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Why are the oscillators freq default on C2 ? (and why this is causing me issues)

Hello dear fellow synth enthusiasts,

I have searched the web to try and answer this question but haven't found any information on the subject.

The prophet rev2 (and others?) defaults on C2 on probably all the patches. This means middle C is a C2 if i'm correct. To make sure im using the right middle C, im referring to the third C starting from the left.

So i noticed that was weird once i started playing with Ableton live and its instruments, Analog for example for those of you on this DAW. I have my prophet with local mode OFF to send midi directly to ableton. I suppose thats the correct way to do it.

The middle C will trigger C3 by default. So it makes A/B comparaison kind of weird because i have to take into account which octave its sending, etc.

I know i can change the octave on either of them but my question is "why C2 by default?"

Ive asked other ppl outside of the hardware synth, DSI realm, and they said middle C should be C3 and not C2.

Maybe im not understanding something or have not configured it correctly so i'd appreciate if any of you had some insights on the subject ?

Thanks in advance,


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Middle C is MIDI note 60 by definition, which makes it the 5th octave C, or C4 if the first C is considered C0, which is traditional. This aligns with the piano which has middle C as the fourth C from the left which is C1 in MIDI terms.

Wikipedia has a good page on this.

The C that the oscillator section sets is for the lowest C on the Rev2 keyboard, "note 0" if you will, which is in fact C2 by the standard definition. You will note that this makes middle C the second C from the left, which correctly sends MIDI note 60 with not octave shift.

The "middle C is C3" thing is common, but it does not align with either the scientific notation, the piano keyboard, or the MIDI numeric assignments. Best not to get too hung up on what number is used, since it is quite arbitrary.

So to answer your question quickly the Rev2 follows the "correct" definition of middle C as C4 and thus the lowest C on the physical keyboard is C2. You are setting this pitch with the oscillator section and all other keys add to it to get their respective pitches.
Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

thanks timboréale, with your information is see it is more a DAW related issue than a prophet issue then.

So apparently, unfortunately ableton can't change from yamaha to roland midi "notation". Well, this isn't an ableton forum so :)

I hope you have a nice day,