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SEQUENTIAL/DSI => Prophet => Prophet 12 => Topic started by: Sacred Synthesis on August 09, 2017, 06:15:15 PM

Title: Placing the Prophet 12/OLED Display
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 09, 2017, 06:15:15 PM
I've had my Prophet 12 loaner for about three weeks now, and in that period of time I've spent about fifteen hours with the instrument.  My opinion of it has evolved from what it previously had been, but it has evolved over the last few weeks as well.  I've changed my mind several times about it, and I'm still not sure where to place the instrument, where to categorize or how to regard it.

My intention for some time has been to find that most cryptic of musical things, a Poly Evolver Keyboard Mk. II.  One thing I can say with certainty - this is not it.  The Prophet 12 is by no means a PEK Mk. II.  I could see how, ostensibly, one could argue that it is.  If you simply compare control panels, you'll see many similarities.  But you could also say that about practically any two full-featured polyphonic synthesizers.  However, the Poly Evolver Keyboard is utterly unique.  I've come to appreciate this fact many times before, and borrowing this Prophet 12 has been only the latest reminder. 

The heart of the Poly Evolver Keyboard, and the thing that makes it so unique, is its specific assortment of digital oscillators.  These are an admittedly rough batch of wave shapes coated with aliasing, which places serious limitations on their musical usefulness.  Nevertheless, out of the approximately ninety tones, there is a substantial number that allows for much musicality, not to mention some unique sparkling touches to a chord or melody.  With a generous amount of reverb, this digital aliasing results in unexpected magical moments, and I wouldn't want to miss one of them.

By comparison, the Prophet 12 has a very limited number of clean and tidy wave shapes.  Plus, Noise is found in the oscillators, so, if you want to add a touch of hiss to a patch, you'll then be limited to only three oscillators.  These wave shapes cover a fairly limited timbral range, although there are ways to alter them.  Two are obviously meant to form the basis of choir/vocal patches.  But if you visually compare the shape of the "Ahhh" wave shape to its equivalent in the Evolver (#44), you'll find that the two substantially differ in appearance and, therefore, sound.  (The actual wave shape is visible on the P12 screen, and you can compare this with the wave shape image found in Anu Kerk's Guide.) Hence, my best choir patch on the P12 is far inferior to the same patch I've made on the PEK.

My point is, there is a world of difference between a Prophet 12 and a Poly Evolver Keyboard (and of course, I mean an eight-voice PEK).  I don't agree with the view that the P12 is a PEK Mk. II.  The two are entirely different instruments, and from my limited experience, I've concluded that it would make no sense to replace the older instrument with the newer, which was my hope.  But my intention is not at all to criticize the P12.  I have been so impressed with this superb synthesizer.  It's just that its placement in the larger picture has been a quandary, how to categorize it.  But for certain, it isn't an Evolver killer.

The Prophet 12 is its own instrument.  If I were to put a Poly Evolver Keyboard, a Prophet '08, and a Prophet 12 side-by-side, I'd have to say that the P'08 and the P12 are the two more similar instruments.  Yes, the P12 is incomprehensibly more sophisticated than the P'08, and that's the beauty of it.  The popular description of it as being virtually a hard-wired modular synthesizer is accurate and not an over-statement.  But regarding sound and strengths, I'd say these two are sonic relatives.  Where the P'08 sounds good, so, too, does the P12.  All the classic patches - strings, brass, organ, sawtooth solos, PWM pads, etc. - can be produced almost equally well on both.  I would still prefer the P'08 for these patches, because I think it has the analog edge by just a touch, but I would also be quite content to have only Prophet 12's to play.  Whatever I do, I could do it quite satisfactorily with this one synthesizer.

My Poly Evolvers have taken a huge sigh of relief; they're no longer threatened by the Prophet 12.  In fact, a Prophet 12 would compliment a PEK quite nicely; whereas, it might be a bit redundant alongside a Prophet '08 or a Prophet REV2.  That's my present assessment of things.  I would place the P12 squarely in the P'08/Rev2 domain. 

Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: WytchCrypt on August 09, 2017, 09:04:07 PM
The popular description of it as being virtually a hard-wired modular synthesizer is accurate and not an over-statement.

