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New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice

New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« on: January 18, 2019, 05:15:57 PM »
Hello forum not sure where to post this but here seemed like the best spot. Iím new to synthesis. I know the basics of playing the piano and some basics of synths but Iím a beginner. Iíve always been intrigued by the sounds and  capabilities of a synth. Iím looking for some advice as to what to choose. Dave Smith synths have always caught my eye but not sure if itís what people would recommend getting started on. I can financially afford a decent synth right now but not sure if itís a practical decision or not. I have been looking at the Dave Smith Prophet Rev2 8 or 16. I would love to hear from members experiences here what they would choose and why.

Shaw

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Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2019, 05:33:23 PM »
A Rev 2 (8 or 16 voice) would be an excellent choice for learning synthesis... however the same thing could be said about all DSI / Sequential synths. My advice would be this: listen to them, play them in a music store (if possible), and then get the one you enjoy ď.


Again, you can equally learn and explore synthesis on all of DSI/Sequentialís current offerings.


Good luck, welcome to the forum, and let us know what you decide!
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rockīn roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 05:41:16 PM »
What I like about the prophet series is the way there layed out. To my eyes it seems to make sense. As far as voices go at my stage of the game would 8 or 16 be the way to go? Would I reap the benefits of a 16 or should I save the 500$ extra for now?

Shaw

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Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 06:02:35 PM »
What I like about the prophet series is the way there layed out. To my eyes it seems to make sense. As far as voices go at my stage of the game would 8 or 16 be the way to go? Would I reap the benefits of a 16 or should I save the 500$ extra for now?
Unless you need the $500 for something else (bills, rent, food), get the 16 voice. Youíll  be creating sounds using both layers in no time... and that will half your voice count to 4 and 8 respectively.

"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rockīn roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2019, 06:15:04 PM »
What I like about the prophet series is the way there layed out. To my eyes it seems to make sense. As far as voices go at my stage of the game would 8 or 16 be the way to go? Would I reap the benefits of a 16 or should I save the 500$ extra for now?
Unless you need the $500 for something else (bills, rent, food), get the 16 voice. Youíll  be creating sounds using both layers in no time... and that will half your voice count to 4 and 8 respectively.
Iíve read that if you buy the 8, if you decide to upgrade to the 16 you can for 100$??

Shaw

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Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2019, 06:26:18 PM »
What I like about the prophet series is the way there layed out. To my eyes it seems to make sense. As far as voices go at my stage of the game would 8 or 16 be the way to go? Would I reap the benefits of a 16 or should I save the 500$ extra for now?
Unless you need the $500 for something else (bills, rent, food), get the 16 voice. Youíll  be creating sounds using both layers in no time... and that will half your voice count to 4 and 8 respectively.
Iíve read that if you buy the 8, if you decide to upgrade to the 16 you can for 100$??
I donít think that is true.  Read on the Rev2 section of this forum.  I think others have  noted that it is more expensive to upgrade later.

"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rockīn roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Sleep of Reason

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2019, 06:33:59 PM »
Moe like $600.

If you like the Prophet layout, I'd go with a Prophet 6 instead if you can afford one. It doesn't have the modulation capabilities of the REV2, yet it's simple for beginners as it features a knob per-function and more importantly its tonal quality is superior.

Shaw

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Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2019, 07:36:59 PM »
Moe like $600.

If you like the Prophet layout, I'd go with a Prophet 6 instead if you can afford one. It doesn't have the modulation capabilities of the REV2, yet it's simple for beginners as it features a knob per-function and more importantly its tonal quality is superior.
I was going to say the OB-6 for the same reason... but since his interest lies in the Rev 2, let that one be his gateway drug.
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rockīn roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2019, 10:30:52 PM »
Depending on where your budget is, you might consider a P-08.  They can be had pretty cheap right now, but you probably have to buy used.  The Rev 2 has more features, but if you are just learning, less features may actually be better. 

If you get a Rev 2, I would get the 16 voice simply because the extra voices don't cost that much more money and will help resale down the line if you sell it.

However, I am fully satisfied with the 8 voices of my P-08.  I don't find myself wanting for more with the sounds I create on it.

Good learning tools are Synth Secrets https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/synth-secrets-all-63-parts-sound-on-sound

Another really good book is "learning music with synthesizers" by David Friend.  He uses the Arp Odyssey as the example synth, but everything he goes through is generally applicable to all synths.  It's out of print, but you can pick up used ones on Amazon.  Also, free pdf's of it are on the net.  This was the book I used (way too many years ago) to learn basic synthesis.  No regrets. 

To that end, it may be worth your while to get one of the Korg remakes of the Odyssey and study his book.  On the used market, they are dirt cheap but a really good duophonic synth.   I have one and it is every bit as good as the original Odyssey.
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2019, 03:21:20 PM »
Any of Dave's synthesizers would be an excellent place to start.  If you can afford a new instrument, I would suggest either a Prophet 6 or a Prophet Rev2.  You can still find a few new Prophet '08s around as well.
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Razmo

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Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2019, 11:56:06 PM »
If your choice is a REV2, I would start with the 8 voice... The upgrade is not much more expensive if you want it later, but you would need to do the installation manually yourself, do not forget that (though it is quite simple, but could be daunting for a beginner maybe)... Here in Europe, it was actually cheaper to go for an 8 voice and an upgrade, then buying a 16 voice earlier on.

If you will miss the 16 voices depend a lot upon what type of sounds you would like to play... If they have long release times like pads etc. Then you will quickly want that upgrade, especially if you want to use both layers, as that will reduce the voices in half.

