MATRIXSYNTH: DSI Prophet '08 Samples via Seth

Sunday, September 09, 2007

DSI Prophet '08 Samples via Seth

"Two more samples. These aren't full tunes, they're more like examples of what you can do with the Prophet '08.

The two snippets are called Heavy Sequence and Light Arpeggios. Heavy Sequence is rude and impolite and is done in a single patch. It's also, uh, a little rough around the edges as well. The sequencer is running on one layer and the lead is on the other. I did cheat a bit because I couldn't do two stereo channels at once into my Mac, but it more or less could have been done in one pass with only two hands (if you ignore the pitch bending, that is).

Light Arpeggios is much more polite and gentle. Both arpeggios are again done in a single patch and were recorded in a single pass live.
I then put in a lead-ish type patch on top of that to make it a little bit more interesting.




Four tracks, recorded in Live:
1 - Arturia Minimoog V - arpeggios
2 - G-Force Mtron - texture chords
3 - Prophet '08 - fretless bass
4 - Prophet '08 - lead

1 - no effects in Live, but the Minimoog V's internal chorus and echo were used as part of the sound
2 - dry
3 - a lot of reverb while it's playing alone for the first few bars at the beginning, then just a little reverb
4 - a bit of reverb

So these were my first two sounds I programmed on the Prophet '08. If you're wondering why the glide in the tune above sounds so different then what you might be used to, it's because each oscillator has its own glide knob (!) so you can set each one for a slightly different glide speed (or a greatly different speed, for that matter). This makes them reach the target note at slightly (or greatly) different times, and the sweep through the intervening frequencies happens differently for each one. Also, four LFOs is fabulous. I used one for vibrato, one for each of the oscillator's pulse width modulation, and I still had one spare.

While programming the bass sound, I held three notes and then latched the arpeggiator down. I then proceeded to spend about half an hour playing with all the controls. Man, that was fun! I wish I had recorded that on video for YouTube. I haven't touched the sequencer yet, but it looks like it'll be just as much fun. Plus, I think you get four sequences as modulation sources and can send then anywhere you want, not just for notes. How about one sequence for notes and then another for pan position? You could have each note happen in a different position in the stereo field and with a different pulse width and cutoff frequency. Add some slapback echo in your outboard gear and you're in for some real fun. You can have the thing chugging along sending notes flying all over the room. Uh, I'm patenting that one, so don't go using the idea, OK?

Oh, and just by the way, all four LFOs can be set to sync with the sequencer. Not only can you put different notes in different places in the stereo field, but you can move them once they're there.

The knobs are - different. Not bad by any means, but I'm still getting used to them. The most fabulous thing in the world is that you can touch a knob and turn it, and when you do, the sound changes the way you expect it to. There's no jump, no turning it back and forth until you pass the stored value, they just work. On the other hand, you can't just look at a knob to see what the value is. This feels really odd when choosing waveforms, for example. Again, it's not a bad thing, but it definitely feels different than what I'm used to. On a "normal" synthesizer (i.e., a Minimoog) you look at the knob to see the values. On the Prophet you first find the knob, then you have to find the display to see what's up. It'll take a little getting used to.

Same thing with the envelopes. I've always wanted DADSR envelopes, and now that I got 'em I have to get used to them. I always pictured a steady volume for the initial delay, then the normal envelope.
Problem is, there isn't any steady volume before the ADSR portion, it's just a delay. Totally useful, but definitely not what I'm used to. There's a VCA level control, so you can have the VCA always open a little and have the envelope work the way I expected it to work, but then the VCA is always open even when you don't expect it to be.
Again, none of this is a problem with the Prophet, it's more a problem with me. I can see an incredible amount of things you can do with these, and I can also see using up the four modulation routings in seconds on a lot of patches, and I can see it may take me a little while to wrap my head around it.

In re-reading this I can see that I've said "I have to get used to it" about five times. Hmmm. I guess I'll come back to this post in a week or two to see how I feel then. I've only been knob twiddling for about three hours last night. Six months from now everything I'm noting as different will probably feel completely natural.

So, in my few hours of sound programming I ended up being surprised by what the thing could do so many times that I just can't believe it. Is this why people rave unconditionally about the Evolvers? I've always wondered why. If so, I may just have to pick one up. So much thought went into the Prophet '08. Little things like individual glide controls. Such a simple idea, but a completely unique sound.
Imagine something like oscillator sync, except that now you can apply glide to only -one- of the oscillators. Four LFOs, three envelope generators, four sequencers. Heck, you can even modulate the modulation amounts as all four modulation amounts are also modulation destinations!

The thing is brilliant. That's all I can say.

via AH.


  1. Hey thanks for the Prophet '08 feedback. It's good to get someones initial impressions.

  2. sorry,i don't want to be negative,but the demo sounds like its been made totaly with VI's !

  3. there is a surprisingly wide notch of frequency band (somewhere in the mid-to-high range as i recall) missing from the evolver's output that annoyed my ears. i know i'm not entirely crazy, because another seasoned synth dork i know thoroughly agreed while we were playing around with one.

    does the '08 suffer from this as well?


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