The Official Sequential/DSI Forum

What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?

What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« on: April 16, 2016, 02:46:19 AM »
I've owned a Nord Lead 2x for around 8 years and this has been my main synth. I've loved it and have no direct experience with any other synth (apart from a brief diversion to the waldorf blofeld - helped me realise that I love a 'knob per function' approach).

The 2x has treated me well and taught me quite a lot, even with its restrictions I found it actually helped me learn a lot.

In the DSI world I've been switching back and forth with all the polysynths currently available. Think that it leads me to the P6 / P8 / OB6 - I like the very different purposes and modulations, limitations and expansiveness within all 3 of these. The P8 though, I am not sure why but that seems to be 'the one'. The shame is I will not be able to try out any of these synths in person before I take the plunge.

Point is - I don't think you can really go wrong, there is no right decision and any of the above would be a beautiful addition.

What was your first DSI, how did it feel in comparison to what you had before? Just intrigued on peoples experiences :)

https://youtu.be/RTWi2c__0LU
Searching for the perfect sound... not found it yet :)

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 06:05:38 AM »
I flirted with a Sequential Prophet-600 when they were first introduced, and had a fondness for a Sequential Pro-One while they were cheap enough - but my first Dave Smith-designed, DSI-branded piece was the Evolver desktop (which, incidentally, also uses a page-based edit system, as do some of the Waldorf devices that I still own).

When the Mopho / Tetra devices were "discontinued" (though still available through many retailers), I decided to bite the bullet with a poly-chained, five-voice Mopho SE keyboard (monosynth with knobs) + Tetra desktop (multitimbral four-voice) combo. And I'm not done yet - also looking at a Pro-2 and/or OB-6 or Prophet-6.

As far as I see it, there are only two options if you want a maintainable, reasonably reliable analogue poly synth:

  • re-imagined versions of classic designs, e.g., Prophet-6, Prophet '08, OB-6
  • re-brained (with new microprocessor) classic (and largely inexpensive) designs, e.g., Gligli P600fw for Prophet-600, or the KiwiTechnics-based KIWI-106, KIWI-3P or Kiwisix. These units largely lack the fancy, proprietary displays that later, more expensive units utilized.

The remaining options are ridiculously expensive to acquire, maintain or repair (my background is in service, repair and circuit design) for the average user, with exceptionally poor MIDI implementation. The Korg Minilogue is an exception, though its Achilles' heel is its mini keys.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 06:13:54 AM by DavidDever »
Sequential / DSI stuff: Prophet-6 Keyboard, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, Split-Eight, Prophet 2000

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 10:01:02 AM »
What was your first DSI, how did it feel in comparison to what you had before?

My first DSI instrument was the Prophet '08. After years of working with plugins exclusively (I started off with a Korg Wavestation in the early 90s though) and thinking that it wouldn't be necessary to ever return to hardware again, I got back into hardware around the time the MiniBrute was released. I collected a couple of smaller devices first, since I originally planned on maintaining a very small portable setup only with stuff like the Monotribe, Monotron, and a delay pedal. So it was all just mono synth oriented for a while. While I was investigating what the Analogue Solutions' Leipzig was all about and where one could be purchased, I stumbled across a really nice offer for the Prophet '08. In the end, I couldn't say no and that's how - almost accidently - my journey with DSI began.

While the return to hardware was generally satisfying for me in terms of not having to change parameters with a mouse anymore, the Prophet '08 came with a couple of advances beyond the sheer joy of tweaking front panel controls, one of which being patch memory and the other one being a really deep and complex modulation matrix. At that point I got somehow spoiled by the way DSI set up their engines. I can't really say that the Prophet '08 was necessarily "better" than all of my previous instruments, but what I really like about DSI instruments in general is the way how complex engines and a clear layout are being combined so that it takes almost no time to get into shaping sounds.

