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Loads of DSI synths now out of production.

chysn

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #120 on: October 07, 2016, 07:33:07 AM »
In this case, you would end up far beyond the price range of any current DSI product - and only for a relatively small-sized and portable system, not a wall full of modules yet.

Yes. It's not lost on me that I could have bought a Prophet 6 or a Minimoog D for the price of my 144HP eurorack system. But when I think about that, it leads me to the question, "Yeah, but would I trade it all in to actually do that?" and the answer is "No." My euro synth is the instrument that I would most prefer to have, given limited funds.

Any sort of pursuit is going to cost money, whether you golf, or hike, or do photography. I don't need a synth at all, it's purely a discretionary activity. And there's probably $1000 to go, just to do the things that I eventually want to do with my system. So don't get into eurorack hoping to save money.

The comparison with modular does suggest what a good value the Pro 2 is. Sure, it's not down there with the Minilogues and -Brutes, but it's a reasonable price for any good musical instrument.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 07:42:07 AM by chysn »
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: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #121 on: October 07, 2016, 08:28:40 AM »
It's not lost on me that I could have bought a Prophet 6 or a Minimoog D for the price of my 144HP eurorack system. But when I think about that, it leads me to the question, "Yeah, but would I trade it all in to actually do that?" and the answer is "No." My euro synth is the instrument that I would most prefer to have, given limited funds.

Sure, and that's of course the point why people go down that route: to build their individual system based on their individual needs that no self-contained unit can serve in that specific way. One can't really argue about the fact that there's nothing out there that can beat the custom design choices the Eurorack format allows for.

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #122 on: October 07, 2016, 11:20:12 AM »
I think modulars are tinkerers delights though, there is something about the patch leads, the knobs, the anything goes and the I don't need to make anything musical I'm messing around mentality that you would never get with say a Pro 2.

I'm a great Nord G2 (and G1) fan, they are both much more powerful than any hardware modular system and they can sound pretty good and can be used to make "proper" polyphonic synths but they were sales failures, while the Eurorack scene seems to be doing very well. There must be a reason for that.

one of my favourites:

http://www.electro-music.com/forum/download.php?id=2582




Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #123 on: October 07, 2016, 02:10:37 PM »
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.  Adding another P'08 Module or Evolver Desktop is a step-wise method of assembling the ideal instrument.  It just involves larger more expensive steps and far fewer wires.  I would be happy to have a large bank of them, as a modular synthesizer stands like a wall.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 06:58:11 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #124 on: October 07, 2016, 04:26:24 PM »
+1 on the suggestion of a headless (mostly) Matrix-6/1000 styled module, but with the suggestion that it should be expandable by adding (different) voice cards–and polytimbral.

Also - why not the idea of heterogenous voice-card modules, a la the BeagleBone cape EEPROMs? Each card type could identify itself to the system as Prophet, OB, or Mopho cards, while providing a means for the less well-heeled user to add voices gradually, or with a mind to unusual configurations (3 OB, 4 Prophet, 1 Mopho, for example), similar to a modular setup.

The way I see it - shared architecture pays for itself over many product cycles, so why not go wider with the Prophet / OB voice card platform?

I work professionally as a design engineering consultant / software architect, so my perspective might be a little different than others...years ago (middle 90s), long before I worked in an engineering capacity, I had the opportunity to visit Ensoniq in Malvern PA as part of a Guitar Center-sponsored group for sales + product training.

We all sat down in a conference room, at which point they asked us about products we'd like to see. I suggested, at the time, that they focus their efforts on modular, shared-platform products, a la a sampling drum machine, keyboard workstation, and digital effects processing engine, using shared PCB modules–all of which would allow them to build once and reuse many across multiple product types, including the burgeoning PC sound card market.

While it might be daft to suggest that ignoring that approach hastened their downfall (after all, they were building new, dedicated keyboard controller PCBs for EACH synthesizer generation, so who knows WHAT they were thinking!), I really think that smaller companies ought to invest at the front end of a design cycle, then churn out products that utilize the same LEGOs in appropriate combinations. But hey - what do I know?
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 04:35:54 PM by DavidDever »
Sequential / DSI stuff: Prophet-6 Keyboard, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, Split-Eight, Prophet 2000

dslsynth

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #125 on: October 07, 2016, 05:18:54 PM »
But since we're now 13 people, it's expensive for us to make smaller/cheaper products because we don't make up the development costs by selling more units just because they're cheaper for the public to buy.

Thanks for confirming that DSI will never again produce a programmable synthesizer module product in the affordable price range. While it hopefully doesn't rule out interesting future voice architecture designs it does rule out the kind of machines I will be able to afford with current finances. Sad! But so it be.
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #126 on: October 07, 2016, 05:19:05 PM »
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.  Adding another P'08 Module or Evolver Desktop is a step-wise method of assembling the ideal instrument.  It just involves larger more expensive steps and far fewer wires.  I would be happy to a large bank of them, as a modular synthesizer stands like a wall.