And this is exactly why I would never dream of selling my P12  ;)
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 09, 2017, 09:30:46 PM
That makes sense to me.  It's hard to imagine needing more synthesis than the Prophet 12 can provide.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: LoboLives on August 10, 2017, 04:06:26 AM
I'm still on the fence about the Prophet 12. I would get it for the more digital sounding elements, FM capabilities, and digital waveforms but I'm not sure if I'd be wasting the machine's potential. Especially for the price. I may just have to wait and see what DSI come up with next...although I don't think Dave is interested in doing digital stuff anymore. Ironic isn't it? People complained the Prophet 12 wasn't analog enough, Dave goes back to analog and now people want FM and VS synths.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 10, 2017, 05:16:00 PM
There's nothing new about that.  Since the Evolvers went out of production, people have been wanting from DSI something comparable.  While they were in production, there was a degree of digital satisfaction and little interest in another new digital instrument.  Now, after a few years of the Poly Evolver being absent, talk of a PEK/VS Mk. II has increased.  And there's far more to digital synthesis than just FM.  It seems to be wavetables that most interests folks.  I think it all proves that the Prophet 12 doesn't fill the digital vacuum, and I certainly share that opinion.  A true successor to the Poly Evolver has not appeared and would be most welcome.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: LoboLives on August 10, 2017, 07:31:35 PM
There's nothing new about that.  Since the Evolvers went out of production, people have been wanting from DSI something comparable.  While they were in production, there was a degree of digital satisfaction and little interest in another new digital instrument.  Now, after a few years of the Poly Evolver being absent, talk of a PEK/VS Mk. II has increased.  And there's far more to digital synthesis than just FM.  It seems to be wavetables that most interest folks.  I think it all proves that the Prophet 12 doesn't fill the digital vacuum, and I certainly share that opinion.  A true successor to the Poly Evolver has not appeared and would be most welcome.

As long as the new digital instrument included sampling abilities on one of its oscillators it could kill two birds with one stone. Why not simply take the structure of the Evolver or Tempest (two analog oscillators, two digital oscillators with wave table, VS, FM and samples. It would be the perfect machine...especially with on board sequencers...you know how the Rev2 can have two sequences going at once? Picture 4, each with a different sound.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 10, 2017, 09:26:21 PM
Again, it sounds good to me, but it doesn't seem to be the direction that interests Dave.  Consider his last three instruments.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: LoboLives on August 11, 2017, 05:00:47 AM
Again, it sounds good to me, but it doesn't seem to be the direction that interests Dave.  Consider his last three instruments.

I mean other than multitimbrality, I'm not sure what else he can do in the analog realm that would be mind blowing.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Soundquest on August 11, 2017, 06:39:37 AM
Sacred Synthesis, thanks for the detailed thoughts on P12/PEK comparison.   After much back-n-forth in studying this (without the fortune of hands-on like you had) I've also concluded that I would get a P12 for it's own merits, but not with the intent to try and replace a PEK.

This brings me right back to my original quandary-  What do I do if my PEK dies?    It's the most versatile and funnest instrument that I own.   Wouldn't most past, or present, owners have a similar such experience? DSI should seriously do a modern reissue of it, but please, please- leave the sequencer like it is.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 11, 2017, 02:49:34 PM
Sacred Synthesis, thanks for the detailed thoughts on P12/PEK comparison.   After much back-n-forth in studying this (without the fortune of hands-on like you had) I've also concluded that I would get a P12 for it's own merits, but not with the intent to try and replace a PEK.

This brings me right back to my original quandary-  What do I do if my PEK dies?    It's the most versatile and funnest instrument that I own.   Wouldn't most past, or present, owners have a similar such experience? DSI should seriously do a modern reissue of it, but please, please- leave the sequencer like it is.

I don't think you should panic over the Poly Evolver's longevity.  Who's to say a brand new Prophet 12 will outlive it anyway?  I mean, I have two PEKs that work flawlessly, whereas, the Prophet 12 I borrowed has a few erratic encoders and one lazy note.  Yes, my ten-year-old Poly Evolvers are in better working shape.  Of course, both of our PEKs could break down tomorrow and I could end up eating my words.  I'm just not going to worry too much about the issue.  But if the worry is really getting to you, then sell the PEK now and move on to a P12.  Although it can't replace a PEK, it's a fabulous synthesizer in its own right and will keep you busy for years to come.

I'm done trying to guess what DSI will produce next (other than a Rev2 Module).  I've given up on that game because it seems impossible to logically foresee it.  I only know what I'd like them to produce, and that is...a new Poly Evolver Keyboard.  That's it; that's all I'd like from DSI.  Perhaps Tracy is right in saying that Dave won't ever do it; perhaps the Prophet Rev2 was an anomaly that will not be repeated.  Regardless, that's my last wish from them.  Their current line up is quite impressive.  There's more than enough for some one with my limited needs.  But, the exceptional digital wavetable instrument is definitely missing.  It's time for the new Revolver.  But it seems that the answer from Mr. Smith is still the same: nope.

Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Mr Kay on August 14, 2017, 07:28:51 AM
perhaps the Prophet Rev2 was an anomaly that will not be repeated.

