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SEQUENTIAL/DSI => Prophet => Sequential Prophet X => Topic started by: extreme measures on July 14, 2022, 02:30:21 PM

Title: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 14, 2022, 02:30:21 PM
I've had my X since 2018 and I think it is one of the worst UIs' I've seen and I've seen them all.
I've got my Andromeda (pre production, I was the prime developer), A Hydra Deluxe and the X.
The X is indeed the noisiest when USB is attached of any of them.

All in all, Should have been about $1599. NOT $3499.
I've tried to sell it but no one wants these.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: LoboLives on July 14, 2022, 11:03:02 PM
Meh  :P
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: hoodoo_ray on July 15, 2022, 11:36:12 PM
I've had my X since 2018 and I think it is one of the worst UIs' I've seen and I've seen them all.
I've got my Andromeda (pre production, I was the prime developer), A Hydra Deluxe and the X.
The X is indeed the noisiest when USB is attached of any of them.

All in all, Should have been about $1599. NOT $3499.
I've tried to sell it but no one wants these.

Youíre Rob Rampley? Nice to meet you! I know the Andromeda itself was divisive about its UI, but actually thought it was really cool though! Always loved how that synth looked and felt :)  If you donít mind me asking, which aspects of the UI donít you like? It seems fairly straightforward to me, is it when dealing with the samples themselves would you say? Or a more general feeling overall?
Cheers!
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: Derek Cook on July 16, 2022, 12:29:04 AM
It is not the best UI I have seen when you need to go menu diving but the front panel is fine.

The worst synth UI ever in my books is the Yamaha FS1r

Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: jago on July 16, 2022, 09:04:24 AM
I've had my X since 2018 and I think it is one of the worst UIs' I've seen and I've seen them all.
I've got my Andromeda (pre production, I was the prime developer), A Hydra Deluxe and the X.
The X is indeed the noisiest when USB is attached of any of them.

All in all, Should have been about $1599. NOT $3499.
I've tried to sell it but no one wants these.

Bye Bye.......
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 19, 2022, 05:49:48 PM
No, Not Rob Rampley. He's much more reserved than I am. He left Alesis, I want to say a couple years before it was finished. Great guy. Brilliant. I was a lead consultant on the CPU hardware and software.

The X's UI seems unfinished and garbled. Rather than a bunch of tiny display, for $3400  it should be one large color display. Overall, I fell like I am back in the 90s when I work with this thing.

Now, let me add that my LEAST favorite UI in my studio is the one I created for Andromeda. Too deep and that little display absolutely sucks. I replaced mine with a B&W one from a guy in Germany. That helped but.. it is still a PITA.
But I really hate the USB noise, that's for sure. When I first got it I posted about it but it went nowhere.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 19, 2022, 05:59:33 PM
It is not the best UI I have seen when you need to go menu diving but the front panel is fine.

The worst synth UI ever in my books is the Yamaha FS1r
I've never used that one. I've had a couple of Yamahas in the past but none of their synths. Just keys like the S-80 which I liked. I wanna say it was the late 80s or early 90s. I used it for quite a long time until I got my Yamaha grand.

Yamaha and Roland great synths but a much different UI approach than synthy synths!

Probably the absolute worst in my memory were the Kurzweils. Geez.. I just wanna make music!
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 19, 2022, 06:07:40 PM
It is frustrating because the X does sound fantastic, although I wasn't impressed with the factory patches and I am way beyond being interested in making sample sets and dealing with all of that stuff anymore. I thought I would use that feature but it really wasn't very well supported. Someone here made an app to do that which is certainly laudable. I probably would have done the same 20 years ago. Sequential should have provided a rich set of tools for that. Kudos to the user who wrote that package. It's always more work than it seems and they took it on.

When I did take it apart I was a bit amazed to see an inexpensive PC mobo in there. Probably a $35 mobo. When that goes, you're gonna be SOL.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: Lady Gaia on July 19, 2022, 08:50:24 PM
The X's UI seems unfinished and garbled. Rather than a bunch of tiny display, for $3400 it should be one large color display. Overall, I fell like I am back in the 90s when I work with this thing.

