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New interview with Dave

New interview with Dave
« on: August 11, 2016, 08:01:12 PM »
In this month's Keyboard Magazine: http://www.keyboardmag.com/gear/1183/interview-dave-smith/59212

2nd part to follow in September.

Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2016, 09:24:35 PM »
Paul, I know your favorite quote from the interview is,

"It’s like it’s 1979!"
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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2016, 08:03:08 AM »
Paul, I know your favorite quote from the interview is,

"It’s like it’s 1979!"

Haha! Actually, I like the year 1979 in terms of pop-historic cesuras.

No, I like the quote, "We should’ve stayed with pro instruments and probably would’ve done fine," as it may help to predict where the future of DSI lies.


Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2016, 10:28:20 AM »
It was nice to see him mention MPE. Hopefully it will make its way onto their instruments one day.

dslsynth

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2016, 03:38:58 PM »
I love how Dave almost looks like John Cleese on this photo!



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chysn

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2016, 06:45:30 AM »
It's mostly ground that he's covered exhaustively in other interviews, but I'm looking forward to the next part.

With every sentence on the topic, it's apparent that Mr. Smith doesn't get modular. I'm not sure how that bodes for DSM, unless there's somebody else there with a passion for it.
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Shaw

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2016, 06:50:56 AM »
It's mostly ground that he's covered exhaustively in other interviews, but I'm looking forward to the next part.

With every sentence on the topic, it's apparent that Mr. Smith doesn't get modular. I'm not sure how that bodes for DSM, unless there's somebody else there with a passion for it.
I read it quickly, but my take was that he thinks "modular is cool as hell, but a hassle since you don't have presets".  That's kinda how I feel about modular anyway... Maybe I'm projecting.
Anyway, what are we not getting?
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chysn

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2016, 07:56:29 AM »
It's mostly ground that he's covered exhaustively in other interviews, but I'm looking forward to the next part.

With every sentence on the topic, it's apparent that Mr. Smith doesn't get modular. I'm not sure how that bodes for DSM, unless there's somebody else there with a passion for it.
I read it quickly, but my take was that he thinks "modular is cool as hell, but a hassle since you don't have presets".  That's kinda how I feel about modular anyway... Maybe I'm projecting.
Anyway, what are we not getting?

If you take the adjectives out of his response, it's pretty dismissive. But, because you asked, I'll go through it:

"I refuse to predict"

Imagine asking Dietrich Doepfer, Tony Rolando (Make Noise), or Olivier Gillet* (Mutable Instruments) "Where do you see this Eurorack craze going?" They're going to have lots of ideas and opinions because it's their passion. They're not going to say "I refuse to predict." Mr. Smith refuses to predict because it's not his thing, and he can't predict. Everything else is a backhanded jab: It looks cool, but wouldn't it be nice if people made real music with it?

"I’d like to see more real music made with them, but that’s difficult because any sound you get, you have to use it right then because you won’t get it again!"

It's easy to find the music around without much trouble (YouTube!), and the lack of patch storage isn't a barrier as you spend hours learning the instrument that you've lovingly pieced together.

"I’d put a Prophet 12 or Pro 2 up against most modular systems. Obviously it doesn’t give you the advantage of adding some awesome wacko little module somebody built in their basement."

I don't even know what it means to "put the Prophet 12 or Pro 2 up against most modular systems." In what sense? The comparison isn't apt in any way, except to see modular as a threat to market share, where one's money is spent.

My system has no wacko modules built in basements, and that's hardly the point of modular. The most interesting sounds come about through use of the most boring modules (mixers, VCAs, attenuators). A complete synth (as well as a complete catalog of products) is going to have lots of these.

"Having all those wires gives you that synth cred!"

In my half-year of modular immersion, I've found members of the eurorack community (esp. at MuffWiggler) to be non-judgmental, eager to help, enthusiastic, generous with their time, and without cynicism. They (dare I say "we" yet?) appreciate impressive systems, but nobody looks down on those of us with smaller systems. The cred definitely comes from within here. It's the best kind of fandom.

"But just philosophically, I prefer to build complete instruments."

And obviously, a modular synth is a complete instrument**, and nothing's stopping DSI from building a complete eurorack instrument.  The eurorack community would respond just as enthusiastically to a compact and well-featured mixer as to something crazy and unique, perhaps even more so.

