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Pondering on predominant P12 usage


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Pondering on predominant P12 usage
« on: February 27, 2018, 06:07:12 AM »
In case my response was too off-topic for the focused "wave table usage" thread just started, I'll respond to the notion that 'most P12 owners use it simply as a virtual analog' here. The truth is interesting regardless of what it is.  I have no concept what P12 owners do.

As a whole, we are raised on classical subtractive synthesis. Launching off from there takes powerful boosters.

Leads to:
Is there something about classical subtractive synthesis that makes it more compelling for our sound design needs? This is an open ended question, as a whole, we do lots of different styles. How similar are our needs?

Perhaps those that have a P12 genuinely enjoy pursuing classical subtractive synthesis with it; using the wave tables as a spice and not foundation. Or, maybe the programmer shapes the wave table into an end result that the listener perceives as stemming from a classic wave shape.

Re: Pondering on predominant P12 usage
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2018, 09:27:22 AM »
I'm still new to the P12,  but the fm abilities was a selling point.   I appreciate the various digital waves for sure, but yes,  in my case, I'd rely on them more as a spice more than the meat of this instrument. 

 I played around a lot with making my own waveshapes with the PEK-which allows you to import them.  That whole endeavor of wave shape mania is cool for a while, but it can get distracting too,  or at least it was for me.    Even on my Nord Lead 4 I rarely find the need touch all the "electronic category" wave shapes.  And some just don't seem appealing quite frankly..

I suppose dsetto that  most of us learn to be comfortable with certain waveshapes common to our life.  Look at a bird or a bassoon on an oscilloscope.  Nothing really too crazy and actually classic in shape.   Using the Nord as an example again,  when I scroll thru the various wave shapes, I find that those marked "classic: saw, sine, tri, square, are my favorite on that instrument.

I suppose adding to your question somewhat, would be how limiting is really to not have that big canned bank of wave shapes?  I mean when you get down to it, on the P12 you can take 4 different classic wave shapes and combine them at various levels, bring them in and out quickly with lfo's, filter, make an endless picture of new wave shapes on your oscilloscope screen. And that's not even getting to the digital waveshape shaping or fm features board.    So, while I appreciate the 118 waveshapes found the PEK (for me they are a shortcut for sure at getting certain desired tones)  the  comparatively "limited" shapes found on the P12 is overcome by modulation possibilities that provides enough ground to provide a seemingly infinite palette.


DSI Equipment: Poly Evolver Keyboard, Evolver desktop, Prophet 8,  Pro-2, OB6, P-12

Re: Pondering on predominant P12 usage
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2018, 11:42:24 AM »
I don't know anyone else with a P12, but I imagined we all use ours differently - but why buy such a capable machine and then not explore as many sound textures as possible?
 I was definite about wanting (linear)Fm, my only previous synth was a DX7 and I spent over 20 years creating exciting timbres that made my music sparkle. When I found that my new Prophet didn't have that kind of Fm I cut my losses and set out to make great voices using all the waveforms and modulations that I could find. I made my first 100 voices (in quadraphonic) and set out on an extended musical project (my Pilgrimage). Later I was able to download the Fm capability and now have over 100 newer quadraphonic voices. This has worked well for me as I got my basic Prophet training and then adapted what I had learned for the Fm stuff. Also using wavetable waves in Fm modulations can extend my previous DX7 Fm knowledge.
Maybe this is not normal, but I bought Cassandra (my Prophet 12) to create a new sound world and to have the range of expression controls to be able to take any particular sound to a maximum number of other timbral places. I have only recently started to use the knobs to further extend sounds whilst playing live, as four pedals, sliders and wheels etc already allow musical worlds to unfold for me in many possible directions.
 I live near the end of a remote peninsula so I don't get to see how other P12 owners use theirs, that's why I like the forum. Everybody is helpful and ideas get shared.

