I like the DSI Prophet 12!

DSI Prophet 12I’m sorry moving turned out to be a bigger endeavour than I thought, so updates to the site have been slow.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with the Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12 alongside one of my “go-to” keyboards (the Roland Juno-106) in a composition session. The music wasn’t techno this time around, more like experimental electro-funk-folk. I ended up really liking the new Prophet. It has a very sweet, analog sound. Its strengths are pads and basses. To me it sounds rather different the Prophet-5, which didn’t really bother me. I never spent much time with the Prophet 08, but I recall DSI claiming it could do everything the Prophet-5 could do. While I can’t speak to how accurate that claim is, I can say at the very least that it isn’t the case with the Prophet 12.

One of the first things I noticed during our session was that the instrument has very similar dimensions to the Juno-106 it was perched beside. I know, the new Prophet has 30 years of technology on the good ol’ 106, but … it also has a far more comprehensive architecture and double the polyphony. Well done Dave Smith.

My biggest annoyance (so far) is that in the factory presets, the modulation wheel isn’t typically routed to vibrato (which as a player you kind of count on). I don’t mind mod wheels that can do other things, but if you can’t find something else interesting or useful to do with it, leave it set to introduce pitch modulation from the LFO. Instead, in patches on the P12, it is typically routed to some useless bitcrushing or filter-fm uselessness that I’m not likely to want to introduce on a note-by-note basis to my leads. Fixing that involves menu diving, and must be done on a preset-by-preset basis. How dumb. Hey, synth makers, listen up: the mod wheel is for vibrato, except in special circumstances. Every single fucking patch on your new synth does not qualify.

In fairness, I will always find stuff to rant about. This instrument sounds beautiful, and is incredibly flexible. I will review (from the perspective of the session keyboardist) and share some patches in the nebula blog over the next few weeks. Stay tuned…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>