The Next DSI Synth after the Next DSI Synth

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

The Next DSI Synth after the Next DSI Synth

Postby Rooftree » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:06 am

Another thread talks about a probable Pro 2 module. This thread is a place to speculate what will happen after that.

I'm looking forward to a new poly that would cover different territory from polys already in the DSI product line. Or maybe it could be a Mk2 version of an existing DSI poly. I'm thinking it could have the new P2 filter and an emphasis on raw tone as opposed to massive modulation and effects. Costs could be kept non-astronomical by keeping voice count a little low and minimizing some of the features and UI. With this in mind it could be a 6 voice poly, P2 multimode filter, DCO, minimal effects (chorus and maybe a simple delay), only 2 LFOs, 2 ENVs, A/B layering, no step sequencer, an arpeggiator, 61 keys with pitch/bend wheels in the same location as the P08, price under $2000 USD.

Am I dreaming? Is this possible? Or more importantly, is this likely?
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Re: The Next DSI Synth after the Next DSI Synth

Postby chysn » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:12 am

Yeah, this is the kind of wild speculation we all love!

If DSI did what you're talking about here, we'd all wonder where the hell the ambition went. We'd be all, Seems like ol' Dave's ready to cash in his chips and retire to model railroading or urban beekeeping. In short, I'd hate to see this kind of thing. I'd like to think that Dave Smith bristles with derision at the very idea of two LFOs and no sequencer.

I would like to see a return to analog oscillators and a continuation of CV support. The question is, what is DSI's identity? What makes their instruments distinctive? They're not like Moog, where they have this incredible filter that oozes Moogishness, and everything is going to be okay as long as it has that filter. No, with DSI the filter isn't the thing. They used the Curtis filter because it was (1) available and (2) Well... um... it was available. They can totally dump the Curtis filter and still be distinctive. What makes DSI distinctive is modulation. Lots of LFOs, lots of routing, full-featured envelopes, sequencers. They can't back off from that. Diving into CV is going to up that game considerably.

I think the next Prophet flagship will have a filter system closer to the Pro 2, perhaps a return to all-analog oscillators with continuous wave shaping, CV ins and outs to support their Eurorack division.
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Re: The Next DSI Synth after the Next DSI Synth

Postby Razmo » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:14 am

Well... you can almost be certain that if it's a synth, then it'll be between 50-75% the same as something Dave's done before, with the rest being something new and inovative... it has been like this ever since the Evolver was launched. It's like the fundamentals never really change because you can find hints of all his synths in... well... all his synths, be it the filters, the oscillators, the engine etc. Even the Tempest which is a drummachine, looks a lot like an Evolver offspring in it's architecture... but this is not just DSI... all manufacturers reuse old stuff all the time.

Seing something 100% completely new and inovating is probably not going to happen. But you can dream about it I guess. Besides, it's probably pretty hard to come up with something completely new with all the synths Dave's been releasing. Maybe this is even why DSI is now going into Modular Market... to try and be new.

I'll see it this way if a new synth line should come along:

1. It'll be having either Curtis analog oscillators, or Dave's digital ones with some bells and whistles.
2. It'll have either Curtis analog filters and VCA, or Dave's new discrete filter versions with more bells and whistles.
3. It'll have a lot of reused engine code for LFO's, Envelopes, sequencers, Arps etc. and the usual bells & whistles.

It has been like this all the time. To see a major change in all of the above is as I said, very unlikely.

What would I like to see the most from DSI? ... well... I'd mostly like to see bugs on ALL previous products fixed first of all. (still dreaming)

Next, I'd like to see a synth with oscillators of one (or more) of the following types:

1. Physical Modelling (of accoustic properties... a bit like the Yamaha VL synthesis) coupled with analog VCF/VCA.

2. User Sample Oscillators (with easy integration of transfering samples via USB to/from a computer on the fly). I'd like this to be static sample RAM (not slow flash like the Blofeld) and the ability to store the banks on an SD card instead. Projects being like the Tempest where EVERYTHING can go into a project file.

3. Professionally integrated FM oscillators that are actualy melodically playable.

4. Any kind of new and obscure kinds of oscillators imaginable.

5. Digital FX running parallel with the analog signal path, not just Delays. It should be possible to switch both the digital and analog path off, so that it's possible to decide if the digital path is in serial or parallel for most flexibility.

6. An expansion of the engine itself to be much more minded on multi timbral use. That is; if you have 12 voices, then it should be possible to have 12 completely independent synths (no shared FX or anything... COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT!)... Individual outs for each voice... A deep engine that allow both synths sounds, drum sounds and FX sounds to be created, so that it in general could be used as both a synth and drum/FX machine. Tempest is close to this specification, but there are still some shared stuff.

that was a few "wishes"... not exactly a whole new concept synth as the title of this thread talks about, because I don't believe we'll see something completely new. Any combinations of those "parts" could be fun.

