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SEQUENTIAL/DSI => Prophet => Prophet Rev2 => Topic started by: consequential on January 13, 2021, 07:31:34 AM

Title: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: consequential on January 13, 2021, 07:31:34 AM
Hello everyone,

Does anyone know when whether we can expect Sequential to upgrade the firmware of the Prophet Rev2 anytime soon?

It's a wonderful synth but there are quite a few bugs, it seems to me, that are at once substantial and well reported on this forum. It is the first synth that I bought from Sequential and, after two years, I'm a bit perplexed by the fact that this synth is still not fully functioning the way that it is supposed to, especially as new synths are being released by the company. 
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: timboréale on January 13, 2021, 08:05:09 AM
Hard to say. DSI has both pros and cons to their software support history.

The Tempest is notoriously buggy (moreso than the Rev2, arguably) but it was being sold new until very recently, several years after its last update. But the MPE and Vintage knob updates to the P6 and OB-6 have been encouraging (and unexpected). That said, the P6/OB-6 firmware had far less to do than the Rev2's, so they were probably much simpler to work on and might even have shared code with the new Prophet 5, making it nearly trivial to port.

So it's anybody's guess as to whether we'll see any more updates to the Rev2.

For me, the Rev2 is perfectly functional and despite some annoyances I haven't encountered (yet) any bugs that make it not able to do what I expect it to do as a Prophet, so while they are certainly bugs, I don't think they prevent it from being a very useful synth in it's own right. My Nord Lead 3 has more (and more serious) bugs, in my opinion, and it's still a very useable and enjoyable synth too.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 13, 2021, 09:57:14 AM
Relax.  It's coming.  Have you noticed the other updates that have been recently released?  All things in order.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: jok3r on January 13, 2021, 10:07:25 AM
Relax.  It's coming, and soon.

I remember you saying this in this forum some months ago... what is your definition of "soon"?  :D :D :D

I can't stand it anymore. I need to know if there will be a global LFO... I also want to have the vintage knob instead of slop like the P6 got recently, but I could live without if this is not possible, because as we all know, the Rev2 can handle that otherwise. But the global LFO...
I'm really missing playing big chords, changing only one note, and get the new voices LFOs in sync with where the remaining ones are. Yes, free running LFOs per voice are cool, too... but sometimes you just need them to be in phase.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 13, 2021, 10:22:59 AM
I know, I know.  I'm as impatient with this as anyone.  My present set up has a huge hole in it that leaves me unable to create the music I want to, music that has been knocking around my head for many months and that I'm anxious to finish and record. 

My time references on the update are on the scale of eternity.  That should cover me into the future.  But I've been told repeatedly that the update is almost ready to be released.  I've recklessly played the cheerleader in this to keep people from giving up hope.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: jok3r on January 13, 2021, 10:56:11 AM
My hope is endless in this case. I could even wait a little more, if I knew that the update would raise the instrument to the next level...

I'm just really curious, what the update will bring. Will there be new features, or are there "just" bug fixes? There are so many feature requests that got bumped up again and again. It be very nice, if they implemented at least the (supposedly) easier ones.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 13, 2021, 11:42:01 AM
I'm just really curious, what the update will bring. Will there be new features, or are there "just" bug fixes? There are so many feature requests that got bumped up again and again. It be very nice, if they implemented at least the (supposedly) easier ones.

I have no idea of the specifics.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: creativespiral on January 13, 2021, 12:13:20 PM
New features would be really nice (ie: a global/mono LFO mode, vintage knob), but not holding my breath.   If they can just fix the known, repeatable bugs, that would be top priority. 

Fixing the gated sequencer is my #1 request:

Support Ticket 48090 - Confirmed Bug
Gated Sequencer does not advance properly when using both layers in Key Step mode.

A fix to this would improve voice modeling capabilities with the Rev2, allowing for multiple layers to correctly advance key stepped sequences, and also allow proper working patches with dual layer syncopated sequences using the Gated Sequencer key step with arp - 

The Rev2 is potentially capable of pulling off some amazingly complex sequenced patterns by stacking Layer A and B with arps and key stepped sequences running, but because of this bug, you can't do it... You can only have key step sequencer active on one layer... if you engage the second layer in stack, it botches/jumbles the sequences. 

Crossing my fingers ;) 

Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: jok3r on January 13, 2021, 01:57:46 PM
Yes, it would be great if this got fixed. I don't use arps and sequencers very much, but I see the point in it and why it definitely should be fixed.

