The Next DSI Synthesizer

Discussion about Dave Smith Instruments, upcoming and potentially-upcoming instruments.

The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby Sacred Synthesis » Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:46 am

We know Dave Smith only too well. Does anybody doubt that, following the release of the Pro 2, the next new piece of equipment from DSI will be the Pro 2 Module? I bet they're making it as I type! It'll be about $1,500.

DSI is assembling a very fine line of synthesizers and with a nice range of sizes and prices.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:22 pm

Hmm, I would guess it will be around $1200 with a reduced user interface like the Prophet 12 module.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby Sacred Synthesis » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:23 pm

It would be a nice surprise if it were only $1200, but remember how expensive the Prophet 12 Module is. These modules often seem to be on the unexpectedly expensive side.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:39 pm

I would say that $1000 would be more than plenty for me! Will see what happens and when it happens. Will be interesting to see when and if DSI will release a smaller module based on Prophet 12. Or better yet with an updated voice architecture!
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby Sacred Synthesis » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:59 am

The "Midi Thru/Out 2" jack on the back of the Pro 2 is familiar enough. There certainly will be a forthcoming P2 Module.

http://www.dsisynth.com/photos.htm
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby chysn » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:27 am

I think $1500 USD is a better guess at pricing than $1200 is. I suspect that DSI has decided to leave behind the Evolver/Mopho/Tetra-style bricks with the weird interfaces, so we probably will never again see a case where the module is half the price of the keyboard. They'll probably hold steady at around 75%.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:13 am

Good question on the reduced interface module cost. The Prophet 12 module does have a really reduced interface and a $800 price reduction from the keyboard version. It really depends on what DSI wants to and can cut down the interface down to plus what the voice board costs. A joker here is the price of the OLED display with four knobs and four buttons. One could really cut down the price a lot by just having a row buttons and said OLED display configuration.

Thanks for the image links! I have been asking DSI over twitter for high resolution front panel shots. But someone else just had to help them out it seems.

:-)
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby Sacred Synthesis » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:44 pm

I refer to those images often enough when I have a question about an instrument. DSI updates them immediately after the release of a new synthesizer, about as quickly as they do their Facebook page.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:03 pm

Nice to know, thanks! Wonder if its the official high resolution images for music shops and media?
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby Sacred Synthesis » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:48 pm

I believe those images are the same used on the DSI web site. They're the "official" pictures. Regardless, because you can zoom in very close, they're a great way to study an instrument - sometimes even better than asking others questions.

Here's a mouth-watering Soundcloud demo of the Pro 2. To my ears, this synthesizer already sounds superior to the Prophet 12.

http://www.matrixsynth.com/2014/06/dsi- ... ts-by.html
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:05 pm

Oh yes, I love the high resolution images too. Very good for judging the instrument. As someone with "image experience" I must say that the high resolution Pro2 images look a little soft in the corners. And possibly with some blue corner artefacts in the logo in the back side image. Guess the wide angle lens used for said shots are not the best on the market or were simply stepped too much down for absolute sharpness or not focused precisely. The images are fine for judging the instrument front panel though.

And yes with discrete filters the Pro2 sounds much better than the Curtis chip filter on Prophet 12. I would call it a "mono Evolver" as its still a mono signal path voice architecture unlike the stereo signal path on Evolvers or Prophet 12 (when using stack and DC modulation source to pan each layer).