It should be what its creators wanted it to be.  They appear to have taken strong inspiration from a subtractive synthesizer with something akin to a modeless knob-per-function design, quite different from whatever else people trying to project on it.  If we take Sequential's designers at their word in interviews around the instruments' release this is 100% consistent with what they've said the Prophet X was intended to be: a flagship subtractive synth where you had access to a wide range of harmonic content in addition to conventional synth waveforms, featuring stereo content matched by a true stereo filtering arrangement that's something of a rarity.

The displays are in close proximity to the controls they're associated with, which is something that a large central display wouldn't achieve.  Everyone looking for sample editing or display seems to see the instrument as unfinished, but it was quite clearly never intended to be part of the package.  The instrument is more Prophet VS or PPG Wave than Emulator, and I found it quite intriguing from the outset precisely because it isn't trying to be a a ROMpler or anything similar.

Would I like to see a few more refinements?  Absolutely.  I don't think an overhaul is required, though, just minor iterations of the core concept for those who appreciate the instrument for what it is.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: LPF83 on July 20, 2022, 03:39:21 AM
When I did take it apart I was a bit amazed to see an inexpensive PC mobo in there. Probably a $35 mobo. When that goes, you're gonna be SOL.

Why would that be the case?   It seems to me having standard PC parts should make it easier for it to be serviced (DIY or otherwise) in the future.  Currently there are 40 year old synths with proprietary chips still being repaired after all.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 21, 2022, 07:25:00 PM
Why would that be the case?   It seems to me having standard PC parts should make it easier for it to be serviced (DIY or otherwise) in the future.  Currently there are 40 year old synths with proprietary chips still being repaired after all.

Try finding a direct replacement for an 8-19 year old mobo. Can't be done. When that mobo goes, it's over. For a project like this, I am pretty sure they would have had a custom kernel as it is likely linux. I doubt they're going to update all that code to accommodate a fresh new mobo for replacement parts.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: hoodoo_ray on July 22, 2022, 06:26:52 AM
Why would that be the case?   It seems to me having standard PC parts should make it easier for it to be serviced (DIY or otherwise) in the future.  Currently there are 40 year old synths with proprietary chips still being repaired after all.

Try finding a direct replacement for an 8-19 year old mobo. Can't be done. When that mobo goes, it's over. For a project like this, I am pretty sure they would have had a custom kernel as it is likely linux. I doubt they're going to update all that code to accommodate a fresh new mobo for replacement parts.

So is your main problem the UI, the USB noise, or the motherboard 😂

If these are the things you genuinely worry about when buying a synth, based on your experience in the trade, then you really didnít do your research it seems - especially the UI bit.. thatís right in your face from the very beginning. I can understand the motherboard / USB - these things are not immediately obvious - but the UI.. canít see how you missed that!

Btw out of curiosity - how does the motherboard make it any different to any other synth which relies on a motherboard? According to your logic thatís a risk for any synth of this nature.. no?
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: LPF83 on July 22, 2022, 07:01:00 AM
Try finding a direct replacement for an 8-19 year old mobo. Can't be done. When that mobo goes, it's over. For a project like this, I am pretty sure they would have had a custom kernel as it is likely linux. I doubt they're going to update all that code to accommodate a fresh new mobo for replacement parts.

What makes you think the exact model of motherboard would be needed to keep the thing going?  I have software that I wrote 35 years ago in DOS running fine on the current version of Windows today.  Not implying the PX uses DOS or Windows, just saying that I don't necessarily need the exact same hardware that I originally wrote the code on to retain original functionality.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: Pym on July 22, 2022, 01:49:07 PM
Thanks for posting, I'm going to address a couple things that you mentioned:

First, the objective one:

USB noise is something you should message support about. It's caused by a ground loop and there are several things we can try to eliminate that issue including a ferrite bead sleeve around the cable. This is one of those cases where it could be anything in your system, from power to other devices connected, that could cause or exasperate the issue. We are looking into ways we can prevent this in the future. I know how frustrating it is, I nearly pulled my hair out trying to solve a related noise problem a while back. It sucks.


