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The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets

The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« on: December 16, 2016, 10:28:30 PM »
I have seen avid fans of DSI make on this forum all kinds of claims, for and against the P-2.. P-08, and P-12. In a couple of days I will have a P-12, P-08,and a P-02.  With the unlimited use I will be able to give you a comparative review of the three instruments and compare their strengths and weaknesses.  I'll be doing it over the next several weeks given that I have a couple of weeks off from Christmas to New Years.  So, I will spend some time on these reviews.
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016, 08:16:10 AM »
Prophet '08 FTW! Just kidding. I look forward to reading your reviews. I'm very interested in the P12M. I'm sold on the crazy amount of sound shaping capability it has but I'm a little concerned that it have less life than the '08 and that it will add some high frequency "hash" to the sound. There's something to be said for pure analog. I also think the UI on the P12 keyboard is significatnly better than the P'08.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2016, 01:42:46 PM »
I have seen avid fans of DSI make on this forum all kinds of claims, for and against the P-2.. P-08, and P-12. In a couple of days I will have a P-12, P-08,and a P-02.  With the unlimited use I will be able to give you a comparative review of the three instruments and compare their strengths and weaknesses.  I'll be doing it over the next several weeks given that I have a couple of weeks off from Christmas to New Years.  So, I will spend some time on these reviews.

Guilty as charged!  Your comparisons will offer a great service to this forum.  I'm looking forward to them very much.  Thank you in advance.
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2016, 11:10:58 PM »
Thanks Sacred Synthesis and tumble2k!  i was supposed to get my P-12 today, but UPS is now saying Tuesday.  However, I started today with an oscillator test of P-08 vs. the Pro 2.  Once I get the P-12 i will add it into the mix.  Since the oscillators in the Pro-02 are supposed to the be the same as the P-12, we will probably see the same results.

A lot of focus of the differences among these instruments has been on the oscillators.  The P-08 is a digitally controlled analog oscillator, while the Pro 2/ P-12 are full digital oscillators.  Of course, the mantra has been that a VCO is king for rich sound.  So, to see the differences, I brought my KARP Odyssey into this to compare.  While it is a reissue, the KARP is supposed to be true to the original.  In my playing and programming it, i think Korg is right.

So, I started by putting all three instruments through an oscilloscope with a single oscillator playing.  I selected a saw tooth wave since it is the most rich harmonically.

The KARP, I had to back off of the Low Pass filter some to get a saw tooth wave.  There are some other harmonics in the oscillator cluttering the wave without some filtering.  I tuned the KARP to A-440.  I played an A for about 30 seconds.  While the note sounded very steady, the oscilloscope showed that the frequency was varying between 439.93 to 440.10 hz.  i could not tell from my ear that the pitch was varying, but it was.   i assume that this variance is typical of a full analog oscillator.  BTW, the variance appeared random.  There was no wave shape that I could discern of the variance.

I then did the same test on the P-08.  The harmonics making up the saw wave were much more accurate than the KARP, but were not perfect.  The wave sounded very steady.  However, the oscilloscope showed that the wave was varying too, but to a less degree.   The frequency varied between 439.98 and 440.01 hz.    Again, the variance appeared random.  So, based upon this test, I am making an assumption that the digital control lessened the variance, but could not eliminate it. 

I then added "slop" to the P-08 oscillator to try to mimic the KARP.  I found that the frequency variance became similar to that of the KARP when I put the slop to "2".  Beyond that, the variance went well beyond the KARP's.  Another thing I noticed is that up to "2" the overall frequency went flat.  Beyond "2", the overall frequency would go sharp.  These variances were nothing I could hear, but were definitely being picked up by the oscilloscope.

The same test was done on the Pro-2.  The saw wave was precisely produced.   Variance in the frequency was almost non-existent  440.00 - 440.01 hz.  Putting the slop to "2" again made the variance similar to the KARP, with the same flat to sharp phenomenon occurring as the P-08.   

