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SEQUENTIAL/DSI => Evolver => Evolver Desktop => Topic started by: Razmo on October 14, 2015, 03:00:09 PM

Title: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 14, 2015, 03:00:09 PM
Take a look at DSI's facebook page... practicaly all DSI's low-cost range of synths has now been discontinued according to DSI... that includes Mopho, Tetra and Evolver Desktop plus a few more synths...

I hope they're developing a new low-cost range at this very moment... and I wonder if we'll see a last OS with fixes for these gems, before the door is closed...
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 14, 2015, 03:09:06 PM
Yeah, lots of discussion did already take place in this thread: http://forum.davesmithinstruments.com/index.php/topic,70.0.html (http://forum.davesmithinstruments.com/index.php/topic,70.0.html)

Maybe we can move some of these posts over here, where they wouldn't be off-topic.

I'm optimistic, though. It gives DSI/Sequential the opportunity to rearrange a couple of things. I'm sure that we'll see some more affordable stuff (including eurorack modules) soon. They will already know what is going to fill this gap. Let's also don't forget that the competition is a bit tougher when it somes to affordable products. There are lots of instruments from all kinds of manufacturers (Korg, Roland, Moog, Arturia, etc.) in that league by now.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 14, 2015, 03:18:26 PM
Well... if you look at the specific devices in question, you'll notice one thing that they all have in common... they are monophonic... the Mopho x4 is not out of production, neither are the Prophet '08.

What does that signal? ... either Dave has found monosynths to be history with DSI, with Pro2 being the only one left, or he has new ones up his sleve to take over... I REALLY hope it's the last solution because it would be a big shame if all DSI products in the future was only expensive machines.

I really like the idear of having one-voice versions of all DSI synth lines, for those who do not have the funds to buy the expensive ones... right now, with these gone, a 1-voice version of P12 and P6 would be logical, but for some reason I don't think that is what we'll see...
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 14, 2015, 03:20:08 PM
I also noticed today, that DSI prices has fallen here in Europe again... wonder if that's because of currency changes, or if DSI has lowered their prices...
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 14, 2015, 03:30:10 PM
Well, the single voice version of the Prophet 12 is already there along with some more bells and whistles: the PRO 2.

Other than that, it'll be likely that we'll see a monophonic version of the Prophet-6 under the Sequential banner. As for desktop modules: I'm currently wondering whether it wouldn't be more economical for DSI/Sequential to develop more Eurorack modules instead of desktop modules. First of all because the Eurorack market grew significantly ever since DSI started business, secondly because even Roland and Moog are now into it. And there are still some elements of their flagship synths that would make sense as a module: The digital oscillators of the Prophet 12/PRO 2 for example and/or the new VCOs of the Prophet-6.

The prices in Europe fell after the prices were cut in the US. I think, though, that it affected more than just these instruments, so it might also have to do with the fact that the Euro is getting stronger again, dunno. But then, the prices of the Prophet '08 keyboard and desktop module, the Mopho x4, and the Prophet 12 module have been lowered as well in the US, and those won't be discontinued (yet).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 14, 2015, 03:33:27 PM
Yes... the Pro2 is probably the one voice version of Prophet 12, but it's definitely not the "one voice" priced version... and it still has no module version. The Pro2 to me has so many bells & whistles, that I'll consider it a line of it's own really... it has a very different analog structure than P12... other filters, more of them... paraphonic touches, CV/Gate connectivity, Audio input etc... I'll not really call it a "one voice Prophet 12"  :)

If you look at the synths discontinued, it includes ONE polyphonic... Tetra... to me it looks like DSI decided to keep ONLY the flagship synth of each line, which worries me, because that suggests that DSI is done with making low-cost synths.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 14, 2015, 03:41:54 PM
About prices... I just wonder why MOOG gear has not fallen too if it's to do with currencies... anyway I'm happy they're comming down, because they were pretty much too expensive before...

Regarding Eurorack... I REALLY REALLY REALLY do not hope this will be the case! ... mainly becuase Eurorack has absolutely no preset storage, MIDI SysEx or anything... that would without a shadow of a doubt scare me away from DSI instruments forever if that is the case...

On the other hand... discontinuing these will probably put some bug-fixing on the shelves, because we all know that nothing will be done to fix bugs of discontinued products... the Evolver line is a perfect example of this, and some of the discontinued products have had some bugs that has been complained about for quite some time now... I bet these will never be fixed.... the only good thing about this is that then maybe DSI will find time to fix the remaining bugs of their flagships... (crossing fingers).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 14, 2015, 03:52:54 PM
Yes... the Pro2 is probably the one voice version of Prophet 12, but it's definitely not the "one voice" priced version... and it still has no module version. The Pro2 to me has so many bells & whistles, that I'll consider it a line of it's own really... it has a very different analog structure than P12... other filters, more of them... paraphonic touches, CV/Gate connectivity, Audio input etc... I'll not really call it a "one voice Prophet 12"  :)

That's true. It's not easy to put it all into a desktop module, though. Part of why the Prophet 12 and the PRO 2 are so successful is because of their interfaces. I've also read and heard lots of comments by Prophet 12 module users that said that one day they'd consider getting the keyboard version instead to give a counter-example.

If you look at the synths discontinued, it includes ONE polyphonic... Tetra... to me it looks like DSI decided to keep ONLY the flagship synth of each line, which worries me, because that suggests that DSI is done with making low-cost synths.

That's just a first step though. I think the Prophet '08 keyboard and module and the Mopho x4 will be next in line - maybe sometime next year. A lot has happened since these instruments have been introduced. There's also more competition now. When the Mopho first came out, there was no Mini- or MicroBrute, none of the Korg reissues, no Roland modular and hybrid stuff, and even no Sub 37 as a somewhat feature rich and affordable Moog. I'm not even naming all the other companies that released stuff like the Erebus and such. The whole analog market is much more diverse now.

I could see that the instruments under the banner Sequential will be more conservative and purely analog (despite additional effects) while DSI can further explore the hybrid route with new affordable and also technically challanging designs (new/different forms of synthesis).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 14, 2015, 03:54:22 PM
On the other hand... discontinuing these will probably put some bug-fixing on the shelves, because we all know that nothing will be done to fix bugs of discontinued products... the Evolver line is a perfect example of this, and some of the discontinued products have had some bugs that has been complained about for quite some time now... I bet these will never be fixed.... the only good thing about this is that then maybe DSI will find time to fix the remaining bugs of their flagships... (crossing fingers).

That's another practical reason. Didn't DSI use a different coding from the Prophet 12 engine onwards?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 14, 2015, 04:46:44 PM
Yes... I believe that Evolver was done mostly in assembly... the rest probably a more modern approach that will probably ease code reuse and C language included... The main reason for Evolver never getting those bugs fixed is because of that codebase I think... it sort of lies between the lines of what DSI wrote back when I "pushed" for fixes  ;D
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 14, 2015, 07:25:23 PM
Well... if you look at the specific devices in question, you'll notice one thing that they all have in common... they are monophonic... the Mopho x4 is not out of production, neither are the Prophet '08.

What does that signal? ... either Dave has found monosynths to be history with DSI, with Pro2 being the only one left, or he has new ones up his sleve to take over... I REALLY hope it's the last solution because it would be a big shame if all DSI products in the future was only expensive machines.

I hope they're not giving up on monosynths. First off, a monosynth is a classic musical instrument. It would be a shame for there to be no Sequential-branded monosynth on the heels of the P6. It would break my heart.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 14, 2015, 07:34:12 PM
I hope they're not giving up on monosynths. First off, a monosynth is a classic musical instrument. It would be a shame for there to be no Sequential-branded monosynth on the heels of the P6. It would break my heart.

I can't imagine them to give up on monosynths. There'll be something next to the PRO 2. Maybe there'll be 3-5 new Sequential-branded products next. Just all analog stuff. That would also give them some time for further OS maintenance for the more complex hybrid instruments. (Not that everything is catastrophic on that end, it would just take out some pressure and save programming resources.)

I also doubt that DSI/Sequential will become a company that will sell instruments for $1000 upwards only. They paved the way for more affordable analog and hybrid instruments since 2002 and shaped the market significantly. For a lot of young and not wealthy musicians there weren't a lot of alternatives to the Mophos and Evolvers before the analog revival started on a larger scale (let's say pre-MiniBrute). I can't see DSI leaving that market behind. The competition has grown though, and it's time for some new ideas.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 15, 2015, 02:10:35 AM
But what low-priced synths has DSI made after Evolver Desktop and Mopho ? ... none... so I'm worried about this, but we'll just have to wait and see... but since Mopho we've seen Tetra, Mopho SE, Mopho x4, Tempest, Pro2, Prophet 12 keys/module and Prophet 6... there has been no low-cost alternative of the P12 line of synths.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 15, 2015, 02:59:56 AM
But what low-priced synths has DSI made after Evolver Desktop and Mopho ? ... none... so I'm worried about this, but we'll just have to wait and see... but since Mopho we've seen Tetra, Mopho SE, Mopho x4, Tempest, Pro2, Prophet 12 keys/module and Prophet 6... there has been no low-cost alternative of the P12 line of synths.

I don't care so much about "low-priced" instruments. I would expect a Sequential monosynth to have the classic styling and woodwork, high-quality keyboard and knobs, and to come with a premium price tag. DSI shouldn't be down in the pricepoint weeds with Arturia. I don't want them to take on the MiniBrute. I want them to take on the Sub 37.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 15, 2015, 04:10:11 AM
In my opinion, those monosynths of other companies does not match the Mopho or desktop evolver... mainly because there are very few monosynths in that price range that has a full MIDI spec like DSI synths... The arturia ones don't have SysEx at all... I will not compare those or even feel that they are "enough" on the low price market.

There are only two other companies that deliver full MIDI specced low-cost synths, and that's MOOG and Waldorf... MOOG's are greatly under-featured in that price range compared to the DSI ones... only Waldorf really gets close to the Mopho and Evolver with their Pulse2 synthesizer.

So I'd definitely like to see new low-priced synths from DSI, because these instruments would still be unique, no matter if we have Arturia, Dreadbox, Doepfer or any other manufacturer, because these machines simply do not cover my needs for full MIDI support.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 15, 2015, 10:16:12 AM
In my opinion, those monosynths of other companies does not match the Mopho or desktop evolver... mainly because there are very few monosynths in that price range that has a full MIDI spec like DSI synths...

Not only with regard to MIDI support, but also feature-wise, I agree. But let's wait and see. It's not that the Mopho series and the Tetra have been introduced immediately after the Prophet '08 was announced.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 15, 2015, 01:23:56 PM
The other side of the story: https://www.facebook.com/davesmithinstruments/photos/a.121344287890444.16494.120221274669412/1088238304534366/?type=3&fref=nf (https://www.facebook.com/davesmithinstruments/photos/a.121344287890444.16494.120221274669412/1088238304534366/?type=3&fref=nf)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 15, 2015, 01:40:28 PM
I think that may be a bit of damage control.  People were so upset by the bad news yesterday that the company had to put out some good news today, even though this "good news" is no news at all.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 15, 2015, 03:49:58 PM
Well actually the price list from Sweetwater that you posted in the other thread showed these discounts even before the retiring were announced. So there could be other explanations. Maybe we will know more at next NAMM?

And as said in the other thread and very much in agreement with what Razmo said somewhere: there went all their affordable instruments. I too sure hopes that DSI will make more affordable instruments in the future. There are significant market reach limitations to a jewel only product line.

Note to DSI: Now is the right time to join the discussion and make a few reassuring comments. We can wait till the next product announcements with the product and its details but hints of the intended direction would be good for the community spirit!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 15, 2015, 06:44:03 PM
I was referring to the retiring of the instruments, not the reducing of the prices.  Yes, the reduction was in effect about a week ago, when it wasn't known that the instruments were about to be retired..
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 15, 2015, 08:29:43 PM
Yeah, I saw that Sweetwater's Carson McClain posted the price drops exactly a week ago on Facebook, which got me wondering initially, whether this would hint at something "bigger."

Despite the reduced prices though: Are you all really so surprised that some of these products will be discontinued? I mean the Evolver has been around for 13 years, which is not too shabby at all. The Mopho desktop, the Mopho keyboard and Tetra have been around for five and six years respectively. The Mopho SE doesn't fully count as it was announced as a kind of limited edition from the getgo if I remember correctly. It is also not that hard to imagine that the two incarnations of the Prophet '08 and the Mopho x4 will probably be next in line.

We've seen many manufacturers' instruments come and go in the past couple of years (look at Moog alone, to pick a company with a comparable size). And the market has changed significantly since DSI started back in 2002. Back in the day, no one saw a hardware and/or analog revival coming. I mean image someone telling you in 2002 that Korg is going to release a MS-20 again, or that there would be lots of affordable analog units beyond that from all kinds of companies and kickstarter initiatives. Who would have thought that modules would get this popular again – and even mini keys?  ::)

The synth landscape changed quite a bit ever since the Evolver was released. These days, there are many companies that offer affordable hardware below $1000 - analog, hybrid, or digital. A couple of them outsource their production to where labour costs are cheaper, which DSI don't do. There's a much more diverse product range being offered now when you look out for an instrument between $499 and $999. In that segment, DSI obviously did some spring cleaning. That doesn't mean that they are going to avoid that market as a whole. It's just that their most recent innovations took place at the other end of the price continuum, where they also have less competitors and the market isn't that saturated (the only direct competitors that come to my mind are currently Elektron, Modal Electronics, and Roland if you count the JD-XA).

