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DSI/SEQUENTIAL => Prophet => Prophet '08 => Topic started by: Sacred Synthesis on February 16, 2016, 02:31:47 PM

Title: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 16, 2016, 02:31:47 PM
Listening to so many video demonstrations on YouTube and recordings on Soundcloud, I've been convinced of one thing: the best string sound comes from the Prophet '08.  Yes, it needs reverb, but it doesn't need chorus or any other effect.  I dare say, the same is true for many other types of sounds, such as brass and various pads.  This has occurred to me since the early Prophet 12 demos appeared, it was strikingly apparent in Starsky Carr's videos, and the latest from Synthetic Things makes it painfully clear.  I think one of the main reasons is the P'08's abundance of modulation.  In my opinion, it generally sounds more natural to produce modulation with LFOs than to try to compensate for a lack of modulation with an effect such as chorus.  If you feel the need to add chorus, something is wrong with your instrument.  Effects make a synthesizer sound excessively electronic and unnatural.  Some folks like this, but I definitely do not.

In spite of the instruments that have come out since the Prophet '08 was released in late 2007, I haven't heard anything that substantially surpasses what I'm able to create with my P'08 Keyboard/Module pair, or even with a single unit.  Which is only to say that each instrument has its strengths and weaknesses - of course.  But the musical excellence of the Prophet '08 has not faded one iota beside the newer DSI synthesizers.  I think it shines all the more these days.   
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 16, 2016, 07:20:21 PM
Thinking more about this and trying not to offend anyone, I would say, if you're looking for a synthesizer, then consider the entire DSI line, but don't overlook the Prophet '08 just because it's "old".  It's always more exciting to buy the latest instrument that's getting all the attention, that everyone is talking about.  But this is a sensational and imprudent approach that's prone to mislead. 

To be extremely brief, what the Prophet '08 offers over the Prophet 12 is a decent analog sound that requires little or no effort to produce.  There's no need for a Character section.  If the Prophet '08 may be called a tad thin-sounding as far as analogs go, still, this can be advantageous in producing pads and mixing it with other instruments.  What it offers over the Prophet-6 is the 2-pole filter, and over both the Prophet-6 and the OB-6 it offers a full-length keyboard and 4 LFOs.  From my simple perspective, these are the most substantial differences, and they are worthy of being the basis of a decision. 

I would say the Prophet '08's primary shortcomings are its somewhat short envelope times and the absence of a high pass filter.   However, I can certainly live with these.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on February 17, 2016, 12:01:33 AM
I still consider the Prophet'08 to be the best analog polyphonic synth I own. I'm constantly evaluating how it plays together with the Prophet-6 and still often siding with the '08. The pads and strings it produces are so much more interesting and textured than I get from anything else.

As a standalone synth, the P-6 is perhaps more of an all-rounder. It can do great bass and leads as well as the expected pads and poly sounds. But I've been spoiled by the abundance of modulation on the '08 and I hit against the single LFO limitation again and again on the P-6. It's often not only the single source but the single amount to all destinations that limits its usability. More often than not, it takes the chorus/phaser/delay effects to compensate for that. I never really find that to be the case with the P'08. Reverb is all it needs.

I was amazed, and a little horrified, by the haste with which some people ditched their P'08s for the P12 and P-6. It was a path I considered when I first had a P12 but I quickly realised that one did not replace the other so easily. The differences in sound and approach are even more marked with the P-6. The only limitation I feel with the P'08 is my own imagination.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 17, 2016, 06:08:33 AM
Well put, Fuseball, but we're definitely in the minority here.  This is very much the "NEW" DSI Forum, and posters are generally enthusiasts for the latest DSI synthesizers.  I didn't give this much thought when this forum was being put together, but it's obviously the case.  Hence, the Evolvers and Prophet '08 threads generate minimal activity, as is true also with the Mopho and Tetra threads. 

Nevertheless, I've heard nothing that has made want to sell my P'08 in a rush, and I've heard quite a few things that have made me appreciate it all the more.  The same with my Poly Evolver.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on February 17, 2016, 07:07:58 AM
We should probably also take into account that the older synths have been discussed at great length over a number of years. The newer instruments haven't received that level of scrutiny yet. That said, you mentioned using the 2-pole filter with the resonance maxed out recently, which was something I had actually never tried... and of course it sounds great and a little like an Oberheim. So there's still plenty of discussion mileage to be had with the P'08 and Evolvers.

There's a lot I want to say about the P-6 but it's hard to be critical without appearing overly negative. It's a synth that enchants and frustrates in equal measure. I will write about it sometime but I fully expect to shot down for it. ;)

With the P'08 I fully accept its limitations as the character of the instrument. There's nothing I would change and the UI and playing experience is as good as anything I've come across. Even changing something obvious like the filter wouldn't necessarily improve the instrument. The way the Curtis filter behaves is absolutely perfect for some sounds and I prefer its audio rate modulation to that of the P-6.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: goodweather on February 17, 2016, 07:35:00 AM
Hi guys, interesting discussion about the P08...
I don't know if you are aware of / need an editor for your P08 but if well, please have a look at the P08 Ctrlr panel made by Carl http://ctrlr.org/power08-editor-for-dsi-prophet08/ (http://ctrlr.org/power08-editor-for-dsi-prophet08/) .
I did myself a Sub37 one but I'm now busy with a Pro2 one (this is also a fantastic synth much better sounding than P12 mainly thanks to the filters).
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 17, 2016, 08:10:53 AM
We should probably also take into account that the older synths have been discussed at great length over a number of years. The newer instruments haven't received that level of scrutiny yet. That said, you mentioned using the 2-pole filter with the resonance maxed out recently, which was something I had actually never tried... and of course it sounds great and a little like an Oberheim. So there's still plenty of discussion mileage to be had with the P'08 and Evolvers.