I next did the same tests using two oscillators on each instrument.  Both oscillators were saw tooth at 440hz.  It was really tough to bring both oscillators into such close tune on the KARP.  I never tried to be so accurate before on that instrument.  On the KARP, the variance in frequency could be heard now, but was very minor.  Also, there was no phasing sound.

On the P-08, the variance in sound was not so much in the playing of a single note.  However, when I went through each of the eight voices the timbre was different for each voice which I thought was odd.   I added slop to "2" and it did not really mimic the sound of the KARP.  When I held down the note there would be a phasing sound that would develop. 

The Pro-2 came out as the star of steadiness.  Adding the second oscillator did not vary the harmonics significantly.  However, when I added slop, it did not mimic the KARP.  Instead, like the P-08, it created a phasing sound.

I attached two recordings.  The first is the single oscillator sounds in this order - 1. KARP, 2. P-08, 3. P-08 with slop to "2", 4. Pro -2.  The second recording is with 2 oscillators in the same order except I added a section on the end of the Pro-2 with slop.  Also, on the P-08 section, I rotated through all 8 voices so you could hear the timbre change.

More later...       
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 11:33:20 PM by jdt9517 »
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2016, 06:30:00 AM »
I don't think that the differences in sound quality raised within this forum originate from the oscillator section, to be honest - so I'd bet that the filter comparisons will be quite interesting.
Sequential / DSI stuff: Prophet-6 Keyboard, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, Split-Eight, Prophet 2000

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 07:43:12 AM »
I do think the oscillators have much to do with the issue, because that's were the harmonics originate.  As the above test shows, and as we all know anyways, every instrument has its variations on each waveform, so that one sawtooth sounds different from another.  That's an important starting point.  And then the filter emphasizes or subtracts partials.  So, it's both oscillators and filters that are at issue.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 09:08:45 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
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Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2016, 09:05:18 AM »
I agree with Sacred Synthesis.  While it is no secret that there are differences in the sound of the oscillators, I haven't really seen anyone drill down into those differences.  Based upon what I did last night, I am suspecting that the "thin" sound attributed to the P-08 and more so to the Pro-2 and P-12 has to do with the harmonic cancellation which occurs when the oscillators are detuned.  The pitch of the KARP is moving a lot compared to the P-08 and the P-08 moves a lot compared to the Pro-2. I suspect the lack of movement in the pitch allows for longer periods of harmonic cancellation in the DCO and digital instruments.

So, if we know the "why's" of what are causing certain effects, we can adjust our programming to compensate. 

That will be the subject of the next segment.  I'm hoping I can get to it tonight.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 09:12:24 AM by jdt9517 »
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2016, 08:39:07 PM »
Based upon what I did last night, I am suspecting that the "thin" sound attributed to the P-08 and more so to the Pro-2 and P-12 has to do with the harmonic cancellation which occurs when the oscillators are detuned.  The pitch of the KARP is moving a lot compared to the P-08 and the P-08 moves a lot compared to the Pro-2. I suspect the lack of movement in the pitch allows for longer periods of harmonic cancellation in the DCO and digital instruments.

So, if we know the "why's" of what are causing certain effects, we can adjust our programming to compensate. 

That will be the subject of the next segment.  I'm hoping I can get to it tonight.

I have played around with small amounts of noise modulation on the Prophet '08 oscillator frequencies to simulate the VCO's frequency movement but never got something that didn't sound sputtery. I've really wanted to get my hands on a Prophet 12 to see if I can get get a better simulation of it and perhaps get thicker oscillator sound. Anyway, thanks for providing the information so far. I'd like to encourage to continue!

Re: The Prophet 12 among Prophets
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 09:32:44 PM »
My P-12 module arrived today!  Came directly from DSI in great shape.  Testing went on the back burner as i set it up and had some fun.

First impressions:  It's smaller and lighter than what I anticipated.  I'm able to put it on a music stand.  I was surprised to see a wall wart rather than a cord.  I thought DSI did away with the wall warts on the P-12.  For the module, it's probably OK.  The wall wart allows the module to be smaller which better allows it to be what it is - a module.  I have to get used to the idea that it is not a full keyboard synthesizer.

