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Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend

Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« on: June 15, 2018, 05:28:32 AM »
Has anyone had the chance to use piano and electric piano sounds on the Prophet X with a suspend pedal? If so, could you please share some feedback as to how it played?

I'd love to get a Prophet X but would probably need to sell my Nord Electro to fund it - but wouldn't do so if there are not playable piano / electric piano patches on the Prophet X.

Bartosz Kwiecinski

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  • Synths to make and do.
Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2018, 04:19:19 AM »
Don‘t you think 8/16 Voices are a little less for a piano?
Heading to have a X because of a Rhodes with a Daves Smith Filter, 4 LFOs, 2 OSCs ....

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2018, 01:47:13 PM »
Well I only have 10 fingers... :)

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2018, 01:54:35 PM »
Nevermind piano.  I run out of notes playing left-handed arpeggios on eight-voice synthesizers all the time.  Set a long release time, and the voices are used up quite quickly.
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

Bartosz Kwiecinski

  • *
  • 8
  • Synths to make and do.
Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 11:32:05 AM »
Nevermind piano.  I run out of notes playing left-handed arpeggios on eight-voice synthesizers all the time.  Set a long release time, and the voices are used up quite quickly.

yeah, as a main piano I prefer still my SV1.
Sad the X has no audio in ;)

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 04:19:06 PM »
Audio input on a poly synth doesn't make as much sense, or certainly isn't as easy to deal with as on a mono synth. For example, which voice do you use for processing the audio input? You need a filter to run it through, and typically the audio input can trigger the envelopes and the sequencer.

The filter and VCA envelopes also affect the audio input once it's in the signal path, if the input is assigned to a single voice it only comes up every 8/16 notes, and if the input is not assigned to a single voice then does it require its own dedicated filter and envelopes? Whether it does or does not, how do you assign envelope priority for the audio input?

There may be an elegant solution to implementing it, but the questions posed above are generally why we only put audio in on mono synths. It's just so much more straightforward when there's a single voice to contend with.
SEQUENTIAL

DMS

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 04:21:16 PM »
Iíve found no problems with voice stealing thus far, itís just full of life. But I realize that different applications require different tools. 

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2018, 04:43:03 PM »
Audio input on a poly synth doesn't make as much sense, or certainly isn't as easy to deal with as on a mono synth. For example, which voice do you use for processing the audio input? You need a filter to run it through, and typically the audio input can trigger the envelopes and the sequencer.

The filter and VCA envelopes also affect the audio input once it's in the signal path, if the input is assigned to a single voice it only comes up every 8/16 notes, and if the input is not assigned to a single voice then does it require its own dedicated filter and envelopes? Whether it does or does not, how do you assign envelope priority for the audio input?

There may be an elegant solution to implementing it, but the questions posed above are generally why we only put audio in on mono synths. It's just so much more straightforward when there's a single voice to contend with.

Is that the reason why most analog vocoders are paraphonic instead of Polyphonic?
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: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2018, 04:48:35 PM »
Nevermind piano.  I run out of notes playing left-handed arpeggios on eight-voice synthesizers all the time.  Set a long release time, and the voices are used up quite quickly.

yeah, as a main piano I prefer still my SV1.
Sad the X has no audio in ;)

I donít think thereís anything wrong with having a dedicated piano or organ keyboard. Every synth and stage piano and organ have their specialties they excell at. Best to embrace each one individually and have them work together rather than one piece of gear that does it all. Even something like the Kurzweil (which I love) doesnít have the hands on immediacy of the Prophet X or any DSI, Moog, Oberheim, Korg synth for that matter.
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.

DMS

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2018, 05:25:45 PM »
Okay guys, I wonít even tell you what I have on the rompler side of things, this is just pure gut reaction. The clavís are great may be the filters the stereo whatever? The whurliez the same man they got punch. The Rhodes kinda like Iím gonna have to get them to bottom if that makes sense but, honestly I havenít even tried, and they flow the way most peeps would want. Iíll keep you updated
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 05:29:40 PM by DMS »

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2018, 08:16:29 PM »
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a dedicated piano or organ keyboard. Every synth and stage piano and organ have their specialties they excell at. Best to embrace each one individually and have them work together rather than one piece of gear that does it all. Even something like the Kurzweil (which I love) doesn’t have the hands on immediacy of the Prophet X or any DSI, Moog, Oberheim, Korg synth for that matter.

I totally agree.  Let each instrument excel in its own way.  It's just that I've got a great PWM synthesizer patch that I love to use for piano-like accompaniment, and with only eight voices, the notes run out far too quickly.
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2018, 02:00:14 AM »
I agree too, it;s just that the Prophet X is very expensive, and I will find it difficult to get one without selling my Nord which I use for pianos.