There's a lot I want to say about the P-6 but it's hard to be critical without appearing overly negative. It's a synth that enchants and frustrates in equal measure. I will write about it sometime but I fully expect to shot down for it. ;)

With the P'08 I fully accept its limitations as the character of the instrument. There's nothing I would change and the UI and playing experience is as good as anything I've come across. Even changing something obvious like the filter wouldn't necessarily improve the instrument. The way the Curtis filter behaves is absolutely perfect for some sounds and I prefer its audio rate modulation to that of the P-6.

These are refreshing comments.  Yes, it's true that the Prophet '08 had already been deeply discussed and posted about on the old forum.  Then again, it's still a popular instrument and continues to sell well, so, I had expected more continued discussion on it here.  So be it.  Obviously, now it's all about the latest newest instrument, and DSI, having grown in size, seems to put more marketing into their new instruments than they did in the Prophet '08's early days. 

Yes, one of my most frequent set ups for strings and other similar patches is to set the filter to 2-pole, turn the resonance to 127, and use this with regular filter sweeps.  This is the Oberheim-ish patch I've used a hundred times - not because I wanted to imitate something, but purely because it gives it a uniquely rich and ethereal character.  At this point, I would be hesitant to buy a polyphonic instrument without this 2-pole capability.  It's become standard for me, so that I turn to it constantly.  And it works just as satisfactorily on the Poly Evolver as well. 

The videos below were meant primarily to demonstrate this patch.  The first is the Prophet '08 and the second is the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  This is a sound I would not want to be without.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Hww1cMoiM&list=PL-CSFEgC2tTydFcvrBITryRPZHg4tUde5&index=17
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIDhhLgmwiI
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 17, 2016, 08:13:59 AM
Hi guys, interesting discussion about the P08...
I don't know if you are aware of / need an editor for your P08 but if well, please have a look at the P08 Ctrlr panel made by Carl http://ctrlr.org/power08-editor-for-dsi-prophet08/ (http://ctrlr.org/power08-editor-for-dsi-prophet08/) .
I did myself a Sub37 one but I'm now busy with a Pro2 one (this is also a fantastic synth much better sounding than P12 mainly thanks to the filters).

Thanks, Goodweather.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 17, 2016, 08:45:13 AM
There's a lot I want to say about the P-6 but it's hard to be critical without appearing overly negative. It's a synth that enchants and frustrates in equal measure. I will write about it sometime but I fully expect to shot down for it. ;)

I want to hear it anyway!  :P   Post it here or PM me.

You could find a tactful way of doing this - perhaps columns of pros and cons for each instrument, together with a text explaining the most important points.  Surely we're allowed to make comparisons.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on February 17, 2016, 10:34:32 AM
The German online magazine Amazona.de did a comparison between the Prophet-6, the Prophet '08, and the Prophet-5 that followed their review of the Prophet-6. Basically, it confirmed the significance of the Prophet '08, which turned it into the secret star of that comparison. I would say, it depends on what your setup looks like. As a standalone synth, the Prophet '08 beats the other two in terms of flexibility, price, and features.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on February 17, 2016, 04:07:47 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Hww1cMoiM&list=PL-CSFEgC2tTydFcvrBITryRPZHg4tUde5&index=17
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIDhhLgmwiI
Wonderful pieces, both of them. I'd not heard that first one before. Such a beautiful expressive sound.

I think we both know that the P'08 responds best to subtle modulation. So often I'm using single digit amounts of LFO, envelope and noise to shape any number of parameters. This is one of the things I struggle with on the P-6. It's a challenge to sculpt the sound subtly. Many of the parameters have wide ranges and the smallest of movements can change the sound drastically. The bipolar controls are particularly tough to dial in small increments. I recall Carson, I think, saying that the poly-mod range was 5x that of the original Prophet 5. Couple that with also now being bipolar and you're trying to finesse the same range with only 1/10th of the control's travel. This is also where I really miss the value display for parameters. I get the whole 'use your ears' argument but when the ranges are so wide that tiny increments make a big difference then it's tough working without them for some sounds. Sometimes I even hook it up to the editor just so I can see the values I'm setting.

What it means, in practice, is that I hit the sounds I like more by luck than judgement. I tend to program less subtle sounds with the P-6, using the LFO in a more percussive way, often tempo synced. I think it's naturally a much wilder synth, encouraging bold modern sounds. Perversely for such a hands-on synth, with a proper 'manual' mode, it's often easier for me to start from one of the preset programs that has already stumbled upon a particular timbre and adapt it, which is something I never really do on the P'08.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 17, 2016, 06:39:35 PM
And I already find the increments on the Poly Evolver and Prophet '08 to be too large for fine and precise designing!  This is especially true in the PEK's Env 3, which can only produce a vibrato that is deeper than I want..
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 18, 2016, 11:38:32 AM
Other than the perceptions about VCOs possibly sounding better, I think the Prophet 6 is getting more love because it has much more instant gratification. Millennials aren't the only generation who are getting shorter attention spans; our cell phones, internet speed, and high tech lifestyles make most of us struggle with it. With the Prophet '08, the message is essentially: "This isn't going to blow you away right out of the box; it's going to require a major commitment from you. Regardless of how much programming experience you have, you're going to have to spend a lot of time experimenting, digging, programming, setting up external effects, etc... But eventually, you will be very happy." That's just not what most people want to hear; they don't think they have the time. For those playing covers, many other keyboards offer huge selections of third party programs to imitate classic tracks, and so many players aren’t used to programming. Many stopped programming when the DX7 came out. With most workstations, the most we do is set up layers and splits of the sounds that others programmed.

