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New Prophet VS video

New Prophet VS video
« on: February 07, 2019, 02:14:30 PM »
Soooo nice...

https://youtu.be/H4gSZ7_AWOk


Actually it would be nice if on their next synth Sequential do the P6/OB6 patch buttons as well in addition to their new  OLED screen(s). They look really sharp. Especially when blue ;)
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Sleep of Reason

Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 03:13:59 PM »
Sounds super thin and harsh to my ears. I'd much rather have a P12 and I'm sure its eventual replacement will be even better, especially if it has some new filters and FPGA grade oscillators.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 04:06:11 PM by Sleep of Reason »

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 04:32:39 PM »
Put me in the “soooo nice...” camp.
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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 04:44:28 PM »
Nice showcase of the instrument.  Reminds me I need to sit in front of a good piano-esque patch and actually play.  Put the patch cords down every now and then and perform, if only to get my fingers moving and enjoy that feeling of "wow this music is because of me!"

No idea why people fawn over it so much... Sounds super thin and harsh to my ears. P12 sounds so much better and I'm sure its eventual replacement will surpass that, especially if it has some new filters and FPGA grade oscillators.

It has a very glimmering sound and for the day it sounded incredible.  Still is a great sounding synth.
Listening you can hear how the bottom-end stretching out the waves.  Not sure how the waves were produced (I suspect samples), but it's rather evident that they were manipulated at a low resolution (relative to today) to slow the frequency.  Bandsaw edge to the bass betrays that particularly well.
The joystick wave mixing brought an element to performance that was nothing like anything that bend and mod wheels had.  That really gave the VS a sci-fi element to not only the sound but also the look, remembering that it appeared at during the days of the video arcade.
When I hear the VS I recall sounds from 80's movies and 80's synth rock, not to mention the Korg pure digital synths that came for a few years after it (although once I'd learnt how to program my M1, I despaired over it's thin non-resonant filter and often ran it through my MS20 to give it a little bit of a muffle, lol).  It also has quite a PPG Wave quality to it.  The aliasing displayed is somewhat classic and I think there is a huge nostalgic quality to that.  All that said, I felt myself thinking "I'd put a mono analogue triangle under all that sounding the root note to round-out the sound" while watching the vid ;)

Razmo

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 05:06:31 PM »
The reason for the particular sound you're talking about are simply aliasing (when pitch is shifted upwards) and a kind of sample rate reduction sound (when shifted down)... the waveforms are stored as single cycle waveforms, much like the old Waldorf Microwave synth, and it has that distinct sound to it... when the "sample" (it is basically a single cycle sample) is pitched down, the synth has to repeat certain samples more than once, and when playing higher it needs to remove some... unless the playback works like with the Modal 001, where the rate of the oscillator is increased or decreased to get other pitches... but even when you pitch down that way, you are still "stretching" the waveform, and if those waveforms back then were 8 or 12 bit, you'd get that raw, cold and grainy sound.

I actually like that sound for certain types of instruments, but I'd hate to only have that type of sound... it will mix well with other more beefy synths, and be good for nice synth sounds... I'd want a new modern version though... With a wavetable synth that has analog filters, and a way to bit reduce the samples to 8bit, you'd be right in the ballpark of this type of sound for sure. The joystick would be essential though as it's part of the performance... but there are MIDI controllers out there today that has joysticks... at least thumb joysticks... all the synth would need to have is four oscillators each with it's own waveform, and a modmatrix to route the two joystick parameters to the volumes of the four oscillators in the right combination... A Prophet 12 would be able to accomplish this easily I think, and with the right settings in hack and decimate in the P12's character section, you should be able to get that cold and sterile sound.

Now that I think of it, I'd actually rather have had a joystick on the P12, than those two sliders...
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 05:10:03 PM by Razmo »
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Sleep of Reason

Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 05:30:53 PM »
I think there is a huge nostalgic quality to that. 

We've come so far in the digital domain that it's baffling why anyone would shell out four grand for a quite dated hybrid of the past, but hey, it's not my money. Luckily these days there's such a glut of amazing new synths at competitive prices being released at quite a pace. Even vector synthesis is poised to make a comeback perhaps.

