects tuning that I am not aware of. Mine has always tuned quickly, but sounds nice if I turn 'auto-tune' off. Also, the Auto-Tune tunes the filters and various other things. Takes ages to fully run. So many things can certainly drift.

    What's the 'auto-tune' feature 'tuning' on the andromeda?

    [oh, and to be on topic, who here can bench press Dave Smith?]

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  38. "DCOs NEVER go out of tune."

    They do if they are from the notoriously bad batch of A6s from alesis that had tuning and drift problems.

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  39. From Andromeda's user manual, page 97: "The A6's oscillators are true analog Voltage-Controlled Oscillators, hereinafter referred to as the VCOs or by their panel labels OSC1 and OSC2.... Although the A6 has a digital keyboard and also responds to incoming MIDI data, it's processor's data stream that controls the VCOs is converted to an analog voltage first, then is sent to the VCOs."

    Regards,
    F5D

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  40. OK children, simmer down now. Hows about we talk about the new DSI synth, eh? After all, that is what this thread is about.

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  41. How dense are you? They are digitally controlled analog oscillators. Pretty straightforward.

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  42. "How dense are you? They are digitally controlled analog oscillators. Pretty straightforward."

    Well, that is the point I was tring to make. Digitally controlled analogue oscillators are traditionally referred to as DCOs. Nothing more, nothing less.

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  43. Fully voltage controlled analogue oscillators are traditionally referred to as VCOs.

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  44. Kids, kids! New DSI synth. No Alesis. I will not say it again, I will just send you straight to your room!

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  45. They´re are not "digitally controlled analog oscillators", they are, if you want, voltage controlled oscillators
    under digital supervision, as any other VCO synth with autotune control. Back tune is a "realtime" version of the traditional autotune, but that doesn´t make it a DCO.
    Again, A6 has 100% VCO.

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  46. Before I go to my room, I'm the one with the A6 that takes 1/2 hour to drift into tune. There is nothing wrong with my A6, no "bad batch" of chips inside, and it sounds awesome once it is warmed up, and the tuning is stable. This is how VCOs with no auto-tune feature work. I will NOT send it back for repair!
    I agree with JZ: DCOs NEVER go out of tune (they are "locked" to the microprocessor)

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  47. I think it's a smart move from DSI, ever since the first evolvers. A sweet sounding DCO seems quite feasible in comparison with a perfectly reliable VCO.

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  48. Sucks it's not multitimbral. The PEK is.

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  49. So which is better? The A6 or the new DSI Prophet-64?

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  50. Prophet '08, not Prophet 64.

    Don't try arguing DCO and VCO with most people, especially on the internet. There's alot of guys who still think their Novation Bass Station is a fully analog synth. Let them think what they want. Anybody with a little intelligence can read the manufacturer's wording and know the truth.

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  51. facts and the truth are two vastly differing things. fact is, i could bench two daves

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  52. You know the problem with allowing anonymous posts? You get a bunch of folks spouting off that don't know jack about synths nor the underlying electronics. The Alesis A6 uses 100% all analog VCOs. The DSI Evolver has two 100% analog VCOs and two digital oscillators that are generated in DSP. If the new synth uses the same CEMs as the Evolver then it too will have 100% analog VCOs. Unfortunately, if it uses the filter out of that same all in one CEM chip it will lack balls just like the Evolver. I have and love the Evolver but it can't hold a candle when compared to even a Prophet VS's CEM VCF, let alone a P5 rev2.

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  53. You might wanna tell the guy from DSI. He seems to think they are DCOs...

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  54. Yeah seriously retro, do some research. Call up and ask Dave Smith what is inside the evolver, he will tell you himsellf 2 DCOs and 2 digital oscillators. I'm not joking either, if you don't believe me, call and ask the man himself and he will tell you

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  55. Retrosynth:

    I think you may be confused about the difference between a VCO and a DCO, and the difference between controlling an oscillator, and generating one.

