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SEQUENTIAL/DSI => Prophet => Prophet 12 => Topic started by: Frocktar on March 19, 2018, 03:28:20 AM

Title: Raw oscillator
Post by: Frocktar on March 19, 2018, 03:28:20 AM
Iíll try this post again as the original got deleted overnight from when I wrote it some 24 hours ago.

So for curiosity I compared a raw oscillator sound from my Rev 2 and P12. Rev 2 blew it away, I wasnít terribly surprised by this, the extent of it perhaps a tad.

But then I compared the Virus Ti with them and found it very surprisingly close to the Rev 2. Pickable in blind test I think, but quite impressive. 

Iím surprised though to see such a big difference between the Virus and the P12, Iíd have expected the P12 to win the raw oscillator sound contest between it and the Virus honestly.

FYI though, I love my P12 dearly and donít see myself ever trading it in. Iíve made some crazy sounds on her and sheís a keeper for me, so this isnít meant as a complaint. Iím just really really surprised by the result.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 19, 2018, 08:25:46 AM
And to re-post my response to your comment, which was also deleted yesterday....

That's an interesting analysis.  I'd like to know your specific reasons.  How would you describe the differences between the raw oscillator qualities of the Prophet 12 and those of the Rev2?
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Soundquest on March 19, 2018, 09:30:59 AM
Frockstar,  I second that request for detail.  What does "blew it away" mean?

This makes me think of another topic that might relate:  Back in the day when much care was put into designing one's home stereo system, much consideration would be placed on what amp sounded best, as we'll as what speakers.  The results in sound quality were sometimes very noticeable just by swapping a different amp for the same turntable or tape deck.  The stereo store in our town had a,b,c,d switches for that very purpose, where you could compare on the fly.   I still have my tube Luxman amp, and it sounds great.  (No,  the stereo store is long gone  :-\)   Guitarists know this amp effect all too well, often devoting their pastime to discussing different amp characteristics.

Enter the synth hobby....oddly, it seems rare that this issue of the amp get brought up.  I'm speaking specifically of the instrument onboard amplifier circuit. I believe the instruments onboard amp can color the sound either good or bad, just like that Luxman amp makes my stereo speakers shine.  I'm thinking that this variable can be just as significant as the oscillator characteristics.

I sold my Sledge because the audio was just plain weird.  After a few hours thru headphones it really became "hard  to listen too.    I could detect no difference in the Sledge's oscilloscope traditional wave shapes between that unit and my PO8 for example, but the PO8 was just much better to listen too for extended time.  When I said "hard" I meant that the Sledge would get tiresome to listen too, almost a faint hollow ringing (like edge of feedback) yet very subtle.  Almost a faint reverb or something.  I concluded that it was a crappy amp.    I like my Nord Lead 4 enough to keep it, but I believe it has similar issue, though not as bad as the Sledge.  I had a Korg R5, it was terribly thin.  Whereas the Alesis Micron and Novation K station were not bad VA's.  So I can't say it's just limited to virtual analog deficiency.  I think it was more amp related.   


 My P12 oscillators, and apparently the amp too, sound  pretty darn good.  Because of all the early press P12 received about not having a fat bottom end, I wasn't expecting it to impress me in that regard.  Quite frankly, I was pleasantly surprised.  It's low end stunned me, and is every bit as deep as my Pittsburgh Modular foundation oscillators (or should I say sound).   

In summary,  my experience has been with comparing synths, is that while oscillators wave shapes are set to the same shape and then compared, it does makes a difference, even if not readily apparent on the scope. Sometimes the shapes are discernibly different.    But tilting the scale more seems to be the rest of the audio signal path.   We're fortunate that DSI uses what sound to me as very good clean amps.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: tumble2k on March 19, 2018, 01:19:07 PM
@Soundquest I find this discussion very interesting. Synthesizers have a sound that is instilled in them by their creators. In the case of the P'08, which I have, the sound is difficult to describe. You can't use the usual adjectives like "warm" because it's not warm. Nor is it "fat". It's not "bassy" but it does have copious bass.

Now is that good or bad? I think that it's just how Dave and his crew voice the instruments. I suspect one school of thought is that the oscillators and filter have personalities that should be embraced and enhanced to define the character of the synth. Another school of thought is that the oscillators and filters should themselves not have that much character to allow the sound designer to instill the character in the voice itself.