Nostalgia allows fashions to come back every two (or three) decades due to the generation that grew up trying to recapture their youth. Seems like the 90s is going to take over soon, which I for one am not looking forward to since it was the dark age of music technology imo. Will folks start dropping exuberant amounts of cash for outdated ROMplers and such?
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 06:17:45 PM by Sleep of Reason »

Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2019, 06:57:53 PM »
That's not an especially effective demonstration of the Prophet VS, and the audio quality is only mediocre, so I wouldn't judge too much by it.

As to the question why anyone would want an old VS when there are so many superior instruments available today, I would revert to the honorable Poly Evolver Keyboard.  Yes, I listen to the demos of the various new wonder synthesizers as they come out.  I'm at least vaguely familiar with all the super synthesizers.  But I would still say - directly quoting Dave Smith himself - that nothing sounds like an Evolver.  Nothing except a Prophet VS, that is.  These two instruments have a character of their own that is identifiable in a flash.  That's all it takes to get hooked on them - their unique voices.  And this is especially appealing and refreshing in a market dense with generic-sounding synthesizers. 
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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 08:32:16 PM »
I think it would be awesome if they incorporated an aliasing parameter which would allow the user to dial in as much aliasing as they want. I actually like the harsh digital tones. Nice and clear and a perfect compliment to the sound of analog synths. It just has a totally different texture to it. Sharp and cutting and perfect for bells, metallic or glassy leads.

Perhaps instead of a joystick a large touch surface with the same material as the touch sliders of Tempest, P12 and PX would be nice. With a latch button of course.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Oberheim SEM-Pro, 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.

megamarkd

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 07:50:42 PM »
Nostalgia allows fashions to come back every two (or three) decades due to the generation that grew up trying to recapture their youth. Seems like the 90s is going to take over soon, which I for one am not looking forward to since it was the dark age of music technology imo. Will folks start dropping exuberant amounts of cash for outdated ROMplers and such?

There's also the young'uns who romanticise different eras.  Growing up in the 80's the kids around me had this idea that the golden-days of music was the 60's.  The friends I have who were born in the 90's (basically the children of my peers), they think the 80's are the same.  They tell me I was so lucky to have lived through that decade because of all the great music from that time.  But the 80's was a terrible decade to be a teenager I tell them, only to be told "No it was the best!".  I obviously don't remember it the same way they do ;)

I can't see a resurgence of the Rompler mainly due to stuff like Garage Band.  You can replicate the homogenised sound a rompler gave everything with those free softsynth instruments.

That's not an especially effective demonstration of the Prophet VS, and the audio quality is only mediocre, so I wouldn't judge too much by it.

Yeah, but overall it gives a good impression of what the synth can do despite the average sound.  It's like a demo from Perfect Circuit.

I think it would be awesome if they incorporated an aliasing parameter which would allow the user to dial in as much aliasing as they want. I actually like the harsh digital tones. Nice and clear and a perfect compliment to the sound of analog synths.

I have to agree, the grittier the better.  The Blofeld has an aliasing parameter but it's so-so.  Considering Sacred Synthesis' mentioning of the Evolver, it's worth noting the slop parameter for it's analogue Osc's.  Kind of ironic how back in 2002 there was a desire to replicate the imperfections of the 70's analogue tech when you think about the desire for crunchy sample quality we have now.

Sleep of Reason

Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2019, 08:39:56 PM »
Having grown up during both decades, I'd have to agree with your younger friends. 80s is that wacky guy on the dance floor grinding his teeth while talking people's ears off. Who may or may not wrap his DeLorean around a flag poll on his way home. 90s is the sullen guy in the corner who won't make eye contact with anyone. Who may or may not jump off the nearest bridge in the dead of night ... but probably not because that'd be trying too hard.

Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 07:28:54 PM »
I think the definition of the 80s is probably the Stallone movie Cobra. It literally has almost everything you can think of when you think of the 1980s. Drugs, synths, cops, big haired models, sunglasses, leather jackets, leather gloves, toothpicks in mouth, slashers, explosions, power ballads and dance songs, car chases, beaches, I think there's even a small scene where Sly walks by an arcade.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Oberheim SEM-Pro, 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.

megamarkd

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2019, 02:16:41 AM »
NOTE: for talk of sound and synths, skip to the second paragraph.

Having grown up during both decades, I'd have to agree with your younger friends. 80s is that wacky guy on the dance floor grinding his teeth while talking people's ears off. Who may or may not wrap his DeLorean around a flag poll on his way home. 90s is the sullen guy in the corner who won't make eye contact with anyone. Who may or may not jump off the nearest bridge in the dead of night ... but probably not because that'd be trying too hard.

Oh for sure that is true, the 80's had a vastly more fun and carefree ethic.  The 90's rock/grunge really encouraged that "life is one long trip through Hades" philosophy, which is why I left that musical avenue for dead in '92 (Nirvana was the last straw and the mainstream embrace of that 'woe is me' ideal, focusing on the negative and not even trying to rise above).  I had forgot that side of it all.  Synth music made me happy so I ignored all else and smiled my way through the decade :)
Looking back on the 80's, it wasn't as bad as I viewed it at the time, but only due to the immense culture of consumption that exists today dwarfing that of the 80's.  Or maybe it was just that I spent my entire teen years in that decade that I didn't really enjoy it the same way as being a 20something in the 90's?

But back to synthesisers, I've heard around the traps a desire for an Evolver software emulation.  That and the talk here of people wanting a VS reissue with some additions to it, plus the renewed interest and subsequent release of hybrids by many companies, could this mean an end to the 'analogue renaissance'?  FPGA's as Osc's is in it's infancy and I'm sure we will see more companies adopting them soon.  Well more accurately, I hope.
The price of the Microfreak really does show that discrete component filters and amps can be used without adding massively to the overall cost.  And I dread to bring up that German company with the super factory in China, but their product prices do bring pause for thought on the future of electronic instruments.  It does mean the devaluing of innovator's work, but they are focusing on retro and show no interest in innovating audio-synthesis for the future of the instrument.

Razmo

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2019, 02:30:20 AM »
Behringer is not just retro... DeepMind12, Crave and Neutron are all their own modern work, though I'd say that the DeepMind12 is still the only one they've done that has any real interesting depth to it while also giving any preset memory.

I'm sure we'll see more in that category from them in the future... it just seems that currently they've gone into a "we deliver what the masses want!" kind of philosophy, trying to put every vintage piece to the market... those synths though, has none of my interest at all... they belong in the past if they do not come with added features and preset memory in my opinion.
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Sleep of Reason

Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2019, 12:20:37 PM »
I'm just not sure anymore that these addition waveforms add enough interesting timbral variety. Furthermore, I'm not sure it would be the best idea to offer multiple different synth engines into one unit either (such as the Microfreak). I had a quick foray into FM synthesis and I found it not worth the hassle in the end. With how cheap memory is these days, why not just use samples of other instruments? PX for example sounds so different from the synths of the past when used to its full potential by combining its two main elements.

So if I were to build the ultimate knobby hardware synth, I'd have multiple layer (with different optional transients as well) high quality samples of the main instruments of the world. I think this could be done with a 150GB HD if no esoteric kind of ambient sample recordings were added. There should be onboard studio quality effects (especially good reverb) to achieve a similar result anyhow. I'd also have no import function as I don't want to waste my time on that as I'd already have all the building blocks I need. All in conjunction with a VCO synth as the more analog/discrete, the more it acts as any other "real" instrument, thus it's its own thing. Preferably it'd have 16 voices and perhaps have four layers available with a 4 zone pad to morph between said layers. It'd need a good UI with the capability to have everything sorted nicely with categories & setting readouts. There would be lights around all the encoders to know exactly where they're set at all times. Then top it all off with deep mod capabilities that allows the samples and analog synth to fully interact. This is what I envision the synth of the future being.