Having done some research, I was confident in my recent purchase of the ’08. Even though what I had read suggested that I would be disappointed with most of the presets… Still, I was surprised to be… disappointed with most of the presets. If I had been comparing the ’08 and a Prophet 6 in a store, my ears may have suggested that I buy the 6, which I think would have been a mistake for me. I've learned a lot over the last few months but still have a way to go. I especially want to get a better handle on how to use multiple LFOs.

In addition to it being a bit challenging to program, the ’08 also isn’t an easy synthesizer to share patches on. After spending a few months programming patches I love, I was terrified of losing them by accidently writing over them with the patches that are available online. (I recently bought a Tetra, in part to act as a way station for downloading other people’s programs. I’ll probably comment more on that another day.) Learning how to better program the ’08 is the most exiting information I get from this forum. In order to share patches without the fear of a nasty glitch, what if we were to share some the old fashioned way?

To that end, I typed out most of the parameters below so that we can (fairly) easily go through and write down the values. Feel free to copy and edit in a Word document or other. Copies could be sent as personal messages. If I could respectfully make a request, it would be for the PWM Brass and Sawtooth Solo patches used by Sacred Synthesis on his last two videos. They’re killer.

Prophet ’08 Patch Name/Description

Env 3 Dest.            Amount      Velocity      Delay
Attack               Decay              Sustain      Release

LFO 1 – Frequency      Amount      Shape      Destination      Sync
LFO 2 – Frequency      Amount      Shape      Destination      Sync
LFO 3 – Frequency      Amount      Shape      Destination      Sync
LFO 4 – Frequency      Amount      Shape      Destination      Sync

Misc Parameters    
Volume      Name         Osc 1      Osc 2      Slop      Glide Mode
Pitch Wh. Range   Unison Mode      Unison Assign      
Notes:

Modulator  1   Mod Source         Mod Des.         Mod. Amount
Modulator  2   Mod Source         Mod Des.         Mod. Amount
Modulator  3   Mod Source         Mod Des.         Mod. Amount
Modulator  4   Mod Source         Mod Des.         Mod. Amount

Unison         Sync
Osc 1 Freq.      Fine      Shape      Glide      Mix      
Osc 2 Freq.      Fine      Shape      Glide      Noise

Filter Freq.      Res.      Env Amt        Vel.        Key Amt          Aud Mod.
Pole      Delay      Attack      Decay      Sustain      Release

Amp VCA         Env Amt       Velocity         Pan
Delay      Attack      Decay      Sustain      Release

Notes:
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: dmfs on February 18, 2016, 03:53:45 PM
Nice to see a P08 Love Thread!
I love my Prophet 08 and Im no programmer...
I expected to sell it (and a Juno 60) to help fund a P6 when it first came out...
However I spent time with the new machine a few times in stores but wasn't blown away by it...
Don't get me wrong - if I hadn't already owned the P08 it would be a no brainer-  it sounds lovely but to me it still had that DSI sound and I already had that in the other synth...
And  I couldnt  imagine selling the P08 for it...I was lucky enough to score a Special Edition model and couldnt let it go...

 Ironically I think the Prophet 08 will get the love it deserves when its discontinued....
I am lusting over the OB6 though!!!...
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on February 18, 2016, 09:28:14 PM
Other than the perceptions about VCOs possibly sounding better, I think the Prophet 6 is getting more love because it has much more instant gratification. Millennials aren't the only generation who are getting shorter attention spans; our cell phones, internet speed, and high tech lifestyles make most of us struggle with it. With the Prophet '08, the message is essentially: "This isn't going to blow you away right out of the box; it's going to require a major commitment from you. Regardless of how much programming experience you have, you're going to have to spend a lot of time experimenting, digging, programming, setting up external effects, etc... But eventually, you will be very happy." That's just not what most people want to hear; they don't think they have the time. For those playing covers, many other keyboards offer huge selections of third party programs to imitate classic tracks, and so many players aren’t used to programming. Many stopped programming when the DX7 came out. With most workstations, the most we do is set up layers and splits of the sounds that others programmed.

Without wanting to contradict any of the points you were making, I'd like to add some thoughts:
When the Prophet '08 came out, it was of course compared to the classic grandfather model, the Prophet-5 - that was something couldn't be avoided. And most people hoped for a recreation or reimagined version of that. Of course it wasn't, which is not a bad thing, because the Prophet '08 is quite a potent synth on its own. But the Prophet-6 sort of filled the gap for what people expected the Prophet '08 to be. In a way it's a further step back: certainly in terms of historical reference as well as in terms of complexity.
Yet, the instant gratification that goes back to the simpler design is an important factor - whether you have a short attention span or not. The thing is, it saves time, which is always a good thing when you're in the middle of a process and don't want you're creative energies to be sucked up by some overly complicated tweaking issues. For such purposes that which sounds great right out of the box will always win. On the other hand I don't think that the Prophet '08 is an overly complicated synth. It's certainly a bit more complex than the Prophet-6 in terms of modulation options, but its single elements are still very simple and basic. It's just the sheer quantity of LFOs and modulation paths that can make things complex in an uncomplicated way.
But I've also read a couple of comments about the limitation of the Prophet-6 being a true challange insofar as it forces you to do more with less, which some find to be equaly rewarding as practicing a meditative exercise. And that's something that shouldn't be forgotten either: What sounds like instant gratification on the one side can require a lot of patience and experience on the other side.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 18, 2016, 09:37:17 PM
If I could respectfully make a request, it would be for the PWM Brass and Sawtooth Solo patches used by Sacred Synthesis on his last two videos.