The trouble with the first school is that every sound will necessarily be colored with the sonic signature of the oscillators and filter. The trouble with the second school is that it may be harder to find musically enjoyable sounds.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Frocktar on March 19, 2018, 02:37:31 PM
Some good points as to the amplifier in the P12, certainly true it could just be down to that. Tough one to test :)

To elaborate a tad on my musing of the rev 2 blowing away thr P12 (in terms of raw sound at least, true be told Iíd sooner sell my Rev 2 than the P12).

I found the P12 very thin and dull compared to it. Also quiet to the ear despite being on par on my meters. I even moved the inputs from the ADAT expansion to the main sound card to get them all on even ground. 

Even when I turned way up to get a similar perceived level it lacked clarity, texture and depth to my ear compared to the rev 2. All of this wasnít as shocking though as was the discovery that my Virus sounded quite close to the rev2 on this level test.

Iíd be curious if itís just my P12 honestly.  Iíve got decent speakers, Focal Twin 6ís and CMS40ís.
I didnít expect this level of difference.

Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: BobTheDog on March 19, 2018, 02:41:47 PM
Try messing with the shape mod on the oscillator, a slight change can have a large impact. I managed to get the P12 oscillators to sound pretty similar to the Evolver by changing this parameter.

Also if you think things sound thin even after looking at this then use the high pass filter with high resonance and 100% tracking to boost the fundamental.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Frocktar on March 19, 2018, 02:51:02 PM
Iíll give her a go, but everything is set to be the same as far as stated parameters go at least.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Soundquest on March 20, 2018, 07:51:38 AM
I haven't done controlled side-by-side oscillator comparison with the P12 to another instrument yet.  Maybe I'll see what it's like compared to PEK.   I'm curious to see if there's any beefiness difference on some basic wave shapes.   After all, my goal for P12 was to fit in that section of the orchestra. 
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: shimoyjk on March 21, 2018, 10:45:19 PM
Try messing with the shape mod on the oscillator, a slight change can have a large impact. I managed to get the P12 oscillators to sound pretty similar to the Evolver by changing this parameter.

Also if you think things sound thin even after looking at this then use the high pass filter with high resonance and 100% tracking to boost the fundamental.

Thanks, I will try this trick.

I also compared P12 raw osc to Ob-6 and sub-37í raw osc. Hands down to Ob-6 and sub37, p12 osc racks, and hit the volume meter but it sounds less loud than others. But i think those tricks that you come up with will make its sound fat(?)ter i guess.

Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Frocktar on March 22, 2018, 03:07:02 AM
To be clear, I certainly donít mean to suggest that itís hard to get a nice big think sound out of the P12 btw, this was purely about the raw direct comparison sound of the oscillators with no altering.

The P12 can sound absolutely brilliant with a bit of work put it. Love her.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: jazzygb1 on March 22, 2018, 08:24:47 AM
I too have the Prophet 12 & Rev2 16 voice.

The oscillators sound similar IMO. Obviously there's a thickness to the analogue oscillators of the REV2 that the digital oscillators of the P12 don't have, but that's to be expected Ė thatís why we love analogues right? Otherwise whatís the point in buying a REV2?

Iím actually in the middle of making a video comparing them both, but have been too busy to complete it.

I donít agree with the original post that the REV2 oscillators Ďblew away the P12 oscillatorsí at all Ė I think that P12 more than holds itís own on the oscillator front and overall is definitely the superior Ďinstrumentí of the two (though the REV2 is also great!).

However one of the reasons the raw oscillator of the P12 sounds 'thinner' than the REV2 is because of the differences of the two synths when set to a Basic Program.

It isn't just the raw oscillators that sound different - it's many of the parameters on the synth.

For example, surprising as it may seem the envelope settings aren't the same.

A release time of 95 on the VCA of REV2 is the same as a release time of around 78 on the P12.

A default basic program on the P12 sounds different to the REV2 to a large extent because of these differences.

For example... the Basic Program sawtooth on REV2 has no audible release on the VCA, but the release on the Prophet 12 VCA can clearly be heard (is longer) Ė this despite the values of the VCA release on both synths being set to the same value.