The OB-6 or P6 is a good synth for starters, no doubt, but it will fail in voice count and flexibility to the REV2, especially as your experience grows and you require more complexity and voicecount... The only real advantage these have are their sound, and the one knob per function interface. So be careful with your choice between these... Know exactly what you might need. Many advice for these because they like the sound more, but they probably also have more than one synth to complement it's lackings in sound engine depth and voicecount... If you are a beginner and want the most bang for the buck, the REV2 is the best in my opinion... If you are ready to learn and dig deep that is 😉
If you need me, follow the shadows...

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2019, 06:44:35 AM »
I saw some posters recommended the Prophet 08. For a beginner would that model be better to start with? Would you choose it over a Rev2? A shop by my house has leftover brand new prophet 08 PE for 1400$.

Sleep of Reason

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2019, 09:04:05 AM »
The REV2 is an upgraded 08 in every sense of the word. No way is the 08 worth that in American dollars. Nor do I think six voices will be much of an issue for most pieces you'll probably play if you decide to go with a P6 or OB-6, though it will limit the amount you can use the sustain pedal. For me that's a small price to pay considering the wide gap in sound quality they both have over the REV2/08. This is coming from someone who originally had a REV2 16 voice and switched to an OB-6. If you're dead set on the REV2 and know you're likely going to keep it, I'd say go with the 16 voice. It will save you $100 (at least in America) and the small inconvenience of installation. As Shaw mentioned, a lot of patches have a B layer which cuts the voice count in half, meaning you'll only have four voices in a lot of situations if you decide to go with an 08 or eight voice REV2.

Another option you might want to consider is the Tempest. Not only is it a drum machine, it's also a fully functional synth with the same modulation capabilities as the REV2. It doesn't have split layers, but it has two digital oscillators (in addition to the two analog ones) that are to me more important. It has more/better envelopes and a feedback option. It has less LFOs and no effects (aside from MIDI delay), but to be honest, the effects aren't great on the REV2 to say the least. I would rather invest in external effects anyhow if you feel you need them. You'll also need a midi keyboard, which you can get ones that are much nicer than the TP/9 that comes on the REV2. The pads on the Tempest are super responsive and might work better for you to make music if you're not much of a keyboardist. You can create full tracks right in box with ease.

Lots of great choices available to you with the DSI/Sequential brand.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 10:33:41 AM by Sleep of Reason »

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2019, 10:49:58 AM »
Iím not much of a piano player, other than some basic chords. Mostly Iím into electronic music and have always wanted to learn how to make the sounds Iíve heard all my life. I would also like to incorporate some kind of drum machine along with the synth. Iíve heard that logic X has some really good drums built in to it. Iím due for a new Mac so I was thinking about picking up logic. Ahh so much to learn. It honestly drives me crazy. Sometimes I think, should I get a synth and drum machine and just learn the basics, before driving myself insane with a complete daw setup? Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Sleep of Reason

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2019, 11:09:23 AM »
I use Logic on a ten year old iMac. You could easily side-step hardware altogether if you don't mind working with a mouse. Logic has a lot of nice soft synths and drum samples, etc. To me however, all the fun is sucked out of the process, which is a real inspiration killer. Also if sound quality is important to you and you're into electronic music, hardware is still the way to go IMO. I'd really recommend the Tempest from the sound of your situation. You can set the pads to different scales, which will give you lots of ideas you wouldn't normally have if you don't know them all. Plus you could always add in a VCO synth down the road to expand your pallet.



P.S. This is better put than what I originally wrote:
It doesn't have dual layers, but it has two digital oscillators (in addition to the two analog ones) that are to me more important. It has more (on the single layer basis)/snappier envelopes.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 11:32:35 AM by Sleep of Reason »

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2019, 07:04:26 PM »
The REV2 is an upgraded 08 in every sense of the word. No way is the 08 worth that [$1,400] in American dollars.

I would agree, but I think those few shops that still have unopened Prophet '08s feel they have a real rarity now, and they do.

I believe Armens is selling them brand new on Ebay for about $1,300.
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Shaw

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Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2019, 07:08:01 PM »
The a Prophet 08 with a soft case on Reverb in Excellent condition for 1085 ó https://reverb.com/item/17929870-dave-smith-instruments-prophet-08-keyboard-w-soft-case


... and heís accepting offers, so you can get it for less.
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rockīn roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2019, 07:16:34 PM »
There's a Prophet '08 Module on Ebay for $625.  Good deals can still be found.
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2019, 08:56:55 PM »
I saw some posters recommended the Prophet 08. For a beginner would that model be better to start with? Would you choose it over a Rev2? A shop by my house has leftover brand new prophet 08 PE for 1400$.

For the $100 difference, I would get the Rev 2 eight voice.  If I was in your position, I would only buy a P-08 if it was in really good shape and $1000 or less (used).   Apples to apples, a P-08 is very close to a Rev 2 eight voice.  The Rev 2 has some additional modulation capabilities plus some inboard effects.  Since the P-08 is the legacy model and, at least at this point, has no real collector value, a new P-08 would have to be priced substantially under the Rev 2.  If you were able to get the shop to give you the new P-08 for like $1100-1200 with a full DSI warranty, it would probably be worth your while.

The added features of the Rev 2, at your level, would be inconsequential.   They're nice, but it's kinda like buying a new car versus a three year old model.  Some nice new features and technology, but are they really necessary?
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Sleep of Reason

Re: New To Synthesis Would Love Some Advice
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2019, 10:29:50 PM »
It's not just effects and more mod options, it's also waveshaping on all shapes, better keybed, polyphonic step sequencer, OLED display, sub oscillator, more memory, integrated power supply, USB, and no cheap looking overlay. All of which I'd personally say is worth more in difference than three or even four hundred if it's something he's planning on keeping.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 11:01:21 PM by Sleep of Reason »