Just to go back to the original question - has anybody managed to play a Prophet X as a piano, including suspend pedal, and if so any feedback as to how it is?

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2018, 05:00:48 AM »
Just to go back to the original question - has anybody managed to play a Prophet X as a piano, including suspend pedal, and if so any feedback as to how it is?

It is possible. Does it replace a Nord Electro, though? No, because the Nord Electro is specialized for all sorts of piano and organ jobs including its UI design (hammer action or waterfall keyboard and organ drawbars for example). So it really depends on how central the feel of the Nord Electro is for your playing. If you only need a piano sound once in a while and a dedicated keyboard action doesn't matter, then you can probably sell it, but if pianos and organs are essential for you and your music, I'd save up just a little longer. None of this is related to the sound quality, as the piano samples of the Prophet X sound great.

So my ultimate advice would be to wait until you can check out the Prophet X in a store. Then, initialize the basic program, silence the oscillators and select only a piano sample as the sound source in filter bypass mode. Ask for a sustain pedal and try out in person how it responds to your playing style.

Another thing to consider is that all the samples of the Prophet X have to pass the VCA, which limits the polyphony to 8 voices in stereo mode and you wanna choose stereo mode for piano samples, otherwise the according sounds sound a bit flat and less dynamic. What does that mean in the end? When playing with a sustain pedal, you've reached the 8-voice polyphony limit pretty quickly, probably after the first chord change. With the piano samples that doesn't result in the usual voice stealing effect, it still sounds quite natural if you keep on playing while pressing down a sustain pedal. What happens, however, is that you'll notice a slight clicking after you've reached the 8 voice polyphony limit. That goes back to the VCA envelope being retriggered (meaning: this is not faulty behaviour, this is to be expected behaviour given the number of VCA chips). You can smooth out that artifact a little by extending the VCA attack phase ever so slightly. You can't go too far with that, though, since you still need to maintain a percussive attack, meaning slight artifacts caused by the VCAs being retriggered while notes are being held will continue to occur. That's of course something you don't have to work around with the 40-60 or 120 voice polyphony for piano library sounds on the current Nord Electros (5 and 6).
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 05:16:40 AM by Paul Dither »

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2018, 05:47:12 AM »
Yes, I'd caution you not to try to make the latest thing into everything.  We've all regretted selling particular instruments at various points in our musical lives, and those imprudent decisions were often due merely to a desire for something else that blinded us.  Although the Prophet X has a ton to offer, beware of making it into a do-everything workstation. 

To state what is perhaps obvious, the great shortcoming in playing piano-like arpeggios on an eight-voice synthesizer is that the first voices played are the first to disappear when the eight-voice limit is reached.  Since arpeggios are most often played from the bottom up, that means you'll first loose what may be the most important note of all - the bass note.  With purely synthesizer-type patches, sometimes you can use this to your advantage as a means of cleaning up the overall sound and eliminating unwanted boominess.  But with a crisp clean piano sound, that might be the last effect you'd want.

As Paul advises, wait and try one for yourself.  Four thousand dollars is a lot of money to mis-spend.  Or at the very least, wait for the many YouTube Prophet X videos that are soon to appear.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 12:26:56 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

ddp

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2018, 11:52:27 AM »
Regarding Nords and pianos...

I sold a Stage 3 88 to fund the Prophet X, but no, it cannot replace an Electro or Stage, they're different instruments. 

Nords have tons of polyphony available, whereas you can easily exhaust the 8 stereo voices in the X.  Nords are also optimized for live performance, the excess polyphony is used to keep the last program going, even after you change programs.  On the Prophet X, all notes stop when you change patches.  Nords also have seamless transitions now, with three adjustable widths, which is wonderful live, or in a piano bar.  So if you're in a jam band, you're still going to prefer your Nord.  However if you're in a studio, or you're a band that pauses between songs, the stereo filters and effects will likely win you over.  Nords sound good, especially for the size of their samples, but they don't sound like a Prophet.

As to whether you can play piano on it, it depends.  If you're playing one handed riffs without suspend, sure, it's capable.  However if you're trying to play Beethoven, forget it.  You'll run out of voices, especially if you're using sustain.  I learned how to play the first movement of Moonlight Sonata on a Nord Piano 3 and Stage 3 88 and it's not practical on the X, nor did I expect it to be.  In addition to the Prophet X, I also ordered a Kawai MP11SE, that was my solution.  So if it's mainly piano or organ that you're after, you're still better off with an Electro or Stage.  The Stage is also a better MIDI controller, since it can control two separate external zones, and there's the (now slightly broken) DualKB mode.