From the Prophet '08 on, I went through the Evolvers, the Pro2, up unto the Prophet-6. Throughout this process I couldn't keep them all unfortunately for purely monetary reasons, which also led me to sacrifice my Prophet '08 in favor of the Prophet-6. But that choice doesn't really indicate a judgement about the Prophet '08. They're all fine instruments with a unique character and diverse sonic possibilities. None of them can really replace the other. For now I'm at ease with both extremes of the synth spectrum which I find in the Pro 2 and the Prophet-6, with one being an insane sound design, sequencer, and CV monster (Pro 2), and the other one being a relaxing instant gratification machine that still maintains unexpected sonic variety despite its rather conservative engine by today's standards (Prophet-6).

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 05:47:12 PM »
It seems to be the general theme with DSI that people appreciate the combination of depth but quick access to explore. I remember first getting hold of my NL2X and had no real idea what to do with it, I went through presets a lot and found myself not enjoying the sounds at all.

One day I discovered the 'manual mode' which seems a lot like the P6 / OB6 preset button - and started to learn what each function did over time. I bet it was quite exciting to see a band live before presets existed and them essentially improvise their patches throughout a set list!

As a result of using the NL2X I'm not sure about mono synths and how I would feel with one. The Pro 2 looks incredibly interesting, especially given the depth of soundscapes but the mono(para) approach leaves me wondering if I would get the most out of it. Virtual Analogue spoils you with polyphony really, when I first realised the majority of analogue polysynths have generally less than double digits of poly I was thinking 'why????'. Now I understand...

The P8 Bitimbral definitely appeals as I'm used to multi - but the NL has the habit of very bad note stealing, whereas the performances I have heard don't appear to be as invasive when the voices appear...

Anyway I'm waffling - appreciate the responses, its fascinating the little journeys that lead us to where we are :)

Cheers!
Searching for the perfect sound... not found it yet :)

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 05:58:23 PM »
I bet it was quite exciting to see a band live before presets existed and them essentially improvise their patches throughout a set list!

I was playing in bands way back then, so I can tell you it wasn't so glorious.  You absolutely had to have a front man - a singer or guitarist - who could talk to the audience for a few moments in between songs, and it was then that the keyboardist would be racing to re-program and often re-tune his synthesizers.  Head phones were absolutely vital, and a Minimoog's A 440 tone was much appreciated as well.  It was tough.
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2016, 06:23:36 PM »
"Anyone mind if I bring my modular on tour?"
"How about...no"
Searching for the perfect sound... not found it yet :)

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2016, 06:30:10 PM »
"Anyone mind if I bring my modular on tour?"
"How about...no"

It provides a good place for hiding though.

chysn

  • ***
  • 1133
Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2016, 04:34:34 AM »
What was your first DSI, how did it feel in comparison to what you had before? Just intrigued on peoples experiences :)

My first DSI instrument was a Mopho Keyboard. Like others here, it caught my attention because of the great modulation capabilities. At the time of my purchase, the short keyboard wasn't an issue because I had a Yamaha SY85 that I used as a master keyboard, but after I sold the Yamaha, the Mopho's keyboard was too small for me. The difference between 37 keys and 32 keys is only five keys, but it's really the difference (for me) between usable and pointless. If the Mopho Keyboard had had 37 keys (or if the SE had been available at the time), I'd probably still have it today. I loved everything else about it, including the crazy logo font and the goldenrod hue. It was a synth that just exuded the joy of life from every pore.