_________________
* See, for example, https://www.keithmcmillen.com/blog/interview-with-olivier-gillet-mutable-instruments/, for thoughts from someone with a real understanding.

** When complete, mine will have three or four oscillators, six filters, six VCAs, two sequencers, five LFOs, five envelope generators, a ring modulator, two sample-and-hold circuits, two mixers, etc., in a case about the size of a Prophet 6 module.
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Shaw

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2016, 08:55:50 AM »

A well though out response indeed....   :)

"I refuse to predict"
That part doesn't really bother me... I mean he's a all-in-one synth guy who doesn't want to predict what a different sector of the market is going to do.  I think a more honest answer from Dave would have been "I don't care".  Sure he has a couple of modules on the market, but he has so little R&D in the modules themselves that if Eurorack disappeared tomorrow, what has he lost? 
I also don't expect Doepfer / Rolando / Gillet to predict what Korg, Nord and Yamaha are doing next year.  They probably don't really care.

"I’d like to see more real music made with them, but that’s difficult because any sound you get, you have to use it right then because you won’t get it again!"

Yeah, that comment is a bit out of sorts... I can make real music with a stick and a rock.  And the last time I checked my guitar doesn't have presets either.   ???

"I’d put a Prophet 12 or Pro 2 up against most modular systems. Obviously it doesn’t give you the advantage of adding some awesome wacko little module somebody built in their basement."
I think the comparison he's making (at least I believe I've heard him say this before, and if not, I've thought a lot about this before) is that if you were to make a Eurorack version of the Prophet 6 -- 6 voice polyphony, same number of VCOs, LFOs, the whole shebang... you'd spend a hell of a lot more money.  Granted, on the flip side, your instrument would also be a hell of a lot more flexible.   But without the ability to recall settings (which used to be called "patches")


It seems like DSIs goal is approaching an all-in-one synth that gives you the modulation / routing flexibility of a modular setup.  And that is what I think he means by his comment. 

"Having all those wires gives you that synth cred!"
meh... harmless comment.  Probably was joking.   :)

"But just philosophically, I prefer to build complete instruments."
I think he meant "instead of individual modules".  By definition, is a modular instrument ever complete?  I mean, you can always add something else... Hell, that's the BEAUTY of a modular setup!   8)


He's just an old synth guy.  Let him make synths; he's pretty good at it.
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rock´n roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

chysn

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2016, 09:39:20 AM »
"I refuse to predict"
That part doesn't really bother me... I mean he's a all-in-one synth guy who doesn't want to predict what a different sector of the market is going to do.
...
He's just an old synth guy.  Let him make synths; he's pretty good at it.

No question he's good at it, and I'm not going to begrudge a guy his opinion. My beef here is that he's in the eurorack market, and doesn't seem to have even thought about it. That's bad news for (1) people rooting for DSM and (2) people hoping for DSI synths that might support modulars*. I fall into both categories.

Quote
It seems like DSIs goal is approaching an all-in-one synth that gives you the modulation / routing flexibility of a modular setup.  And that is what I think he means by his comment.

Yeah, I think you might be right about what he means. I don't plan on getting into a "modular is better" war here, because it's not that simple. But it only takes a few hours with a modular synth to realize that the source-destination-amount model isn't all that close to modular at all.

_________________
* I'm sure at some point on some forum, I've done my whole thing about why the Little Phatty is so much better as a modular hub than a Pro 2. If I haven't, I will some day.
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Shaw

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2016, 09:49:38 AM »
My beef here is that he's in the eurorack market, and doesn't seem to have even thought about it. That's bad news for (1) people rooting for DSM and (2) people hoping for DSI synths that might support modulars*. I fall into both categories.
I'm not sure Dave considers himself to be in the euro rack market.  I think he considers himself to be an "all in one" synth designer who just happens to have a couple of modules that he produced because a) the design work was mostly already done so it was easy, and b) people kept bugging him about it.


But I wouldn't get my hopes up about DSM. As you've pointed out, from his own mouth, he prefers to create "complete instruments" (and since we know what he considers to be a complete instrument…)


Fortunately, there already happens to be dozens of excellent modular manufacturers out there; you've already named three of the better ones.
 