Also, with the exception of the first incarnation of the Evolver, the other affordable instruments have always been the outcome of a top-down development: the flagship came first, then came more affordable derivatives. Taking that into account, you'll realize that only the offsprings of the Prophet '08 are affected by the discontinuation (again, with the exception of the Evolver). Ever since the Prophet-6 was announced, this development was somehow foreseeable, wasn't it? There's probably going to be a new all analog line for more than just one price group, just as much as there are probably going to be a couple of more affordable products that will built on the architecture that has been utilized in the Prophet 12 and/or Pro 2 synths, whether it'll be in Eurorack format, as desktop units, or portable keyboards. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it's still harder to place products in a saturated market than to design and release flagship models, or models that make use of a new architecture in a non-limited, non-cutdown way.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 15, 2015, 09:16:23 PM
I'm not at all surprised by the retiring of these instruments.  We all knew the day was coming and had stated as much on these forums many times.  We expected that the Evolver Desktop would probably be the next to fall, and it was also obvious that there was quite a bit of redundancy in the Mopho line.  What surprised me was only that DSI would retire five instruments all at once.  I would have expected a spacing of, say, six months or so between each one, so that as one instrument was retired, another new one would take its place.  That's basically how the other three Evolvers were retired.  It hurt a bit less that way.

The sudden move certainly points to something out of the ordinary happening in the near future, as in winter NAMM.  But I can't imagine DSI releasing more than one new instrument at a time.  I'm also concerned that the keyboard/module pairing may be passing away.  It's worked so well for me that I've come to rely on it, even to presume on it in my future musical plans.  And this is where the musician within, rather than the synthesist, begins to get irritated.  I don't like when music is the slave of a market, when musical instrument trends dictate to music just what can be done.  The instruments should serve the making of music so that the effort is directed towards art, rather than business.  I realize I'm sounding like a dreamy idealistic musician, but so be it.  For example, I don't want shorter and smaller keyboards that make good business sense; rather, I want longer full-sized keyboards that make good musical sense.  I don't want an instrument that tells me, "Sorry, but you can't play any lower or higher because I'm all out of keys."  I want one that says, "I'm designed for making great music, so I've got all the keys you need."  This is a weird way of putting it, but it's how I think as a musician.  Instrument design should have one primary purpose: to enable the composer and musician. 

Put another way, when I sit at a synthesizer, I want to feel the same potential as when I sit before a blank page of manuscript paper; the only thing placing limits on the musical potential of the moment should be my lack of talent.  The musical instrument should not add to this limitation.

Thus far, DSI has almost perfectly served my musical needs.  That's why I'm a fan (though not some moronic "fan boy;" there's a difference).  The keyboards paired with the modules - just fabulous.  A move away from this, a re-direction towards keyboards without modules, or to mini keys and mini synths or some other fad, would send me elsewhere.  I know they'll continue producing full-sized instruments like the P08 and P12, but will they continue producing the matching modules?  And as for these soon to be retired modules, what style of instrument will replace them?  I'm not panicking, but I am a bit concerned that their following certain musical instrument trends will leave us with fewer appealing choices in the DSI line up.

There is such a contrast between being a synthesist and being, say, an organist or a violinist.  When I was a working church organist, I never wasted a moment fretting, "Gee, I sure hope organs still exist in a few years".  They'll always be there.  The same is true with other traditional instruments.  A violinist can be certain that violins will always be available.  But with the synthesizer, you can literally worry, "Gee, I hope the instruments I need will not be abandoned by market fashions in a few years." 

I like to create the sort of set up that is based around one large instrument.  Several years ago, I was in the midst of building a mostly-Evolver set up.  It was a master plan that would wonderfully serve my musical needs.  Then one day, unexpectedly, DSI announced it was retiring the Poly Evolvers.  It completely messed up my plans because I had wanted all new instruments that were still in production and fairly maintained.  Now my set up is built around the Prophet '08 and I'd still like to add at least one more unit to it.  But can I depend on the instrument still being around in a couple of years?  Nope.  Should I next build my set up around the Prophet 12?  But that will eventually pass away too.  It's very frustrating to a musician who knows exactly what he wants to do and has no interest in merely following the latest populer synthesizer trend.  The "in thing" is the last thing that interests me and is usually the worst thing in my opinion.  And yet, the synthesizer is an instrument that is totally at the mercy of trends and markets, so unlike traditional instruments.  It's a very a-musical situation that has the potential of pushing away altogether a serious composer/musician.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 16, 2015, 08:20:09 AM
Well said, Sacred Synthesis! The modules are indeed important because they give users the options of keyboard or not. Plus that modules are cheaper making them reachable for more users. Plus that there are additional module based use cases like yours. So I would be really sad if DSI discontinued the tradition of having both keyboards and modules for a given voice architecture.

That said I think that a Pro2 module would not be a good idea. I would rather prefer a polyphonic evolution of the Pro2 voice architecture with layers and possibly with the super waves being removed and VCOs/DCOs added instead. Like MEK the Pro2 got a high user interface versus voice contents ratio so more attractive module versions are possible.

A way to make modules more affordable is for DSI to develop a more or less standard front panel for their modules. I like the concept of the Prophet 12 module user interface even though I have never tried to use it. The OLED display is surely a huge step forward compared to the Mopho/Tetra endless scrolling based user interface. So there was an idea for DSI to use.

Also more and more competitors use discrete electronics oscillators and filters which can have a significant advantage on the instruments sound quality. So I can see one good reason for DSI to discontinue these older designs on that reason too. Its time to move forward.

Agree with Paul Dither that its way more challenging for DSI to position themselves in todays synthesizer market that provides many more options for the customers compared to a few years ago where DSI essentially only competed with themselves as Dave had said in several recent NAMM interviews. So not only are DSI adapting their product range to the current market situation. DSI also need to adapt themselves to the new market situation or face downsizing. Will be interesting to see how they handle that challenge!

As for the instrument size consideration I had the chance to stand in front of a Prophet-6 and Pro2 the other day. And I must say that I do get the compact size idea. These are indeed neat compact boxes. However there are full sized keyboard users like Sacred Synthesis and there DSI need to either make modules or make a full sized instrument with a well proportioned or even gorgeous front panel.

Only time will tell what Dave decided to do this time around and whenever it will be considered a smart or not so smart move for the customers. Interesting times indeed!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 16, 2015, 09:35:02 AM
I'm all for improvement, but not all change is improvement.  "Moving forward" is one of those excessively over-used expressions most often heard on the lips of shrewd manipulative politicians who are claiming just this, that their "change" and "progress" must invariably and infallibly be improvement.  By no means.  As if one can't possibly move forward and progress in the wrong direction!

I'm not arguing for keeping all things DSI just as they presently are.  I'm actually happy to see most of the Mopho line go, in the hopes that something new, better, and having a more respectable name will follow.  But there is a need for a standard to be maintained, for the existence of musical elements that can be relied upon.  Otherwise, our creative projects will be little more than exercises in keeping a market alive; then, we'll be mere "users," rather than devoted composers and musicians. 
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 16, 2015, 09:42:43 AM
What I mean is progressing in the direction of better/warmer/fuller sounding analog electronics as well as faster and more expressive digital controls in the voice architectures.

I can sense that you sound really tired of a certain part of your country's operation. Welcome to the club! :o ;D :-X
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 16, 2015, 10:10:53 AM
What I mean is progressing in the direction of better/warmer/fuller sounding analog electronics as well as faster and more expressive digital controls in the voice architectures.

I can sense that you sound really tired of a certain part of your country's operation. Welcome to the club! :o ;D :-X

Then we're in agreement on both points.  ;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 16, 2015, 10:33:10 AM
:o . o O ( angry old mens synthesizer howlings )
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 16, 2015, 11:01:21 AM
It's a very a-musical situation that has the potential of pushing away altogether a serious composer/musician.

Perfect summary.  ;)

And don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to defend certain trends or developments, but at the end of the day DSI/Sequential is still a company that needs to deal with certain strategical decisions in the face of the so called market. I think, though, that they've always managed to keep a good balance between ingenious integrity and commercial necessity. If you look at their current catalog it's as diverse as it can get for such a rather small company. Plenty of stuff to choose from in all price categories. And apart from the compact size of some modules, most instruments are designed in such a way that not much gets in the way between the utilized technology and the aim to make music. The layout of the front panels is usually pretty clear and allows for intuition.

DSI/Sequential will be smart enough not to compete with companies like Roland, Yamaha, or Korg when it comes to lower priced instruments. So I highly doubt we are going to see any mini key instruments or other shrunken designs from them that are supposed to be produced for a mass market.

As for the compact size of instruments like the Pro 2 and/or the Prophet-6: Let's not forget that there are still plenty of touring musicians that prefer a rather portable setup - after all it's not the 1980s anymore (in so many regards of the music industry). There's also a difference between these two instruments. With its 3 1/2 octaves I'd consider the Pro 2 a pretty full-sized mono synth. On the other hand, I wouldn't have been terribly upset if the Prophet-6 had 61 keys - I get the reasoning behind it though. And who knows, maybe there's going to be a bigger version at some point - maybe once the Prophet '08 retires.

As for the lifespan of single synthesizer models, I don't think that much has changed in the past 30 years. That certain instruments are produced for longer than 5 or 6 years is rather the exception. Of course that's different from other types of instruments, especially acoustic ones, since the synthesizer industry is more innovation driven 'by nature.' That doesn't prevent you from sticking to what's working for you though.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 16, 2015, 11:03:19 AM
:o . o O ( angry old mens synthesizer howlings )

Will there be an AOMSH soundset in the future?  ;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 16, 2015, 11:15:47 AM
Seriously, this is a good and useful discussion.  We're not whining or complaining angry old men, but impassioned musicians/synthesists.  And I hope DSI reads this thread because it provides much food for thought, as well as the concerns of their customers.  They are known for listening to us.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 16, 2015, 01:25:39 PM
Yes, its an essential discussion about DSIs future direction and the relationship to their customers.

If we look at the technical side of the current product offerings including the now discontinued products there are essentially two types of products: the older slow CV update speed machines mostly based on the Curtis chip and the newer fast CV update speed machines with either Curtis chip or new discrete filters designs. Tempest is the crossover point with fast(er) CV update speeds and a new discrete highpass filter.

The keyword is: new platform building.

The recent machines are heading towards fast DSP based digital control with CV update speeds in the audio range and new designs for analog/digital oscillators and filters. These designs have several sonic advantages over the older designs. So it makes sense for DSI to focus on these and therefore discontinue most of the older designs.

DSIs autumn cleaning in their product range makes sense to me now. Or at least as long as they continue to make products in several price ranges to accommodate both budget users such as me or flagship users such as Sacred Synthesis.

There is no doubt that DSI stole the show at last winter NAMM with Prophet-6. Just hope that they find the time to something for all of their customers.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 16, 2015, 07:00:41 PM
The keyword is: new platform building.

The recent machines are heading towards fast DSP based digital control with CV update speeds in the audio range and new designs for analog/digital oscillators and filters. These designs have several sonic advantages over the older designs. So it makes sense for DSI to focus on these and therefore discontinue most of the older designs.

This.

Also, what makes me optimistic is the fact that the Prophet-6 seems to sell quite well, although it's rather on the expensive side. In a way, I perceive it as DSI's answer to the Sub 37 - just with regard to what DSI/Sequential is traditionally good at: poly-synths.

Furthermore, no one really predicted anything like the Pro 2 or the Prophet-6 despite all the speculation. So I'm confident that there might be further surprises on the horizon.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 16, 2015, 07:52:17 PM
Still the deciding difference is whenever DSI will make (1) modules and (2) affordable designs in the future. If its only flagships with blacks and whites I personally do not see anything that would interest me.

That said I am willing to wait for affordable two/four/six voice modules with a stripped down user interface to after a flagship release. Also I surely want Dave to continue making the flagship machines that he loves so much to make as long as goodies are produced for the rest of us eventually.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 17, 2015, 10:03:24 AM
Looks like some in here won the lottery.

(https://i.imgur.com/zHowMzl.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/qJVKa0H.jpg)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 17, 2015, 11:03:46 AM
Ah! Advance product leak! I am sure DSI are pretty annoyed now and will probably delete these references. But after all the goat is out of the enclosure and its good to see DSI (ups, Sequential) have done the right thing by making a module.

Where did you find these images? Hopefully its not all of their NAMM candy! Anyone make sure that Modal Electronics new product(s) gets leaked too in order to keep the competition fair!? . o O ( :o 8) ;D :-X )

Tasty box! Wonder what it will cost and when it will be announced?

I remember seeing an official DSI photograph of the Prophet-6 voice board where each voice was placed on a vertical circuit board mounted in a RAM block like connector. Which is why this module is higher than the other DSI modules.

Predictable humor dialog with DSI about the Prophet-6 RA^H^H voice cards:
https://twitter.com/dslsynth/status/590593246713221120
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 17, 2015, 11:07:12 AM
The photos are on Reddit. The event is the Amsterdam Music festival, where Dave is presenting the Prophet-6, or rather the knobby rack version as it seems. If this one's ready for poly-chaining, it's going to be a winner all around.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 17, 2015, 11:12:51 AM
https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/3p3wdg/prophet_6_module_confirmed/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/3p3wdg/prophet_6_module_confirmed/)

So according to one local witness they should be out next month and are capable of poly-chaining. So, Sacred Synthesis, how many are you going to preorder?  ;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 17, 2015, 11:35:16 AM
So that's a P6 module?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 17, 2015, 11:36:12 AM
It undoubtedly looks like one.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 17, 2015, 01:07:45 PM
Mmm, and it's nearly Christmas.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 17, 2015, 01:19:28 PM
Prophet-18 anyone?  ;D
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 17, 2015, 01:31:10 PM
Honestly I think that a Prophet-42 would be way more stylish! :o ;D 8)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 17, 2015, 02:13:50 PM
Va-va-voom!  I knew it.  They read this thread and then, in less than 36 hours, came up with a module.  These guys are just great!

Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 17, 2015, 02:22:54 PM
https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/3p3wdg/prophet_6_module_confirmed/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/3p3wdg/prophet_6_module_confirmed/)

So according to one local witness they should be out next month and are capable of poly-chaining. So, Sacred Synthesis, how many are you going to preorder?  ;)

You know the answer to that, Paul: one of each.  Does this have any effect on your decision?  Perhaps a Prophet-6 Module controlled by a Prophet '08 would be better than a Prophet-6 Keyboard? 

There's still much to learn about this, but things are looking up for the P6 and me.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 17, 2015, 03:08:29 PM
Va-va-voom!  I knew it.  They read this thread and then, in less than 36 hours, came up with a module.  These guys are just great!