The time of the Mopho is now gone, and I find myself missing it, especially on the sequenced rhythm front. The Evolver's analog section is almost, but not quite, there. Some day, as prices plunge, it may be fun to pick up an old yellow brick, for old time's sake.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 04:44:32 AM »
Back at the end of the 70ís I was gigging with a Moog Prodigy, Hammond 102200 Synth, LE Logan String Melody ii Rhodes Stage 73 and Clavinet D6. That first Moog really kindled my love of that whole analog sound and panel setup. But like it's been said, you really had to plan your set and think in advance of each song change to get your patches set. In fact I think it made me quite conservative with my synth expectations on stage. I'd generally be looking for a lead guitar slayer and a brass stop gap! One thing that was great about the Hammond synth was its ability to hold a note in tune forever! You could setup a drone with a filter sweep at the beginning of a song and it'd still be spot on at the end.. It also did a great French horn! Lol.. Largely because you could drive the LFO osc mod with an envelop to simulate that initial 'burble' on each note. I totally rebuilt a Mini Moog in 1982 from a set of original circuit boards and bits I bought for £30. It proved to be a brilliant experience. I did have to buy a stable osc board though! Playing live with the two Moogs also gave the chance to program one while playing the other. It was about that time I got my hands on a p5. Couldn't afford to buy one back then but we hired one for studio and big gigs. Happy days. Getting programmable synths made a big difference in what you could do on stage. My first poly was a Roland Juno 60 which was fab.. But I think, come the DX7 things had started to become detached. It was all numbers and really not very intuitive. Somehow we'd lost that early sound quality and connectivity. But we were all full of Emulators and Fairlight frenzy.. Much as I loved my p2000 it was a royal pain to program. Sampling is cheating anyway lol.. The p6 is a real connection with what was great back then and an eye opener to where it can go tomorrow. I love it!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 05:31:59 AM by Hector Space »
Big synth stuff: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJkR38XLkFear5Sf9QypQvA
| Kurzweil Forte | Casio Privia PX 5s | Nord Electro 3 73 | Studiologic Sledge Black| Roland Juno Di | DSI Prophet 6 | Oberheim DPX 1 | EMU Esi 4000 | 2 x Yamaha Tx7 |

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2016, 11:56:24 PM »
I don't have the music background experience of most in the forum here. I learned piano as a kid in the 80's but my interest eventually died out. I wanted a synth! But the best I could do was pop the lid on our piano and experiment on the strings.

Fast forward, I bought a Roland Jupiter 80 shortly after it was released (~2011). Love it still. Except for the menu diving. A quality build and dream come true for me. But virtual analog as you all know just doesn't have all the analog character. To satisfy my need for analog and surfaced controls I bought a Tempest. Yeah, you might not have expected that. But my intent was to exploit the synth function and make some beats. Honestly it hasn't worked out so good for me. The Tempest is another very well built instrument that you would expect from Dave Smith. But I'm not a drummer. Etc...

I could have bought an analog instrument from a higher volume manufacturer. But I chose the DSI product because Dave Smith has an impressive history. The components are good quality. Build is solid. Sonically they are rich and a significant part of music history. Functions are for the serious player. Dave puts more into the engineering and less into fancy marketing. He also recognizes the demand for pure analog. Musicians and fans want analog back in their lives. Exceeding customer requirements Dave adds innovative features and improvements to produce instruments for a modern musician. I also think we are lucky to have Dave's enthusiasm behind the re-released instruments from the past. The original design intent isn't lost and innovative features are not spared on these either. Dave seems to be leading the charge in the industry. He is true to the history of the synthesizer and modern enough to stay competitive. That is why I bought a DSI. 

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2016, 04:41:44 AM »
I don't have the music background experience of most in the forum here. I learned piano as a kid in the 80's but my interest eventually died out. I wanted a synth! But the best I could do was pop the lid on our piano and experiment on the strings.

Fast forward, I bought a Roland Jupiter 80 shortly after it was released (~2011). Love it still. Except for the menu diving. A quality build and dream come true for me. But virtual analog as you all know just doesn't have all the analog character. To satisfy my need for analog and surfaced controls I bought a Tempest. Yeah, you might not have expected that. But my intent was to exploit the synth function and make some beats. Honestly it hasn't worked out so good for me. The Tempest is another very well built instrument that you would expect from Dave Smith. But I'm not a drummer. Etc...