Second, the subjective ones:

There is no perfect UI. We have such an incredibly diverse group of customers from diverse backgrounds who have used so many devices with screens and knobs and other methods of interactions you just can't design an interface with off the shelf parts that feels completely intuitive for everybody.

Personally, I HATE color screens on a musical instrument for some very good reasons:

As for the multiple displays we're also going to use a performer's hat for this:

Do our customers agree with me? All this depends on who you ask: A jazz performer would likely agree with me. A computer programmer would likely disagree. A kid may go either way (and lemme tell you, I trust a kid's opinion to be brutally honest more than ANYBODY else). Someone who is used to iPads may prefer the color screen. Someone who prefers reading books probably won't. Etc, etc.

Going to highlight on thing you said: "Overall, I fell like I am back in the 90s when I work with this thing." This is incredibly POSITIVE for the vast majority of our customers! Why do you think we are making instruments that are even MORE simple than this like the P5/P6/OB6/OBX8/etc?

All this needs to be balanced with the price and the component options we have. Writing a color graphics library for a larger screen is a huge endeavor, especially to do right (maybe it isn't for you, but we don't have a specialist). Using an existing chip to power this is difficult: Does it have a TFT controller on board? Does it have a DMA2A engine to do the color transmission efficiently? What graphics libraries do we have available? What is the tradeoff between writing our own vs using them? etc, etc. Lots of complicated decisions that change how we build the product

We are a very VERY small team, especially at that point. I think we were at 14 people by then including support/marketing/etc.

Nobody is ever a 'perfect' customer and we never make a 'perfect' instrument. But we're gonna keep learning and evolving and trying to do just that  :)

PS. If you are ever at NAMM or in San Francisco, feel free to reach out and come say hi!

No, Not Rob Rampley. He's much more reserved than I am. He left Alesis, I want to say a couple years before it was finished. Great guy. Brilliant. I was a lead consultant on the CPU hardware and software.

The X's UI seems unfinished and garbled. Rather than a bunch of tiny display, for $3400  it should be one large color display. Overall, I fell like I am back in the 90s when I work with this thing.

Now, let me add that my LEAST favorite UI in my studio is the one I created for Andromeda. Too deep and that little display absolutely sucks. I replaced mine with a B&W one from a guy in Germany. That helped but.. it is still a PITA.
But I really hate the USB noise, that's for sure. When I first got it I posted about it but it went nowhere.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 22, 2022, 03:19:04 PM
Thanks for posting, I'm going to address a couple things that you mentioned:

First, the objective one:

USB noise is something you should message support about. It's caused by a ground loop and there are several things we can try to eliminate that issue including a ferrite bead sleeve around the cable. This is one of those cases where it could be anything in your system, from power to other devices connected, that could cause or exasperate the issue. We are looking into ways we can prevent this in the future. I know how frustrating it is, I nearly pulled my hair out trying to solve a related noise problem a while back. It sucks.


Thank you for your reply.
I'm pretty savvy with studio grounding. Having started out as a tech at The Record Plant and building countless studios over they years. Most with fairly large TT patch bays in the past, which I have had to wire! :(. I haven't been able to affect this. Perhaps the noise you were fighting was more egregious. Mine is frustrating because when the X is enabled through the UADs I hear it while I am working. It isn't super loud but it is irritating.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: LoboLives on July 22, 2022, 04:46:29 PM
Why would that be the case?   It seems to me having standard PC parts should make it easier for it to be serviced (DIY or otherwise) in the future.  Currently there are 40 year old synths with proprietary chips still being repaired after all.

Try finding a direct replacement for an 8-19 year old mobo. Can't be done. When that mobo goes, it's over. For a project like this, I am pretty sure they would have had a custom kernel as it is likely linux. I doubt they're going to update all that code to accommodate a fresh new mobo for replacement parts.