It sounds like we need an old-fashioned patch panel sheet for the Prophet '08, an editor page that could be filled in and posted.  My computer is nowhere near my synthesizers, so giving a detailed description would take some effort.  Perhaps later.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on February 19, 2016, 03:23:39 AM
It sounds like we need an old-fashioned patch panel sheet for the Prophet '08, an editor page that could be filled in and posted.  My computer is nowhere near my synthesizers, so giving a detailed description would take some effort.  Perhaps later.
If you are ever in a position to write up patch panel sheets, I would love to know the settings you use for the Oberheim-ish 2-pole sound you play. Just the oscillator and filter-related values would be fascinating. It's such a sweetly balanced sound.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: dmfs on February 19, 2016, 03:51:40 AM
If I could respectfully make a request, it would be for the PWM Brass and Sawtooth Solo patches used by Sacred Synthesis on his last two videos.

It sounds like we need an old-fashioned patch panel sheet for the Prophet '08, an editor page that could be filled in and posted.  My computer is nowhere near my synthesizers, so giving a detailed description would take some effort.  Perhaps later.

Yes they Are Killer Patches , and I would respectfully love to know how you achieved them too!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 19, 2016, 04:57:28 AM
Regarding patch panel sheets, while a much better looking template could be developed, the text version above can be copied and pasted into Word (or another text document) and then printed. The larger spaces left on the original were compressed when I pasted it here, so there isn't as much space now. Still, most of the values are only going to be a two digit number, and more space could easily be added before printing. It's organized left to right across the top panel, followed by left to right across the lower panel. I probably missed some things.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 19, 2016, 05:08:48 AM
Thanks for the appreciation, guys.  Without getting into the numbers, I can say that, whatever PWM patch I create, I use the same few standards.  First, I use two LFOs for the PWM, each having the same depth but slightly different rates.  A third LFO is used for vibrato, which is delayed using Env 3.  (This is the reason the single LFO issue with the Prophet 6 and OB-6 is seemingly a deal killer for me.)  Second, I set the PWM depth by playing the lowest notes I'll be using and making the depth as extreme as will still sound musical and properly tuned at that lowest note.  Actually, I go just slightly beyond this point.  This guarantees me a full five-octave range on the keyboard.  Third, I set the modulation wheel to control the filter cut off frequency for dynamic changes, and I use this a lot throughout the music.  Fourth - and here's the catch - the patch has to have a deep stereo field.  Since I use a P'08 Keyboard in conjunction with a P'08 Module, I dump the patch from the keyboard to the module and then pan each instrument to opposite sides at the mixer.  This is essential to the overall sound and gives it a spacious depth that a mono signal could only envy.  Of course, you could do a four-voce imitation of this using the B Output jacks.  I use this option on my other Prophet '08 Keyboard, even for mono sounds. 

Without having the numbers, this will get you to the patch.  Note that the recordings are all done live.  I'm playing keyboards and bass pedals, mixing, and recording all at the same time.  I actually think this contributes something very important to the music, which is somewhat simple, direct, and uncluttered as a result.  And because I DON"T USE NO STINKIN' DRUM MACHINES, you get an excellent opportunity to fully enjoy the gorgeous sound of the synthesizer.

One more thing: the bass.  Sorry, but the playing of bass on a pedalboard is essential to the overall sound.  It completely frees up the left hand and guarantees a rich deep rumble throughout the music.  I use five different bass patches for this, and I use them in accord with the dynamics of the music.  It's one of the challenges of the performances and the reason I have to locate everything within reach.  Since I usually end strong in the music, I usually finish with the biggest bass patch.  I use an Evolver Desktop, which is controlled by a set of Hammond XPK 200L pedals.

Incidentally, there's an INHALT Youtube video that attempts to imitate the Oberheim sound with a Prophet '08.  It's...okay...but when it comes to imitating a PWM patch, the effort just falls apart.  It's a terrible patch.  This mystifies me, because, in my opinion, the P'08 excels in this very sonic area. 

And by the way, who's the inspiration behind my brass patch?  It's Robert Schumann.  In his Fourth Symphony, there's a brass section that has left a permanent impression on my musical mind.  It's the very definition of "massive".
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 19, 2016, 05:12:23 AM
Regarding patch panel sheets, while a much better looking template could be developed, the text version above can be copied and pasted into Word (or another text document) and then printed. The larger spaces left on the original were compressed when I pasted it here, so there isn't as much space now. Still, most of the values are only going to be a two digit number, and more space could easily be added before printing. It's organized left to right across the top panel, followed by left to right across the lower panel. I probably missed some things.

I really was making only an old school joke about this, but on second thought, patch panel sheets of the post-able type really would make sense.  It's an excellent approach because it's more visual and is far more pleasant than having a long list of digits.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 19, 2016, 06:29:41 AM
Wonderful pieces, both of them. I'd not heard that first one before. Such a beautiful expressive sound.

By the way, the filter sweeps in that Prophet '08 video are created by a slow LFO set to Key Sync.  The sound begins at each key strike with the filter at the frequency cut off setting, but then opens slowly by the LFO.  Entirely by keyboard technique, you can control the sweeps.  If you play shorter more rapid notes, the sound remains dark and mysterious because the LFO doesn't get a chance to open up the cut off.  As you play more slowly, it begins to open, and if you play very slowly, the filter goes to full open.  It's a wonderful experience to play this patch.