When I first ordered it, I was afraid that I would have to do some deep menu diving to get around.  Not so.  It's pretty intuitive.  The only suggestion I have for the layout is in the ADSR for the LPF and VCA.  You have to press the "select" button on the low pass filter or VCA, then another button on the menu.  Ideally I would put two additional buttons in the envelopes section for direct access like has been done for aux envelopes 3 and 4.  I think this is important because those ADSR's are often a "go to" section during a live performance.  Having to press two buttons to get to the menu could be a little much.  If cost is an issue, I would rather see the primary ADSR's on the buttons and place aux envelopes 3 and 4 elsewhere in the soft menus.

Tried both my Pro-2 and my Yamaha S-90 as the controller.  Both worked well.  As I anticipated, the S-90 works better on patches that are played "both hands".  The Pro-2 worked very well for patches that can use a shorter keyboard.  One BIG advantage, is that the Pro-2 sliders and latches operate perfectly in controlling the P-12M.  Many of the basic controls also control the P-12 which makes the Pro-2 an excellent controller for the P-12M.  One suggestion as DSI updates the Pro-2 firmware, please align as many of the NRPN's as you can to the P-12M.  That way the Pro-2 will be able to control from the board more of the P-12M's functions.  I think the first 100 or so are already aligned.  It might be a PITA to do, but I would think it would add a selling point to have the Pro-2 and the P-12 module so integrated. 

Won't be able to do any "testing" tonight.  My first impression of the sound is that the P-12 is WONDERFUL!  Definitely a different instrument than the P-08.  I can already sense that the approach to programming the P-12 will be different from the P-08.  They are both of the same family, but definitely different.   

 
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2016, 08:38:25 AM »
Really cool thread. I appreciate all the work that's going into this project. I'll be following regularly :)

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2016, 06:39:03 PM »
OK everyone.  A little test here.  A little while ago I posted a recording of a P-08 string patch that seemed to go over well.  I tried to emulate this patch on the P-12.   I uploaded the results on Soundcloud.  Here's the link.

https://soundcloud.com/jdt9517/2016-12-23-p12-v-p08

the recording was done with the identical amount of reverb on each track and the volume was normalized so each is playing at the same volume.

Which is the P-08 and which is the P-12?  Why do you think what you think?  ;D  I think they are pretty close.  There was a similar approach to programming on both, but there was some tweaking I had to do in both the oscillators and filters to bring the sound close to the P-08. 
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2016, 07:12:45 PM »
I'll be the first to take the plunge.  The two were very similar, I must admit.  It's not quite the sort of string parch I would use, so I'm doubly blind.  I would say the Prophet '08 came first and the Prophet 12 second.  The first seemed to have slightly stronger lower frequencies, but that could have been the P12's character section, I suppose.  Now tell me I'm wrong and I'll tell you my computer speakers are cheap.  :-[
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 07:14:17 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2016, 07:32:31 PM »
The Prophet 12 came first?  Ahem...as I said, my computer speakers....

Well done.  After you told me I was wrong, Jdt9517, I tried listening with headphones, but I must admit, I still had the same opinion.

So tell me, how would you compare the 2-pole filters on each instrument?  Especially, how do they compare when the Resonance is turned up all the way and a slow filter sweep is done?
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 07:36:07 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2016, 08:18:17 PM »
Tee hee.   ;D

Your 2-pole/resonance method does not seem to work on the P-12.  Even in 2-pole mode, the resonance filter will self oscillate to some extent.  Sounds like a cheap sci-fi movie.

I was able to imitate your sweeping sound without the resonance filter, however.  No resonance, LPF cut back quite a bit.  i uploaded an example here for your listening enjoyment.  https://soundcloud.com/jdt9517/2016-12-23-string-sweep
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2016, 06:24:13 AM »
Well there's a major difference.  The 2-pole high resonance patch is one of my mostly frequently used sounds on the Prophet '08 and Poly Evolver, and it's wonderful across its whole range, both when modulated and when static.  The Prophet 12 version is nice, but ordinary.  It's certainly not close to the P'08/PEK version, which I would call extraordinary for its mysterious quality.  But thanks for the patch.  This is a confirmation for me.