Honestly I think they cheated and have been working on this project for months! ;D
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 17, 2015, 03:11:00 PM
Va-va-voom!  I knew it.  They read this thread and then, in less than 36 hours, came up with a module.  These guys are just great!

Honestly I think they cheated and have been working on this project for months! ;D

Huh?  Really?  Oh, rats.  And I thought they had done this just for me....
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 17, 2015, 03:15:58 PM
Huh?  Really?  Oh, rats.  And I thought they had done this just for me....

Hehe! I like that type of dreams too! Actually I have seen Modal Electronics implement features that I have previously been suggesting on the other forum which can make one think about a possible connection.

Honestly I would not be too surprised if it turns out that you are involved in sound design for the module!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 17, 2015, 03:20:13 PM
That could be the case.  I would be surprised it synth designers didn't scour the forums for ideas and a sense of people's wants and interests.  It would be a businessman's dream-come-true to have such information about potential customers.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 17, 2015, 03:33:18 PM
https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/3p3wdg/prophet_6_module_confirmed/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/3p3wdg/prophet_6_module_confirmed/)

So according to one local witness they should be out next month and are capable of poly-chaining. So, Sacred Synthesis, how many are you going to preorder?  ;)

You know the answer to that, Paul: one of each.  Does this have any effect on your decision?  Perhaps a Prophet-6 Module controlled by a Prophet '08 would be better than a Prophet-6 Keyboard? 

There's still much to learn about this, but things are looking up for the P6 and me.

Nah, I would still get the keyboard. Plus: I already sold me beloved Prophet '08 for almost as much as they're new now. At least good timing, I guess. I also prefer the keyboard action of the Prophet-6. It's the best keyboard they currently use in their whole catalog.

If I could afford both, I would rather get a Prophet-12 module and control it via my Pro 2.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 17, 2015, 03:38:16 PM
Either way, Tim, a Prophet-6 plus a module will be massive. Be it for expanded polyphony or in order to stack sounds. That combo will sound huge. I can easily imagine that it would become your favorite pad machine.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 17, 2015, 03:50:55 PM
Yes, it would be an analogist's dream come true.  Since I would probably use the instrument as either a left or right hand synthesizer, I would MIDI connect the two and pan them at the mixer, rather than Poly chain.  That could make a beautifully rich stereo sound. 

Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 17, 2015, 05:28:48 PM
What's interesting is that they connected a CME Xkey³⁷ (http://www.cme-pro.com/xkey37/) as the keyboard, which features polyphonic aftertouch. Have they updated the Prophet~6 engine to accept such data or has it always been possible?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 03:08:51 AM
Have they updated the Prophet~6 engine to accept such data or has it always been possible?

So the best of my knowledge all MIDI capable DSI instruments officially supports polyphonic key pressure (aka polyphonic aftertouch) and have done so since the Evolver days. Standard caveats apply though! ;)

A quirk and dorty look at the CME site seems to indicate there exists a solution providing MIDI Out for the Xkey 37. So that is probably what Dave used!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 18, 2015, 03:14:17 AM
So the best of my knowledge all MIDI capable DSI instruments officially supports polyphonic key pressure (aka polyphonic aftertouch) and have done so since the Evolver days. Standard caveats apply though! ;)

But do they respond appropriately and not just convert the data to simple channel pressure? I have not tried this out and can't remember reading a definitive statement on this (maybe I forgot).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 03:16:00 AM
That could be the case.  I would be surprised it synth designers didn't scour the forums for ideas and a sense of people's wants and interests.  It would be a businessman's dream-come-true to have such information about potential customers.

It could very well be so. Especially when one are building a new company and scans the competitors forums for cool ideas that said competitor wouldn't be bothered to implement anyway! :o ;) :-X
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 03:25:33 AM
But do they respond appropriately and not just convert the data to simple channel pressure? I have not tried this out and can't remember reading a definitive statement on this (maybe I forgot).

Well the best way to check it out is to send the actual MIDI messages to a polyphonic DSI instrument. Unfortunately I do not have such a beastie so someone else have to check that out. Do you happen to have an Akai pad controller supporting polyphonic aftertouch, a KMI QuNexus or a CME Xkey? If so you can check it out. ;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 18, 2015, 03:33:22 AM
The P12 definitely handles Poly Aftertouch correct, I am pretty sure the Poly evolver and Tempest do as well.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 18, 2015, 03:38:31 AM
Well the best way to check it out is to send the actual MIDI messages to a polyphonic DSI instrument. Unfortunately I do not have such a beastie so someone else have to check that out. Do you happen to have an Akai pad controller supporting polyphonic aftertouch, a KMI QuNexus or a CME Xkey? If so you can check it out. ;)

I thought of generating an appropriate signal in Logic, since I don't have any poly-pressure emitting hardware.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 03:57:31 AM
The P12 definitely handles Poly Aftertouch correct, I am pretty sure the Poly evolver and Tempest do as well.

The implementation of polyphonic aftertouch is not a big deal: simply keep track of the note being played - which all synthesizers do anyway - and apply the aftertouch in the same was as channel pressure if its the note being played. Or rather its probably easier to do by remembering the current pressure values in a table and look when up when being played. Or something like that.

I thought of generating an appropriate signal in Logic, since I don't have any poly-pressure emitting hardware.

I thought of suggesting such a solution using a MIDI monitoring program or such while writing but decided to leave it out. Good you considered that as its a much cheaper solution than getting actual hardware.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 18, 2015, 04:48:30 AM
I like to create the sort of set up that is based around one large instrument.  Several years ago, I was in the midst of building a mostly-Evolver set up.  It was a master plan that would wonderfully serve my musical needs.  Then one day, unexpectedly, DSI announced it was retiring the Poly Evolvers.  It completely messed up my plans because I had wanted all new instruments that were still in production and fairly maintained.  Now my set up is built around the Prophet '08 and I'd still like to add at least one more unit to it.  But can I depend on the instrument still being around in a couple of years?  Nope.  Should I next build my set up around the Prophet 12?  But that will eventually pass away too.  It's very frustrating to a musician who knows exactly what he wants to do and has no interest in merely following the latest populer synthesizer trend.  The "in thing" is the last thing that interests me and is usually the worst thing in my opinion.  And yet, the synthesizer is an instrument that is totally at the mercy of trends and markets, so unlike traditional instruments.  It's a very a-musical situation that has the potential of pushing away altogether a serious composer/musician.

I will point out, with all due respect, that you're the cause of your own angst here. The pressure to "follow the latest popular synthesizer trend" that you feel is internal, and a byproduct of your requirement that your setup be based around in-production instruments.

To put a somewhat different spin on your comparison of synthesizers to violins: Synthesizers are like violins in that they do not become obsolete. An Evolver will be as musical in 50 years as it is today. But both a violin and an Evolver will require care by the musician, and occasional service from a knowledgeable party (a luthier and a tech, respectively) to last that long.

If a studio of Evolvers suits your musical vision, why would you compromise that vision by jumping on the latest bandwagon? It can't be a maintenance issue; electronic instruments can potentially be maintained for decades after they're discontinued. There's pretty much nothing that can go wrong with a DX7 that can't be fixed still today, and there's pretty much nothing that can go wrong with an Evolver that won't be able to be fixed for the next thirty years.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 18, 2015, 06:27:58 AM
The P12 definitely handles Poly Aftertouch correct, I am pretty sure the Poly evolver and Tempest do as well.

Well, I'll be… it does work on the Prophet '08, as well. Poly-pressure keyboards are still too expensive, though, and just 37 keys won't do it.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 18, 2015, 08:33:32 AM
Sorry for off-topic... but this pic is interresting, and looks very much like a P6 module... anyone else have any info on this?

https://i.imgur.com/qJVKa0H.jpg
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 18, 2015, 08:35:31 AM
Ahh... I see the "news is allready out... I'm off the internet for f****** 2 days, and everything happens in that period!  ;D
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2015, 08:37:25 AM
Well, you haven't missed much more than those pictures.  We haven't found much else yet.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 18, 2015, 08:40:23 AM
About the discontinuation of previous products... we've seen DSI reply earlier, that some older discontinued products was discontinued both because of missing parts, but also because they have a limit to how many products they can have running for production in their factory... so the end of these machines could very well be because they need "space" on the conveyer-belts for a new line of synths... Prophet 6 module being one of them.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2015, 08:54:21 AM
Sure.  It was just surprising how many instruments went all at once.  In the past, they paced themselves more.  Of course, with the exception of the Evolver, these are all related products.  It makes you wonder if something is different, if perhaps more than one new product is coming.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 18, 2015, 09:39:48 AM
Yeah... guess we'll never truly know... and just accept that they gone.

I'm currious though, what other machines we'll see after P6 module... to be honest, I'm not sure if the P6 is for me... it's not a match for the deep engine of the Prophet-08... it only sport a few things that make my GAS itch... the new filters and the FX... but the engine is not that revolutionary in my eyes... but I guess it's markeded at the live musician, and not a studio rat like me.... it's just my typpical "Gotta catch 'em all!" itch....  :P

I actualy think I'll pass this one... I don't need more poly-analog synths... I need new types of synthesis I do not allready have.... but still I think it's awesome that DSI makes both keys and modules of their synths... with the exeption of the Pro2 which really saddens me... I'd really like that synth in a module.

Anyway... I've gotten more interrest in digital synths lately, because they're very well suited for the Ambient style I'm embarking on... think the next thing I'll buy will be a KORG Wavedrum Global...
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on October 18, 2015, 09:51:15 AM
Anyway... I STILL hope Dave will consider some sort of hybrid with sample oscillators in one way or another... Not neccessarily a sampler, but rather a synth that use looped samples as oscillators... I really think that DSI has a "hole" in their lineup of synths that would fill that particular sound... no other manufacturers are making hybrid sample synthesizers currently, and Sequencial do have past sampler products, so there would be good reason to update one of those, just like he updated his Prophet line.

Just imagine looped choir textures, multisampled over the entire keyboard, each voice running thru the P12 style modulation matrix for manipulation, and "creamed over" by analog filters and amplifiers... it would be a machine that would be on my number one "want!" list emediately... Put in some improved "Wavestation" engine on top, and I'm sure DSI would have a winner...
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2015, 10:06:08 AM
I think the outstanding quality of the Prophet 6 is it's bona fide analog sound.  Obviously, the architecture is on the simple side, so it comes down to a raw more authentic sound.  That's what its owners are primarily raving about, although it does have some interesting features.  Sometimes a simple design makes you work harder and be more inventive with what is there, and with interesting results.

For now, my eight-voice Evolver takes up the digital slack, but I, too, would be interested in a DSI all-digital instrument comparable to a Wavestation.  Who knows what the DSI side of the company will produce next?  Sequential seems to have dominated the past year or more.  In light of the obvious Sequential character, I would expect the DSI line to increasingly distinguish itself from old school type instruments.  They couldn't go in a similar direction with both lines.

If I could have one wish, I would love to see an enlarged Prophet '08 - ten voices, four DCOs, a high pass filter, longer envelopes, some onboard effects.  That would suit me perfectly.  I've been hoping for that since before the Prophet 12 was released.

Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2015, 10:48:11 AM
But I still think a Sequential Prophet-1 is in the near future.  That's the one instrument that is most being requested from folks.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 11:27:30 AM
Agree with Razmo that we need new types of digital oscillators. Look at new ideas such as iZotope Iris style spectral filtering and granular style oscillators for instance. Waldorf rules the world with their wave table oscillators but these days we got way more memory and cpu power so new possibilities exists. It may require DSI to reach out to others for technique development though.

Agree with Sacred Synthesis that Prophet-6 is first and foremost a music machine. It got a fairly simple voice architecture with well sounding discrete electronics oscillators/filters and expects to be able to get away with that (hair color jokes deliberately omitted). And yes it sounds very good! Had a chance to pet one the other day. Quite impressive unison patches!

Taking a step back and looking at the larger picture we have seen a number of analog and digital feature developments in the recent years in new DSI/Sequential products: discrete highpass filter in Tempest, resonant highpass filter in Prophet 12, discrete lowpass filter in Pro2 and VCOs in Prophet-6. To this we can add the new digital oscillators of Prophet 12 and the super waves of Pro2.

I see new DSI/Sequential products as for what new interesting voice architecture features they bring to the table that may fit in a future DSI product that I may be interested in. And are sort of coming to terms with that that may actually new happen. Especially not for a machine with multi-timbral features and a complex voice.

As for me wishing a really complex voice Prophet-6 is a step in the other direction: make an updated vintage like machine with high quality sound and an even more constrained design than Dave usually does.

What could be interesting is if they stepped in the opposite direction and made a somewhat unconstrained design featuring (say) four analog and four digital oscillators, audio rate modulation matrix featuring various audio rate modifiers (lowpass, bandpass, highpass, wavefolder, slew) operators, more than four lfos/envelopes, sequencer at least as neat as Pro2s sequencer and a discrete state variable multi-mode filter inspired by the Modal Electronics 002/008 filter designs.

Such a machine would be quite expensive! But it would also be perfect for people like me wanting a very complex voice to work with and would fit perfectly into a high voice contents low user interface ratio module design. Sort of like a modular in a box. Which I think would be perfect successor to the Evolver. A version of it with a Curtis chip filter followed by an Oberheim state variable filter could be an interesting variant.

Once such a machine have been developed DSI could make a modular preset manager allowing for the same type of voice digital features to be used in an eurorack context which allows for the user to combine a few modules with the preset manager to make up for a full synthesizer voice of own design. With the right software support it could really progress the eurorack format while limiting the need to reach into the cable salad all the time. Some users may even want to play around with voice architecture of the hour/day/week concepts instead of manually re-cabling all the time. Such a preset manager module would be a high density module. And better yet it would be a simple continuation of what DSI have made all the time: advanced digital control.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 18, 2015, 11:39:35 AM
If I could have one wish, I would love to see an enlarged Prophet '08 - ten voices, four DCOs, a high pass filter, longer envelopes, some onboard effects.  That would suit me perfectly.  I've been hoping for that since before the Prophet 12 was released.