If the Prophet '08 were a paraphonic instrument, this sound would be a disaster.  It's the independence of each individual note - opening the filter differently on each other note - that gives the patch its character.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 19, 2016, 08:13:23 AM
Sacred Synthesis,
Thanks for the insight - and for the inspiration! I've watched all your videos, and they influenced my decision to buy the '08.

I'm pretty new to Pulse Width Modulation, in fact, until rather recently, I didn't know what PWM stood for when I saw it as part of a name for a patch. Am I right that in order to use it, you have to use a Pulse Wave waveshape oscillator? If so, what is your starting place when selecting the Oscillator Waves? Close to 50 (square)? Different for each Osc? They just don't seem as pleasing as a Sawtooth.

Thanks,
-Jason
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 19, 2016, 10:00:40 AM
Thank you, Jason.  A sawtooth obviously has the fullest richest harmonic content.  The pulse width is far more limited in its harmonics, but sweeping its range (PWM) results in something far richer than a static sawtooth.  Depending on the patch, I generally set the pulse width at 48 (the purest sounding square), and then add an LFO modulation depth of about 70.  But the whole range of PWM depth gives you a substantial amount of variety.  For example, by adding a modulation depth of only 5, you'll get the general character of the pulse width setting, plus a soft chorus effect.  If you do this around a narrow pulse width - say 18 - then you'll get a reedy sound with  a soft chorus effect.  It takes the finest minutest adjustments to each parameter, but you end up with a wonderfully sweet and distinctive tone. 

This is all obvious enough, but I think we tend to use PWM primarily at the extremes.  This is to overlook a vast range of timbres.  Considering the limited range offered by analog oscillators, it's a lost opportunity to expand on what they do offer.

Here's an example of a patch with a very slow and limited pulse width modulation. (The reed melody is also a Prophet '08).  It enters at about 2:25, but you can hear it best from 4:15 to the end:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jWgovXSMo

This piece uses nothing but pulse widths - every single sound, including the bass.  Even the flute sound used in the fist half is a subtle PWM patch.  These are really beautiful timbres to me that are often passed over.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTUHXLQgY5o
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 19, 2016, 10:56:40 AM
Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to go over that; it gives me a lot to experiment with this weekend. I've been skipping over pulse waves a lot in the past and need to spend some time with them.

Btw, I think that second video is among your finest.
Regards.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: vinnyburns on February 21, 2016, 02:58:50 PM
Some great tips in this thread and lovely sound examples too from Sacred Synthesis.
I still love my Prophet 08. With the obvious omissions on the P6 and OB6, I have not been tempted by them at all.
Don't get me wrong, had the OB6 had the 8 voices and 61 keys, I would have had one as it sounded excellent in every clip I heard. There have been no P6 clips that I have particularly liked. They sound flat and lifeless. No movement and bland.
Started looking at getting an OB8 or a Matrix 12. Would rather not have the headache of keeping these old synths serviced but it seems the only new things coming out are like toys. The new Roland and Yamaha went along these lines as did the recent Korg reissue of the ARP and MS20. Stupid mini keys or mini key beds with 49 keys or less. 4 voice instead of 8 on the new Roland range.
The Prophet 08 is such a wonderful synth. Never regretted getting mine. Will it be the last great 8 voice polysynth to be made by DSI? I really hope not.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 21, 2016, 03:49:11 PM
I'm optimistic, Vinny, that Dave will resume the normal five-octave keyboard length.  He seems to have received a number of complaints about the keyboard length of the Prophet-6 (he suggests this in his P-6 Module announcement video).  As for the OB-6, that was obviously an exception, in that DSI took the P-6 body as a starting point.  So, I do expect DSI to return to the full-length keyboard soon enough.

Like yourself, I've considered each of the latest DSI synthesizers, but nothing excites me more than the good old Prophet '08.  I never find myself running out of notes or coming up short when programming it, and I always find the sound gorgeous.  Folks complain about that blasted Curtiss filter, and I just don't get it.  Are we all really listening to the same thing?  I love the Curtiss filter - bright and bristly or dark and dreamy, superb for brass, strings, and other pads, bass and solo patches, and even sound effects.  With the occasional exception of finding a monophonic patch slightly thin-sounding, I wouldn't want to change the P'08 low pass filter at all.  As I wrote above, I'd only like to add a high pass filter and longer envelope times.

Do you know what else I like about the Prophet '08?  The happy fact that it has been thoroughly vetted.  I don't have to waste time scouring the synth forums to find out if there are any bugs, or if there's been an update to fix them.  How much of this forum and the old one is spent on such discussions?  "I found a new bug - I reported the bug - they just fixed the bug - wait, the fix has a new bug - let me report the new bug - now when will they fix the new bug?"  Blah....Who wants to have these long dull discussions?  It's like discussing head aches or tooth aches!

Meanwhile, we're off in our cheerful little Prophet '08 corner, content and making music, and posting only to share our enthusiasm and creative ideas.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 22, 2016, 05:43:19 AM
I had a great time playing with PWM over the weekend and came up with a few exciting patches. I believe when you said Depth, that refers to Amount, which worked very well around 70. I then was putting the Frequency around 15 on one and around 35 on the other. Any other suggestions?

How does Key Sync work in the LFO section?

Thanks for the help Sacred Synthesis.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 22, 2016, 06:39:52 AM
You're right.  I should have said "Amount".   