I could have bought an analog instrument from a higher volume manufacturer. But I chose the DSI product because Dave Smith has an impressive history. The components are good quality. Build is solid. Sonically they are rich and a significant part of music history. Functions are for the serious player. Dave puts more into the engineering and less into fancy marketing. He also recognizes the demand for pure analog. Musicians and fans want analog back in their lives. Exceeding customer requirements Dave adds innovative features and improvements to produce instruments for a modern musician. I also think we are lucky to have Dave's enthusiasm behind the re-released instruments from the past. The original design intent isn't lost and innovative features are not spared on these either. Dave seems to be leading the charge in the industry. He is true to the history of the synthesizer and modern enough to stay competitive. That is why I bought a DSI.

Have you got a midi controller to attach to the Tempest?

Then it could act pretty much like a 6 voice DSI Evolver, no drumming involved.

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2016, 07:13:21 PM »
Hello BobTheDog. I have tried to use my other synths as controllers for the Tempest. The sounds aren't mapping to all the keys. No I don't have a dedicated controller. Unfortunately I'm a bit weak without solid MIDI knowledge.  ::)

Yeah that is what I was hoping for. Awesome voices to be start with. But I must be missing something in the settings or my keyboards are the problem. This topic should get bumped into the Tempest forum so I don't hijack this thread. This might take a couple swings to get sorted out.

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it.  :)


Razmo

  • ***
  • 2168
  • I am shadow...
    • Kaleidoscopic Artworks
Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2016, 02:55:54 PM »
What led me to DSI synths? ... hmm... I read about the Desktop Evolver when it was in it's very early stages of development, and when I was just beginning to worship analogs and hybrids compared to digital synths that I had been using before...

I wanted MIDI control, as I was used to that with my digital synths, so I was looking for something analog with full MIDI specs back then, and honestly... were there any other new modern ones but the Desktop Evolver back then!?

I bought one, and have loved it ever since... that led me to know who Dave Smith really was, and I got the Mopho as soon as it came out as well.

In the beginning I had a hell of a lot of synths, but not any "gems"... was always on the low budget machines and bought used gear mostly... later when I decided to sell most of my gear, and opt for less synths, but bigger gems I sold both Desktop Evolver, Mopho and a Tetra I had gotten later too, and bought P08, P12, PER and Tempest.

As most probably know, I've always had a love/hate relationship with the Tempest, but I learned after buying it NEW twice, that it is like with a woman... one time break up, always break up... "she" is gone now... I miss her, but I know it would not work for us again, I've moved on  ;)

I don't know if I'll ever get another DSI instrument... I chose to only have eight synths, and I'm left with only one slot left... maybe DSI... Maybe Waldorf... maybe something else, I don't know, but it has to be special... not just old technology with a few new bells and horns.
If you need me, follow the shadows...

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2016, 09:59:28 AM »
In 1986 my record company loaned me a Prophet 5, a 16 track and some other gear for 3 years, so I could make demo's,
I fell in love with the Prophet then, but I got married had kids and gave up music, but last year I decided to get back into music,
got a Pro 6 and Tempest...Fantastic machines..I love them

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2016, 08:03:56 PM »
What led me to DSI synths?

I do a little home recording and play guitar, bass, and synth as a hobby. I have a Moog Little Phatty so monophonic leads are covered, but I wanted to add a polyphonic analog synth.

I was looking at the Korg Minilogue and was very close to getting one (still on back order) however I switched to the Mopho X4 because you can add additional voices, no mini keys to deal with, and it seems more fully featured. My Mopho X4 arrived a few hours ago and thus far I am thrilled with it.

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2016, 12:56:06 AM »
I was in the shop demoing the Moog Sub 37. They just happened to have a DSI Pro 2 sitting underneath it. I didn't take any notice (I didn't know what it was at the time) and after about half an hour on the Moog, I tapped the Pro 2 and liked the sound. I asked about it and realised it was along similar lines to what I wanted out of the Sub 37.

Being new to manual synthesis, I found having a display invaluable to understanding the changes I was making with each parameter change. I found the controls placed more intuitively (e.g. hold button on the left instead of right, volume etc). The extra keys were welcome. And lastly, and something I never see mentioned on forums or reviews, the feel of the keys KILLS the Sub 37. They feel more like larger MS-20 mini keys, whereas the Pro 2 keys feel like full sized robust synth keys. They feel heavier, more solid, more travel, just way better for playing (and I do play as a midi keyboard, as well as using as a mono).