Nope, actually, most of DSI buyers are touring keyboardists  :P

And a future Prophet VS... Dunno, the PEK had the original VS wavetables and I've never programmed a VS, but I've seen the real thing and the UI looked tedious to program compared to the PEK or the P12.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: LoboLives on August 14, 2017, 08:04:35 AM
perhaps the Prophet Rev2 was an anomaly that will not be repeated.

Nope, actually, most of DSI buyers are touring keyboardists  :P

And a future Prophet VS... Dunno, the PEK had the original VS wavetables and I've never programmed a VS, but I've seen the real thing and the UI looked tedious to program compared to the PEK or the P12.

Exactly that's why we need a new one. Improve on the original idea.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 14, 2017, 10:00:54 AM
perhaps the Prophet Rev2 was an anomaly that will not be repeated.

Nope, actually, most of DSI buyers are touring keyboardists  :P

And a future Prophet VS... Dunno, the PEK had the original VS wavetables and I've never programmed a VS, but I've seen the real thing and the UI looked tedious to program compared to the PEK or the P12.

Having now worked with both, I much prefer the ergonomics of the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  For one thing, the digits in the Prophet 12's window are like micro film - unbelievably tiny, due to the amount of data that is displayed.  I found myself constantly leaning forward over the instrument to see it better, and I had noticed others doing the same thing in online videos.  I don't use glasses, but the P12 made me wonder if I need them.  If anyone wants to investigate this, just experiment with naming a patch.  How easy is it to quickly discern the difference between an "n" and an "m," or an "i" and a "j"?   You can some times hardly tell unless you get up real close to the window.  I can't imagine ever tweaking the parameters in a live situation, which is perhaps one of the reasons it's been equipped with so many controllers.  Incidentally, I often found myself, when reaching for the octave shift buttons, accidentally touching the upper ends of the ribbons with my fourth finger and inadvertently sending the sound into unwanted spasms.

Contrary to this, with the PEK, I never need to lean forward, even though its control panel is deeper and, therefore, the window is about an inch further away.  The digits are so much larger.  And all the programming goes so easily and smoothly.  Granted, I've been working with the PEK for probably eight years now, so it feels natural, whereas, I've had the P12 for only a month.  I found the P12 to be a superb instrument and a joy to use, but it requires work for sure.  It's rather labor intensive.  Still, I'm seriously considering one.  It fits in really well between the Poly Evolver and Prophet '08/Rev2.  These three full-sized synthesizers would comprise an ideal set up.

Let me say this: If, like me, you have old school tastes and prefer analog character, then the Prophet 12, in spite of a million online videos that make the instrument sound - pardon me - like digital crap, then the Prophet 12 is a viable option for you.  Yes, it can obviously sound harsh, gritty, caustic, metallic, and cold - as so many videos prove.  But it can sound gorgeous as well.  By no means does it dictate a character; rather, the sound designer decides, and that's just the way it should be.  I had previously considered it to be the odd ball in the DSI line up - with all the other instruments having that classic DSI sound, but this one lacking it.  By no means.  The P12 is classic DSI.  It fits right in with the rest of the family.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: WytchCrypt on August 14, 2017, 10:52:46 AM

Having now worked with both, I much prefer the ergonomics of the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  For one thing, the digits in the Prophet 12's window are like micro film - unbelievably tiny, due to the amount of data that is displayed.  I found myself constantly leaning forward over the instrument to see it better, and I had noticed others doing the same thing in online videos.  I don't use glasses, but the P12 made me wonder if I need them.  If anyone wants to investigate this, just experiment with naming a patch.  How easy is it to quickly discern the difference between an "n" and an "m," or an "i" and a "j"?   You can some times hardly tell unless you get up real close to the window.  I can't imagine ever tweaking the parameters in a live situation, which is perhaps one of the reasons it's been equipped with so many controllers.  Incidentally, I often found myself, when reaching for the octave shift buttons, accidentally touching the upper ends of the ribbons with my fourth finger and inadvertently sending the sound into unwanted spasms.

Contrary to this, with the PEK, I never need to lean forward, even though its control panel is deeper and, therefore, the window is about an inch further away.  The digits are so much larger.  And all the programming goes so easily and smoothly.  Granted, I've been working with the PEK for probably eight years now, so it feels natural, whereas, I've had the P12 for only a month.  I found the P12 to be a superb instrument and a joy to use, but it requires work for sure.  It's rather labor intensive.  Still, I'm seriously considering one.  It fits in really well between the Poly Evolver and Prophet '08/Rev2.  These three full-sized synthesizers would comprise an ideal set up.