Key Sync resets the LFO with each individual key strike; it restarts its cycle each time you play a note.  If you use it with PWM, the result can be a slight "pop" at the beginning of the note.  If you use an LFO to slowly sweep the filter frequency, then the effect of Key Sync will be like the attack phase of an envelope opening the filter, only much more interesting.

PWM sounds more extreme in the lower registers and less extreme in the higher registers.  So, if you want a fairly intense setting, set the frequency (LFO rate) and amount while holding the lowest note you'll use.  This will ensure that your PWM sounds satisfactorily musical across the whole keyboard.  Otherwise, the lower notes might sound out of tune.

Remember that you can use multiple LFOs to modulate the pulse width at different frequencies and amounts.  This is useful all by itself, but it's especially helpful if your oscillators are set to different octaves.  In other words, the higher octave be be modulated more extremely (regarding frequency and amount) than the lower, so as to give the maximum richness to that higher octave.  Another interesting effect is to modulate the pulse width rapidly with one LFO and very slowly with another.

Remember also that, between the pulse width parameter in the oscillator and the LFO amount, you can locate the movement between two points anywhere along the pulse width range.  This gets tricky and time consuming, but the rewards are worth it.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: vinnyburns on February 22, 2016, 08:56:57 AM
I'm optimistic, Vinny, that Dave will resume the normal five-octave keyboard length.  He seems to have received a number of complaints about the keyboard length of the Prophet-6 (he suggests this in his P-6 Module announcement video).  As for the OB-6, that was obviously an exception, in that DSI took the P-6 body as a starting point.  So, I do expect DSI to return to the full-length keyboard soon enough.

Like yourself, I've considered each of the latest DSI synthesizers, but nothing excites me more than the good old Prophet '08.  I never find myself running out of notes or coming up short when programming it, and I always find the sound gorgeous.  Folks complain about that blasted Curtiss filter, and I just don't get it.  Are we all really listening to the same thing?  I love the Curtiss filter - bright and bristly or dark and dreamy, superb for brass, strings, and other pads, bass and solo patches, and even sound effects.  With the occasional exception of finding a monophonic patch slightly thin-sounding, I wouldn't want to change the P'08 low pass filter at all.  As I wrote above, I'd only like to add a high pass filter and longer envelope times.

Do you know what else I like about the Prophet '08?  The happy fact that it has been thoroughly vetted.  I don't have to waste time scouring the synth forums to find out if there are any bugs, or if there's been an update to fix them.  How much of this forum and the old one is spent on such discussions?  "I found a new bug - I reported the bug - they just fixed the bug - wait, the fix has a new bug - let me report the new bug - now when will they fix the new bug?"  Blah....Who wants to have these long dull discussions?  It's like discussing head aches or tooth aches!

Meanwhile, we're off in our cheerful little Prophet '08 corner, content and making music, and posting only to share our enthusiasm and creative ideas.

Absolutely spot on. Well said.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 22, 2016, 09:11:43 AM
should have said "Amount". 

I was just confirming that I understood you correctly.

I really appreciate your help. I hadn't considered that we can do PWM with more than one LFO on the same Osc. I was thinking that I could only use one LFO for one Oscillator and a second for the other. I guess we could (for example) have a third controlling both with All Oscillators Pulse Width. Interesting.

Another technique that I've been very interested in for some time is how you pan two instruments to opposite sides at the mixer. To clarify, you run both instruments in stereo? Both channels of one instrument go to the mixer and are panned to the left, while both channels of a second keyboard/module go to the right?

Please keep in mind that I don't want this to be true! The idea of putting more money in another '08 makes me more than wince. (How am I ever going to save up for an OB-6 or MiniMoog if I decide to get another '08?) So I'm curious how you came to this technique. I've never heard of doing this before, and I'm curious how many other keyboardists do this. I find myself questioning why we don't hear of the pros doing this, or maybe you have. I've recently experimented with this technique with my Tetra, and for those of you who haven't tried this and doubt, let me assure you that it really makes a huge difference. The patches sound much bigger.

So my quest has been to consider how else to possibly get this effect. It seems like a chorus effect could help; it basically splits the signal and alters one side. In looking at chorus effects, we would want it to be analog and stereo (in and out). I decided to get a Diamond Halo Chorus pedal, which has a combination Delay/Pitch Modulation/Phase Modulation. The combination of pitch and phase modulation can be used together or individually for traditional chorus or in order to get a wide spatial separation. It appears that one of the main goals when they were designing it was to generate a wide stereo image. I finally got the pedal (which took a lot longer than it should have- another story) and was able to give it a try this weekend. I can’t say that I was able to nail the sound in my initial experiments, but it does get pretty close. After I got it somewhat dialed it, I thought that it really improved all of the Prophet sounds. Sacred Synthesis, if you would like to borrow the Halo Chorus pedal to see how close you can get it, shoot me a PM, and I’ll send it to you. I think the results are encouraging.
http://www.diamondpedals.com/products/halo-chorus/
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 22, 2016, 12:38:45 PM
Another technique that I've been very interested in for some time is how you pan two instruments to opposite sides at the mixer. To clarify, you run both instruments in stereo? Both channels of one instrument go to the mixer and are panned to the left, while both channels of a second keyboard/module go to the right?

Yes, basically.  I suppose at first thought it seems as if I'm running an instrument in stereo, but then panning it to only one side, thus losing the other side.  But the Prophet '08 is a mono instrument with a panning circuit; it isn't truly a stereo instrument.  The only stereo-like sound it creates is that of individual notes jumping from one side to the other, or a certain stereo field in the unison modes.  So, as long as you're not using the Pan Spread parameter, you're not losing half of the sound by panning at the mixer.

