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P12 "Replacement" Discussion

timboréale

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P12 "Replacement" Discussion
« on: February 25, 2021, 06:52:16 AM »
So, now that the P12 module is also discontinued, I'm seeing a lot of chatter on the interwebs about some supposed "replacement" for it that's supposedly imminent. I've got a few questions around this, since I don't really social media and am not hugely in the loop, maybe someone else with a better finger on the pulse of the world can inform my rock-hidden self:

1. Is there any basis in actual fact (e.g. direct comment made by a Sequential employee, leaked information, etc.) that Sequential is even thinking in this direction? What is the underlying data behind all this talk about a replacement? Or did people just get such a bad taste of the P12 from the media but secretly love it that they just want some media-glorified equivalent that they can brag about owning?

2. Granted the P12 is state of the art early 2010s music tech which feels a little bit "dated" compared to today's hyper-accurate digital processor implementations (e.g. aliasing couldn't be avoided through brute force and had to be carefully accepted and finessed around)... but other than the natural limitations imposed by this, is there anything a 'replacement' could actually improve on in ways that would be more than just an extension of what the P12 already does?  I mean, the P12 is an improvement in some senses from the Evolver's oscillator structure, yet the Evolver hasn't by any means ceded the throne. I guess the question is, what could Sequential even release that would be a satisfying "replacement" rather than just another great and different synth? Discuss at will...
Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

Re: P12 "Replacement" Discussion
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 03:58:31 PM »
The Pro 3 is an example of being a successor to the Pro 2 but it's also a completely new approach so that it's not overlapping with it's predecessor and it's offering something new.

What I would want to see is a Prophet X style build but with two analog VCO in one section and two Wavetable oscillators in another (which include a small OLED screen (like the PX/XL) that shows the names of the wavetables etc. The Wavetable oscillators would include user wavetables, Prophet VS waveforms, Prophet 12 wavetables and also have the ability to do linear FM and wave sequencing as well (like the Poly Evolver). The synth would be bi timbral and the features that are now standard on Sequential's innovative gear such as poly sequencers, arps and dual digital effects (also preferably with a small OLED screen) and either two touch sliders or a larger touch pad which would allow for sweeping and vectoring the oscillators.


timboréale

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Re: P12 "Replacement" Discussion
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2021, 04:36:08 PM »
The Pro 3 is an example of being a successor to the Pro 2 but it's also a completely new approach so that it's not overlapping with it's predecessor and it's offering something new.

What I would want to see is a Prophet X style build but with two analog VCO in one section and two Wavetable oscillators in another (which include a small OLED screen (like the PX/XL) that shows the names of the wavetables etc. The Wavetable oscillators would include user wavetables, Prophet VS waveforms, Prophet 12 wavetables and also have the ability to do linear FM and wave sequencing as well (like the Poly Evolver). The synth would be bi timbral and the features that are now standard on Sequential's innovative gear such as poly sequencers, arps and dual digital effects (also preferably with a small OLED screen) and either two touch sliders or a larger touch pad which would allow for sweeping and vectoring the oscillators.

Wow, great response - this just shows how one person's successor is another person's "utterly different idea". I can definitely see the appeal of this synth - but to me, it has *nothing* whatsoever in common with what makes the P12 great, and I don't mean that as a criticism at all. I mean to say that what I was expecting was nothing like this, and that's a neat place to be in.

For me, the huge value of the P12 is that all four oscillators are equally powerful, so that they sound coherent in the same voice. Having a mix of two analogue and two digital oscs is to me very much more of a poly evolver successor, which I see the P12 as having relatively nothing to do with. But I can see for you that the P12 was an attempt to build on the Evolver architecture.

My view of DSI hierarchy is something like this (forgive - and feel free to correct - any details I have wrong):

Evolvers -> a blend of the team's expertise in digital and analogue engineering from the VS and the analogue prophets put together, with a huge dose of new crazy to be really different and have a lot of fun. Definitely a chaser after their corporate experiences. The stereo philosophy and emphasis on controllable nonlinearities and asymmetric (analogue x digital) pairings stand out as the key points.

P '08 -> Mopho/x4/keys / Tetra -> All based off the analogue Prophet series, mostly to get back into the game and try to freshen up for the analogue revival.

Rev2 / OB6 / Prophet 6 -> A step forward for each of the previous voice architectures, taking a mostly common core and building it out in different ways with slightly tweaked feature sets. Discrete filters on some, integrated on others, etc., but the general idea is fairly common.

P12 -> Ok, this one goes all the way back to the Prophet 2000, all-digital oscillators but with analogue filters, however instead of going with a sample-based architecture, they put most of the effort into the modulation from FM/AM all the way to the greatly expanded mod matrix. Some of the Evolver tricks and some generally new tricks were tossed in to season it up a bit and then they turned it all up past 11 to 12 and left it there. But the core is a blend of classic hybrid architecture and the traditional Prophet massive sonic powerhouse view - the Evolver-influenced crazy is there, but it's not the prima donna, it's singing a duet with the traditional prophet history, and it's got the second place part.

Pro 2 -> Finally, a new monosynth (I don't count the Mopho as new, since it was so unchanged from the Prophet '08's voice), and based on the P12's core architecture but adding the lessons learned from the OB-6 and Prophet 6 to the mix. Again, the emphasis is on livening up the traditional, powerful Prophet voice with some of the powerful lessons learned in the meantime.

Pro 3 -> The obvious missing thing in the lineup, we've *finally* gone to something that's based off the Evolvers, at least in theory... the hybrid asymmetric oscillator section is back, but it's lost the stereo aspect and has made some strong concessions to "the market" with even more emphasis on onboard effects and a more powerful sequencer. So whether we view this one as Evolver-based or not is really a matter of opinion because it's the closest thing since the Evolvers on one of the core differentiators - the hybrid oscillators - but it's not gone very far with the filters, and it's missing a digital oscillator to boot.