One important nuance is to adjust the Keyboard Amount parameter to a substantial degree, as in perhaps 75%, so as to give a different effect in each area of the keyboard range.  It's important to have the higher voices in a chord emphasized via the filter cut off. 

Here are samples of the patch I had in mind. 

On the Prophet '08:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Hww1cMoiM 

On the Poly Evolver:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIDhhLgmwiI

« Last Edit: December 24, 2016, 06:58:13 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

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Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2016, 01:04:56 AM »
I find the P'08 is a little more brassy than the P12 but I also found that it's more fluid, there's almost an liquid quality to it's sound (not sure how else to describe it) in that string comparison.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2017, 11:02:39 PM »
Hi all,

Trying to get back to providing some more info on the P-12.  I have had the module about three weeks now.  I had hoped to have spent more time with it over the holidays but unfortunately work got in the way.  However, I was able to do some experimenting and I want to share with you my experiences.

Generally, it is very capable, and very different from the P-08.  I would not get rid of the P-08 in place of the P-12 – but they are very complimentary to each other.

Continuing on with where I left off on the waves-  I did a saw tooth test on the P-12 like I did previously.  The digital oscillator is nearly identical to both the P-08 and Pro-2.   However, on the P-12, there is another way that you should be able to get a saw or square wave, and that’s through the FM modulation.  Without going into a lot of theory, through FM, you should be able to smash two sine waves against each other and harmonics will squirt out in a predictable pattern.  This pattern of harmonics is known as “sidebands” in the digital world.  They occur on both sides of the main or “carrier” frequency.  So, I should be able to smash two of the sine waves on the P-12 and get my saw tooth wave.  This is where I met some real disappointment. 

The traditional ways based upon Dr. Chowning’s theories did not produce even close to a saw.  In the recording I link to below, I put together a saw wave with my DX-7.  The sidebands went well above 10,000 hz using the basic theory.  On the P-12, however, I couldn’t get sidebands much above 4000 hz using sine waves.     Since FM is somewhat similar to additive synthesis, this tells me that I will not be able to rely on the P-12 to build FM sounds in the traditional way.   Now, with the ability to use the various wave forms the P-12 provides in the FM module, I should be able to create some pretty interesting FM sounds.  However, what I see at this point is that the P-12 will not be a replacement for the DX.

On the following link I recorded the P-08 saw as the baseline.  The second sound is the P-12.  The third sound is the DX saw.  It sounds somewhat different since it is relying on a different synthesis theory, but  the frequencies generally follow the basic saw pattern.  The last sound is the best I could develop as a saw through the FM section of the P-12 – rather disappointing.

https://soundcloud.com/jdt9517/p-12-saw-wave-tests

Now, this doesn’t  mean that the P-12 is not a great instrument.  It still has great qualities.  I also attached a link to a recording I did using primarily the P-12.  The featured horn sound is something that I have never been able to obtain through either analog or digital synths.  Somewhat a cross between a French horn and a trumpet.  The P-12 does the horns and strings.  The Pro-2 is the bass.  The percussion is the EastWest orchestral soft synths.  Enjoy!

 https://soundcloud.com/jdt9517/a-new-king
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2017, 11:25:39 PM »
That's an interesting horn patch - original and certainly useful in certain circumstances.  But it's on the thin and nasal spectrum. 
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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

Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2017, 11:32:31 PM »
Thanks.  It was built that way on purpose - although there was some serendipity to it.  Darken it up and it wouldn't cut through the mix. 
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S-90; Yamaha Montage 8, Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

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Re: The Prophet 12 amoung Prophets
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2017, 01:38:45 AM »
The traditional ways based upon Dr. Chowning’s theories did not produce even close to a saw.  In the recording I link to below, I put together a saw wave with my DX-7.  The sidebands went well above 10,000 hz using the basic theory.  On the P-12, however, I couldn’t get sidebands much above 4000 hz using sine waves.

Isn't the mod matrix limited to 4 khz? I'm fairly sure that I read it somewhere which would also explain why you won't get sidebands higher than that.