Cheers!
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rock´n roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2016, 11:34:13 AM »
Dave is definitely a hard-wired keyboard-and-controls kind of guy.  The complete synthesizer unit is his thing, so that the modular synthesizer is more of a curiosity to him.  If he says he doesn't want to make predictions about the modular market, I'd say it's because he doesn't give it much thought, nor is he that interested in it.  He's content to be working in another synthesizer world.
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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2016, 11:35:54 AM »
Maybe the next DSI synth is going to be a wacko synth…  ;D

Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2016, 11:37:57 AM »
The DSI Wacko?  Please, this will be the new instrument series.  ::)  I don't think I could buy a Poly or Mono Wacko.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 11:40:23 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Shaw

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2016, 12:35:44 PM »
The DSI Wacko?  Please, this will be the new instrument series.  ::)  I don't think I could buy a Poly or Mono Wacko.
I dated a Poly Wacko once... She gave me Mono Wacko.


Ba-Dum Dat!     ;D
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rock´n roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

dslsynth

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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2016, 03:39:01 PM »
"I’d put a Prophet 12 or Pro 2 up against most modular systems. Obviously it doesn’t give you the advantage of adding some awesome wacko little module somebody built in their basement."

When doing mapping between two different languages its useful to study each direction separately.

Mapping a Pro 2 into an eurorack setup is going to be a large and expensive exercise. And a Prophet 12 will be even more of a massive wall experience given there are twelve voices. Dave does have a point here. So far so good!

Mapping eurorack onto even the Pro 2 makes you run out of expressive power very very very very fast. People do a lot of interesting stuff in eurorack that simply cannot be realized on any of the current DSI voice architectures. Most notably are CV operations and having audio/control signals being interchangeable. Fixing that limitation for even a smaller subset of eurorack would certainly give interesting new voice architectures.

If you ask me what matters on the DSM series its whenever DSI will be able to map any of their current control knowhow into useful modules. Surely the DSM-01 made a lot of sense because only DSI got the Curtis chip these days. DSM-02 was fairly easy for them to make given its essentially the same code as on Pro 2 and Prophet 12. However if they really want to make a point in eurorack a preset manager module would be the way to go.

PS: Completely unrelated types of management consulting technologies! ;)
https://youtu.be/lefP0_ZM-Lw
« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 03:42:42 PM by dslsynth »
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Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2016, 03:54:31 PM »
I dunno, the most interesting things I've seen in modular have been the re-configurable open-source ARM-driven (e.g., Hoxton Owl) digital boxen (or, alternately, things like the Roland AIRA modular stuff, such as the Demora, which use their own custom FPGA / ASIC / whatever) - reason being that most of the core concepts of analogue modular synthesis have been around at least as long as I've been alive (or longer), and that (by comparison) these boxes provide the most versatile control-generation and processing options available, outside of many of the cool analogue waveshaper modules I've seen.

The biggest complaint I have about the current modular scene is that there's not a lot of focus in many of the product offerings (even the Moog Mother-32 falls into this category, IMHO), and (as a consequence) not a lot of retailer support. Those products that do seem focused are, interestingly enough, multi-module or fully-integrated offerings (e.g., Make Noise Shared System) that exist as a complete modular workspace, which (again) end up as curated end-to-end voices that are only marginally different (once you subtract the jacks) from their keyboard synthesizer offerings on the inside.

I'm seriously looking at the Pro-2 + SEM + Eurorack combo as a possible option, using the Pro-2 for its patch memory and CV i/o. I also see the Two-Voice Pro as another option, though more expensive (and with a sequencer that I can't entirely get my head around, unlike that of the Pro-2). So I think that DSI is on the right track, but in a niche that elevates no specific players above the relativistic swamp of DC-coupled voltage processing....
« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 04:02:19 PM by DavidDever »
Sequential / DSI stuff: Prophet-6 Keyboard with Yorick Tech LFE, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, Split-Eight, Six-Trak, Prophet 2000

Re: New interview with Dave
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2021, 04:45:15 PM »
An Interview from 2020.

"And of course, now everyone wants a Poly Evolver, because it's one of the most unique instruments in the world (20:15)."

And soooo?  ;) And therefoooore?  ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XFxL1RTRc0
« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 05:41:20 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
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The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com