Are you running out of voices, or are you planning to program the ultimate stacked patch?  ;D

On a different note: Could we maybe move this thread to the "Off Topic" sub forum, as it doesn't have a lot to do with the Evolver as such?

dslsynth

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #127 on: October 07, 2016, 05:21:46 PM »
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.

There are indeed ways to integrate multiple synthesizers that make small voice count modules even more interesting than they appear at first.

;)
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #128 on: October 07, 2016, 05:33:54 PM »
+1 on the suggestion of a headless (mostly) Matrix-6/1000 styled module, but with the suggestion that it should be expandable by adding (different) voice cards–and polytimbral.

Also - why not the idea of heterogenous voice-card modules, a la the BeagleBone cape EEPROMs? Each card type could identify itself to the system as Prophet, OB, or Mopho cards, while providing a means for the less well-heeled user to add voices gradually, or with a mind to unusual configurations (3 OB, 4 Prophet, 1 Mopho, for example), similar to a modular setup.

The way I see it - shared architecture pays for itself over many product cycles, so why not go wider with the Prophet / OB voice card platform?

I work professionally as a design engineering consultant / software architect, so my perspective might be a little different than others...years ago (middle 90s), long before I worked in an engineering capacity, I had the opportunity to visit Ensoniq in Malvern PA as part of a Guitar Center-sponsored group for sales + product training.

We all sat down in a conference room, at which point they asked us about products we'd like to see. I suggested, at the time, that they focus their efforts on modular, shared-platform products, a la a sampling drum machine, keyboard workstation, and digital effects processing engine, using shared PCB modules–all of which would allow them to build once and reuse many across multiple product types, including the burgeoning PC sound card market.

While it might be daft to suggest that ignoring that approach hastened their downfall (after all, they were building new, dedicated keyboard controller PCBs for EACH synthesizer generation, so who knows WHAT they were thinking!), I really think that smaller companies ought to invest at the front end of a design cycle, then churn out products that utilize the same LEGOs in appropriate combinations. But hey - what do I know?

That would basically be one solution for what dslsynth had in mind. From a manufacturer's POV the only downside would be that you probably had to sacrifice one usual development timeframe for the development of a model or platform that could host and combine all the different PCB modules and/or voice cards, which I don't consider to be uncomplicated. You'd basically have to streamline the interconnectivity of parts that derive from totally different engines. (I'm thinking about elements from the Prophet 12, Pro 2, Prophet-5, and OB-6 for example.)
The only thing that could stand out about this, would be the voice expansion options. All the rest wouldn't differ too much from the Eurorack concept, and I somehow doubt that it could really lead to more affordable solutions.

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #129 on: October 07, 2016, 07:10:12 PM »
I consider self-contained modules in the same way that folks see modular instruments.  Adding another P'08 Module or Evolver Desktop is a step-wise method of assembling the ideal instrument.  It just involves larger more expensive steps and far fewer wires.  I would be happy to a large bank of them, as a modular synthesizer stands like a wall.

Are you running out of voices, or are you planning to program the ultimate stacked patch?  ;D

Eight voices are just right for my needs, so the multiple modules are for layering sounds.  But having multiple modules also allows you to create tones, in imitation of simple additive synthesis.  Some of the Evolver wave shapes can be recreated on a Prophet '08 if you have enough oscillators available.  Honestly, I could do with perhaps four P'08 Modules.  Presently, I combine the two keyboards and the one module, and I find myself constantly thinking, "If only I had more."  It's simple; I think and design as an organist who normally draws on many ranks of pipes.  One module equals one rank of pipes, which means I'm presently working with a very small DSI organ.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 09:25:05 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

chysn

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #130 on: October 08, 2016, 07:57:20 AM »
I'm a great Nord G2 (and G1) fan, they are both much more powerful than any hardware modular system and they can sound pretty good and can be used to make "proper" polyphonic synths but they were sales failures, while the Eurorack scene seems to be doing very well. There must be a reason for that.

It probably had more to do with workflow than capabilities. With a modular synth, you design it, put it together (one module at a time, because it's expensive), and patch it up. But (it seems to me) there aren't too many people who radically reconfigure their modular systems for every patch. Perhaps the mental overhead of Nord sound design was just a bit too much.

Speaking for myself, there was some of that "too much" with the Desktop Evolver (to shift back to the topic a bit). Setting everything up with the matrix just became too chore-like, even though I knew my way around the matrix quite well. I found myself short-circuiting sound design choices out of expediency, and my results got worse and worse until I felt no kinship with the instrument.

DSI has made great leaps in the user experience since the Tetra. The way destinations are assigned using knobs is brilliant, I think, and they seem to have decided that most knobs shouldn't be ridiculously multi-purpose. Mr Smith says he doesn't want DSI to write software (other than embedded software) because his instruments should be playable from the panel; so he's got a responsibility to uphold that philosophy on the instrument side. In this light, discontinuing things like the Desktop Evolver, Mopho Brick, and Tetra was absolutely necessary.
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: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #131 on: October 08, 2016, 12:03:51 PM »
Eight voices are just right for my needs, so the multiple modules are for layering sounds.  But having multiple modules also allows you to create tones, in imitation of simple additive synthesis.  Some of the Evolver wave shapes can be recreated on a Prophet '08 if you have enough oscillators available.