Ofc all this is a mere dream, but with the other companies showing how low cost all the individual components can be these days, it seems possible, although certainly in the Moog One range. The development cost would probably be the biggest factor and making sure it's stable ofc. I wouldn't question the high price tag as it would replace most of my gear.

Razmo

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2019, 01:05:08 PM »
I'm just not sure anymore that these addition waveforms add enough interesting timbral variety. Furthermore, I'm not sure it would be the best idea to offer multiple different synth engines into one unit either (such as the Microfreak). I had a quick foray into FM synthesis and I found it not worth the hassle in the end. With how cheap memory is these days, why not just use samples of other instruments? PX for example sounds so different from the synths of the past when used to its full potential by combining its two main elements.

So if I were to build the ultimate knobby hardware synth, I'd have multiple layer (with different optional transients as well) high quality samples of the main instruments of the world. I think this could be done with a 150GB HD if no esoteric kind of ambient sample recordings were added. There should be onboard studio quality effects (especially good reverb) to achieve a similar result anyhow. I'd also have no import function as I don't want to waste my time on that as I'd already have all the building blocks I need. All in conjunction with a VCO synth as the more analog/discrete, the more it acts as any other "real" instrument, thus it's its own thing. Preferably it'd have 16 voices and perhaps have four layers available with a 4 zone pad to morph between said layers. It'd need a good UI with the capability to have everything sorted nicely with categories & setting readouts. There would be lights around all the encoders to know exactly where they're set at all times. Then top it all off with deep mod capabilities that allows the samples and analog synth to fully interact. This is what I envision the synth of the future being.

Ofc all this is a mere dream, but with the other companies showing how low cost all the individual components can be these days, it seems possible, although certainly in the Moog One range. The development cost would probably be the biggest factor and making sure it's stable ofc. I wouldn't question the high price tag as it would replace most of my gear.

Samples, while a cool and also unique thing to have has it's limitations too... I'd in no way substitute FM with samples, I'd rather compliment the two in synthesis... the problem with samples is that you are rather locked up in modulations happening inside the samples themselves... personally I'd never buy a PX or Quantum to use samples to take the place of other types of realtime synthesis... I'd choose it to get access to what samples does that is unique... recordings of acoustic stuff, and use textures of different stuff as building blocks to something completely new and unique... but if i wanted the sound of FM... then I'd certainly go for a synth that has this synthesis technique like the P12 or PEAK.
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Sleep of Reason

Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2019, 02:22:09 PM »
I would have agreed with you on this up until recently. Plus what do you consider the "sound" of FM? I'm assuming you mean this... When linear FM synthesis was introduced, its main application was to replicate acoustic/electroacoustic instruments more accurately. By today's standards those sounds while cool in a kitschy sense are extremely cheesy. Why go with a FM electric piano over a round robin sample of a Wurlitzer electric piano? Other than trying to be retro, which btw, you can have samples of those sounds without the hassle. Obviously there's other applications of FM, but I don't see the practical benefit, especially considering its lack of intuitiveness over something like the PX. Using samples as modulation sources or samples being modulated by noise types, etc. results imo in much fresher timbres than anything I've heard elsewhere.

P.S. The hyperlinks go to Youtube and are work safe. 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 03:31:18 PM by Sleep of Reason »

Razmo

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2019, 06:56:37 PM »
I would have agreed with you on this up until recently. Plus what do you consider the "sound" of FM? I'm assuming you mean this... When linear FM synthesis was introduced, its main application was to replicate acoustic/electroacoustic instruments more accurately. By today's standards those sounds while cool in a kitschy sense are extremely cheesy. Why go with a FM electric piano over a round robin sample of a Wurlitzer electric piano? Other than trying to be retro, which btw, you can have samples of those sounds without the hassle. Obviously there's other applications of FM, but I don't see the practical benefit, especially considering its lack of intuitiveness over something like the PX. Using samples as modulation sources or samples being modulated by noise types, etc. results imo in much fresher timbres than anything I've heard elsewhere.