Ironic.  The main reason I sold my PEK was I was always disappointed with the minimal amount of information displayed on the LED screen  ;)  It's display characters might have been larger and easier to read than the P12, but I wanted much more data than it displayed on a couple lines.  As far as the tiny size of the P12 font, I don't find it a problem as I have my P12 module displayed at eye level and love the sharpness of the OLED - especially when changing the osc wave shape!
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 14, 2017, 11:28:02 AM
You do have an ideal situation, but imagine a keyboard version with the window at the furthest point from your eyes, and perhaps another instrument on top of it casting a shadow.  As I've had the Prophet 12 set up, resting on top of my Poly Evolver Keyboard, it's way back to the point that there's no way I can see it.  It takes constant leaning forward, and after a couple of hours, it does get wearisome on the back.

I agree, the P12 window does offer a lot of information, but it seems excessive.  What is the point of displaying both a parameter's digit position and also a turning circular image of that parameter?  This is the same information given twice.  It's also intriguing to see the little envelope diagram change as you alter the four parameters, but this is at the price of sacrificing the size of the digits in general. 

It's obvious that Dave went all-out with the P12.  He pulled out all the stops, and brilliantly.  It's impressive to meet such an instrument, but there are prices to pay for such thoroughness. 

As for the Poly Evolver's window, you're right that it does offer minimal information, and I guess that's what I like about it.  It tells what you need to know and not an iota more; the rest of the information has to come from the panel. 

The P12 is heavily dependent on the window.  But one of the main reasons I chose DSI synthesizers is that they're not overly window dependent and the menu-diving is minimal.  The P12 is definitely a departure from that philosophy. 

After a month with the Prophet 12, I almost feel the need to take a vacation with a Prophet-6!

Regardless, the P12 is a great instrument and you've adapted to its strengths and weaknesses, just as I've adapted to the PEK's.  I'm being picky about something new and fascinating to me, so don't take my comments in a personal way.  The fact is, if I can manage it, I'll definitely buy a Prophet 12.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: jazzygb1 on August 14, 2017, 03:44:30 PM
You do have an ideal situation, but imagine a keyboard version with the window at the furthest point from your eyes, and perhaps another instrument on top of it casting a shadow.  As I've had the Prophet 12 set up, resting on top of my Poly Evolver Keyboard, it's way back to the point that there's no way I can see it.  It takes constant leaning forward, and after a couple of hours, it does get wearisome on the back.

I agree, the P12 window does offer a lot of information, but it seems excessive.  What is the point of displaying both a parameter's digit position and also a turning circular image of that parameter?  This is the same information given twice.  It's also intriguing to see the little envelope diagram change as you alter the four parameters, but this is at the price of sacrificing the size of the digits in general. 

It's obvious that Dave went all-out with the P12.  He pulled out all the stops, and brilliantly.  It's impressive to meet such an instrument, but there are prices to pay for such thoroughness. 

The P12 is heavily dependent on the window.  But one of the main reasons I chose DSI synthesizers is that they're not overly window dependent and the menu-diving is minimal.  The P12 is definitely a departure from that philosophy. 

After a month with the Prophet 12, I almost feel the need to take a vacation with a Prophet-6!

Regardless, the P12 is a great instrument and you've adapted to its strengths and weaknesses, just as I've adapted to the PEK's.  I'm being picky about something new and fascinating to me, so don't take my comments in a personal way.  The fact is, if I can manage it, I'll definitely buy a Prophet 12.

With the greatest of respect I think your problems with the display would seem to stem more from the poor ergonomic setup of your synths rather than a failing in the design of the OLED display on the P12.

I disagree too with your assertion that the P12 is heavily dependent on the window.
I think it uses the display wisely and where it proves most helpful, like to display the oscillator shapes or the plethora of modulation options for example.

I suppose you could argue the OLED display would perhaps be better placed at the bottom of the panel just above the keys, but it's physically a shallow synth so it's only a matter of a few inches difference anyway.

The only thing I'd change about the UI on the P12 is the selection/muting of oscillators with a double press of the oscillator button.

Not being able to do that is probably my biggest gripe with the P12.
That aside I think it's a spectacular synth.

Try reading and using the display on a Roland JDXA and then you'll realise how spoilt you've been. :)

Except for selecting Oscillator shapes and the modulation routings I don't think I really look at the display when programming, I just do it by ear like I would on most other synths.

Certainly envelopes and filters can be adjusted just using the knobs - no need for a display.

I think considering how deep the programming on a P12 goes, Dave Smith have largely got the balance right on why and what you need to use the display for.

I hope you do get one, I'm sure you'll grow to love it as much as I do. :)



Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 14, 2017, 05:43:46 PM
With the greatest of respect I think your problems with the display would seem to stem more from the poor ergonomic setup of your synths rather than a failing in the design of the OLED display on the P12.

If by that comment you mean I need to better arrange my instruments, then all I can say is that there's really no other choice.  I have to set things up as I do, due to the necessities of the type of music.  Meaning, the keyboards have to be as close together as possible so that with one hand I can reach two keyboards at the same time.  That means the top keyboard is going to be sitting back a bit, which is not a problem with the instruments that have larger displays.