Interesting. So, what exactly are you doing to achieve simple additive synthesis? Do you have any particular examples?

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #132 on: October 08, 2016, 12:31:53 PM »
Speaking for myself, there was some of that "too much" with the Desktop Evolver (to shift back to the topic a bit). Setting everything up with the matrix just became too chore-like, even though I knew my way around the matrix quite well. I found myself short-circuiting sound design choices out of expediency, and my results got worse and worse until I felt no kinship with the instrument.

A synth being "too much" is precisely the perception I had in mind when I was saying earlier that lots of people are probably more drawn towards simpler engines (which happen to populate a huge part of the low cost marekt).

chysn

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #133 on: October 08, 2016, 01:15:16 PM »
A synth being "too much" is precisely the perception I had in mind when I was saying earlier that lots of people are probably more drawn towards simpler engines (which happen to populate a huge part of the low cost marekt).

Yeah.

I've noticed (over the decades) that if I don't have one simple instrument and one complex instrument, I oscillate endlessly between the two in a buying-and-selling cycle. So I had the Desktop Evolver because it was complex. But it wasn't the complexity of the Evolver's engine that put me off; it was the cumulative weight of its interface over time. The interface wasn't adequate for the engine.

I think there's a demand now that an interface should facilitate the engine, a demand which certainly didn't exist when the Desktop Evolver and Tetra were released. If I'm correctly perceiving that demand, then a natural consequence is that the market will bifurcate into (1) cheap, simple engine, adequate interface, and (2) pricey, complex engine, adequate interface.

Obviously, this model is too naive to explain things like the Minimoog Model D, but I think it generally holds true.
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: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #134 on: October 08, 2016, 01:29:23 PM »
I've noticed (over the decades) that if I don't have one simple instrument and one complex instrument, I oscillate endlessly between the two in a buying-and-selling cycle. So I had the Desktop Evolver because it was complex. But it wasn't the complexity of the Evolver's engine that put me off; it was the cumulative weight of its interface over time. The interface wasn't adequate for the engine.

I think there's a demand now that an interface should facilitate the engine, a demand which certainly didn't exist when the Desktop Evolver and Tetra were released. If I'm correctly perceiving that demand, then a natural consequence is that the market will bifurcate into (1) cheap, simple engine, adequate interface, and (2) pricey, complex engine, adequate interface.

Correct. I don't think this model is too naive, as the only realistic solution for proper and seamless control of a more complex instrument lies in a more expensive instrument: More parameters => more controls => larger front panel and/or better display => higher manufacturing costs.

Obviously, this model is too naive to explain things like the Minimoog Model D, but I think it generally holds true.

The Model D is only expensive due to the particular manufacturing process, which is more or less the same as it was 40 years ago. Otherwise it's of course a pretty simple and straightforward synth, with the latter being that what makes it so attractive to many. Because each one of us could immediately operate it right out of the box.

dslsynth

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #135 on: October 08, 2016, 02:45:16 PM »
In this light, discontinuing things like the Desktop Evolver, Mopho Brick, and Tetra was absolutely necessary.

Separating the interface and its contents is generally a good idea. Surely said machines got a very limited front panel UI but there are ways to work around that problem. Making easier source/destination assignments is an interesting problem. ;)
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #136 on: October 08, 2016, 02:51:03 PM »
In this light, discontinuing things like the Desktop Evolver, Mopho Brick, and Tetra was absolutely necessary.

Separating the interface and its contents is generally a good idea. Surely said machines got a very limited front panel UI but there are ways to work around that problem. Making easier source/destination assignments is an interesting problem. ;)

I think that sort of problem is solved quite well on the Prophet 12.

dslsynth

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #137 on: October 08, 2016, 02:54:05 PM »
I think that sort of problem is solved quite well on the Prophet 12.

It is on the keyboard version. Now sure how that works on the module version. Also, I was thinking about software interfaces to compact modules.
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #138 on: October 08, 2016, 03:05:02 PM »
I think that sort of problem is solved quite well on the Prophet 12.

It is on the keyboard version. Now sure how that works on the module version. Also, I was thinking about software interfaces to compact modules.

Sorry, I indeed forgot to add that I meant the module version. I'm confused now what you are referring to with regard to software interfaces. Do you mean virtual interfaces, like for plug-ins?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2016, 03:10:15 PM by Paul Dither »

dslsynth

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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #139 on: October 08, 2016, 03:17:28 PM »
Sorry, I indeed forgot to add that I meant the module version. I'm confused now what you are referring to with regard to software interfaces. Do you mean virtual interfaces, like for plug-ins?

Module: cool! With software interfaces I mean any kind of software interacting with the synthesizer. Which is why its so important that the MIDI implementation works correctly (to stay on topic!).
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