Thanks for the matrixsynth link. Direct soundcloud link:
https://soundcloud.com/robertrich/dsi-p ... ew-presets

One interesting use of Pro2 I really look forward to hear in action is controlling another synthesizer with analog oscillators from Pro2 (which is how I hope to use a Mutable Instruments Shruthi-1 with 4PM filter once I get hold of such a box). The other synthesizer can either be controlled via MIDI or CV and feed its audio output into the External In on Pro2. Thereby obtaining a hybrid oscillator section instrument. Recipe:
(1) With MIDI control a Mopho or Tetra would be obvious candidates for such uses. For Tetra using Combo mode to stack eight or up to sixteen analog with the sub oscillators a somewhat wilder sound can be obtained. And possibly a little filter feedback too. That solution would allow for matching programs between the instruments and hence have per program analog oscillator settings.
(2) With CV control finding some really juicy eurorack VCOs could get a very nice sound too and if waveform selection is possible via CV it can be recorded into the program via DC modulation source settings. Maybe Moog could be convinced to make a Eurorack oscillator module with their new oscillator designs from Sub Ph*tt* or Sub37? Pro2 users would love them for it!

I certainly look forward to a module version of Pro2. Not that I can afford it though. But it sounds very very good and much more of a Evolver replacement candidate than Prophet 12.

Another interesting thing is how many NAMM shows it will take before DSI launches a polyphonic instrument with the lowpass filter from Pro2. That will be extremely interesting for some users and for sure very expensive too.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby namnibor » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:07 am

You and I think a lot alike! Could not have said it better and you covered it all! I was also thinking immediately of running Tetra through Pro 2 external input and even amused myself with thought that it would be cool if the Pro 2 sequencer could play nice with Tetra in Combo mode.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:07 pm

namnibor wrote:[...] even amused myself with thought that it would be cool if the Pro 2 sequencer could play nice with Tetra in Combo mode.

Good question. It depends on how MIDI sequencing is configured on Pro2 as my guess is that it can only sent out note messages on one channel on each port. Though that depends on how DSI decides to do things. And maybe I was thinking multi mode here?

Anyway, if you run the combo mode in unison which (obviously) causes each voice to play at the same time then a Tetra in combo mode will behave just like any other monophonic synthesizer and hence be easily playable from the Pro2 sequencer. Or the Evolver sequencer for that matter. So you can try out your idea immediately by making a Tetra combo program you want to use with Pro2 and sequence it from an Evolver instead to see (and hear) how it works. Look forward to hear a report on that experiment.

Actually as an experiment you could get yourself a 4PM Shruthi-1 and try out a digital oscillator machine spiced up with Tetra analog oscillators through the external input. There are many interesting options out there and they all costs money! ;-)
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby cr73645 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:45 am

I didn't read all the previous comments, but I have to say that I'm kind of unimpressed with the Pro2. Although the digital oscs sound good with the 12 voice polyphony on the P12, they seem pretty boring on this... a monosynth needs a full bottom end to be good.

Seeing a new filter design is an amazing surprise, but I'd also like to see new ideas implemented. We could exchange one of the four digital oscillators for a new analog osc design, possibly a VCO coupled with a sub-osc. Being able to not only use the digital possibilities, we would be able to modulate the VCO with all the digital goods and achieve the most amazing results with it.

I know that developing new synth parts may get expensive, but I think that Dave already milked its older technologies a lot. I wouldn't buy a new Prophet that was based on the same DCOs of the 08 and just 'new' filters. I'd like to see some new designs, a new product. Moog has done this but to me it got worse than before... the Sub sounds worse than the older Little/Slim for example.

Anyway......... good to see new things coming.i just don't think that the monosynth format was a good thing. Feature-wise, while amazing, the Pro2 still can't beat simpler things such as the Shruthi-1 and other stuff. The interface on the other side, is pretty amazing!

Good to see this lifeboat!! I'll keep coming back until the old DSI gets back on it's feet.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:39 pm

But the good thing is that Pro2 can be extended via its external input and can actually control VCO europack modules via its CV option. So its a DIY hybrid oscillator section synthesizer. Like that concept though I really wished DSI would develop a new DCO design for their next generation products.