To be brutally honest, I did prefer the Moog sound, but I found the Pro 2 to be so close and yet so much more usable for a relative noob. The form factor is cooler on the Moog, but more practical (portable) on the Pro 2.

So long story short - by accident!

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2016, 10:42:58 AM »
And lastly, and something I never see mentioned on forums or reviews, the feel of the keys KILLS the Sub 37. They feel more like larger MS-20 mini keys, whereas the Pro 2 keys feel like full sized robust synth keys. They feel heavier, more solid, more travel, just way better for playing (and I do play as a midi keyboard, as well as using as a mono).

I agree. The Sub 37's keyboard definitely belongs to the cost saving parts.

To be brutally honest, I did prefer the Moog sound, but I found the Pro 2 to be so close and yet so much more usable for a relative noob. The form factor is cooler on the Moog, but more practical (portable) on the Pro 2.

Although the Moog isn't that hard to operate in terms of its front panel design, I'm still amazed by how clearly laid out the far more complex Pro 2 is. You'll definitely enjoy it for years to come.

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2016, 01:21:36 PM »
I was fascinated by the Prophet 8 after having seen Inside Synthesis brilliant review but I was never able to afford one. I was really wanting a polyphonic analog synth with good controls. When I saw that they had released the Mopho X4 I bought it since it was affordable for me then and I really like that synth.
After that the collection has grown to include Tempest, Pro 2, Prophet 6 and now the OB-6.

Re: What lead you to DSI synths, and where did you come from?
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2016, 09:05:03 AM »
Moinmoin,

What lead me to DSI synths (P'08, in my case)...

I played a Rhodes in school band (this was strictly private then) late 70s, went to a larger city to study (electrical engineering) and had a band with a bad bass player. So I switched to bass, which I still play and practice a lot. Kept keyboards (Rhodes, monophonic synth, cheap Organ) for fun and occasional use.
Physics in combination with upper cutoff of human ear dictate, that the lower the pitch, the more overtones fit into human hearing. This forces every bass player who is not def into looking for "the sound" more than fiddling (which remains for the people with lighter strings, SCNR).
Playing bass for some 30+ years, I reached a kind of mental and technical border and took lessons with Peter Sonntag, who to my luck lives in the same city. Taking lessons, talking about music, sound, and our personal experience with music, I mentioned especially analogue, monophonic synthesizers as a very suitable tool to explore everything regarding sound within a kind of "toolbox".

This lead to a spontaneous session during a private party at Peter's home, where You can find everything You may want in order to make music, be it recording or playing in front of ~50 people.
I played nothing but an old Transcendent 2000, 70s monophonic synth with even only one single VCO, but some very handy gizmos.
The decision to go on with Peter and his group found me looking for a tool, that could do everything a "normal" analogue synth can do plus things like saving and recalling patches, being prepared for highly improvisational context from modern jazz to some metal things, ...

The P'08 was the only thing I found suitable regarding specifications. After trying one, "war die Messe gelesen" (German idiom for very definite decision, literally "the holy mass was read/performed")
I am not that much into classical lead sounds and fast keyboard action, but in being that guy, who cares for the melting of different instruments into "band sound" by providing some kind of "overtone-glue". Sorry for these imperfect words, but I cannot write it in words better.

I am still very happy with it, in order to further enhance its sounds I use a Moogerfooger MIDI-MuRF, sometimes a cheap reverb, that's quite it. As both effects are mono, I route them through a mixer taking banks A and B as separate streo inputs (and an organ, and my old Transcendent 2009, and sometimes even a string machine).
I think I will use the P'08 until I stop making music and sounds, which will be as close to the day I'll die I can get with it...
Of course I still play and practice the bass quite a lot, which is why I stop here and get back to it ;)

Martin