    If the tuning of an oscillator is controlled via a digital clock, then it is a DCO. This doesn't mean that it's not analog - it just means that it's Digitally CONTROLLED Oscillators.

    The Evolver has 2 DCOs, plus two digitally GENERATED oscillators. You can call the second kind DGOs if you'd like.

    The A6 is interesting - if you dial in the tuning all the way up, they are effectively DCOs, since they are tuned by a master digital clock. If you turn off all tuning, then they are VCOs.

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  56. No, DCOs are analog oscillators CLOCKED (in Dave Smith words) by DSP then analog waveshaped. VCOs, like the ones in the A6, are tuned by a processor (or not), but are not clocked. A6 oscillators are ALWAYS true VCOs.
    JZ:

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  57. Hey JZ,

    I said that the A6's VCOs are *effectively* DCOs with the autotuning cranked. This is a good thing - it means that the A6 can effortlessly range from a VCO to DCO sound.

    To give an example as to how accurate the cranked autotune is, the A6 can produce harmonically accurate FM patches that scale across the keyboard, as long as autotuning is cranked up. Considering than absolutely zero VCO synthesizers can do this, you should realize that the tuning is performing at a DCO level of accuracy when cranked.

    As far as "DCOs are analog oscillators CLOCKED by DSP", that's a bit silly. The Juno series doesn't have any DSP processing power clocking its DCOs. It has a digital clock that's right before the analog oscillator, which keeps it extremely accurate.

    If it's DSP that's clocking a signal, or a digital clock, or a computer that's cranked so high that oscillators are performing at a DCO level, then it's DCO.

    If you have manual tuning, power-on tuning, or background tuning that occurs every-now-and-then, it's a VCO.

    There's a mile of difference between a processor tuning an oscillator every-now-and-then (Six-Trak, some polysynths, A6 with autotuning turned low or down), and a processor constantly issuing a steady stream of tuning information (A6 cranked).

    But we're really splitting hairs here - it's the sound that matters. The digital oscillators on the Evolver sound like DSP, and its analog oscillators sound like DCOs.

    'nuff said.

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  58. Hi Inside Synthesis:
    "As far as "DCOs are analog oscillators CLOCKED by DSP", that's a bit silly."

    I´ll copy what Mr Dave "silly" Smith himself answered to me:

    "but the Evolver oscillators do get their timing digitally from the DSP"

    I repeat, A6 oscillators are ALWAYS VCOs.
    JZ:

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  59. Hey JZ,

    I'm going to assume from your response that English is a limited second language for you, since you neither responded to my points, nor did you appear to understand what I'm saying.

    Unfortunately, I'm not versed in "guy on internet who only reads 1/4th of a reply", so I can't really continue this dialog with you.

    Cheers,
    -William

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  60. Thank you William. I am glad that most other people here do in fact understand the difference between true VCO and DCO. Its like some people take it as a personnal attack on them or their synth if you tell them their synth has DCOs, even when it does, or if you even try to describe the difference to them.

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  61. William,

    I understand what you say. But to be honest with you, the statement that A6 oscillators can be VCOs or DCOs depending on whether BKTUNE is on or off is simply one of the most ridiculous things I´ve ever heard. The manual says: "background tuning will continuously monitor the VCOs and make adjustments as they are *NEEDED*." My JP6 and Xpander can also "produce harmonically accurate FM patches". A6 tuning (with bktune on) is no better than most VCO synths.
    JZ:
    PD: I guess my English is better than your Spanish.

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  62. To be honest, as excited as I was to hear about this, the demo's here do sound a little weedy...
    Certainly more Evolver than Prophet... I've got a Prophet and a Pro One here, and they're such huge, colourful sounding instruments... The slightest adjustment on pulse width or cut-off completely changes the sound.
    I could believe these demo's were made with VA's... I'll not pass judgement yet, but does it sound better than a Matrix 1000?