I plan on being dead in 8-19 years so I'm good.  ;D
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: Pym on July 22, 2022, 05:52:53 PM
I hear you. I'd still go through the basics, I've had bad cables be the root of all my problems (even USB cables!) just to check off all the obvious stuff first. Without hearing the type of noise you're referring to I couldn't say. It could be that it's within the spec of our noise floor, it could be something else in the chain, could be an anomaly that we need to fix up. No idea. Support can get you going on other tests so they can narrow it down for you

Edit: Since you're using a UAD I'd seriously consider putting a noise gate plugin on that channel to remove the noise as well. I have custom channel strips for my outboard gear on my Apollo to handle similar issues. Honestly at this point I just expect every gear will need some tweaking of some sort

Thanks for posting, I'm going to address a couple things that you mentioned:

First, the objective one:

USB noise is something you should message support about. It's caused by a ground loop and there are several things we can try to eliminate that issue including a ferrite bead sleeve around the cable. This is one of those cases where it could be anything in your system, from power to other devices connected, that could cause or exasperate the issue. We are looking into ways we can prevent this in the future. I know how frustrating it is, I nearly pulled my hair out trying to solve a related noise problem a while back. It sucks.


Thank you for your reply.
I'm pretty savvy with studio grounding. Having started out as a tech at The Record Plant and building countless studios over they years. Most with fairly large TT patch bays in the past, which I have had to wire! :(. I haven't been able to affect this. Perhaps the noise you were fighting was more egregious. Mine is frustrating because when the X is enabled through the UADs I hear it while I am working. It isn't super loud but it is irritating.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 23, 2022, 06:52:57 AM
I plan on being dead in 8-19 years so I'm good.  ;D

I hope not but it is good to have a plan!
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 23, 2022, 06:59:06 AM
Edit: Since you're using a UAD I'd seriously consider putting a noise gate plugin on that channel to remove the noise as well. I have custom channel strips for my outboard gear on my Apollo to handle similar issues. Honestly at this point I just expect every gear will need some tweaking of some sort

Thanks Pym.
I do have a gate on it sometimes but it is hard to set a gate up for very quiet tails on some patches. Hence my frustration.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 29, 2022, 10:33:33 AM
"
What makes you think the exact model of motherboard would be needed to keep the thing going?  I have software that I wrote 35 years ago in DOS running fine on the current version of Windows today.  Not implying the PX uses DOS or Windows, just saying that I don't necessarily need the exact same hardware that I originally wrote the code on to retain original functionality.
"

I am going to assume the OS wasn't windows. I will also assume they wrote a custom kernel or more than a few hardware drivers for the prophet hardware. Will they take the time to reconfigure and test all that code for a product with a small base when those mobos aren't available anymore? In fact, they may be unavailable at this time. In the end, it isn't completely different than conforming to a new version of a MPU but in my experience one is indeed easier than the other.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: Lady Gaia on July 29, 2022, 02:09:56 PM
I am going to assume the OS wasn't windows. I will also assume they wrote a custom kernel or more than a few hardware drivers for the prophet hardware.

It's an embedded OS of some description.  Possibly QNIX, if some preliminary investigations people have made into the filesystem are accurate.  I very much doubt there was any custom kernel code, and chances are no driver work was required as it would be easy enough to interface through a standard port on the motherboard for which a driver would have already been included.

Any questions about future availability of parts is pure speculation.  In practice, it would seem the work the x86 motherboard is doing isn't anything especially exotic and so I'd be surprised if compatible parts were actually that tricky to procure.  Sequential has a remarkably good track record of supporting their products so I see no reason to believe this would be an exception.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 30, 2022, 07:20:16 PM
Good post. Thank you.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: extreme measures on July 31, 2022, 06:06:35 PM
I thought more about your post and no. The displays don't provide what a user needs. In the PX there are so many lists of things that it becomes tedious to find what you're looking for. I don't want to scroll through one element at a time  to find what I thought I was looking for.  A larger single display would provide the screen re-estate to see almost everything at once. When scrolling through samples or effects I want to see where I was and where I am going. Impossible with tiny little displays showing one element at a time.  So, I'm bound to stick with my displeasure here. I'm open, but I'm not at all satisfied. $1400 plush shipping for anyone that wants this! I know. My bad for buyin' it. I wanted the sound but.. not ecstatic about that either.