P.S. The hyperlinks go to Youtube and are work safe.

It's not really because of the "sound of FM" that I want real FM, because of course samples can have that sound... it is because of the modulation possibilities of FM... you will in no way be able to control all the elements of an FM engine in a sample... this is why the synthesis technique is important to me... you can anyhow use samples for FM synthesis in the PX, but I believe that the linear FM from the P12 was removed on the PX, so it's use is more minded toward special FX and stuff like that.

I could easily live without FM synthesis... sure... samples would be able to go into the same timbral territory, but it would not allow me to modulate in the same manner... I really want both :) .. I learned quite quickly when i worked on my new soundbank for the REV2, that modulation is key to making the sounds evolve and not sound static... and with this i mean realtime modulation via physical controllers... besides... all samplers usually do is sample the real deal synths anyway.

Besides, I'm not into actual replications of real instruments, and no I would not use FM to replicate acoustic timbres except maybe bell sounds... but I'd be using it to create completely modulated timbres of pads etc... I know that Fm is hard to work with, and unpredictable, but that's ok in a situation where you want to create new timbres that do not resemble anything from the real world.

I know that with a PX, samples can be modulated just as much by the deep engine... sure... it's not that those sounds would be static or anything, but they would surely be different... that is why I would like to have both types of synthesis... that is my goal when choosing my synths... that they compliment each other, and that I get as broad a selection of synthesis technologies to work with.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 07:04:53 PM by Razmo »
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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2019, 04:28:46 PM »
The reason for the particular sound you're talking about are simply aliasing (when pitch is shifted upwards) and a kind of sample rate reduction sound (when shifted down)... the waveforms are stored as single cycle waveforms, much like the old Waldorf Microwave synth, and it has that distinct sound to it... when the "sample" (it is basically a single cycle sample) is pitched down, the synth has to repeat certain samples more than once, and when playing higher it needs to remove some... unless the playback works like with the Modal 001, where the rate of the oscillator is increased or decreased to get other pitches... but even when you pitch down that way, you are still "stretching" the waveform, and if those waveforms back then were 8 or 12 bit, you'd get that raw, cold and grainy sound.

Indeed. Chris Meyer, one of the developers of the VS, talked about this with Ken Flux Pierce:

https://youtu.be/_U9RpS_2RSk

The part starts at around 29:40. Here, Chris Meyer also mentions that he found the aliasing actually quite appealing in the lower registers, something he already liked about the PPG which in turn was bought before the developemt of the VS was started. I recommend this interview to any Sequential nut, as it covers parts of Sequential's history.

Here's also an older article on the VS on Chris Meyer's site: https://learningmodular.com/the-story-of-the-prophet-vs/
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 04:31:07 PM by Paul Dither »

Razmo

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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2019, 04:35:56 PM »
Actually that is why i liked the E-MU samplers very much... they somehow never got that grunge like character to them when pitch shifting downwards... they fixed this by their patented pitch shifting interpolation algorithm, because even if samples are normally repeated when pitch shifting down, the audio rate is still fixed at 44.1/48KHz, so the resolution is there... you just need a proper interpolation algorithm, and the one in the E-MU samplers was rather good since it was not linear, but actually looked both before and after the sample to interpolate, and calculated the proper curve... that definitely made the low end on these samplers sound much much better than the average sampler of that time... such an interpolation algorithm could also be done with a vector synth if a modern VS was made... probably a switchable mode of operation so you could decide if you want clean or grungy...
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Re: New Prophet VS video
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2019, 04:40:54 PM »
I have to agree, the grittier the better.  The Blofeld has an aliasing parameter but it's so-so.  Considering Sacred Synthesis' mentioning of the Evolver, it's worth noting the slop parameter for it's analogue Osc's.  Kind of ironic how back in 2002 there was a desire to replicate the imperfections of the 70's analogue tech when you think about the desire for crunchy sample quality we have now.

It's basically like what Brian Eno wrote about desirable artifacts in 1996:

 “Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.”
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 04:46:08 PM by Paul Dither »