It's interesting to note that they never made a *very poly* Evolver - 4 voices in the same box was the most you got. But they were enough because of how immense you could make those voices, and it was never meant to be a "do it all" synth, it was meant to be a "do what the other synths can't even imagine" instrument. I am of two minds as to whether a "more poly" Evolver-followup would even make sense - unless it was more than 2-part multitimbral, which I could then see. But there's no precedent for that in Sequential's history either and I don't see that fitting the brand. They could do it, I'm not saying it's not possible, but it would definitely be a sharp turn for them.

So, what do I take away from this? Well, the P12 to me fits clearly in the Prophet line (and deserves the name) because of it's emphasis on consistent, monophonic voice architecture and symmetric oscillator structure. To me, those are the defining characteristics of the Prophet line. The Evolver contrasts that with hybrid asymmetric oscillators and a stereo-at-heart voice all the way through. Everything else is really just gravy, those are the key differences to me.

That's why I'm surprised to see you list what I consider to be a defining hallmark of the Evolver line in your theory on what a replacement for the P12 would be - to me, if they came out with the synth you dream of, I may well consider it, but I would never think of it as an either/or with the P12, or even remotely consider replacing it with the other.

But if you think of it in terms of "Sequential usually have one powerhouse oddball poly in their arsenal at any given time and now they don't" sort of "replacement", it makes a lot of sense - your idea of that role would be a VS x Evolver mashup, basically.

On the flip side, I'm kind of of the feeling that the only real replacement for a P12 is P12 rev2 with an onboard sequencer, even better DSP algorithms, user wavetables, and SSI filter chips with vintage option - basically heading MORE in the direction of a Prophet but adding some enhanced features yet again in modernization. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to anything else, but I am having a hard time imagining that it would be in the spirit of the P12 rather than a tangent from it.

On the flip, flip side, I'd be *delighted* with such a tangent, since the P12 would remain, beauty marks and all, a standout accomplishment with its own unique voice, rejected by the masses but adored by the knowing few, and in its own way unequalled by anything else.
Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

Re: P12 "Replacement" Discussion
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 12:12:14 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for Sequential to do a four digital oscillator/analog filter based synth or Wavetable only synth with analog filters or Linear FM synth based synth with analog filters but the Pro 3 to me seems to be a sign of things to come. A lot of people have been asking for a new Evolver and I think the Pro 3 was made to test those waters. Then again, Dave could just be doing reissues from here on out for the next while.

Re: P12 "Replacement" Discussion
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2021, 05:08:23 AM »

P12 -> Ok, this one goes all the way back to the Prophet 2000, all-digital oscillators but with analogue filters, however instead of going with a sample-based architecture, they put most of the effort into the modulation from FM/AM all the way to the greatly expanded mod matrix. Some of the Evolver tricks and some generally new tricks were tossed in to season it up a bit and then they turned it all up past 11 to 12 and left it there. But the core is a blend of classic hybrid architecture and the traditional Prophet massive sonic powerhouse view - the Evolver-influenced crazy is there, but it's not the prima donna, it's singing a duet with the traditional prophet history, and it's got the second place part.


It goes well before the prophet 2000, it goes to prophet VS.
The VS was the first digital/analog hybrid from Sequential. 

Also, people think of the VS as the vector synth, and yes it is, but the essence is that it is to bring motion to the sound, which is a theme that runs through DSI evolver series, and p12 as well.
The Vector Synthesis was inspired from Sequential guys being inspired from PPG Wavetables. They put four VCO from Oberheim Two Voice, to the four points of a square, to go further from just a linear wavetable to two-dimensional vector synthesis. Then they tilted the square 45 degrees to make it a diamond like the VS.
Anyway, the p12's customizable wavetable synthesis multiple by four DSP oscillators has the lineage of evolving sound through time from the p-VS.



Pro 2 -> Finally, a new monosynth (I don't count the Mopho as new, since it was so unchanged from the Prophet '08's voice), and based on the P12's core architecture but adding the lessons learned from the OB-6 and Prophet 6 to the mix. Again, the emphasis is on livening up the traditional, powerful Prophet voice with some of the powerful lessons learned in the meantime.


Well, it's the other way round. The PRO2 rolled out before the p6/OB-6. The two types of VCF that are first implemented on PRO2 enabled DSI/Sequential to create p6/OB-6 synths as the next models after the PRO2 was launched.


I do would love to see the successor for the p12 though. The p-X is largely sample based, and is pretty much different from p12.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2021, 05:11:17 AM by NemoSynth »
DSI: prophet12, PRO2, evolver keyboard, ensoniq: VFX-SD, Roland: V-Synth, TB-3, Kurzweil: PC361, Arturia: microFreak, KORG 800DV, monotron-series, kaossilator 2, volca nubass, volca modular, SQ-1, MakeNoise 0-Coast, 0-CTRL, lots of iOS/Mac soft-instruments
Roland A-50, KMI QuNexus
Logic Pro X

timboréale

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Re: P12 "Replacement" Discussion
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2021, 08:01:01 AM »
Great points. I appreciate the details. Didn't realize the Pro 2 preceded the others.
Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

Re: P12 "Replacement" Discussion
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2021, 06:16:47 AM »
An updated Prophet 12 would be fantastic, maybe with touch sliders?  but also with the waves of the Prophet VS as I used to have one and loved it.  The ability to load Prophet VS sounds directly would be a plus and especially the Prophet VS arpeggiator.