I assume DSI's DCO synths are a thing of the past now. The last models that will carry those are both incarnations of the Prophet '08 and the Mopho x4. Sequential might be all about VCO instruments in the future, while DSI is going to be the hybrid manufacturer.

I've said it before, but I would be totally in for an updated Wavestation under the banner DSI as well. Throw away all the Rompler waves (Piano and stuff live that), add some granular tools and the option to import user wavetables and samples via USB, add the analog filters of the Pro 2 and the effect section of the Prophet-6, and of course a vector stick for real-time morphing and recording (of morphing). That and a more hands on approach to wave-sequencing (inspired by the Evolver method). In fact, the only analog elements I would like to see embedded in such an instrument would be the filters and stereo distortion. To keep the costs down due to the analog parts, limit it to 8 voices.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 18, 2015, 12:25:12 PM
Throw away all the Rompler waves (Piano and stuff live that), add some granular tools and the option to import user wavetables and samples via USB, add the analog filters (…)

I don't know about throwing out the standard waves; if there's a bit crusher / sample rate reducer or some other fancy sample manipulation before the filters I imagine you can get very interesting sounds out of even the most boring samples!

Otherwise you're describing quite the digital dream machine there.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 12:28:42 PM
I assume DSI's DCO synths are a thing of the past now.

Well I would say that the DCO machines using the Curtis chip analog oscillators are a thing of the past. I could easily see DSI make new discrete analog electronics DCOs for future designs. With a little luck they will not have a crossover point click and possibly sound fatter than the older Curtis chip oscillators.

There are good reasons for new voice architecture features are being developed these years. Its partly technical, partly sound quality and partly competition inspired.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 18, 2015, 12:29:57 PM
It's interesting really, from my point of view a synth in general is not an expressive instrument compared to a violin due to the hardware used to play it.

Synths tend to be controlled by note on/note off, velocity and aftertouch (if you are lucky poly). You have other controllers that can be used for volume, sustain or modulation but these tend to be global in their effect, not per note.

A stringed instrument gives you much more control over each string, and for bowed instruments control over how that note evolves.

This year I got a Linnstrument. this gives me per note control over 4 parameters per note: velocity, pressure X and Y. And then of course any global control I might need from pedals etc.

Now this opens up another level of expression but of course most hardware synths just cannot deal with this even though it would be quite easy to make them act this way.

So now I am heading away from using hardware synths to the software synths that support this, The Uhe synths, Madrona synths, Omnisphere, Kontakt, physical modelling with Reaktor and the most recent Strobe2 from the wonderful Expansion who are now updating all their synths to work this way.

So my P12 isn't being used much anymore which is a shame, if it was changed to work as a multi channel synth, one note per channel then it would be opened up to these extra levels of expression, I really hope that DSI have this on their list.


Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 18, 2015, 12:33:06 PM
I don't know about throwing out the standard waves; if there's a bit crusher / sample rate reducer or some other fancy sample manipulation before the filters I imagine you can get very interesting sounds out of even the most boring samples!

Oh, I just meant all the waves that were an obvious concession at around that time (early 1990s) in terms of what many people expected to hear ("Can it do pianos?"). But yeah, technically you're right: With the right tools you can make pretty much anything sound interesting.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 18, 2015, 12:33:53 PM
Well I would say that the DCO machines using the Curtis chip analog oscillators are a thing of the past. I could easily see DSI make new discrete analog electronics DCOs for future designs. With a little luck they will not have a crossover point click and possibly sound fatter than the older Curtis chip oscillators.

There are good reasons for new voice architecture features are being developed these years. Its partly technical, partly sound quality and partly competition inspired.

What would be the point in DCOs when they have their new, very stable VCOs now? They certainly would not be cheaper if they're also based on a discrete design.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 18, 2015, 12:38:29 PM
It's interesting really, from my point of view a synth in general is not an expressive instrument compared to a violin due to the hardware used to play it.

Synths tend to be controlled by note on/note off, velocity and aftertouch (if you are lucky poly). You have other controllers that can be used for volume, sustain or modulation but these tend to be global in their effect, not per note.

A stringed instrument gives you much more control over each string, and for bowed instruments control over how that note evolves.

This year I got a Linnstrument. this gives me per note control over 4 parameters per note: velocity, pressure X and Y. And then of course any global control I might need from pedals etc.

Now this opens up another level of expression but of course most hardware synths just cannot deal with this even though it would be quite easy to make them act this way.

So now I am heading away from using hardware synths to the software synths that support this, The Uhe synths, Madrona synths, Omnisphere, Kontakt, physical modelling with Reaktor and the most recent Strobe2 from the wonderful Expansion who are now updating all their synths to work this way.

So my P12 isn't being used much anymore which is a shame, if it was changed to work as a multi channel synth, one note per channel then it would be opened up to these extra levels of expression, I really hope that DSI have this on their list.

I agree. I got the chance to play a Linnstrument for the first time last week. It's pretty cool. And a very well thought out user interface too - from play modes to global settings. If I would ever get an additional controller, this is amongst the few instruments that would actually make sense to me.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 12:48:58 PM
So my P12 isn't being used much anymore which is a shame, if it was changed to work as a multi channel synth, one note per channel then it would be opened up to these extra levels of expression, I really hope that DSI have this on their list.

Exactly the same reason that I want multi-timbral support on DSI instruments. If one wants per note expression of any meaningful type then multi-timbral features are needed. Either for MPE compatible instruments like your LinnStrument or for more complex types of operation like the stuff I am playing with.

Fortunately the MPE is more limited than full multi-timbral support so we may one day see that in new DSI products.

MPE information (originally via Roger Linn site):
http://expressiveness.org/2015/04/24/midi-specifications-for-multidimensional-polyphonic-expression-mpe
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vpjxoPHw82X3xyNvE6_hsDeL86vloNQZC83NHD8edow/edit?pli=1
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-26r0pVtVBrZHM6VGA05hpF-ij5xT6aaXY9BfDzyTx8/edit?pli=1


And here are some food thought for DSI given how much of a software development resource Geert Bevin really are:
http://expressiveness.org/2015/04/24/leaving-zeroturnaround-joining-moog-music
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 18, 2015, 12:50:33 PM
This year I got a Linnstrument. this gives me per note control over 4 parameters per note: velocity, pressure X and Y. And then of course any global control I might need from pedals etc.

Now this opens up another level of expression but of course most hardware synths just cannot deal with this even though it would be quite easy to make them act this way.

How do you like the Linnstrument? Haven't seen one yet, but I consider them remarkable devices.

Considering just the Prophet~6, it's conceivable to create a firmware-only update which could handle all the Linnstrument's outputs by adjusting how MIDI data is handled and distributed to the voices.
The P~6 already has expression pedal inputs for the low pass frequency and volume, either of which could be assigned to the y pressure; pressure on x could control pitch and z pressure is standard polyphonic aftertouch. Now standard MIDI only supports only polyphonic aftertouch, so the other controls had to be adapted to be per-voice, as well. I don't know how the Linnstrument transmits its data, but there is nothing in theory that prevents a software update which could handle it all in a simple way.

The combination of a Prophet~6 module capable such of per-voice articulation in combination with the Linnstrument would be such a fantastic, expressive instrument, yet remain quite compact!

EDIT
You got me there, dslsynth  ;) Interesting read!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 12:53:38 PM
What would be the point in DCOs when they have their new, very stable VCOs now? They certainly would not be cheaper if they're also based on a discrete design.

From what I have understood: easier to control the tuning stability!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2015, 02:48:59 PM
I would agree that technology that allows expressive playing is a thing to be sought after, but this would be primarily for melody.  Let's not forget the importance also of immense majestic chordal playing.  The keyboard is not merely an on and off switch; it is an ostensibly simple mechanism that can artfully control an immense sound with a playing technique that conveys expression, diction, and clarity.  A pipe organist is performing with the true and literal "wall of sound," and there is tremendous skill and technique, for example, in playing repeated chords with clearness.  So, I'm all for the expressive melody, but I would also put in a word for the type of synthesizer that provides the immense sound of multiple oscillators and timbres for thick chordal playing.  This is the reason I'm always writing about keyboard-module pairing.  To my knowledge, there is no single keyboard synthesizer that can offer this sort of immense and complex sound.  Hence, a P6 Module suddenly makes the P6 Keyboard much more interesting.  But still, the P08 is number one for me, DCOs and all.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 18, 2015, 03:33:41 PM
I would agree that technology that allows expressive playing is a thing to be sought after, but this would be primarily for melody.

The point is exactly that the ways you use your instruments for are well covered in MIDI and have been so from day one. Whereas the new more expressive controllers require MIDI features that essentially only very few and now discontinued DSI products supports well. So all the buzz is about making it possible to use expressive controllers with modern day analog/hybrid synthesizers from companies like DSI.

I would be pleasantly surprised if DSI one day made such features in their instruments. Knowing the past I would not be too surprised if it never happens. But seeing that DSI made alternate tunings possible starting with Prophet-6 there is indeed a chance that better multi-timbral and/or expressive controllers support could happen one day.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2015, 06:07:23 PM
I get it.  My point is that this type of expressiveness often requires two hands - one to trigger the notes and the other to manipulate some control device.  I find this degree of expressiveness very appealing, but it leaves one without the ability to accompany the melody, unless an arpeggiator or sequencer is used.

In the case of the Linnstrument, playing the solo requires such attention to finger movements that it's hard to imagine the left hand being able to provide a very elaborate accompaniment, not to mention the difficulty of physically arranging overall the set up.  In other words, again, this more pertains to single line melody playing.  It would be fine if one was playing in an ensemble or was multi-tracking, but not if one was playing live and alone (ahem!).

My concern on the topic of moving on from DCOs is that the cost of producing a VCO instrument with the same capabilities of the Prophet '08 or greater would be exorbitant, making the keyboard-module combination unaffordable for most of us.  The other potentially less expensive option - exemplified by the Prophet 12 and Pro 2 - doesn't seem to meet with the same sonic results.  I realize this is debatable, but I don't think the P12 and P08 are sonically interchangeable; the character of each is too different.  Nor, after two years now, have I heard a single P12 recording that comes even close to the quality of sound I can get from my P08 pair.  I've considered selling all my Evolvers and replacing them with a P12 Keyboard-Module pair, but this still seems to me like a gamble I could terribly regret. 

The DCO instruments seem to have produced a good balance between decent analog sound quality, instrument complexity, and cost.  So, the idea of the current lines of 1) Sequential, being the simple but pricey old school analog instruments, and 2) DSI, being the sophisticated new technology hybrid instruments, seems as if it leaves out that wonderful balance found in the P08-derived DCO synthesizers.  As much as I love the Poly Evolvers, the Prophet '08 is even better for my uses.  The power of combining, say, one P08 Keyboard with two or three P08 Modules, puts the P08 above and beyond every instrument I know of. 

Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 19, 2015, 12:56:37 AM
How do you like the Linnstrument? Haven't seen one yet, but I consider them remarkable devices.

I think it is a fantastic, although I think it will take quite some time to master.

It has pretty good separation between pressure and Y axis movement although there is still some crosstalk.


The Y axis can be set to work in two modes:

Normal: The range is spread other the key, so if you hit the key at the bottom you are at 0, if you hit it at the top you are at 127. This allows you to set it up so that the initial hit position defines the sound when it starts playing, so it is simple say to have the notes more muted, or change the amp decay based on position initially hit etc.

Relative: wherever you hit the key you are at the mid range (64), then any Y axis movement is relative to that.


The X axis has a few settings that enable quantisation, when quantise is on the Linnstrument will snap to the correct tuning of the note after you slide to it. The algorithm they use is very good, it doesn’t get in the way of playing vibrato.

I have been trying to spend time playing it with quantisation off though, then  it acts like a fretless stringed instrument. I’m after the ability to slightly change the tuning of each note in a chord, something I do on the guitar in order to get the chords to round “right” (i’m sure there is a musical term!), when quantisation is on this is not possible as it is looking for vibrato type playing or large changes in pitch and filters out small changes in pitch. Playing it with quantisation of is not easy at all and will require a lot of practise to get right. I’m thinking it will be worth it in the long run!



They have put work in on the pressure as well, you can get it set up so that it’s not sending pressure when you initially hit the key, a problem that all other pad based controllers I have used suffer greatly from.


You can split the linnstrument into two and have each half work in different ways, for instance for instance you can turn one part into sliders if you want, or use it to control two instruments.


The lower row can be used for a few different things as well as nots, you can use it to restrike any over keys held down to retrigger chords, you can use it to control strumming of any notes held down, control the arp, use as a sustain pedal or to send pitchbend or any other CC.



One thing I have found difficult is using my thumbs, for me they just don’t seem to fit the linnstrument, so currently chords with one hand are limited to four notes and to be honest three is usually a lot easier.


For me as a string player who has never got on with the classic piano keyboard layout the Linnstrument is a wonder, for a decent piano player it might well not be seen that way but I don’t think they are the target audience.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Strange Quark Star on October 19, 2015, 04:16:47 AM
How do you like the Linnstrument? Haven't seen one yet, but I consider them remarkable devices.

I think it is a fantastic, although I think it will take quite some time to master.

(…)

For me as a string player who has never got on with the classic piano keyboard layout the Linnstrument is a wonder, for a decent piano player it might well not be seen that way but I don’t think they are the target audience.

This sounds great! Thanks for the in-depth review. It seems to be even better than I imagined.

I recently picked up the electric guitar after many years of classical piano and am fascinated by the note layout (melodies almost play themselves) and the immense and very immediate, intimate control you have over each individual sound, even in chords. So this Linnstrument appears to be something I should look into more closely.

The fact that it's running open-source software on an Arduino platform makes it that much more intriguing; hard to imagine the possibilities this opens!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: DavidDever on December 03, 2015, 08:19:02 PM
I'm new here, so take what I have to offer with a grain of salt...but the DSI-120 custom Curtis filter IC used in the Mopho / Tetra / Evolver is likely expensive to produce in quantity, and (I'm guessing) is likely to be phased out, with spares / reserves kept for the Prophet 12 / 12 Desktop & Tempest units that are higher $ units.