I thought about the mono/global LFO stuff a bit and came to the conclusion, that it be enough to make a fixed one of the LFOs (e.g. LFO4) configurable as mono/global per MISC menue. That would add only one new menue point to the user interface and would be enough for most use cases I think (the behaviour I want to have is mostly seen on synths with only one LFO).

A potential problem could be that it is possible to modulate this one LFO with the other ones. So I guess all this modulation routes would add up / cancel out in a very crazy way. On the other hand I think this is also the case when modulating the effect parameters. So it should be possible. As I wrote this I realized, a global LFO would be especially nice for modulating the global effects parameters...
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: AlainHubert on January 13, 2021, 10:32:35 PM
Not only a unified LFO, but also a single unified random value for all voices when Random LFO waveform is selected. And not an unusable mishmash of different random values for each voice!
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: jok3r on January 14, 2021, 12:17:15 AM
Not only a unified LFO, but also a single unified random value for all voices when Random LFO waveform is selected. And not an unusable mishmash of different random values for each voice!

Yeah, you're right. I just didn't mention it explicitly, because I took that for granted when we are talking about a real global/mono LFO.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: jok3r on January 22, 2021, 05:05:08 PM
Seems like Sequential's developers are still working on the P6/OB6 firmware at the moment. ;) I hope they will sort everything out quickly, so they can work on the Rev2 Update.

Just played mine for about two hours without noticing time. It's such a joy. The timing for an update with some new features would be just perfect, so I have something to distract myself, until I have saved up for a P10   8)

It's such a fine instrument, it just deserves to get something new, if all its brothers and sisters got something, too.  ;D
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 23, 2021, 01:08:52 PM
The latest update I've been given is not good news.  I really have no idea, but I would guess it may be two or three months before we see this last update.  :(
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: jok3r on January 24, 2021, 01:10:10 PM
The latest update I've been given is not good news.  I really have no idea, but I would guess it may be two or three months before we see this last update.  :(

Actually, the real bad news in your post is, that it will be the LAST update... whenever it will come ;-)
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: AlainHubert on January 24, 2021, 03:39:43 PM
We have to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to have ANY update at all. Because back in the days of the original Prophet 5, there weren't any such readily available and downloadable free software updates. What you bought was what you got. No more additional features.

But then again, that software was on ROM chips, and didn't contain any bugs either. Not like today with too many synths coming out with half-baked software, relying on customers to serve as beta testers.  ::)
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: LPF83 on January 24, 2021, 03:49:39 PM
We have to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to have ANY update at all. Because back in the days of the original Prophet 5, there weren't any such readily available and downloadable free software updates. What you bought was what you got. No more additional features.

But then again, that software was on ROM chips, and didn't contain any bugs either. Not like today with too many synths coming out with half-baked software, relying on customers to serve as beta testers.  ::)

:)  The Prophet 5 was notorious for bugs, and so were Oberheims.  I remember people talking about they were terrified to go on stage with them for fear that they would crap the bed.

"It was so far ahead of the competition that it became an instant phenomenon, in spite of the fact that its reliability - or lack of it - was to become almost as legendary as its performance. One employee of Rod Argent's Keyboards (the Prophet's importers) set it to the tune of Buggles' 'Video Killed the Radio Star': "I bought a Prophet from you just the other day, I turned it on and all the programs went away, ooh-wee-ooh we should have told you, ooh-wee-ooh that's what they all do"."

http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/return-of-the-prophet/378  (link recently posted in the P5/P10 forum)

..  Yet all old analogs were flawed in some way and the P5 still went down as one of the best synths ever made.

Sometimes memories of days gone by are romanticized from what they actually were :)
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: jok3r on January 24, 2021, 05:06:15 PM
We have to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to have ANY update at all.