Thank you for your input. You do know your stuff.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: LPF83 on July 31, 2022, 06:25:22 PM
$1400 plush shipping for anyone that wants this! I know. My bad for buyin' it. I wanted the sound but.. not ecstatic about that either.

You could get more than that just by listing on Reverb, I'm pretty sure.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: hoodoo_ray on August 02, 2022, 04:01:09 AM
I thought more about your post and no. The displays don't provide what a user needs. In the PX there are so many lists of things that it becomes tedious to find what you're looking for. I don't want to scroll through one element at a time  to find what I thought I was looking for.  A larger single display would provide the screen re-estate to see almost everything at once. When scrolling through samples or effects I want to see where I was and where I am going. Impossible with tiny little displays showing one element at a time.  So, I'm bound to stick with my displeasure here. I'm open, but I'm not at all satisfied. $1400 plush shipping for anyone that wants this! I know. My bad for buyin' it. I wanted the sound but.. not ecstatic about that either.

Thank you for your input. You do know your stuff.

Just sell it.. You donít like it - fine! Just sell and move on, and my advice is to really test out the next synth you replace it with if things like UI implementation are fundamental to you
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: lootacow on August 02, 2022, 07:45:43 AM
I thought more about your post and no. The displays don't provide what a user needs. In the PX there are so many lists of things that it becomes tedious to find what you're looking for. I don't want to scroll through one element at a time  to find what I thought I was looking for.  A larger single display would provide the screen re-estate to see almost everything at once. When scrolling through samples or effects I want to see where I was and where I am going. Impossible with tiny little displays showing one element at a time.  So, I'm bound to stick with my displeasure here. I'm open, but I'm not at all satisfied. $1400 plush shipping for anyone that wants this! I know. My bad for buyin' it. I wanted the sound but.. not ecstatic about that either.

Thank you for your input. You do know your stuff.

For me, the display is perfectly fine. It shows exactly what I need to be shown to navigate and doesnít over complicate what should be a simple task. It sounds like the display doesnít show everything that YOU need, and not a general user. I personally donít like the idea of a screen showing everything at once. In my opinion, Sequential did it right.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: jago on August 02, 2022, 10:24:33 AM
I buy something for what it can do. Not what I think it should do.
Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: StephenJamesBennett on August 05, 2022, 02:16:25 PM
I find the X really easy to navigate (apart from the sampling). I don't think I've ever read the manual.

But even if it wasn't intuitive, I'd love it for the sound of its stereo filters which are tremendous. My personal wishes are to be able to release more sample space by deleting the 8DIO stuff (or upgrade the drive), some kind of granular synthesis and to have a proper sampling software like the Clavia synths (though Lady G's software does make it much easier). If I had to have one poly (and I have quite a few big hitters) I'd have the X. It reminds me a lot of the Prophet 2000ówhich I also love.

Stepehn

Title: Re: I just want to say..
Post by: Derek Cook on August 06, 2022, 12:45:35 AM
I thought more about your post and no. The displays don't provide what a user needs. In the PX there are so many lists of things that it becomes tedious to find what you're looking for. I don't want to scroll through one element at a time  to find what I thought I was looking for.  A larger single display would provide the screen re-estate to see almost everything at once. When scrolling through samples or effects I want to see where I was and where I am going. Impossible with tiny little displays showing one element at a time.  So, I'm bound to stick with my displeasure here. I'm open, but I'm not at all satisfied. $1400 plush shipping for anyone that wants this! I know. My bad for buyin' it. I wanted the sound but.. not ecstatic about that either.

Thank you for your input. You do know your stuff.

If the UI displays did not provide what this user wants, I could not program the synth.

I think Sequential have done it right in terms of the displays being in the general UI area that they relate to. It works for me.

I brought the Prophet (and my Summit) for a more tactile synth and I think a small company with limited resources has done a great job.

There are a few little things I do not like about the UI, but it is impossible to please everybody fully, and I over the years I have learnt to live with the flaws in my synths (show THE one that is perfect?) and so far I have never sold one because I did not get on with it.