If you look at the Pro 2 and Prophet 6 / 6 Desktop, these use a discrete SSM 2040-inspired filter (the Pro 2 also has the discrete, SEM-style, fully variable filter), so I'd wager a guess that we'll see a Pro 2-style voice in a module (Eurorack or otherwise, mono and/or poly), and that the remarks regarding fewer Prophet 12 updates might correlate to a newer flagship synth with Prophet 12-style digital oscillators and better* filters.

No idea what any of this might mean for the Prophet 08 / 08 Desktop, to be honest.

* - I personally feel that the SSM filter sounds better than the Curtis one; your mileage may vary. As for the SEM... :)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on December 04, 2015, 02:42:58 AM
I guess that DSI is not putting the P08 out quite yet... because it's not really a P6's job to replace it in my opinion... the two are a bit too different... P08 has two voices more, and one hell of a lot deeper engine than the P6.... only advantage to the P6 is it's discrete filters... the FX is not enough to make a real difference, cause you can allways add them externaly.

I've no doubt it will disappear within not that long (P08), but they better have a new alternative on the list before they do in my opinion.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 04, 2015, 05:51:10 AM
Absolutely.  The Prophet 6 could in no way replace the Prophet '08.  DSI would have to be bonkers to think one could fill the place of the other.  From what I've been told, I'd guess the P'08 has another year.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Razmo on December 04, 2015, 07:52:02 AM
I'd say that's probably a good estimate... it seems that DSI discontinue products, when they need space on the factory "conveyer belts" for new machines... so it'll probably happen sometime around a new product release... we'll just have to wait and see... personaly I'm not that frightened of the P08 leaving... I've go my P08, and I don't need more voices, so I guess the only thing you could advise, is that people who are speculating about getting a P08, probably should do it while they still can... we can see how rare the Poly Evolvers has become these days... the same will probably be the case with the P08.... it's a bit like with dead musicians... their work is always more interresting, when they're gone... it's a bit the same with gear sometimes...
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 04, 2015, 08:52:04 AM
I expect that, once the Prophet '08 has been discontinued and replaced with something fairly different, it will be hailed as a classic.  It certainly already is in my opinion.  And then we'll hear praise for the Curtiss filter sound.  I say this in light of the remarkable number of criticisms of the instrument in general, and of it's filter in particular, that I've come across online. 

Sure, the P'08 isn't perfect; it's relatively simple and lacks many common bells and whistles.  But there's beauty in that.  If there's one thing I dislike, it's having an instrument with many features I know I'll never use.  I prefer having an instrument whose every parameter I know I'll use.  Not a wasted knob or feature.

As far as the Prophet '08's unpopular filter goes, all I can say is that I like it - especially the 2-pole setting, which I would terribly regret losing.  This is one of the reasons I've hesitated in buying a Prophet 6.  I could have bought one by now, but I decided to wait and see what appears at NAMM - both from DSI and Moog.  I'll be very interested to see what comes of those Minimoog rumors.  Perhaps we'll one day see a Minimoog Model E!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Tarkus on October 05, 2016, 06:41:27 AM
I'd like to thank DSI for having made the Mophos while they did. I am sad that they are no longer being produced, and that DSI no longer offers a product that was so affordable. My first exposure to sequential circuits was playing a Prophet-10. Even though the Mopho is not quite the same as a Prophet-5, it still was a very good analog synthesizer, very much like the Oberheim Matrix, Things change, and it's not what people want anymore, but it was very affordable. I simply can't afford what DSI is offering now, but I have a small army of Mopho's I have acquired and will not depart with them until they die like my Oberheim Matrix-12.

Maybe DSI can make a true Matrix-6 reissue, I will definitely pay for it! DSI and Oberheim, I think were so great. Moog, well the Little Phatty was wonderful and special, but I am not at all impressed with their sub phatty at all, although Mother-32 is attractive at that price. I will keep the little phatty forever though, the holy grail to own a Moog, not since  my Micromoog was stolen. Well, I did wish to own that Prophet-10, it was only $1000 but it was huge and had overheated and melted, and I simply did not know to fix it.

Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Tarkus on October 05, 2016, 06:58:45 AM
I am sorry to double post, but I am not sure people were really aware what the Mopho could do. It can pull off a very good TB-303 bass line with the sequencer. It likes the Oberheim Matrix, only better. It did not sound like a Prophet-5 though, so maybe that is why they stopped making it.

I have not heard the Prophet-6 yet, so, I am hoping it sounds like a Prophet-5. But since DSI did collabaration recently with Oberheim, I mentioned the Matrix-6. which was not a sequential circuits product. But, if DSI will produce a smaller version of the Prophet-6, to replace the Mopho, and it is like a mini-Prophet-5. Well I am definitely going to get that! But, the Prophet-6, is far to expensive for me, and the Pro-2 and Prophet-12, are for specialists.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 05, 2016, 07:29:43 AM
You're not the only one who wishes DSI would continue to offer one or two small and modestly-priced modules.  I've owned the Mopho, Tetr4, and Evolver Desktop and found them to be exceptional by themselves and an easy way to expand other instruments.  I'd still like to get another Tetr4 and Evolver.  But I guess the market is master here, and things have drastically changed over the last seven or eight years.  DSI, being a small company, has to change with the times in order to survive.  Still, I would think they could offer just one small module.  I wish, anyway.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 05, 2016, 09:53:46 AM
I think one thing that changed with the resurgance of all things analog, in particular with regard to all the reissues that have been released over the past couple of years, is that lots of people are more attracted to those reappearing classics as opposed to new or different solutions. That and the fact that companies like Korg, who cover a lot of instruments for people that want to get into anything synth-related (here the popularity of small and portable knob per function units can't be underestimated), have many more production resources that enables them to produce and sell inexpensive gear to a degree that companies like DSI can't compete with. On the other side, there is definitely an audience for more experimental stuff, but those rather move towards Eurorack systems or apps (which are nicer to control these days via tablets).

In terms of product philosophies, i.e. between easy to grasp entry level instruments and already understood reissues, and fully blown experimental nerd gear, DSI sort of end up being in the middle of things combined with the necessity - driven by the above-mentioned competition - to focus a little bit stronger on what market segment they want to cover, which eventually ended up being the mid-price to higher priced market. At the same time, one should not forget that this is probably also a lesson that has been learned after the bankruptcy of Sequential Circuits.

Nevertheless, I do believe that DSI could release a more affordable desktop synth at any time, as long as it does something that is completely different from what the competition is offering. The closest they got there was with the Desktop Evolver. Of course they can't simply re-release that, as it has been done already, but I'd assume that any product that is built on a little bit of familiarity (like elements of subtractive synthesis, for example) and lots of crazy stuff that no one else has combined in that way yet, could be succesful. - Maybe not in terms of those numbers that huge companies would expect, but in a relatively satisfying way for a small company like DSI.

Having said that, I don't believe that it could be just an analog mono synth in desktop format - even if it offers far more modulation paths than provided by the instruments of the competition. There's also a bit of room for implementing some updated or new features. For example MPE capability, MIDI via Bluetooth, or Ableton's Link. All these enhancements would make especially a desktop unit highly attractive beyond the synth's specific architecture.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 05, 2016, 10:26:48 AM
The catch is that, as we know, Dave consistently issues different configurations of the same instrument.  It would be out of character for DSI to offer an individual module/desktop, and end it there.  You know it's going to be a series - a module or rack version, a single-voice keyboard version, and a multi-voice keyboard version.  I just can't imagine the company producing an individual module.  The best hope is that a future keyboard synthesizer will be sized down into a little inexpensive box. 

As much as the DSI staff has explained to us the reasons for retiring the smaller modules, I believe they've also heard a fair amount of unhappiness expressed by customers over the decision.  Whether or not they'll respond to it, and whether or they could afford to, who knows?  But I don't think it's a hopeless cause.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 05, 2016, 11:07:47 AM
The fun thing is that DSI have no problem making eurorack modules that they say don't really sell very well whereas making a smaller voice count more affordable desktop module seems out of reach due to competition situation. I simply don't get that argument. People ask for it and it makes good sense. Just do it!

The trick to keep the product design effort down is to make a more or less standard front panel that can be used across multiple desktop modules. Also, make something special just like the Mopho did by adding more features to an existing design or combining multiple instrument features into one. Make a product that offers an interesting and uniquely sounding combination of features in a neat package that many people can see good use for. Its not all that complex.

OLED display and a Prophet-12 module style UI would be a good starting point. Also, don't make a monophonic voice. Make a two or four voice desktop module instead. The two voice will benefit from having external input on each voice so that the user can process stereo audio with it too. Use the best filters in current product design which basically means the P6/OB6 filters.

Maybe such a desktop module would be a direct competition for Pro 2 and possibly be more attractively priced too? But so what!? Serve some candy for your customers even if its going to be at a little less profit margin than your current products. There are not all that many complex voices out there in synthesizer land so there is a hole in the market that even at DSI prices would make an attractive offering.

Last but not least: combine analog and digital features in a single voice. Please both analog and digital oscillators. Four analog and four digital oscillators in each voice will give powerful paraphonic features. Please both analog and tuned filter feedback. Consider adding a little more feature candy to the modulation features and of cause a good Pro 2 style sequencer. Please no digital filter only machine in this format if you ask me!

Of cause there may be some product management consideration and competition with other products in the range. But hey, there are plenty of users out there who cannot afford the current DSI offerings. Make something tasty for them. Even at $800 to $1000 this could be very interesting products.

. o O ( same old rant )
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 05, 2016, 11:18:38 AM
That and the fact that companies like Korg [...]

Sonic talk silly chat joke of the week: Drop a cheap synthesizer product on the floor to see it break into multiple pieces. That's granular synthesis in hardware!

. o O ( ;) )
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 05, 2016, 12:03:16 PM
The fun thing is that DSI have no problem making eurorack modules that they say don't really sell very well whereas making a smaller voice count more affordable desktop module seems out of reach due to competition situation. I simply don't get that argument. People ask for it and it makes good sense. Just do it!

My guess is that the eurorack modules cost next to nothing to produce, while the experiment allows Dave to see if there might be some substantial profits for DSI in the eurorack direction.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 05, 2016, 12:09:34 PM
My guess is that the eurorack modules cost next to nothing to produce, while the experiment allows Dave to see if there might be some substantial profits for DSI in the eurorack direction.

Or just doing it for the fun of it when DSI have something unique to say? Makes much more sense! While making profit is essential for a company I certainly hope that its not the only driving force for designing new products.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 05, 2016, 12:14:21 PM
DSLsynth, what you've described above is nearly a two-voice Evolver with an improved interface.  Is that still your favorite instrument in the entire DSI line?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Robot Heart on October 05, 2016, 12:27:15 PM
My guess is that the eurorack modules cost next to nothing to produce, while the experiment allows Dave to see if there might be some substantial profits for DSI in the eurorack direction.

You've got it half right. We do see Eurorack as somewhat of an experimental platform, and it's fun to release some of the ideas we come up with so you guys can checkout things that might otherwise never see the light of day.

However, Dave's never been too interested in the modular synthesis format and much prefers designing and building complete instruments. So we're mostly doing it for fun as little side-projects, and there will probably never be a huge shift of our resources from complete instruments to Eurorack products.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 05, 2016, 12:35:33 PM
So we're mostly doing it for fun as little side-projects, and there will probably never be a huge shift of our resources from complete instruments to Eurorack products.

If DSI are looking for a new module idea then bring Dave's strongest points into the eurorack world: digital control in form of a preset/modulation/sequence manager module. The digital control of the Pro 2 voice would be a good starting point if extended with to least 16 CV outputs and some form of digital CV processing internally. Would be very tasty in your own voice architectures too.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Robot Heart on October 05, 2016, 12:39:45 PM
We're not. As I said, it's more of a place to build some of the ideas we already have. As it stands, collectively we have so many ideas there's no way we have time to build even half of them. For example, there are some things that have been on the table for years and every time we decide to start working on them something else comes up and we go that direction instead. Suffice it to say we are in no way short on ideas, we're short on time.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 05, 2016, 12:40:48 PM
My guess is that the eurorack modules cost next to nothing to produce, while the experiment allows Dave to see if there might be some substantial profits for DSI in the eurorack direction.

You've got it half right. We do see Eurorack as somewhat of an experimental platform, and it's fun to release some of the ideas we come up with so you guys can checkout things that might otherwise never see the light of day.

However, Dave's never been too interested in the modular synthesis format and much prefers designing and building complete instruments. So we're mostly doing it for fun as little side-projects, and there will probably never be a huge shift of our resources from complete instruments to Eurorack products.

I hope the fun can some day be directed towards a new small module.  The three that you guys had produced were exceptional in so many ways, and the lack of them sure smarts.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 05, 2016, 12:44:23 PM
DSLsynth, what you've described above is nearly a two-voice Evolver with an improved interface.  Is that still your favorite instrument in the entire DSI line?

Oh there are several stronger points over the Evolver in my ideas: full analog signal path for the analog oscillators and external input, better sounding digital oscillators, more feature rich modulations, choice between voices in mono and stereo, possibly richer forms of CV processing internally. In other words a best-of-all so far voice architecture specifically designed for lure new and not so wealthy customers to buy DSI products. While DSI's current line of instruments are certainly interesting they are still (1) a choice between either sound or modulation features and (2) priced well above the affordable price range.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 05, 2016, 12:48:33 PM
We're not. As I said, it's more of a place to build some of the ideas we already have. As it stands, collectively we have so many ideas there's no way we have time to build even half of them. For example, there are some things that have been on the table for years and every time we decide to start working on them something else comes up and we go that direction instead. Suffice it to say we are in no way short on ideas, we're short on time.