The keyboard/module combination allows for several arrangements; first, by polychaining, it can make the Prophet '08 a sixteen-voice instrument; second, by connecting the two instruments by MIDI but not polychaining, it can make it an eight-voice bi-timbral instrument; and third, it can make it a truly stereo instrument.  In the latter case, you simply dump the programs from the master to the slave, and pan at the mixer.  With proper Global settings, the parameters of the former will control those of the latter, including the program numbers and banks.  Of course, you can know what half of this would sound like by using a single keyboard with the Output B jacks on the back, and then panning at the mixer.  Have you experimented with this?

I can easily explain how I came to using this technique.  My first DSI synthesizer was a Prophet '08.  Later, I bought a Poly Evolver Keyboard as well.  For a few months, I used the PEK very little.  But as I began using it more and more, I found myself preferring its sound to the P'08's, but without understanding why.  Then I realized it was because the PEK's oscillators are hardwired to different sides.  It is truly a stereo instrument, and it has two filters as well.  That's one of the reasons it's so good at pads.  It's very much a stereo instrument!  As I did more and more side-by-side comparisons between the two instruments, I realized that, if I had a P'08 Module, I should be able to emulate the PEK's deep rich stereo sound.  And that's how I came to the keyboard and module technique.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 25, 2016, 08:15:41 AM
Sacred Synthesis,

I've been experimenting with these panning techniques a lot over the last several days (both w/Tetra and A/B outs) and have several questions : (I realize you may not know the answer to the first few.) First, why isn't this being discussed by other keyboard players? (...not even here on the DSI forum?) Why haven't I heard of this before? I've been playing synthesizers for over thirty years and read more than many about the best ways to sound good. Is there something I can read that discusses this more? I mean, these are not subtle differences. The results are huge. Why isn't there an outcry to capitalize on these differences from a synthesizer design standpoint? Why can't a keyboard be designed that gets us these results with a single instrument?

Yes, basically.  I suppose at first thought it seems as if I'm running an instrument in stereo, but then panning it to only one side, thus losing the other side.  But the Prophet '08 is a mono instrument with a panning circuit; it isn't truly a stereo instrument.  The only stereo-like sound it creates is that of individual notes jumping from one side to the other, or a certain stereo field in the unison modes.  So, as long as you're not using the Pan Spread parameter, you're not losing half of the sound by panning at the mixer.

So you disable all Panning parameters? This is mainly done by keeping Pan Spread at 0?

If so, couldn't we use just the Left out of the keyboard and the Right line out of the module... saving some cables and channels?

>>...Then I realized it was because the PEK's oscillators are hardwired to different sides.

So, one oscillator only comes out the Left channel and the other only comes out the Right? Is there no way to set up a sound like this on the '08?

Is there a way to know from a spec sheet whether an instrument is wired more like the PEK or the '08?? What about the OB6 and Prophet 6?

I have other questions, but that's more than enough for one post. Again, I really appreciate your knowledge and help.
-Jason
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 25, 2016, 10:04:02 AM
Sacred Synthesis,

I've been experimenting with these panning techniques a lot over the last several days (both w/Tetra and A/B outs) and have several questions : (I realize you may not know the answer to the first few.) First, why isn't this being discussed by other keyboard players? (...not even here on the DSI forum?) Why haven't I heard of this before? I've been playing synthesizers for over thirty years and read more than many about the best ways to sound good. Is there something I can read that discusses this more? I mean, these are not subtle differences. The results are huge. Why isn't there an outcry to capitalize on these differences from a synthesizer design standpoint? Why can't a keyboard be designed that gets us these results with a single instrument?

Yes, basically.  I suppose at first thought it seems as if I'm running an instrument in stereo, but then panning it to only one side, thus losing the other side.  But the Prophet '08 is a mono instrument with a panning circuit; it isn't truly a stereo instrument.  The only stereo-like sound it creates is that of individual notes jumping from one side to the other, or a certain stereo field in the unison modes.  So, as long as you're not using the Pan Spread parameter, you're not losing half of the sound by panning at the mixer.

So you disable all Panning parameters? This is mainly done by keeping Pan Spread at 0?

If so, couldn't we use just the Left out of the keyboard and the Right line out of the module... saving some cables and channels?

>>...Then I realized it was because the PEK's oscillators are hardwired to different sides.

So, one oscillator only comes out the Left channel and the other only comes out the Right? Is there no way to set up a sound like this on the '08?

Is there a way to know from a spec sheet whether an instrument is wired more like the PEK or the '08?? What about the OB6 and Prophet 6?

I have other questions, but that's more than enough for one post. Again, I really appreciate your knowledge and help.
-Jason

Jason -

I'm laughing at your response!  Yes, I'm as mystified as you are as to why this technique is not considered and discussed more on a serious level.  I know it has been just a bit on GS in response to some of my postings, but that's about it.  Even on the two DSI forums, it's been met with indifference.  I several times suggested this technique with the Prophet 12 as a means of improving its some times unsatisfactory digital tone, and the response has been, "Yes, the P12 can achieve a stereo field through modulation.  And so?"  Yet, I've never found a recording of a person doing so.  If the complaint is made that it's just too expensive to buy both keyboard and module versions of either the P'08 or the P12, then my obvious response would be, "Try using the Output B option.  It's the same thing, but with half the voices."  Hence, my second Prophet '08 Keyboard is used mostly for monophonic purposes, and I have it set up using the Output B jacks.  Whatever the program, I copy the Layer A sounds to Layer B, and pan at the mixer.  And this creates a stereo monophonic synthesizer.