I realize most will disagree with me on the window theme, but I'm only expressing an opinion, so it's fine with me.  I prefer a simpler window design and larger characters, that's all.  I don't think it means I'm spoiled; I simply need to be able to easily read the information in front of me. 

Our differences are probably due to our different styles and modes of synthesizer use, but my designing requires extreme precision, so there's no way I can tweak blindly until it sounds as if a parameter position is "close enough".  There's no option for me but to constantly watch and adjust those tiny digits for the sake of exactitude.  But it's a problem I can live with, especially in light of the P12's countless strengths.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Chaparral on August 15, 2017, 02:17:00 AM
I guess we all use synths uniquely. I have over 200 voices programmed and use four pedals, sure I had to strain my eyes (and ears) a little to reach this point, but now I get to play without needing to squint at the mod matrix and tend to refresh the play list before each gig (all my gigs are different). I especially like live editing both parts (A and B) of the voice at once - for slow attack, filters, delay etc knowing that the changes are temporary. Also I have not yet memorised how I set up the ribbons to change each individual voice, I just know that they tend to have a range from mild to extreme and suit the voices.
 I have become more confident with distortion and character (my last synth (DX7) had no knobs) and can always get back to my original programmed sound. I would not like to dig out the reading glasses when I use 'Cassandra', but find that I don't have to even when I have strayed far from my programmed sound.
 I have been lucky, I didn't consider ergonomics when I bought my P12, but it suits my style. I would probably struggle with any of your favourite synths to achieve similar results.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 15, 2017, 10:36:06 AM
I would probably struggle with any of your favourite synths to achieve similar results.

Perhaps, or perhaps not.  I think we all adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of the instruments we decide to retain.  But it's also helpful to read blunt discussions about these instruments, rather than to hear only their praises sung.  With all the videos I've watched and all the posts I've read about the Prophet 12 (and I might have missed one), I've not come across a detailed discussion about the window characters.  So, pardon me, but here is that discussion for all who might care about it.  I've always seen this as an important aspect of a forum - giving both the plusses and the minuses about an instrument, rather than just the plusses.  In my case, this isn't a deciding factor, but it might be for others.  For such persons, this discussion offers useful information.

In my opinion, all the DSI synthesizers are superb, and I could contently make use of each and every one.  But each also has its minor shortcomings.  No matter; they can be overcome.  But isn't it helpful to know about such possible shortcomings before you order an instrument, in case you're not so fortunate as to be able to try one first?   Again, I think this forum should offer such information.  I even like that this has become something of a mild debate, which has several of us offering opposite opinions.   You may or may not like the fact, but it sure provides useful information to others who can learn about, as a result, both sides.   
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: BobTheDog on August 15, 2017, 10:44:49 AM
For me the display on the P12 (or P2) are so advanced compared to the PEK both in their construction and in the level of information provided I really cannot see any way that the PEK display could be seen as superior.

What exactly is better on the PEK?
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 15, 2017, 11:02:53 AM
My preference for the PEK/P'08 display comes down probably to the thing you dislike about it - simplicity.  It offers only one piece of information: the position of the parameter you're presently using, and no information about the parameters you're not using.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  That's all I need and that's all I want. 

The result of this simplicity is that the PEK/P'08 characters are larger and easier to read from a sitting position, even when the instrument is resting on top of another instrument, so that I don't need to lean into the synthesizer in order to precisely program it.  I could understand how this might not be an issue if you play standing, but I play sitting for the purpose of also playing the pedalboard with both feet.  In other words, this issue comes down purely to practical matters.

What I've always liked about DSI synthesizers is that they're not display-intensive.  You use the display, alright, but it doesn't seem to be a constant; it's more of a precise reference point before you finalize and save a program.  This design provides a nice middle ground between modern instruments that are excessively display-intensive and older instruments that had no displays, because no memory.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: BobTheDog on August 15, 2017, 11:42:19 AM
So it's an eyesight thing, the less information there is the easier it is to see even though the display on the PEK is smaller?

The P12/P2 has to display more data on the screen because of the UI and its use of 4 soft buttons and 4 soft encoders.

In order for the P12/P2 to have a display like the PEK then they would need many more buttons/encoders, basically they are far more complex then the PEK.

The Tempest is a good example of this approach, it is basically a 6 voice PEK with a load of extra functionality and a lot less knobs. The display/ui has to expand in order to allow this.

It would be good maybe for DSI to offer a mode for the Keyboard P12 where the one parameter you are editing via a knob is displayed in a larger font but I don't know how they would make it fit with the soft knobs approach.