Off the record: If I had the resources to it I would be designing my own synthesizers. Unfortunately that is not the case. Also, its not that I have entirely given up on DSI making something interesting for me - a small voice count complex architecture desktop module - but I can very well see it never happen as there is alway a new flagship machine to be build instead.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 05, 2016, 12:58:27 PM
The fun thing is that DSI have no problem making eurorack modules that they say don't really sell very well whereas making a smaller voice count more affordable desktop module seems out of reach due to competition situation. I simply don't get that argument. People ask for it and it makes good sense. Just do it!

Not sure whether you were referring to my argument, but I was just saying that I think that a smaller voice module - let's say between 1-4 voices - would have to be different enough not to be compared to the likes of the Volcas, MS-20s, or Odyssey modules, amongst the small ACB stuff from Roland. Because that's a market in which DSI could only lose in my opinion - by means of market forces, not because they would be bad at it.

DSI's strength has been a more innovative approach, or - if you'd like to put it into less emphatic words - a good sense for what to combine in a single unit. I mean even the Prophet-5 was a case of "What woud be cool to have?" - "What's available out there to achieve that?" - "Let's put it all together."
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Robot Heart on October 05, 2016, 01:02:44 PM
Paul Dither-

You're spot-on with your assessment. We started the affordable analog synth market with the Evolver and Mopho desktops, but that was many moons ago and we're no longer the only player in that game. We are a tiny company that builds instruments in the US with no desire to compete with the muscle of the behemoth synth companies for pennies. We have to play to our strengths, and competing to make increasingly cheaper instruments is not one of them.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 05, 2016, 01:03:14 PM
DSLsynth, what you've described above is nearly a two-voice Evolver with an improved interface.  Is that still your favorite instrument in the entire DSI line?

Oh there are several stronger points over the Evolver in my ideas: full analog signal path for the analog oscillators and external input, better sounding digital oscillators, more feature rich modulations, choice between voices in mono and stereo, possibly richer forms of CV processing internally. In other words a best-of-all so far voice architecture specifically designed for lure new and not so wealthy customers to buy DSI products.

The probem I see here is that I don't think this would end up being a truly affordable unit in the end. Maybe around twice the price of a Desktop Evolver.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 05, 2016, 01:09:34 PM
We have to play to our strengths, and competing to make increasingly cheaper instruments is not one of them.

Which is why making a complex voice in the mid ranged price level would be a good compromise between unique DSI features and entry level products. Leave the low cost market to the other manufacturers, of cause!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 05, 2016, 02:23:21 PM
We have to play to our strengths, and competing to make increasingly cheaper instruments is not one of them.

Which is why making a complex voice in the mid ranged price level would be a good compromise between unique DSI features and entry level products. Leave the low cost market to the other manufacturers, of cause!

But the low cost market goes up to synths that are priced at around $499 to $599. That includes - just to name a few - the Roland System-1m and the rest of the AIRA instruments, the Roland JD-Xi, all the Roland Boutique stuff, Arturia's MiniBrute and MicroBrute, the Korg Volca series, the minilogue, the Odyssey desktop, the MS-20 Mini, and the microKorg. Those are all very successful devices, especially for those who are getting into synthesis and/or are on a tight budget.

Now, a synth like the Evolver was at the upper end of that price range. That alone is cool. But: The majority of the above-mentioned instruments are not only successful because they're relatively affordable and portable; they are also rather limited. And that sort of limitation is not perceived as something negative, but rather as something that serves the purpose of instant gratification: "getting that analog sound," "making these old-school beats," "being finally able to get all the classic Roland sounds at a price I can pay." So a huge part of these machines' unique selling point are the imitated limitations of 30-40 year old synths. There are of course a couple of exceptions, new designs like the minilogue that is not necessarily trying to emulate a specific historic model, or more complex instruments like the System-100 plug-out. All in all, though, the sound and - even more - the feature set that is being offered with these synths would have been possible years ago already, in the golden age of analog synthesis if you like. All the rest is openly emulated as in Roland's case. And that is all fine, as a synthesist can now choose just like a guitarist between a plethora of entry-level instruments that all have their unique analog - or emulated analog - sound. The key to the mass market success, though, is not only low pricing, but also an instant gratification that is tied to the notion of analog synths of the past.

So while something like a Desktop Evolver would certainly still be attractive to that very same crowd that purchases MiniBrutes and AIRA instruments for example, the amount of choices it offers might not. An Evolver is a perfect sound designer's tool, but not everybody wants to dig that deep. Many people also still prefer to use presets - basically the majority, the casual keyboard synth or ROMpler buyer, while the rest is considered to be a couple of nerds, of which the recent analog afficionados are one part. I still know dozens of synth enthusiasts, who have never even heard about the Evolver that I chose here as an example for an ambitioned small-sized synth. It was around for almost 14 years and may have sold 5,000 times (if I drew approximately correct conclusions from some later serial numbers I've seen around). No one at Korg or Roland would even get out of bed for these numbers - at least not when it comes to a line of rather affordable instruments.

Of course, one could say, well that's fine but DSI could then just focus on being a boutique company (for the niche that actually cares about sound design) while continuing to offer instruments at entry level prices. The only problem I see is that if an affordable desktop unit à la DSI (i.e. not just a replica of an old-school analog mono synth, or its digital emulation) doesn't become a real zinger immediately, it will easily get lost in the mass market of other affordable designs that appeal much quicker to prospective customers due to offering a reaffirming synth engine. And then you might just ask yourself, why all that hassle in the first place while you could also make a bigger instrument with an exciting combination of features and less compromises that might end up costing more, but will eventually sell just as well in the end (in terms of numbers).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 05, 2016, 03:12:02 PM
P.S.: I'm not saying that the current situation doesn't suck, especially for those of us who really appreciated an adventurous little box like the Evolver, and who are on a tight budget, or would just like to have a small, but powerful instrument in our collection. But we also have to consider that those of us who are interested in that kind of stuff are a rather small group of people with very specific needs, goals, and visions when it comes to synthesis. That group even stays small if you add all the software nerds (putting together stuff in M4Live or Reactor for example) and the Eurorack crowd. The highly heterogenic mix of people that is truly into exploring sounds and different types of synthesis might have its niches in some particular genres or styles wherein it appears as a majority, but I highly doubt that this affects the everyday life of the recording industry or the landscape of semi-professionals to a wider degree. It's still not mainstream.

We should also do a reality check about what kind of instruments have presumably been the most successful ones for DSI so far. They are the ones with which they've made the biggest concessions towards the analog revival market if one would like to word it that way (and I'm not phrasing it like that to be provocative or dismissive): The Prophet-6 and the OB-6, which are both listed as best sellers at retailers in the US and Europe alike, despite their price.

Both of these instruments symbolize pretty much the opposite of what the Evolver was all about, but besides offering the world two extremely nice-sounding analog poly synth engines, their instant success might also allow DSI a little bit of freedom for crazier future designs in whatever price range.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 05, 2016, 05:06:39 PM
Quote
Both of these instruments symbolize pretty much the opposite of what the Evolver was all about, but besides offering the world two extremely nice-sounding analog poly synth engines, their instant success might also allow DSI a little bit of freedom for crazier future designs in whatever price range.

For purely selfish reasons, I'd like to see DSI's lower-priced stuff be eurorack modules. Okay, $180 for a filter isn't exactly cheap, but if DSI really has the freedom and wants to do something weird, this is where it would be appreciated. I do understand that it's a teeny tiny niche of a smallish niche of a modestly-sized market, so I appreciate that they're throwing the hat into that ring at all. So far, their approach to eurorack has been to dust off concepts from previous synths, and they don't need to do that too many more times before having a complete modular synth.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 06, 2016, 01:31:49 PM
@Paul Dither: Very interesting analysis. What I see a lot in this discussion is focus on limitations: small market, too expensive compared to competition, specialist tool - and so on. How about looking at the possibilities by having a standard small module front panel, use the flagship machines as technology development platforms and occasionally sell smaller slices of different combinations of the flagship machinery to people with smaller budgets who are interested in great sounding and expressive machines with a wide sonic span?

@chysn: Eurorack modules are (1) not for small budget people and (2) lacks MIDI control which is essential for some of us. A MIDI controlled desktop machine is simply the best value for money and omits most of the cable salad mess.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Robot Heart on October 06, 2016, 02:53:45 PM
One thing I'll point out that is often overlooked, and it's something that even we didn't realize until we started making Eurorack modules, is there is no such thing as a "quick and easy" product. The general perspective is that if a product is smaller or not as feature-rich then it's faster and easier to build and therefore cheaper.

To the contrary, we've found just the opposite. A product is a product is a product, and that means regardless of size or complexity it still takes a lot of resources and development time to produce. Sure there are exceptions; the really complex or new technology does take a bit longer, but for the most part even the "small" stuff takes a long time to develop, debug, and QC. The Prophet 12 Module, Mopho Keyboard, Mopho x4, DSM01, and DSM02 are all examples of taking existing technology and repackaging it, and they all took roughly the same amount of time to develop. These products have prices ranging from $179 up to $1799, and the Prophet 12 Module was initially $2299 when it was released.

So, as Paul Dither points out, for the small number of units we sell per product the margins are better where the prices are higher, because it's nearly the same amount of resources to develop something that costs $200 or $2000. While we're a "small" company in the business world, we're one of the larger businesses in the synth world. When we have to make money to stay in business it's a hard sell to devote too much time to smaller products with smaller returns, and the way to take advantage of our resources and our size is to make larger or more complex products that would be more difficult for smaller teams. It doesn't become easier to make smaller products until the company becomes much larger than we'll ever be.

On the other side, if we were 1-2 people, or 5 people, then the smaller stuff would be easier for us because we wouldn't have as many mouths to feed. But since we're now 13 people, it's expensive for us to make smaller/cheaper products because we don't make up the development costs by selling more units just because they're cheaper for the public to buy.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 06, 2016, 03:19:20 PM
That's an enlightening perspective, because I always figured DSI's withdrawal from the low-cost market was because of U.S. production costs and DSI's reluctance to move production overseas.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Robot Heart on October 06, 2016, 04:20:22 PM
Well, that's true too. The two points aren't mutually exclusive. I spoke to the other point in an earlier post in which I did say production costs are high and we manufacture in the US, so that coupled with larger players entering the arena makes it difficult to compete on price given our sales volume.

Essentially, all of these points are contributing factors that led us to where we are now. It dawned on me that the breakdown of resource allocation and development time on products probably wasn't widespread knowledge, so I wanted to add that perspective too.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 06, 2016, 06:14:07 PM
Thanks for sharing your perspective, Robot Heart! Makes a lot of sense to me. And I hope it's obvious that I'm saying that even though I would of course like to see yet another portable power tool by DSI again. But I absolutely get the reasoning behind your/the company's decision and that it is one that has been made out of necessity rather than on principle (as in: we just don't like desktop modules anymore).

@Paul Dither: Very interesting analysis. What I see a lot in this discussion is focus on limitations: small market, too expensive compared to competition, specialist tool - and so on. How about looking at the possibilities by having a standard small module front panel, use the flagship machines as technology development platforms and occasionally sell smaller slices of different combinations of the flagship machinery to people with smaller budgets who are interested in great sounding and expressive machines with a wide sonic span?

Basically, ever since the release of the Prophet '08, all of your suggestions have been put into practice. Those kinds of instruments were the Mopho variations and the Tetra. In the case of the Evolver it was the other way around, but I assume only because Dave was all on his own in the beginning and wanted to await the response first. If he had come out with the Poly Evolver in the first place, that would have been a much riskier move. Anyway, at least up until early 2013 - i.e. when the Prophet 12 was introduced - DSI indeed offered products for potentially every customer based on the derivative development strategy you described above. There was the Evolver family and then there were all the analog instruments based on the Prophet '08 engine with a couple of variations included.

My point is just that by 2013, DSI was 11 years old and the market had already significantly changed by then. It may not have happened overnight, but at around that time the resurgance of all things analog was already going strong, and lots of customers were craving for all those new portable and affordable analog synths. By now, this market segment (marking the price range from $150 to $600) is flooded with recreations, new devices, and emulations. Whether it's a good or bad thing, what had been most succesful in the past few years were relatively simple devices, everything that satisfied the nostalgia and retro appetite, everything that provided instant gratification without too much synth expertise, and so on. In short: fun boxes that are easy to operate and do still sound like "the real (analog) thing" that a significant number of people waited for or wanted to discover from a newbie perspective. Now, if you take a look at this presumed recipe for success, it doesn't quite represent what is usually associated with DSI products, which is why we like them because their products have always been somewhat more sophisticated. So in terms of company philosophy, it wouldn't make sense to serve that very same market. But even if they would try to be in it only for the money, they couldn't cash in as much as the competition, simply because of a lack of resources and higher production costs.

But we'd be more interested in anything that goes beyond the sheer analog revival craze anyway. Okay, but that already entails a shrunken prospective target audience - at least if one assumes that there are more people out there willing to pay for a TR-8 or a Volca synth; and just from observing various forums and discussions, I think there are plenty of hints out there that point in that direction. So, the first risky outcome of designing a more sophisticated device that doesn't necessarily focus on mainstream wishes would be a smaller potential customer base. Combine that with the lack of uber-competitive production resources (think Roland, Korg, or now Behringer), which results in not being able to undercut any of the given budget prices anymore, and you potentially end up in a lose-lose scenario.

There's only one way this could work out well: if the single ambitious affordable device appears to be a total game changer and everybody happens to recognize that immediately. But such instant success based on more than just innovation by pricing, but innovation by design, is not only hardly to predict, but also very unlikely, as one should never underestimate a certain conservatism when it comes to synth evergreens. And so it ends up not making much sense in the first place to invest time and money into the development of and research for such an exclusive project - an ambitious and relatively affordable synth that may not sell as it should (by the rules of the budget market segment).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 07, 2016, 05:11:44 AM
Eurorack modules are (1) not for small budget people and (2) lacks MIDI control which is essential for some of us. A MIDI controlled desktop machine is simply the best value for money and omits most of the cable salad mess.