The same applies to the cutoff on the filter, so the sawtooth waveform on the P12 can immediately sound more like the REV2's by just rolling of some of the brightness and lowering the release time.
Make those adjustments and the differences between the 'thick' analogue and Ďthiní digital waveforms isnít that big at all. Itís still definitely there but much more subtle.

So if the comparison has been done with both synths set to their default Basic Programí the differences will be exacerbated as both synths do not mirror each other even when the values of the parameters are set the same.
This becomes even more obvious when attempting to recreate patches from one synth on the other.

I had a lot of fun and did quite a lot of experimenting trying to recreate my favourite patches from each synth on the other and my final verdict was thisÖ

There are sounds that each synth can do that the other cannot Ė thatís simply a fact!

However, out of the two the P12 was able to recreate more of the REV2ís sounds than the other way around.

I donít say that out of bias (although I do utterly LOVE my P12), I say it out of real world trials.

The overall sound and abilities of the synth are not solely down to the oscillators anyway, so comparing just the raw waveform is a bit misleading and only gives you a small part of the picture.

Yes they sound different, but then they're are meant to aren't they? :)
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 22, 2018, 09:43:24 AM
In my own limited experience with the Prophet 12, I found that the key to producing a rich warm sound was in not over-programming.  The character section - as tempting as it is - doesn't necessarily improve the instrument's quality in the rich warm direction.  I could understand its usefulness in the designing of very specific sounds or effects, but definitely not in the direction of creating a classic analog quality.  Against the advice of others, I repeatedly found the key was in just leaving it alone.

I compared the Prophet 12 with the Poly Evolver Keyboard and found the PEK had an edge on it.  Most of my sounds were attempts to surpass the Evolver, since I was considering replacing one with the other, and I would say the PEK slightly won in most cases.  But still, the P12 was impressive in unexpected places, such as in producing a high quality and wonderfully musical sawtooth lead patch.  That's a handy patch for testing an instrument, because it clears away all the bells and whistles that can make any instrument sound impressive. 

If the Prophet 12 sounds a bit thin, then it has an advantage in producing pads that will not blur the clarity of the general mix.  There's a place for a slight thinness, and it isn't necessarily a musical flaw.  You don't always want a Memory Moog density supporting your melodies, especially if those melodies descend into the lower registers.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: jdt9517 on March 23, 2018, 10:00:42 PM
@Soundquest I find this discussion very interesting. Synthesizers have a sound that is instilled in them by their creators. ...

Now is that good or bad? I think that it's just how Dave and his crew voice the instruments. I suspect one school of thought is that the oscillators and filter have personalities that should be embraced and enhanced to define the character of the synth. Another school of thought is that the oscillators and filters should themselves not have that much character to allow the sound designer to instill the character in the voice itself.


I think the beauty is that each synth has its own character.  Each model lends itself towards a certain direction.  I know if I work hard I can eek a certain sound out of one synth, where the other will come together like magic.  For another sound it will be vice versa.  Each synth has character, but it is the job of the sound designer to bring out the character to the fullest.  Work to the synth's strengths and try not to fight it.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: jazzygb1 on March 24, 2018, 08:17:38 PM
I just want to clarify too that the Prophet 12's oscillator's aren't 'thin', they are just thinner sounding than the analogue oscillator found on the REV2.


Remember you've FOUR oscillators from which to craft your sound on the P12 which more than makes up for any difference to an analogue oscillator IMO.
The vast majority of the patches I've created rarely use all 4 oscillators which kind of proves my point.


So the oscillators on the P12 are very good and you should have no concerns about comparing them to the oscillators of the Rev2 or any other synth for that matter.


Sounding different to analogue does not equate to sounding worse than analogue - far from it IMO.









Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: LoboLives on March 25, 2018, 10:06:00 AM
I was at the music store yesterday and was playing around with the Prophet 12. What I found is the quality of it's capabilities are best found when you avoid using the traditional waveforms and start using Tines, Gothic, Ahhs, etc. Don't treat it like an analog or even virtual analog synth. Embrace the digital wavetables and you can get some excellent FM Pianos, some PPG type choirs and they all sound fantastic. I'll wait for Dave's next synth to see what he comes up with but I have my eye on the Prophet 12 now more than ever before.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Chaparral on March 26, 2018, 01:28:32 AM
LoboLives - I am glad you said this. I am a Big fan of my P12, Raw oscillator is a big thing for some people here but I am only interested in the final voices I create, usually complex mixtures of sound elements modulated in countless ways. I Love my voices and I do not own any other synths or try to make sounds like those on other synths.
  I am always happy to read other folks criticisms and comments on the P12, but sometimes it is a bit like saying Lego bricks are not as realistic as wooden bricks - it's what you build that counts in the end.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: jazzygb1 on March 26, 2018, 02:25:41 PM
This wasn't really ready yet, so excuse the abrupt ending and poor editing, but this short video shows the difference between the raw sawtooth waveform on both the P12 and REV2.

It also highlights the differences between the default 'basic Program' setting of each synth as I mentioned in an earlier post about how you can clearly hear the release time of the VCA on the P12 is longer than the REV2, even though all the values of the sounds are are shown as being the same.

The sound played at the beginning was a lead I first programmed on the P12 and then replicated on the REV2 btw. :)

Anyway...enjoy, but be warned, it's a bit geeky! :)

https://youtu.be/lBrsTpC2lUI (https://youtu.be/lBrsTpC2lUI)
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Soundquest on March 26, 2018, 07:50:57 PM
In comparing the PO8 to the P12 triangle and saw wave shapes I seemed to hear the P12 triangle wave as having a touch more tone.  The oscilloscope seemed to correspond with that. As you can see in the attachment, the P12 had some higher sub peaks just off of the 440 tone.  I was noticing that shapes seems generally have a little more curved apex and nodes on both triangle and saw waves on the P12,  which sort of surprised me.  As far as I could discern there was no filtering on the P12 engaged. Basic patch, no spread or effects of course.

It's been discussed here before- about how wonderful an option it would be to have import of wave shape capability- like on the Evolvers.   As an experiment I toiled for two days with using sine waves in an additive nature- using usually 8 oscillators stacked and their individual frequencies placed at the proper harmonic fingerprint of various instruments.  In doing so I was able to make a dead-on banjo -copying the banjo I borrowed from a friend.  Tried a trumpet too (getting the wave off the internet) with limited success.  If you don't get the relative amplitudes of each harmonic just right it can throw it off completely.  Quite a touchy endeavor, but it does work.   The usual result is that the created wave looks quite similar, but lacks some artifacts and fine harmonics you would see in the actual instrument. (also in attachment). Sometimes engaging one oscillator sync and a trace of AM helps.   

Ok, nevermind,  having a hell of a time uploading the small pdf ???  I'll try again tomorrow.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Soundquest on March 27, 2018, 01:42:39 PM
In comparing the PO8 to the P12 triangle and saw wave shapes I seemed to hear the P12 triangle wave as having a touch more tone.  The oscilloscope seemed to correspond with that. As you can see in the attachment, the P12 had some higher sub peaks just off of the 440 tone.  I was noticing that shapes seems generally have a little more curved apex and nodes on both triangle and saw waves on the P12,  which sort of surprised me.  As far as I could discern there was no filtering on the P12 engaged. Basic patch, no spread or effects of course.

It's been discussed here before- about how wonderful an option it would be to have import of wave shape capability- like on the Evolvers.   As an experiment I toiled for two days with using sine waves in an additive nature- using usually 8 oscillators stacked and their individual frequencies placed at the proper harmonic fingerprint of various instruments.  In doing so I was able to make a dead-on banjo -copying the banjo I borrowed from a friend.  Tried a trumpet too (getting the wave off the internet) with limited success.  If you don't get the relative amplitudes of each harmonic just right it can throw it off completely.  Quite a touchy endeavor, but it does work.   The usual result is that the created wave looks quite similar, but lacks some artifacts and fine harmonics you would see in the actual instrument. (also in attachment). Sometimes engaging one oscillator sync and a trace of AM helps.   

Ok, nevermind,  having a hell of a time uploading the small pdf ???  I'll try again tomorrow.