One thing that might be worth looking into is a clip on magnifier to position between your eyes and the display. Over the years my eyesight has got worse, especially for fine work. For electronics work I went through desk magnifiers and now have to use an HD camera system connected to a monitor to see what is going on, of course it doesn't help that everything has got smaller ;)
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 15, 2017, 12:17:47 PM
So it's an eyesight thing, the less information there is the easier it is to see even though the display on the PEK is smaller?

The P12/P2 has to display more data on the screen because of the UI and its use of 4 soft buttons and 4 soft encoders.

In order for the P12/P2 to have a display like the PEK then they would need many more buttons/encoders, basically they are far more complex then the PEK.

For me, it's not an eyesight thing, because I have fairly good eyesight.  I'm an avid reader and don't use or own reading glasses.  It's that the P12 characters are tiny and the panel is at a very slight angle - less so than the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  Just compare their profiles.

The soft buttons get into an entirely different discussion related to the complexity of the instrument vs. the actual available parameters.  I much prefer a parameter-per-function design, which, on the P12, would have resulted in a physically immense synthesizer.  Dave's reasonable solution to this was to get the most out of the display.

Yes, the P12's window is physically larger than the PEK's, but the PEK has two windows.  One displays only the program number in large characters, while the other gives parameter information or program names in no more than two lines.  The P12 gives all of its information in one window and does so in as many as five lines.  Hence, with a glance of the PEK you can easily see all the information, but with the P12 you need to come in close, because the characters are so small, the information so detailed, and the panel almost flat.  This is greatly improved, of course, when you're done programming and have saved your sound.  Then the P12 display reverts to a much larger character size and shows only the program number and name.  But once you again touch a parameter, you're back to tiny characters.

When I first set up the Prophet 12, I had it sitting by itself.  Being seated much closer to it meant that there wasn't such a visibility issue.  The problem started when I set it up on top of the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  It just doesn't work well in this arrangement, but that's how I need it to be placed for the purpose of playing the two instruments at the same time.  I haven't had this problem with any other synthesizer.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sleep of Reason on August 15, 2017, 05:01:37 PM
I'm pretty confused as to why anyone thinks there can be the best of both worlds within one unit... Analog and digital work better within two different mediums. Given all the parameters, digital synthesis is much more feasible on a computer and doesn't need to run through the filters. There's also a never ending stream of new and cheap plug-ins. Not to mention, with the insane amount of modulation options these days on analog synths, you're not going to run out of interesting new sounds if you know what you're doing.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: jazzygb1 on August 15, 2017, 05:35:58 PM

For me, it's not an eyesight thing, because I have good eyesight.  I'm an avid reader and don't use or own reading glasses.  It's that the P12 characters are tiny and the panel is at a very slight angle - less so than the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  Just compare their profiles.

The soft buttons get into an entirely different discussion related to the complexity of the instrument vs. the actual available parameters.  I much prefer parameter-per-function, which, on the P12, would have resulted in a physically immense synthesizer.  Dave's solution to this was to get the most out of the display.

Yes, the P12's window is physically larger than the PEK's, but the PEK has two windows.  One displays only the program number in large characters, while the other gives parameter information or program names in no more than two lines.  The P12 gives all of its information in one window and does so in as many as five lines.  Hence, with a glance of the PEK you can easily see all the information, but with the P12 you need to come in close, because the characters are so small, the information so detailed, and the panel almost flat.  This is greatly improved, of course, when you're done programming and have saved your sound.  Then the P12 display reverts to a much larger character size and shows only the program number and name.  But once you again touch a parameter, you're back to tiny characters.

I disagree with your assessment of the displays.

The P12 OLED display is MUCH sharper and clearer than the 16x2 LCD found on the PEK.

This allows for fonts and information to be smaller, yet still be clear and easy to read.

As 'BobTheDog' has already explained, the use of soft buttons necessitates that more information needs to be displayed for certain tasks on the P12 compared to the PEK.

However these parameters are only displayed whilst actually editing anyway.

Once you're playing you can have both the patch name and program number displayed in nice large text, or as (is the case mostly for me), not at all as I have the screen saver option enabled. :)

I would concede that it looks like DSI could have perhaps offered the option of a larger font in certain areas.

For example on the 'Low Pass Filter' menu it has the Header Menu at the top... LP Freq| Resonance| 4 Pole | KeyLp Freq |and then it displays the rotary dial position and the values underneath, and then again underneath the dials and values it has the labels of LP Freq| Resonance| 4 Pole | KeyLp Freq | repeated.
You really only need that info once, so yes it could be argued that you could lose one and use the space saved to have a bigger font or even just display purely numerical values.

I for one are pleased that they didn't and here's why...

The smaller fonts are pin sharp, easy to read and because of the clear space between the elements the interface is clean and uncluttered.

Also it keeps the UI consistent.