Whether you prefer patch cables, MIDI capabilities, or both, this is a valid point about Eurorack prices. Let's take a moderately sized system that consists of 2 rows à 84 or 104 HP (the latter becoming more popular in the US). You will end up paying quite a bit of money until all that space is filled. Even if you're planning on building a system of this size exclusively with affordable modules like the ones by Doepfer or used ones, it will at the very least cost as much as a brand new Pro 2 in the end (which is an almost modular system in itself). Now, as soon as you fall in love with the more esoteric and complex modules by manufacturers like Mutable Instruments, Make Noise, etc., you'll easily end up with something for which you could also afford a Voyager XL or a Modal Electronics 002/008 for example. In this case, you would end up far beyond the price range of any current DSI product - and only for a relatively small-sized and portable system, not a wall full of modules yet.

Of course, most people who begin to build a Eurorack system start on a small scale and fill out a case one by one. The point is, though, in order to end up with a self-assembled instrument that is as potent as something like a Pro 2 - whether it utilizes similar functions or completely different means of synthesis - you will most likely end up paying twice the price.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 07, 2016, 07:33:07 AM
In this case, you would end up far beyond the price range of any current DSI product - and only for a relatively small-sized and portable system, not a wall full of modules yet.

Yes. It's not lost on me that I could have bought a Prophet 6 or a Minimoog D for the price of my 144HP eurorack system. But when I think about that, it leads me to the question, "Yeah, but would I trade it all in to actually do that?" and the answer is "No." My euro synth is the instrument that I would most prefer to have, given limited funds.

Any sort of pursuit is going to cost money, whether you golf, or hike, or do photography. I don't need a synth at all, it's purely a discretionary activity. And there's probably $1000 to go, just to do the things that I eventually want to do with my system. So don't get into eurorack hoping to save money.

The comparison with modular does suggest what a good value the Pro 2 is. Sure, it's not down there with the Minilogues and -Brutes, but it's a reasonable price for any good musical instrument.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 07, 2016, 08:28:40 AM
It's not lost on me that I could have bought a Prophet 6 or a Minimoog D for the price of my 144HP eurorack system. But when I think about that, it leads me to the question, "Yeah, but would I trade it all in to actually do that?" and the answer is "No." My euro synth is the instrument that I would most prefer to have, given limited funds.

Sure, and that's of course the point why people go down that route: to build their individual system based on their individual needs that no self-contained unit can serve in that specific way. One can't really argue about the fact that there's nothing out there that can beat the custom design choices the Eurorack format allows for.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 07, 2016, 11:20:12 AM
I think modulars are tinkerers delights though, there is something about the patch leads, the knobs, the anything goes and the I don't need to make anything musical I'm messing around mentality that you would never get with say a Pro 2.

I'm a great Nord G2 (and G1) fan, they are both much more powerful than any hardware modular system and they can sound pretty good and can be used to make "proper" polyphonic synths but they were sales failures, while the Eurorack scene seems to be doing very well. There must be a reason for that.

one of my favourites:

http://www.electro-music.com/forum/download.php?id=2582 (http://www.electro-music.com/forum/download.php?id=2582)



Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 07, 2016, 02:10:37 PM
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.  Adding another P'08 Module or Evolver Desktop is a step-wise method of assembling the ideal instrument.  It just involves larger more expensive steps and far fewer wires.  I would be happy to have a large bank of them, as a modular synthesizer stands like a wall.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: DavidDever on October 07, 2016, 04:26:24 PM
+1 on the suggestion of a headless (mostly) Matrix-6/1000 styled module, but with the suggestion that it should be expandable by adding (different) voice cards–and polytimbral.

Also - why not the idea of heterogenous voice-card modules, a la the BeagleBone cape EEPROMs? Each card type could identify itself to the system as Prophet, OB, or Mopho cards, while providing a means for the less well-heeled user to add voices gradually, or with a mind to unusual configurations (3 OB, 4 Prophet, 1 Mopho, for example), similar to a modular setup.

The way I see it - shared architecture pays for itself over many product cycles, so why not go wider with the Prophet / OB voice card platform?

I work professionally as a design engineering consultant / software architect, so my perspective might be a little different than others...years ago (middle 90s), long before I worked in an engineering capacity, I had the opportunity to visit Ensoniq in Malvern PA as part of a Guitar Center-sponsored group for sales + product training.

We all sat down in a conference room, at which point they asked us about products we'd like to see. I suggested, at the time, that they focus their efforts on modular, shared-platform products, a la a sampling drum machine, keyboard workstation, and digital effects processing engine, using shared PCB modules–all of which would allow them to build once and reuse many across multiple product types, including the burgeoning PC sound card market.

While it might be daft to suggest that ignoring that approach hastened their downfall (after all, they were building new, dedicated keyboard controller PCBs for EACH synthesizer generation, so who knows WHAT they were thinking!), I really think that smaller companies ought to invest at the front end of a design cycle, then churn out products that utilize the same LEGOs in appropriate combinations. But hey - what do I know?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 07, 2016, 05:18:54 PM
But since we're now 13 people, it's expensive for us to make smaller/cheaper products because we don't make up the development costs by selling more units just because they're cheaper for the public to buy.

Thanks for confirming that DSI will never again produce a programmable synthesizer module product in the affordable price range. While it hopefully doesn't rule out interesting future voice architecture designs it does rule out the kind of machines I will be able to afford with current finances. Sad! But so it be.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 07, 2016, 05:19:05 PM
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.  Adding another P'08 Module or Evolver Desktop is a step-wise method of assembling the ideal instrument.  It just involves larger more expensive steps and far fewer wires.  I would be happy to a large bank of them, as a modular synthesizer stands like a wall.

Are you running out of voices, or are you planning to program the ultimate stacked patch?  ;D

On a different note: Could we maybe move this thread to the "Off Topic" sub forum, as it doesn't have a lot to do with the Evolver as such?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 07, 2016, 05:21:46 PM
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.

There are indeed ways to integrate multiple synthesizers that make small voice count modules even more interesting than they appear at first.

;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 07, 2016, 05:33:54 PM
+1 on the suggestion of a headless (mostly) Matrix-6/1000 styled module, but with the suggestion that it should be expandable by adding (different) voice cards–and polytimbral.

Also - why not the idea of heterogenous voice-card modules, a la the BeagleBone cape EEPROMs? Each card type could identify itself to the system as Prophet, OB, or Mopho cards, while providing a means for the less well-heeled user to add voices gradually, or with a mind to unusual configurations (3 OB, 4 Prophet, 1 Mopho, for example), similar to a modular setup.

The way I see it - shared architecture pays for itself over many product cycles, so why not go wider with the Prophet / OB voice card platform?

I work professionally as a design engineering consultant / software architect, so my perspective might be a little different than others...years ago (middle 90s), long before I worked in an engineering capacity, I had the opportunity to visit Ensoniq in Malvern PA as part of a Guitar Center-sponsored group for sales + product training.

We all sat down in a conference room, at which point they asked us about products we'd like to see. I suggested, at the time, that they focus their efforts on modular, shared-platform products, a la a sampling drum machine, keyboard workstation, and digital effects processing engine, using shared PCB modules–all of which would allow them to build once and reuse many across multiple product types, including the burgeoning PC sound card market.

While it might be daft to suggest that ignoring that approach hastened their downfall (after all, they were building new, dedicated keyboard controller PCBs for EACH synthesizer generation, so who knows WHAT they were thinking!), I really think that smaller companies ought to invest at the front end of a design cycle, then churn out products that utilize the same LEGOs in appropriate combinations. But hey - what do I know?

That would basically be one solution for what dslsynth had in mind. From a manufacturer's POV the only downside would be that you probably had to sacrifice one usual development timeframe for the development of a model or platform that could host and combine all the different PCB modules and/or voice cards, which I don't consider to be uncomplicated. You'd basically have to streamline the interconnectivity of parts that derive from totally different engines. (I'm thinking about elements from the Prophet 12, Pro 2, Prophet-5, and OB-6 for example.)
The only thing that could stand out about this, would be the voice expansion options. All the rest wouldn't differ too much from the Eurorack concept, and I somehow doubt that it could really lead to more affordable solutions.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 07, 2016, 07:10:12 PM
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.  Adding another P'08 Module or Evolver Desktop is a step-wise method of assembling the ideal instrument.  It just involves larger more expensive steps and far fewer wires.  I would be happy to a large bank of them, as a modular synthesizer stands like a wall.

Are you running out of voices, or are you planning to program the ultimate stacked patch?  ;D

Eight voices are just right for my needs, so the multiple modules are for layering sounds.  But having multiple modules also allows you to create tones, in imitation of simple additive synthesis.  Some of the Evolver wave shapes can be recreated on a Prophet '08 if you have enough oscillators available.  Honestly, I could do with perhaps four P'08 Modules.  Presently, I combine the two keyboards and the one module, and I find myself constantly thinking, "If only I had more."  It's simple; I think and design as an organist who normally draws on many ranks of pipes.  One module equals one rank of pipes, which means I'm presently working with a very small DSI organ.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 08, 2016, 07:57:20 AM
I'm a great Nord G2 (and G1) fan, they are both much more powerful than any hardware modular system and they can sound pretty good and can be used to make "proper" polyphonic synths but they were sales failures, while the Eurorack scene seems to be doing very well. There must be a reason for that.

It probably had more to do with workflow than capabilities. With a modular synth, you design it, put it together (one module at a time, because it's expensive), and patch it up. But (it seems to me) there aren't too many people who radically reconfigure their modular systems for every patch. Perhaps the mental overhead of Nord sound design was just a bit too much.

Speaking for myself, there was some of that "too much" with the Desktop Evolver (to shift back to the topic a bit). Setting everything up with the matrix just became too chore-like, even though I knew my way around the matrix quite well. I found myself short-circuiting sound design choices out of expediency, and my results got worse and worse until I felt no kinship with the instrument.

DSI has made great leaps in the user experience since the Tetra. The way destinations are assigned using knobs is brilliant, I think, and they seem to have decided that most knobs shouldn't be ridiculously multi-purpose. Mr Smith says he doesn't want DSI to write software (other than embedded software) because his instruments should be playable from the panel; so he's got a responsibility to uphold that philosophy on the instrument side. In this light, discontinuing things like the Desktop Evolver, Mopho Brick, and Tetra was absolutely necessary.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 08, 2016, 12:03:51 PM
Eight voices are just right for my needs, so the multiple modules are for layering sounds.  But having multiple modules also allows you to create tones, in imitation of simple additive synthesis.  Some of the Evolver wave shapes can be recreated on a Prophet '08 if you have enough oscillators available.

Interesting. So, what exactly are you doing to achieve simple additive synthesis? Do you have any particular examples?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 08, 2016, 12:31:53 PM
Speaking for myself, there was some of that "too much" with the Desktop Evolver (to shift back to the topic a bit). Setting everything up with the matrix just became too chore-like, even though I knew my way around the matrix quite well. I found myself short-circuiting sound design choices out of expediency, and my results got worse and worse until I felt no kinship with the instrument.

A synth being "too much" is precisely the perception I had in mind when I was saying earlier that lots of people are probably more drawn towards simpler engines (which happen to populate a huge part of the low cost marekt).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 08, 2016, 01:15:16 PM
A synth being "too much" is precisely the perception I had in mind when I was saying earlier that lots of people are probably more drawn towards simpler engines (which happen to populate a huge part of the low cost marekt).

Yeah.

I've noticed (over the decades) that if I don't have one simple instrument and one complex instrument, I oscillate endlessly between the two in a buying-and-selling cycle. So I had the Desktop Evolver because it was complex. But it wasn't the complexity of the Evolver's engine that put me off; it was the cumulative weight of its interface over time. The interface wasn't adequate for the engine.

I think there's a demand now that an interface should facilitate the engine, a demand which certainly didn't exist when the Desktop Evolver and Tetra were released. If I'm correctly perceiving that demand, then a natural consequence is that the market will bifurcate into (1) cheap, simple engine, adequate interface, and (2) pricey, complex engine, adequate interface.

Obviously, this model is too naive to explain things like the Minimoog Model D, but I think it generally holds true.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 08, 2016, 01:29:23 PM
I've noticed (over the decades) that if I don't have one simple instrument and one complex instrument, I oscillate endlessly between the two in a buying-and-selling cycle. So I had the Desktop Evolver because it was complex. But it wasn't the complexity of the Evolver's engine that put me off; it was the cumulative weight of its interface over time. The interface wasn't adequate for the engine.

I think there's a demand now that an interface should facilitate the engine, a demand which certainly didn't exist when the Desktop Evolver and Tetra were released. If I'm correctly perceiving that demand, then a natural consequence is that the market will bifurcate into (1) cheap, simple engine, adequate interface, and (2) pricey, complex engine, adequate interface.

Correct. I don't think this model is too naive, as the only realistic solution for proper and seamless control of a more complex instrument lies in a more expensive instrument: More parameters => more controls => larger front panel and/or better display => higher manufacturing costs.

Obviously, this model is too naive to explain things like the Minimoog Model D, but I think it generally holds true.

The Model D is only expensive due to the particular manufacturing process, which is more or less the same as it was 40 years ago. Otherwise it's of course a pretty simple and straightforward synth, with the latter being that what makes it so attractive to many. Because each one of us could immediately operate it right out of the box.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 08, 2016, 02:45:16 PM
In this light, discontinuing things like the Desktop Evolver, Mopho Brick, and Tetra was absolutely necessary.

Separating the interface and its contents is generally a good idea. Surely said machines got a very limited front panel UI but there are ways to work around that problem. Making easier source/destination assignments is an interesting problem. ;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 08, 2016, 02:51:03 PM
In this light, discontinuing things like the Desktop Evolver, Mopho Brick, and Tetra was absolutely necessary.

Separating the interface and its contents is generally a good idea. Surely said machines got a very limited front panel UI but there are ways to work around that problem. Making easier source/destination assignments is an interesting problem. ;)

I think that sort of problem is solved quite well on the Prophet 12.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 08, 2016, 02:54:05 PM
I think that sort of problem is solved quite well on the Prophet 12.

It is on the keyboard version. Now sure how that works on the module version. Also, I was thinking about software interfaces to compact modules.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 08, 2016, 03:05:02 PM
I think that sort of problem is solved quite well on the Prophet 12.