Also I would love if the Pro2 had two or four more analog oscillators to complement the really nice digital oscillators. Really like the concept of an eight oscillator design! Guess that is what MIDI and CV outputs are for.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby Sacred Synthesis » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:47 pm

I'm going to hold out for the Pro 2 and remain optimistic about it. Certainly those funny oscillators are not what I was hoping for, but I'm going to give them a chance. I see the Pro 2 as the beginning of a monophonic synthesizer, rather than a finished project. Meaning, I'd perk it up with something analog-strong, such as an Oberheim SEM or one of the Vermona modules. Even the Mono Lancet looks and sounds quite nice and would make a nice addition to another keyboard synthesizer.
Last edited by Sacred Synthesis on Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:00 pm

Look forward to hear what you end up deciding for and how it will sound in your music. Really hope DSI or someone else does a demo with analog oscillator modules controlled from a Pro2.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby Sacred Synthesis » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:22 pm

Do you get the feeling that Dave has had it with true analog oscillators, as if he's moved on from them? I suppose DCO's are still possible from him, but his latest instruments and especially his many comments over the past year or so show almost a disdain for them. It's as if DSI and Moog have staked out there own respective territories and there's no crossing boundaries. I always thought SCI/DSI was analog synthesizer haven, but things have changed.
Last edited by Sacred Synthesis on Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby dslsynth » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:43 pm

I really think that if smart and good sounding oscillator technology was readily available at a good price then DSI would of cause include it in their products. But its not and then plastic oscillators is the way to go for DSI. It can be crafted at DSI as software only and can do a lot more than normal analog oscillators.

So Dave went in that direction because he wanted more than just analog waves (not to mention handling the Curtis chip oscillator crossover point clicks in previous instruments). The only trouble is that analog oscillators still sound better, fatter and warmer. Not to mention that many people really wanted to see DX7 style Phase Modulation instead of the analog style FM in Prophet 12.

Another thing is that sometimes I see DSI as a "electronics integrator" company more than "electronics designer" company. Of cause the Tempest highpass filter and the new Pro2 filter designs puts such claims at least partially to rest. But making better DCO's is not easy and requite some significant effort that DSI may simply not be able to craft in the time they have for such duties.

In other words: its all about what can be crafted in finite time with the skill sets DSI have available. The music industry simply needs a new Doug Curtis. Its a small market so someone will have to invest more money than they will get out of it again. Too bad but so it is. Someone needs to advance the arts because they want to advance the arts and not just to earn more money because they want to earn more money!

Also, imagine how much better Bucket Brigade Device chips would be today if modern research was applied to make such chips again. Would be so cool!
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Re: The Next DSI Synthesizer

Postby cr73645 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:50 pm

@dslsynth
The CV part is indeed interesting, but if you compare the Pro2 to the SEM Pro (which you can buy *NEW* for $1100), CV-wise, it's quite poor. I don't think that the Pro2 is bad, I just think it's overpriced for what it is. People may comment on the Voyager, but that's pristine VCO tech with a marvellous filter.

My problem with the Pro2 isn't the inclusions of digital osc, but with rehashing P12's ones and advertising as they're reinventing the wheel. I think that the main problem is in fact the omission of an analog oscillator to interact with the digital ones. Why? Analog oscillators do sound beefier than the regular digital oscs. The Evolver showed it a long time ago... BUT, I didn't want to see the same old DCO again - I was really hoping for a new oscillator design, possibly a stable VCO like the ones on the Sub Phatty. THIS would be a total game changer for me, and I'd get it without even thinking clear about it! :)

As for your last message... I think that current musical industry is simply rehashing older stuff. When you look at a new company that makes such amazing instruments as Mutable Instruments, with simple components, you see that it's quite possible, even without Curtis' chips. Not that the chip itself has something to do with the overall sound of anything, but it's a participant of the circuit shrinked to fit a small space and make assembly easier.

Have anyone here heard about FYRD INSTRUMENTS? They make amazing step sequencers!!!!! :D
In the end, it would be way better to fit one of their MIDI sequencers to a synth than having it within the same unit. Having lots of processing power on a synth such as the Pro2 only raises it's price, and many (like me), don't need a sequencer inside the machine (since there are lots of better alternatives).

Cheers!
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