For example in the 'Assign Mod Source' window, the Header Menus at the top clearly define what each column below it represents, which makes using it MUCH easier.

It makes sense therefore from a UI point of view to have a consistent interface with a Header Menu for every parameter.

The display of the rotary encoder as a graphic on the display also means you have a visual representation of where the knob is - this is helpful in a poorly lit environment when you perhaps cannot see the line on the knob itself and is information  that isn't conveyed as clearly by just numerical values alone.

Having a header on some selections and not on others, or big fonts on some menus but not on others would lead to an inconsistent UI a poor end user experience IMO.

Please tell me exactly what you have to 'dial in' that needs to be to the digit accurate yet also done on the fly?

It'd be interesting to know as I honestly can't think of one myself - but then I don't play two synths at the same time with one hand either - I'm just not that good a player! :)

Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 15, 2017, 06:48:44 PM
So we've both stated our opinions on the subject for others to consider.  And we've both sorted out what works best for us.  Excellent.

To be clear, I don't "play two synths at the same time with one hand".  Rather, "the keyboards have to be as close together as possible so that with one hand I can reach two keyboards at the same time".  I play, mix, and record all my music live, bass included; no multi-tracking or help at all.  So, for the sake of bridging sections, I often use the common organ technique of sustaining a note on one keyboard with one finger while reaching with another finger of the same hand and sustaining a note on another keyboard, and finally releasing the first note.  This makes a nice smooth unbroken bridge between sections and dynamics.  So, I have a simple test for a keyboard set up: having the two instruments arranged one on top of the other, can I reach the same notes on both keyboards with the fingers of one hand at the same time?  If I can't, then there's a major musical failure in the whole arrangement.  It's like sitting too far to the left or right at a piano; it will badly affect you're playing.  Some might find this to be mere fickleness, but not the musician who wants to play as well and expressively as possible. 

Here's a musical example of the technique in which the ending brass note merges into the beginning string note at 5:55:

https://youtu.be/iQktiQLqHiE?t=5m50s

By the way, my wife just listened to my Prophet 12 recordings and with her sweet Irish brogue pronounced those magical words: "You have to get a Prophet 12".  Ah, there's nothing like a good woman who has good taste in synthesizers!  ;D
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: dsetto on August 15, 2017, 11:39:22 PM
That's wonderful!

---
Have you explored the wave "blending" much? From what you wrote earlier you didn't seem enthralled by this capability. (I forget what DSI calls it.) From afar, this seems like one of its fundamental strengths.

Does the PEK do that oscillator blending in the way the P12 does?
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 15, 2017, 11:52:01 PM
No and no.  The PEK lacks some capabilities that the old Prophet VS had.  I especially wish it had the joystick, which was responsible probably for what you've called "wave blending".  Correct me if I misunderstood you.

My time with the Prophet 12 was spent trying to sort out whether or not I liked its overall sound.  I made no attempt to search deeply into its capabilities, but instead, experimented with those fundamentals of synthesis that I already heavily rely on.  That was my starting point, and I only wandered off course a tad.  But I'm firmly convinced that it would serve well my style of music and sound.  Again, I believe the P12, P'08, and PEK - each in keyboard-module pairs - would make probably the ideal set up for my musical interests.  It's exciting to be able to say that, and to contemplate being spared the monotonous and relentless search for the right instruments.  Goodness gracious, am I sick to death of researching synthesizers and listening to ear-piercing YouTube demonstrations!  I'd love to end it all and spend all such time more productively in my quaint little Music Room.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: WytchCrypt on August 16, 2017, 10:01:06 AM
Regardless, the P12 is a great instrument and you've adapted to its strengths and weaknesses, just as I've adapted to the PEK's.  I'm being picky about something new and fascinating to me, so don't take my comments in a personal way.  The fact is, if I can manage it, I'll definitely buy a Prophet 12.

No worries...I didn't take your comments personally.  You say Tomato I say Tomita  ;)
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: dsetto on August 16, 2017, 10:09:29 AM
The P12 feature I am talking about may be called "crossfading" or "morphing". (I didn't look it up in the manual.) I believe it's the following: (My understanding of this could be wrong. I've only read about it, a long time ago.)

For an oscillator:
Pick a waveshape to put in the main, central "slot".
Then, a different waveshape can be placed in a left "slot". And a different one can be placed in a right "slot".
Then, I believe the waveshapes in the flanking slots can affect the central slot waveshape. So that the oscillator's waveshape has changed, influenced by the flanking slots.

With a sense of DS style, I would suspect the influence of the flanking slots on the central slots can be ... um, modulated & controlled.

I bring this up because:
- I like what you're doing with the P12. There's something special about it. Clean and warm. Hollow and depth. Clarity.
- You like the PEK. (understatement, I'd say.) (I don't know the PEK.)
- You like how the P12 can satisfyingly do what you want from a P'08. (Although not fully.)