Re: Pondering on predominant P12 usage
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2018, 01:34:58 PM »
I love my Prophet 12.
I think it's a beautiful instrument.
I like everything about it.
I like the way it plays, I LOVE the UI, the soft buttons and the soft knobs above and below the display, the keypad and the big display make it much quicker to navigate and to use than my Rev2 (which is also great).
It's brill to play too. I mean the slider strips and the live mode - just fab!
Great mod matrix too - just to be clear I LOVE this synth! :)
How I use it is probably more like a standard subtractive synth tbh, but then you don't find many other synths out there that have 4 oscillators plus a sub oscillator, 4 LFOs, Low pass & high pass filter, 4 analogue delays, 4 envelopes, analogue distortion, FM, AM, 12 notes of polyphony and B-timbrality with individual outputs do you? :)
It's a very satisfying synth to sink your programming teeth into and a lovely synth to play especially live.
The digital waveforms are a 'bonus' rather than being fundamentally important like the classic wave shapes are to me and so I use them only occasionally tbh, but I like having them just the same and just the other day I tried creating a patch from scratch using only the extra 'digital' waveforms which was fun.
So I like having them as an option, but yes in my case I tend just to use it as a totally superbly laid out 4 oscillator subtractive synth.
I've become emotionally attached to my Prophet 12 and if that's not a sign of a great synth I don't know what is. :)

Re: Pondering on predominant P12 usage
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2018, 05:39:20 PM »
I donít have a Prophet 12 but honestly Iím getting a bit analog synthesis tapped out so if I were to get a Prophet 12 it would definitely be for the waveshapes and FM sounds. Just so I could add something different to my pallet of sound. That being said Iíll likely wait to,see what DSI come out with next cause from studying both the Poly Evolver And Prophet 12 Iíd go for a new Evolver over a Prophet 12 based simply on the VS waves (which for some odd reason werenít included in the P12)
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano, Fender American Stratocaster, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii, Origin Effects Cali76 and SlideRig compressor, ASUS Zenbook Pro Computer, Soundcraft MTK 22 Mixer, Mark Of The Unicorn Digital Performer 10 Software.

Re: Pondering on predominant P12 usage
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2018, 11:26:54 AM »
I can't comment on any other P12 players, but for me it's always been all about subtractive synthesis. 

I began my love affair with synthesizers at about 10 years old.  The 1st time I heard Keith Emerson's Moog solo at the end of Lucky Man I was hooked for life!  In college around 1980, I was fortunate to find an "Electronic Music" class that actually taught subtractive synthesis (our final project was recorded with the schools' Roland SH-5).  My 1st synth was a Sequential Pro 1, after that I've bought (and unfortunately sold rather than kept :-) probably a couple dozen synths.  The only time I bought an exclusively FM synth was the early 80's when I got talked into jumping on the "latest thing bandwagon" and got a Yamaha DX-9 (the DX-7's little brother).  I hated it...I didn't like the sound (except the pipe organ) and I couldn't understand or make any sense of FM to program other things.  Exchanged it a couple weeks later for a Roland, that I understood :-)

After this I went through a lot of Roland D series synths and their "Linear Architecture" which seemed about as logical as FM to me :-)  Anyway, fast forward to the year 2000 and I bought a Waldorf Q.  Try as I might I just couldn't visualize how to do much with the wave tables so dumped it after a couple years.

When I got my P12 about 3 years ago, it was because it was the closest thing I could get to a polyphonic modular subtractive synthesis dream box.  The fact that it can also do FM is a cool bell-and-whistle that I plan to explore some programming moving forward, though I rarely use FM type sounds.  The wave tables are another cool extra that I basically approach from a subtractive synthesis standpoint. 

Maybe I stay mostly in the subtractive world because when I began my synth experiences, everything was based around it and that's the foundation I learned from?  I have had other architectures and while I liked many of the sounds, I was never able to really wrap my head around them enough to create anything useful (other than a Yamaha SY22 vector synth).  Overall, I'm incredibly happy with my P12 and plan to make it one of the few synths I've bought (along with my Korg Radias & Yamaha XF7) that are simply too wonderful to ever be sold :-)
Mutiny in Jonestown, Progressive Rock Since 1987:



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Re: Pondering on predominant P12 usage
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 09:52:55 PM »
I am absolutely enjoying reading these musings.