I've concluded that attachments as PDF wont work here.  It's certainly not too big a file.  Oh well :(

Anyway.... I guess the point of this exercise was that we're all gonna hear something different in oscillator comparisons.   I like pulling out the oscilloscope for such comparisons as it lets me see differences that might exist as well.   For those P12 users, if you take a look at the triangle and saw spectrums and waveshape (if you have oscilloscope software handy) you'll see the differences are apparent versus a PO8 for example.  Visually the P12 was showing just a bit more in trace peak harmonics (I guess you'd call it) on the spectrum.  It gives it a little fuller brighter sound, IMO, when unfiltered.   

I've scoped all my synths.  The Deepmind 12 has the most perfect saw wave I've seen.  But this does not necessarily equate to "optimum".  For me, while I like that synth, the saw wave is a bit weak.  again, IMO.

I always had a preconception that digital oscillators mean perfect shapes in addition to stable pitch.  Stable pitch, true enough, but the shapes can be imperfect.

So, in summary, I discovered nothing.  Dave's been adding in osc. slop and continuous wave shape
variation for years.  There's a reason ;)
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Robot Heart on March 27, 2018, 05:53:25 PM
Test PDF attachment.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Robot Heart on March 27, 2018, 05:54:59 PM
Soundquest: I made a small change to the attachments permissions. PDF was already an allowed attachment type, but perhaps the change will help. I tried uploading a PDF of the P12 manual as a test just above this post and it worked. Please try your attachment again.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: W07 on March 27, 2018, 06:34:42 PM
I think, it is true the oscillators on the P12 aren't as beefy and in-your face as other VCO and DCO ones, but by layering a saw with a sine osc, or a saw with another saw with a slightly different waveshape (no detuning, use the 2 leftover oscs for that) you can get a lot more booty.

Character section only sounds nice in low values, small amounts, and doesn't do that much for presence. I like to use them tracked to the keyboard or modulated by aftertouch and velocity to give a bit of livelyness, though.
A low HPf with some res and a bit of keytrack is also good. Keeping oscillator levels low, if you're using 4 don't go above 60, will have a much nicer tone.
I was using drive a lot at first, but these days i use smaller amounts, usually modulated with lfo/velocity/envelopes/AT.

But mostly, this is a true poly! the way the voices interact, when using pan spread and slop, stretch tuning etc...is wonderful, the sum is really greater then the parts.
With this amount of polyphony and modulation-colouring, it's a good thing it doesn't overpower the mix too fast.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Frocktar on March 28, 2018, 03:14:33 AM
This wasn't really ready yet, so excuse the abrupt ending and poor editing, but this short video shows the difference between the raw sawtooth waveform on both the P12 and REV2.

It also highlights the differences between the default 'basic Program' setting of each synth as I mentioned in an earlier post about how you can clearly hear the release time of the VCA on the P12 is longer than the REV2, even though all the values of the sounds are are shown as being the same.

The sound played at the beginning was a lead I first programmed on the P12 and then replicated on the REV2 btw. :)

Anyway...enjoy, but be warned, it's a bit geeky! :)

https://youtu.be/lBrsTpC2lUI (https://youtu.be/lBrsTpC2lUI)

I like geeky, especially when itís music related. 

Alas after seeing your video it made me think there is something up with my P12 as the comparison between its raw oscillator and my Rev 2 is much more stark.

Started investigating a bit deeper at that point and did the same test out of outputs B and got a very different result.  Looks like it might be repair shop for the old girl. 
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: jazzygb1 on March 28, 2018, 12:30:51 PM
Sorry to hear you've an issue with your outputs, but pleased if my video help diagnose it.


I'm sure the guys at DSI support will get you sorted quickly as they were excellent with me when I had a faulty REV2.


Good luck and please let us know how you get on :)
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Soundquest on March 28, 2018, 05:49:04 PM
Soundquest: I made a small change to the attachments permissions. PDF was already an allowed attachment type, but perhaps the change will help. I tried uploading a PDF of the P12 manual as a test just above this post and it worked. Please try your attachment again.

Thanks Robot Heart for the fix. I'm a novice with PDF.  I'm thinking its more something on my end. 
I'll eventually get it back up here in another format.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Raw oscillator
Post by: Frocktar on April 13, 2018, 10:29:20 PM
I managed to get the A outputs working the same as the B outputs by reloading the firmware. After that was all good.

The oscillators are still quite a bit quieter than all my other synths though but I assume this is likely deliberate due to the 4 Oscillator design to avoid over-driving the signal path