You've made the assessments that P12 cannot replace your P'08 nor PEK rigs - for you.

You've got the unknown about can a Rev2 K-M rig replace a P'08 set. As one follows an author, I'm intrigued from a distance what you'll find in that assessment.

But, since you like the combination of the basic P12 oscillator - filter - sound chain, ... And you've queried its weaknesses. And they've passed. And haven't knocked out the others.

Now, it's time to explore its strengths. (Hopefully you have a little more time with it.)

And the ability to change the waveshape before moving on to subtractive synthesis, ...

either:
-- The net result is still limited by an overall "imprint"
-- or, there's wide range of sounds. Musical sounds, waiting to be untapped by you, for you, in your way.
(I suspect both those thoughts are true, and that under the limit, the breadth of variety is very wide. I.e., it's not limited.)
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: dsetto on August 16, 2017, 10:12:58 AM
And that's one oscillator.

...
By the way, can you achieve stereo on the P12 the way you like to achieve it on the PEK?
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 16, 2017, 10:58:09 AM
Got it.  I guess I've had a strange attitude towards the Prophet 12.  I only wanted to learn if I would like it at all, if I would find its overall tone better than tolerable.  The bar was very low, but the instrument leapt over it by a mile.  I realized the P12 would do superlatively more than I immediately needed, but I decided to leave that territory to a later time, if I should ever actually buy one.  Only then will I sit down with it and explore the remarkable complexity, including the crossfading you described.  The truth is, I haven't seriously studied the instrument for probably a couple of years now.  It entirely dropped off my radar screen until the last few months when I started to wonder about it again.

I'm being redundant here, but I learned that the P12 is its own instrument, and not a replacement for the others, certainly not a PEK Mk. II or a new improved P'08.  It wouldn't suffice as a PEK or P'08 substitute, neither sonically nor even ergonomically.  For example, I find the P'08, because it's a much simpler synthesizer, to be so easy to program that it's like tying a shoelace.  That has an effect on how I use it and what comes from the time spent with it.  The P12 is altogether different.  I approach it more like work, more like a challenge, but one that is well worth the effort, due to the outcome.  Because there are so many more features, and even because of the OLED display issue, the designing process will be predictably longer, slower, and harder.  That also has an effect on how I use it and what comes from the time spent with it.  The "Bi-Timbral Soft Ethereal Pad" that I posted yesterday took probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours to design, with lots of trial and error on the keyboard.  One of the most difficult parts was the Layer B sound that used Lag on the random filter modulation.  The pad allowed only for six voices at a time, and because the Release time on Layer B was quite long, it was difficult to make a recording of it without voice-reassignment pops.  Plus, the Lag time took the minutest experimenting and adjusting, since the effect moved quickly from a typical S+H "pop" to a silly-sounding "gurgle".  On top of that, Layer B was given a lot of reverb, which had its own challenges in the performance.  Finally, the Layer B had to be gradually increased in volume at the mixer while I was playing.  Simply, that soft little improvisation took a ton of time and effort, which a much simpler P'08 would never have asked of me.  The P12 patch itself was only an attempt to emulate a nearly identical patch I have on the P'08 - one that was programmed with comparative ease.

I have to return the Prophet 12 within a week or so.  I'll be thinking hard as to what I should do next.  Financing a P12 by selling a PEK is a hefty price to pay.  There truly is nothing like the sound of two Poly Evolvers singing in harmony, and they look gorgeous together.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: dsetto on August 16, 2017, 11:56:22 AM
That all makes really good sense. ... It's a great example how one size does not fit all. And how time, experience, level of attention, and current goals all inform one's current path and upcoming turns. And all our different minds come to places like these to uncover the shared and the divergent. ... Thank you for sharing your travels.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 16, 2017, 12:14:47 PM
And thank you for asking about it all, and bearing with my long-winded comments.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: araucaria on August 16, 2017, 02:49:32 PM
And thank you for asking about it all, and bearing with my long-winded comments.

And my thanks to all participants for this most interesting and civil discourse - a forum at its best  :)
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 19, 2017, 10:05:01 AM
Fellas -

Since you were onto a different topic, I moved this discussion to "The Best of Both (A-D) Worlds?" under Prophet 12.
Title: Re: Placing the Prophet 12
Post by: Mr Kay on August 22, 2017, 12:02:27 PM
By the way, my wife just listened to my Prophet 12 recordings and with her sweet Irish brogue pronounced those magical words: "You have to get a Prophet 12".  Ah, there's nothing like a good woman who has good taste in synthesizers!  ;D

;D

Actually, your demos shows well how sounds a P'12 in skilled hands  ;)