It is on the keyboard version. Now sure how that works on the module version. Also, I was thinking about software interfaces to compact modules.

Sorry, I indeed forgot to add that I meant the module version. I'm confused now what you are referring to with regard to software interfaces. Do you mean virtual interfaces, like for plug-ins?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 08, 2016, 03:17:28 PM
Sorry, I indeed forgot to add that I meant the module version. I'm confused now what you are referring to with regard to software interfaces. Do you mean virtual interfaces, like for plug-ins?

Module: cool! With software interfaces I mean any kind of software interacting with the synthesizer. Which is why its so important that the MIDI implementation works correctly (to stay on topic!).
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 08, 2016, 03:31:35 PM
Sorry, I indeed forgot to add that I meant the module version. I'm confused now what you are referring to with regard to software interfaces. Do you mean virtual interfaces, like for plug-ins?

Module: cool! With software interfaces I mean any kind of software interacting with the synthesizer. Which is why its so important that the MIDI implementation works correctly (to stay on topic!).

So mostly DAW integration?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 08, 2016, 05:31:37 PM
Eight voices are just right for my needs, so the multiple modules are for layering sounds.  But having multiple modules also allows you to create tones, in imitation of simple additive synthesis.  Some of the Evolver wave shapes can be recreated on a Prophet '08 if you have enough oscillators available.

Interesting. So, what exactly are you doing to achieve simple additive synthesis? Do you have any particular examples?

Using mostly triangle waveforms, I combine various pitches to imitate the solo stops on a pipe organ.  Obviously, a single Prophet '08 in Stack Mode will offer you four tones, but the result is rather stiff sounding.  So combining the two P'08s together warms up the sound nicely.  That much pertains to emulating reed/nazard type sounds.  The other aspect concerns combining imitations of diapason stops at 8', 4', and 2' pitches, together with 8' reeds and mixtures.

This is a simple example of first mentioned solo stop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg8nQIZ_mVY), and this an example of the fuller organ sound with reeds but without mixtures (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVeqTizSJXE), and this is with mixtures (https://youtu.be/2pQg6FD6dcU?t=2m56s). 

The unique thing about the Prophet '08 is its ability to be multiplied in such an effective way, and without breaking the bank.  You couldn't as easily do this with the Poly Evolver, due to its limited voice count and the expense.  I've often considered shifting to the Prophet 12 and buying perhaps three units, but I'm obviously not too certain about the results.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 09, 2016, 04:34:05 AM
Using mostly triangle waveforms, I combine various pitches to imitate the solo stops on a pipe organ.  Obviously, a single Prophet '08 in Stack Mode will offer you four tones, but the result is rather stiff sounding.  So combining the two P'08s together warms up the sound nicely.  That much pertains to emulating reed/nazard type sounds.  The other aspect concerns combining imitations of diapason stops at 8', 4', and 2' pitches, together with 8' reeds and mixtures.

This is a simple example of first mentioned solo stop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg8nQIZ_mVY), and this an example of the fuller organ sound with reeds but without mixtures (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVeqTizSJXE), and this is with mixtures (https://youtu.be/2pQg6FD6dcU?t=2m56s).

Thanks for the examples, I like these a lot - especially the second and third one. You used sawtooth waves for the fuller organ sound with reeds though, right? How did you achieve the bandpass-like timbre for it?

The unique thing about the Prophet '08 is its ability to be multiplied in such an effective way, and without breaking the bank.  You couldn't as easily do this with the Poly Evolver, due to its limited voice count and the expense.  I've often considered shifting to the Prophet 12 and buying perhaps three units, but I'm obviously not too certain about the results.

What a Prophet 12 would add to organ-like additive synthesis, is especially its sine wave I guess, as it's also the basis of Fourier synthesis and additive synthesis in electronic organs. I bet, one could even generate rather convincing Hammond emulations with the sine waves - especially if one would use 3 Prophet 12s and added some distortion. That wouldn't be your goal, but I'm just saying.

From my Pro 2 experience I'd say that waveforms like Mellow, Church, Nasal, and Gothic would lend themselves to pretty interesting applications too. Those waveforms could certainly be relevant for you.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 09, 2016, 11:29:15 AM
Using mostly triangle waveforms, I combine various pitches to imitate the solo stops on a pipe organ.  Obviously, a single Prophet '08 in Stack Mode will offer you four tones, but the result is rather stiff sounding.  So combining the two P'08s together warms up the sound nicely.  That much pertains to emulating reed/nazard type sounds.  The other aspect concerns combining imitations of diapason stops at 8', 4', and 2' pitches, together with 8' reeds and mixtures.

This is a simple example of first mentioned solo stop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg8nQIZ_mVY), and this an example of the fuller organ sound with reeds but without mixtures (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVeqTizSJXE), and this is with mixtures (https://youtu.be/2pQg6FD6dcU?t=2m56s).

Thanks for the examples, I like these a lot - especially the second and third one. You used sawtooth waves for the fuller organ sound with reeds though, right? How did you achieve the bandpass-like timbre for it?

No, I used pulse width modulation in an attempt to substitute for the rich chorus quality of countless swirling pipes.  Depending on the PWM range - and not merely its depth - the timbre can sound as if you've got something other than a simple lowpass filter.  It's one of the features I really like about the P'08.

I'm not trying to fool anybody into thinking I've got my own personal pipe organ.  I'm unabashedly using a synthesizer, but a patch that can be used for organ music.  When I use the word "imitate," I use it loosely.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 09, 2016, 11:36:02 AM
I'm not an expert with hammond but with a single P12 with layering you get the 8 oscillators and sub to give you the 9 drawbars, this click is still a problem though unless you loose one of the harmonics.

Or am I missing something obvious?
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 09, 2016, 11:38:44 AM
What a Prophet 12 would add to organ-like additive synthesis, is especially its sine wave I guess, as it's also the basis of Fourier synthesis and additive synthesis in electronic organs. I bet, one could even generate rather convincing Hammond emulations with the sine waves - especially if one would use 3 Prophet 12s and added some distortion. That wouldn't be your goal, but I'm just saying.

From my Pro 2 experience I'd say that waveforms like Mellow, Church, Nasal, and Gothic would lend themselves to pretty interesting applications too. Those waveforms could certainly be relevant for you.

In light of these sorts of complex sounds, it would be natural for me to turn to the Prophet 12.  It's just that it would take a huge effort to work it all out.  But even more, the Prophet '08 just has me hooked.  The character is just right for these sorts of musical pursuits, and the cost is far more practical.   
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 09, 2016, 11:40:59 AM
I'm not an expert with hammond but with a single P12 with layering you get the 8 oscillators and sub to give you the 9 drawbars, this click is still a problem though unless you loose one of the harmonics.

Or am I missing something obvious?

Regardless, I'm not into the Hammond sound.  I has an XK 3c for a couple of years, and didn't care for it.  But your right, a P12 could certainly imitate a Hammond just fine, including the key click.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 09, 2016, 11:44:53 AM
No, I used pulse width modulation in an attempt to substitute for the rich chorus quality of countless swirling pipes.  Depending on the PWM range - and not merely its depth - the timbre can sound as if you've got something other than a simple lowpass filter.  It's one of the features I really like about the P'08.

Gotcha. Narrow pulse width explains the nasal sound.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: BobTheDog on October 09, 2016, 12:00:10 PM
I'm not an expert with hammond but with a single P12 with layering you get the 8 oscillators and sub to give you the 9 drawbars, this click is still a problem though unless you loose one of the harmonics.

Or am I missing something obvious?

Regardless, I'm not into the Hammond sound.  I has an XK 3c for a couple of years, and didn't care for it.  But your right, a P12 could certainly imitate a Hammond just fine, including the key click.

I was replying to Paul and wondered why you would need three P12s for a Hammond sound.

Wasn't in any way implying that you like Hammonds!
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 09, 2016, 12:56:08 PM
I'm not an expert with hammond but with a single P12 with layering you get the 8 oscillators and sub to give you the 9 drawbars, this click is still a problem though unless you loose one of the harmonics.

Or am I missing something obvious?

I guess the problem is that in the end you'd be left with 6 voices only, as you can't poly-chain two or more Prophet 12s to each other. So the only way to layer for this particular use would be to have at least two Prophet 12s of which each takes care of one half of the sound and control them via one keyboard. - I'm writing this in the assumption that 6 voices wouldn't be enough for Sacred Synthesis.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: chysn on October 09, 2016, 01:17:29 PM
Back when I played in a rock and roll band*, I set up a starting patch on my DX7 that used Algorithm 23, where each modulator was a carrier, and tuned the carriers to the first six harmonics.  Then I could program a series of rock organ sounds by adjusting the levels of the six carriers. It sounded quite good in the mix (guitar, bass, drums). If I ever play as keyboardist in a band again, I'll get another DX7, because it's a wonderful rock band instrument.

* "Rock and roll band" might sound anachronistic in 2016, but there's no better way to describe our sound.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 09, 2016, 01:30:51 PM
I've often considered shifting to the Prophet 12 and buying perhaps three units, but I'm obviously not too certain about the results.

How about combining a single Prophet-12 module with your Prophet '08 setup? The Prophet-12 can by itself do filters in stereo via DC source while the Prophet '08 gives the solid analog foundation. Could work out very well for your type of music. Plus it will give you a combination of analog and digital waveforms. In this way you don't have to sell everything and try to build a new setup. Instead you can make incremental changes to your setup. Also it seems like the Prophet-12 module have a lower price now than when it was announced.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: dslsynth on October 09, 2016, 01:32:10 PM
So mostly DAW integration?

I was deliberately being as general as possible. ;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 09, 2016, 02:20:52 PM
I've often considered shifting to the Prophet 12 and buying perhaps three units, but I'm obviously not too certain about the results.

How about combining a single Prophet-12 module with your Prophet '08 setup? The Prophet-12 can by itself do filters in stereo via DC source while the Prophet '08 gives the solid analog foundation. Could work out very well for your type of music. Plus it will give you a combination of analog and digital waveforms. In this way you don't have to sell everything and try to build a new setup. Instead you can make incremental changes to your setup. Also it seems like the Prophet-12 module have a lower price now than when it was announced.

True, but I don't like the mismatched numbers of voices.  The P12's additional four voices would go to waste, so it wouldn't be worth the expense.  But one combination that I think would work well would be a Prophet 6 and a Prophet 12 Module in stacked mode.  I'd say that would be a very impressive instrument.  I wonder if anyone has tried it.

What you've suggested works fine in combining an eight-voice Poly Evolver and a Prophet '08 Module or two.  It's basically the same end result as using a P12 Module, but without the wasted voices.  I've used that arrangement quite a bit, but I actually found that I liked the instruments  better when separate - pure Evolver and pure Prophet '08. 

One thing I especially like in keeping the P'08s together is maximizing the PWM.  It's quite a sound when the PWM is set to its deepest amounts and fastest rates, according to the register.  As we all know, PWM changes according to pitch.  One setting that sounds lush in the mid keyboard range sounds overly detuned in the lowest octaves and too mild in the upper.  When you've got multiple oscillators and multiple octaves set together, you can adjust each to get the maximum PWM according to pitch range.  Now that is a magnificent sound.

Obviously, the Evolver's digital oscillators can't offer PWM, so it's not the PWM monster that the P'08 is.  But on another note, the Poly Evolvers have the looks.  :D  Doesn't this picture just warm the cockles of your synthesist's heart?

Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 09, 2016, 02:45:31 PM
So mostly DAW integration?

I was deliberately being as general as possible. ;)

Sigh… And I thought I was a generalist.  ;)
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Paul Dither on October 09, 2016, 02:56:42 PM
But one combination that I think would work well would be a Prophet 6 and a Prophet 12 Module in stacked mode.  I'd say that would be a very impressive instrument.  I wonder if anyone has tried it.

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/eOJ32gNM0qc/hqdefault.jpg)

Obviously, the Evolver's digital oscillators can't offer PWM, so it's not the PWM monster that the P'08 is.  But on another note, the Poly Evolvers have the looks.  :D  Doesn't this picture just warm the cockles of your synthesist's heart?

DSI should build you a custom double-PEK à la Prophet-10 for Christmas.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 09, 2016, 03:14:09 PM
What, no pedalboard?

DSI can build me anything they'd like.  Out of the warmth of my heart, I'd be willing to accept it.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 09, 2016, 03:50:44 PM
All I ask is that DSI offer a neat little gadget for the feet like this.  Call it the Poly Evolver Pedalboard (PEP).



Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: DavidDever on October 10, 2016, 09:20:12 AM
Back when I played in a rock and roll band*, I set up a starting patch on my DX7 that used Algorithm 23, where each modulator was a carrier, and tuned the carriers to the first six harmonics.  Then I could program a series of rock organ sounds by adjusting the levels of the six carriers. It sounded quite good in the mix (guitar, bass, drums). If I ever play as keyboardist in a band again, I'll get another DX7, because it's a wonderful rock band instrument.

* "Rock and roll band" might sound anachronistic in 2016, but there's no better way to describe our sound.

Ha, me too! The DX7 was an excellent faux organ, until I started snapping keys off the keybed with sideways flourishes. It was even more killer with a Morley wah pedal and a bit of tube amplifier-induced distortion.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: blewis on July 01, 2019, 08:09:17 PM
Stumbled upon this thread. Nice accident. Page 6 was quite informative.

...and there are even more discontinued products now.

Very excited about seeing what’s coming this summer.
Title: Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
Post by: LoboLives on July 02, 2019, 07:15:27 PM
I'm happy about this. It's time to move forward. I had my eye on the Prophet 12 but felt it's lack of sequencer and onboard digital effects would be a step backwards. What I love about Sequential is it's impossible to predict what they will come out with next. Nobody would have expected VCO poly synths and yet here we are. Nobody would have expect 16 voice analog synths...and yet here we are. Nobody would have expected a sampler and yet here we are. While everyone is expecting a Prophet 12 successor or Pro 2 successor I don't think the next Sequential synth will be either. It will be something nobody expects and that's what makes Sequential special. I can't wait to see what's next.