You're absolutely right. I didn't want to give the impression that I see it as Sequentials duty to publish furthers updates. I can perfectly live without any further updates at all without breaking with Sequential, because I really bought the Rev2 for what it is... or what it was then. But since I see them doing updates with new features for basically all their products, I think it's not too greedy to at least hope  ;D

I can imagine that it's not so easy to add a lot more to the Rev2, because of remaining code space. I guess they have "recycled" and "tuned" the Prophet 08 platform almost to the limit it can actually handle. Perhaps they could do an alternative system where they cut some of the effects and add some other useful stuff instead. I would sacrifice ring mod for a global LFO  :P

That makes me think of a modular configurable firmware, where the user can choose from a set of additional features or "user features" online. Configure your feature set to your will and download a corresponding sysex file afterwards. I guess that will never happen... but it's an interesting thought. I better should go to sleep now... it's very late around here ;-)
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: AlainHubert on January 24, 2021, 10:25:13 PM


:)  The Prophet 5 was notorious for bugs, and so were Oberheims.  I remember people talking about they were terrified to go on stage with them for fear that they would crap the bed.



Those were not software bugs but rather hardware bugs. Unreliable electronic parts, and unreliable build sometimes. Especially connectors coming loose inside (when moving those heavy synths around). Contacts becoming oxidized.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: AlainHubert on January 24, 2021, 10:27:45 PM
... I would sacrifice ring mod for a global LFO  :P

So would I.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: LPF83 on January 25, 2021, 06:26:22 AM

:)  The Prophet 5 was notorious for bugs, and so were Oberheims.  I remember people talking about they were terrified to go on stage with them for fear that they would crap the bed.


Those were not software bugs but rather hardware bugs. Unreliable electronic parts, and unreliable build sometimes. Especially connectors coming loose inside (when moving those heavy synths around). Contacts becoming oxidized.

From someone who has been hands-on in the field software engineering for now approaching 40 years, I can tell you that the notion of "'bug free" software simply does not exist, and never has, on any platform, in any language.  There are only varying levels of robustness. 

At least these days, the ease of updates is (sometimes) the savior.  In the old days, software on chips that couldn't be updated without a manufacturing recall and physical replacement was, in effect, considered hardware.

I will say that, so far, the P10 appears to be vastly less buggy than my Rev2.  Then again, it is a simpler device.  Overall I'd say the launch of this product is outstanding, minus of course the early unit capacitor issue.  Compare that to the launch of the original P5 Rev1, a notoriously unstable product that was quickly replaced with the Rev 2.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: AlainHubert on January 25, 2021, 08:55:29 AM

From someone who has been hands-on in the field software engineering for now approaching 40 years, I can tell you that the notion of "'bug free" software simply does not exist, and never has, on any platform, in any language.  There are only varying levels of robustness. 

At least these days, the ease of updates is (sometimes) the savior.  In the old days, software on chips that couldn't be updated without a manufacturing recall and physical replacement was, in effect, considered hardware.

I will say that, so far, the P10 appears to be vastly less buggy than my Rev2.  Then again, it is a simpler device.  Overall I'd say the launch of this product is outstanding, minus of course the early unit capacitor issue.  Compare that to the launch of the original P5 Rev1, a notoriously unstable product that was quickly replaced with the Rev 2.

Back in those days, software engineers had no choice but to produce "bug free" code, well as bug-free as possible, under penalty of suffering the consequences (like losing contracts or financial penalties). Thses days, since software updates are easy to do, they botch the job and wait for customers to act as beta testers.

At least they have computers to help them a lot for the hardware side. But even then, some capacitors are wrongfully installed.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: LPF83 on January 25, 2021, 09:16:52 AM

Back in those days, software engineers had no choice but to produce "bug free" code, well as bug-free as possible, under penalty of suffering the consequences (like losing contracts or financial penalties). Thses days, since software updates are easy to do, they botch the job and wait for customers to act as beta testers.

At least they have computers to help them a lot for the hardware side. But even then, some capacitors are wrongfully installed.

Recalling hardware is no doubt more expensive and mistakes can put a small company out of business.  More modern advancements such as USB and internet connectivity mean that mistakes can be corrected at a far lower expense.  Maybe this is one reasons Dave's current company has thus far seen a more successful run than the 1970s SCI, and appears to be gaining steam rather than losing it.

This is just technological progress. 

I don't entirely disagree with what you're saying.  Agile software practices have encouraged a trend of early-release, and not spending 80% of the time refining 20% of the functionality that you aren't even sure if your customers will actually use or not, then iteratively improving the product based on feedback.  Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not.

I will say that I think that Dave doesn't place enough emphasis on quality assurance, as a general rule.  But he's still legendary and he's proven that he steps up to correct his errors.