If I should come up with a difinite package of what I'd like to see from DSI it would be this:

1. A Sample based synthesizer with static RAM, and USB transfer between computer and synth, like in point 2. above. Analog VCA and VCF, and an engine architecture like the P12 with audio rate modulations. The oscillators need only be sample based, so in general a sampler with a synth engine. at least four oscillators playing each it's own sample.

I'm not thinking a true sampler here... more like a sampler synth, where the point is to use single samples (not multisamples... i hate multisamples, as they always have hearable split points) as building blocks for the oscillators... you could use small selfmade single cycle waveforms, you could use longer looped textures, one shot transients etc... combine these and sculpt them using something like the P12 engine.

It should have at least 8 voices, it could use the Curtis filters for cost reduction... a digital FX DSP in parallel too like explained in point 5. above.

Some important things for the engine would be the ability to let looped samples be free running if you want to, so that you can better simulate synth sounds making them sound more organic. The ability to move the loop point back and forth via the modulation matrix giving the ability to make timbral changes to single cycle waveforms (for simulating Pulse Width modulation for example, or other weird waveform modulation). An option to let the looped region moveable in quantized amounts of it's own loop length to allow for some wavtable simulation as well.

There is a lot of options with sample oscillators that would touch totaly new territory when coupled with analog VCF/VCA... I think that this could be a truly new and exeptional concept for DSI to make, and not make people go too much "we've seen this before!".

That's my wish.... for the next, next synth from DSI :)
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Re: The Next DSI Synth after the Next DSI Synth

Postby Benzebub » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:09 pm

Razmo wrote:4. Any kind of new and obscure kinds of oscillators imaginable.

Neither new nor especially obscure but I would be interested in Phase distortion oscillators combined with analog filters.
Would also be nice to see more oscillators where you can mix waveforms as you can on the Minibrute/Microbrute. On my Mopho I like setting different waveforms on each oscillator, sync the oscillators and the modulate the mix and would love to take it further. :)
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Re: The Next DSI Synth after the Next DSI Synth

Postby Fuseball » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:01 pm

Benzebub wrote:Would also be nice to see more oscillators where you can mix waveforms as you can on the Minibrute/Microbrute. On my Mopho I like setting different waveforms on each oscillator, sync the oscillators and the modulate the mix and would love to take it further. :)

Stacking/mixing the waveforms like that is something I love about the Jupiter 6 (and Prophet 5). Of course, both of those use oscillator chips that output all their waveforms on different pins. I'm guessing that the Minibrute/Microbrute use discrete circuits for each waveform, which means they can be mixed pre-filter.

As I understand it, the DSI DCO-based synths keep all the waveform selection and mixing within the Curtis chip, so I don't think there's a way for their current architecture to allow multiple waveforms to be combined from a single oscillator. I'm never too sure just how close the P08's chips are to the old CEM3396 design though.

I love that idea of modulating the mix of waveforms. I can imagine how interesting that could sound.
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Re: The Next DSI Synth after the Next DSI Synth

Postby dslsynth » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:43 pm

I hope DSI will obtain and/or develop new DCO technology and make a poly synth with the new Pro2 lowpass filter. I am sure it would be a hit and people will finally get an instrument with solid analog sound of the original Prophet 5 - and a price tag to match it! ;-)

My current DSI product dream is a combination of Prophet 12, Pro2 and Tetra. The idea is to combine the Prophet 12 voice architecture with Pro2 style filter interpolation and Tetra style analog oscillators for a "best of all so far" module:
  • Two or four voice module.
  • Layers for stack/split sounds and stereo panning.
  • Curtis filter and (possibly simplified) Oberheim multi-mode filter.
  • Pro2 style series/parallel filter configuration.
  • Analog oscillators on the Curtis chip are enabled and hard coded to pass through the Curtis filter only.
  • Digital oscillators can do oscillator split like on the Pro2 (super waves optional).
  • Possibly one analog sub oscillator for an eight oscillator design (three analog, five digital).
  • External inputs that can be used on all voices and possibly used to trigger voices too.

Motivation: We need a smaller more affordable instrument with the new digital oscillator design from Prophet 12 and Pro2 combined with the Evolver idea of a hybrid oscillator section. The Curtis filter is used instead of the new Pro2 lowpass filter to keep cost down and provide access to analog oscillator technology. Stereo filter configuration is obtained using stacked mode and DC modulation source whenever needed.

Expected price tag around $1K for a four voice module with minimal UI and OLED screen.

Would love to see user defined wave shapes on this instrument. But maybe it should be wavelet based instead of simple waveform tables like on the Evolver. Such a design require more complex software to match a given wave form but will automatically provide anti aliased wave forms for any input.
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