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  63. I love how everyone is judging the synth based on a couple of preset soundclips. Since when have presets not always sucked? If everyone judged the Ion off of nothing but the presets it would have never sold. Its about what you can program yourself.

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  64. Hey JZ,

    I'm not sure how you're doing FM with a Jupiter 6 and/or an Xpander. The JP6 has X-Mod, and the Xpander has Filter FM, but neither one has standard oscillator-oscillator FM like the A6 does.

    FM requires very stable oscillators to produce properly scaled programs. Sure, you can do bells, inharmonic sounds, and FX using VCO FM, but for properly scaled electric pianos and similar FM programs, you need digitally controlled or generated oscillators to do it.

    Considering that the A6 can produce FM patches that are completely stable - assuming that you have both background and temperature tuning on - the A6 is clearly performing at a DCO level of accuracy.

    If they weren't performing as effectively as DCOs, then the FM patches would have uneven harmonic scaling.

    Again, I'm using the word "effectively" here in a deliberate way. The A6 oscillators can perform at a DCO level, or at a VCO level, or anything inbetween. They're still VCOs - but if you have background and temperature tuning on, and they're functioning as stable as DCOs, then they are *EFFECTIVELY* performing as DCOs.

    I'm still not sure if you're deliberately misquoting me, or you simply don't understand.

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  65. Hi William,

    "The JP6 has X-Mod, and the Xpander has Filter FM, but neither one has standard oscillator-oscillator FM like the A6 does."

    HAHA! LOL
    Are you making a blog teaching synthesis? JP6´s cross mod is nothing but Osc2 modulating Osc1´s pitch. The Xpander let´s you choose between Osc OR Filter mod from, again Osc2. Both things can be made by the A6 (expo FM and filter FM).
    The A6 is notorious for having differences between voices when doing FM, that shouldn´t happen on DCOs. Do you really have an A6?
    Do you really have any VCO synth?
    Did you ever used any modular synth?
    It doesn´t have any sense continue this, it´s a complete waste of time.

    And William, please stop underestimating me.
    JZ:

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  66. William, stop wasting your breath, some people are just hard headed and don't even want to understand, they prefer to live in blissful ignorance. To JZ, most people here know who William is from here and various other synth forums, he has his credentials in line. Who are you? Obviously someone who doesn't know as much as he thinks he does about synthesis.

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  67. LOL!
    and who are YOU?
    LOL!

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  68. LOL ROFL LOL, come on what are we little high school girls using stupid internet abbreviations.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Although that might explain JZs complete lack of synth knowledge.
    LOL
    LOL
    LOL
    LOL
    LOL
    LOL
    LOL

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  70. Anon, dude, don't say that. I know some high school girls that know what a DCO is, comparing them to Jay-Z (or JZ, whatever) is an insult.

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  71. To the girls that is. ;)

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  72. Hey JZ,

    Cross modulation is a far, far cry from linear FM (the kind to which I was referring to, and the kind that the DX keyboards use). There are many analog synths capable of exponential FM, but very few can do linear, since it requires incredibly stable oscillators.

    Yamaha owned the FM patent at the time at the time of the Xpander's release, so I'm sure that Oberheim's implementation of it is different than what the A6 can do, since Yamaha had lost the patent before the A6 was released.

    We're splitting hairs here again.

    The bottom line is that when many individuals *first* get the A6, they find it having too clinical of a sound - similar to DCO synths. Once they turned off background and temperature tuning, they find that the A6 can easily obtain the classic poly sound.

    Those who have experienced problems with the A6 typically have one of the "bad batches". The fact that the FM voices sound bad on problematic A6's indicates the precision required for those voices to sound right.

    But those who have a properly functioning A6 can get DX style, properly scaled electric pianos. I even heard a passable acoustic piano programmed on an A6.

    Which, obviously, are impossible on a Jupiter 6.

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  73. .... lets call the whole thing off.

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  74. I have tried out this machine...and it doesn't sound like the analog end of the evolver. Its got its own softer and smoother sound , and a nice warmth.

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