One other observation.  My Nords always sounded better in headphones than they did on my studio monitors.  Over in the Nord forum, you'll find a lot of discussions about appropriate amps to pair them with.  I've always suspected that my Mackie HR824s were not up to the task, judging by what others use with their Nords, whereas the Prophet X sounds lovely.  I'm not sure if it's the analog stereo effects and filters or what, but it's there.  The Prophet fills the space in a way the Nords didn't.



Buchla, Polyend, Moog One, Prophet X, MP11SE

Sleep of Reason

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2018, 02:20:02 PM »
Moonlight Sonata not practical on the X

Not just practical, there's not enough octaves for that piece.

Besides, I certainly run into voicing limitations with my 16 voice REV2, especially when it's split down to 8.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 02:55:20 PM by Sleep of Reason »

ddp

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2018, 04:32:43 PM »
Yes, when I want piano on a Prophet, I use Galaxy II's Steinway Grand under Live.  You also want to turn the velocity curve up to 7 or 8 and the pressure curve to 4.  It's fine until you run out of keys, right.  :-)
Buchla, Polyend, Moog One, Prophet X, MP11SE

Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2018, 08:30:19 PM »
Regarding Nords and pianos...

I sold a Stage 3 88 to fund the Prophet X, but no, it cannot replace an Electro or Stage, they're different instruments. 

Nords have tons of polyphony available, whereas you can easily exhaust the 8 stereo voices in the X.  Nords are also optimized for live performance, the excess polyphony is used to keep the last program going, even after you change programs.  On the Prophet X, all notes stop when you change patches.  Nords also have seamless transitions now, with three adjustable widths, which is wonderful live, or in a piano bar.  So if you're in a jam band, you're still going to prefer your Nord.  However if you're in a studio, or you're a band that pauses between songs, the stereo filters and effects will likely win you over.  Nords sound good, especially for the size of their samples, but they don't sound like a Prophet.

As to whether you can play piano on it, it depends.  If you're playing one handed riffs without suspend, sure, it's capable.  However if you're trying to play Beethoven, forget it.  You'll run out of voices, especially if you're using sustain.  I learned how to play the first movement of Moonlight Sonata on a Nord Piano 3 and Stage 3 88 and it's not practical on the X, nor did I expect it to be.  In addition to the Prophet X, I also ordered a Kawai MP11SE, that was my solution.  So if it's mainly piano or organ that you're after, you're still better off with an Electro or Stage.  The Stage is also a better MIDI controller, since it can control two separate external zones, and there's the (now slightly broken) DualKB mode.

One other observation.  My Nords always sounded better in headphones than they did on my studio monitors.  Over in the Nord forum, you'll find a lot of discussions about appropriate amps to pair them with.  I've always suspected that my Mackie HR824s were not up to the task, judging by what others use with their Nords, whereas the Prophet X sounds lovely.  I'm not sure if it's the analog stereo effects and filters or what, but it's there.  The Prophet fills the space in a way the Nords didn't.

Let me know how the Kawai is...I've heard mixed things.
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.

Bartosz Kwiecinski

  • *
  • 8
  • Synths to make and do.
Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2018, 11:08:53 PM »
Audio input on a poly synth doesn't make as much sense, or certainly isn't as easy to deal with as on a mono synth. For example, which voice do you use for processing the audio input? You need a filter to run it through, and typically the audio input can trigger the envelopes and the sequencer.

The filter and VCA envelopes also affect the audio input once it's in the signal path, if the input is assigned to a single voice it only comes up every 8/16 notes, and if the input is not assigned to a single voice then does it require its own dedicated filter and envelopes? Whether it does or does not, how do you assign envelope priority for the audio input?

There may be an elegant solution to implementing it, but the questions posed above are generally why we only put audio in on mono synths. It's just so much more straightforward when there's a single voice to contend with.


Thanks for this great explaination. In my opinion the Prophet X (also the Pro 2) is great FX processor with all its filters, envelopes, lfos and so on.


Re: Prophet X, Pianos and Suspend
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2018, 11:33:14 PM »
You know my Dad always wanted a Roland V-Piano and he heard people complain and moan that "it doesn't sound like a real piano." and he held off and held off. He looked at Nords, Kawais, Yamaha, etc and finally he and I drove to Montreal and picked up a used V-Piano in decent condition. He played it and his face lit up. He goes "It doesn't sound like a real wooden piano....but that's because it's not a real wooden piano and it does things a real wooden people wouldn't be able to do."


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.