As far as the capacitor thing -- I wouldn't believe everything you see at face value.  What happened could have been something as simple as someone e-mailing the wrong .pdf to manufacturing.  It is good leadership to publicly cover for someone else by taking responsibility for issues like that.  I doubt it had anything to do with his hearing.  I'm just glad to see it corrected...  all said and done the Rev 4 is an amazing product.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: creativespiral on January 26, 2021, 11:47:01 AM
DSI/Sequential has been pretty good about issuing fixes for known bugs... though there have been a few lapses on certain products in the past.   I'm hoping that when we get a final Rev2 update, it really addresses the remaining known bugs... I'm not expecting any new feature developments.  Just fix the bugs is top priority... specifically the dual layer gated sequencer bug, which really hampers more advanced bi-timbral patch designs.   

As far as devoting company resources to developing out new features over an extended period, that's a philosophical choice, and each manufacturer is different.   I personally would like to see a strategy of 30% fewer new product releases, and more focus on developing out features and really maximizing the firmware/software potential of existing instruments over a period of several years after release. 

I know the instinct is probably:  more new products = more profits, but I honestly think the firmware update focus business model can be justified as well.   A great firmware update with addition of new features, with a press release and promo videos can generate a lot of new interest and sales for an existing instrument... all of the big magazines and internet gear sites are happy to write articles when there's substantial new feature development.   And users create more videos leading to further buzz.   I'm sure the recent update of Vintage Knob has led to a bunch of new sales of OB6 and P6.  Also, focusing on firmware advances/upgrades doesn't incur all the other product design costs with building out a completely new product.   If you spend the resources on significant firmware/software updates, and make true 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0 releases of firmware for instruments, I believe you can really extend the new sales longevity of existing instruments.  The Rev2 is a perfect example... It is such an incredible synth, and already very powerful, but with some additions and advanced nuances, it could reach new heights.  (there have been so many great feature requests over the past couple years)

I started working on this article about "Advanced Hardware Synth Features" a couple months ago.   My thought was to really dig deep into the features that are often overlooked on marketing release spec sheets, but are truly valuable options that make a difference for realizing the potential of synth sound design and versatility:

https://www.presetpatch.com/articles/Advanced-Synth-Features

If anyone has comments on the list or additional advanced features that you think should be listed, lemme know... it's a work in progress... but I'm wanting it to be a sort of glossary of advanced features that I hope all synth manufacturers might consider for their synth designs.   

There is so much that can be developed out on the firmware layer of instruments to make them sound even better, have more creative potential, more versatile sound capabilities, etc...    As an example on the Rev2:  I would love to see Mod Transforms added (similar to Moog One), more Mod Destinations added, plus more LFO and ENV shaping and triggering options on Rev2... not holding my breath, but that's the sort of stuff that could really merit new version releases (2.0, 3.0) with new marketing push and videos to extend new sales of the instrument.   

I look at what Fractal Audio has done over the past decade as a prime example of this business model.   They release a new major generation only once every 3-5 years, and then they spend years improving the firmware/software layer and adding new features.   Bugs are always prioritized and usually fixed within weeks or sometimes just a day or two.   They are completely disrupting the guitar amp/effect industry.  Their artists list is a whos-who of professional guitarists.  And their customer base loves them... every month or two we get substantial firmware updates that further improve the products capabilities and sound design options.  And their product sales are largely driven by this continuous pursuit for perfection of the firmware layer.   They don't have to release a new product every year, and instead just focus on continuous/ongoing buzz and excitement for existing products.
Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: alexpen on January 26, 2021, 12:33:57 PM
The latest update I've been given is not good news.  I really have no idea, but I would guess it may be two or three months before we see this last update.  :(

Looks like they're finalizing a new product...
Having OB-6 and Pro 3, I'm still loving my REV2 so much and considering to go for a 16 voice version.

PS:
very agree with creativespiral thoughts on continuous improvements...


Title: Re: Firmware upgrade?
Post by: Josh C on January 26, 2021, 06:49:02 PM
I definitely say yes to making LFO 4 switchable between mono and poly. if they can't give us a vintage knob, I would like to see a voice step option on the gated sequencer in addition to the key step mode. this would allow voice component modeling to work like a vintage knob in unison mode. I also wouldn't mind seeing full keyboard tracking on the LFO frequencies like the Moog One has, Which is currently impossible to do on the Rev 2 with note number modulation. I also agree on the gated sequencer key step bug. That really needs to be fixed. all the other bugs I can live with.