On the Prophet '08 Keyboard-Module pair, I normally eliminate panning by leaving it at 0.  Otherwise, there can be inconsistencies in voice volumes.  The reason I don't then use only one P'08 output jack from each unit and save on mixer channels is that I want the option to use the Pan Spread here and there.  It is useful at times, for example, with the unison mode. 

With the PEK, you have several stereo options, by means of an Output Pan parameter.  The oscillators can be entirely panned, moderately panned, or set to mono.  I think this is one reason that some people think the instrument sounds thin.  If you use in stereo just the analog oscillators or just the digital, then you have two sound sources that are completely removed from each other to opposite channels.  The result is the elimination of oscillator beating.  As you draw them together with this parameter, the beating begins and the sound fills out.  But if you leave them in stereo, it can sound as if you're using only one oscillator.  It becomes crucial when using something like a classic sawtooth lead.  However, when using all four oscillators on a thick rich pad, full stereo is compensated for (since there are now two oscillators coming from each channel) and it sounds just fabulous.

The Poly Evolver Keyboard has a brilliant design, and I don't know why Dave has not copied it on his later instruments.  It also provided me with much food for thought - this stereo issue - and I learned a ton from it.  Never before had I thought about this subject.

I don't know which non-DSI synthesizers are stereo, but I would expect each company would be more than happy to brag about it on a spec sheet.  As for the Prophet-6 and OB-6, I believe they're mono instruments with stereo panning and stereo chorus.  Some one can correct me if that's not right.

Then again, there is now a Prophet-6 Module, isn't there?   Tempting....

Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 25, 2016, 11:58:01 AM
Thanks for your quick and thoughtful response, S.S.

It's easy to see why people are loath to even consider going down this road- even to do the simple experiments to hear how it sounds. We can certainly understand the thoughts: "There's no way I'm going to buy another $1400-$2800 redundant keyboard, even if it does sound a little better!" There is also the reasonable notion that something like this would have been discovered long ago if it had any validity.

I'm more incredulous than most people, but it's also an easy experiment to test on our own. When you get it set up, it's like: "Yes, now that's how I want my keys to sound!"The skeptic in me wants to keep looking for another way to get this result. The chorus pedal is getting me maybe 70%-80% of the improvement, and I'm definitely going to keep experimenting with it. Unfortunately, the more movement it gives me (with higher values), the more it colors the sound- whereas, your technique just makes it thicker, fuller, and better.

What would the result of such a duel-setup be with two PEKs? It seems like there should be no improvement, right?

I'm trying to read up more on stereo fields in the hopes of figuring out another way. Normally, a stereo field comes in part from one channel being just slightly out of phase with the other and because of the slight delay that occurs between two microphones. So I intend to start experimenting with a delay pedal. 

I think I'm going to start turning the Pan Spread down to zero and see what happens with running a single line out from each sound source. With no pan spread on a patch, I wonder if a "normal" Left channel would sound identical to the "combined Left channel" in your set up? If the Left channel of your rig sounds identical to the Left channel of a typical rig, then there may be hope for another way. The answer to this (whether or not what comes out of your Right speaker sounds identical in both setups) also has bearing on how big of a difference this technique would make in a live situation in which most of the audience isn't sitting in the sweet spot of the stereo field. That's where my thoughts go next; how big of a difference would it make live, when most of the audience isn't hearing true stereo?

Best Regards.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 25, 2016, 02:40:34 PM
Along the same lines, I would say that most synthesists want as much variety as they can manage.  The idea of putting so much money into only one thrill, one instrument, is disappointing.  On the contrary, I prefer to have only three or four keyboards, but to get those few instruments to sound as good as possible.

I haven't tried this set up in a live format, but I do think it would still be worth the trouble, even for those who are not sitting in a central location regarding the sound.  Remember, I also use this for eight-voice bi-timbral pads, so the complexity of it has various purposes.

I did try running the Prophet '08 through a stereo chorus, but I've never liked that sound.  It's too synthetic to my ears.  I much prefer the complex and natural modulations that come from using multiple oscillators and coupled instruments.

By the way, have you done this sort of experimenting with your Tetra?  It would be so easy to make a stereo instrument with those four outputs.  I had a Tetra a few years ago, but I sold it.  I wish I had done these experiments with it.  It is a superb-sounding synthesizer. 

Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: sylvain alias leo on February 25, 2016, 06:26:40 PM
IMHO every synth company offering different color because electronic components are not the same and therefore offered sounds are very different. Yamaha korg Roland Alesis Modal Moog have their own sound and advantage over others. That's why it is often more interesting to have synthesizers from different company. This widened our range of sound. I love my P8 but I don't want another one. Because I want to expand my possibilities. So I look for a more complementary synth.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 25, 2016, 07:09:16 PM
Sure, that's the common reasoning, but you never get beyond a certain degree of quality by that approach.  Then it's all about sonic variety, which can ironically get pretty monotonous.  I'm simply saying that it's an entirely different approach to strive for a superlative quality with a single instrument, as opposed to the more common approach of using one different instrument after another after another.  A set up that consists of multiple moderate to small-sized synthesizers can cover a wide range of sounds, but unfortunately, it can only attain a modest degree of musical immensity with those sounds.  This approach is of no interest to me because I don't care for the mediocre results, so I've chosen to do things differently by striving for that rare musical immensity.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on February 25, 2016, 07:58:26 PM
Interesting inversion.

I'd say it certainly depends on what you're trying to achieve or what you would like your closest musical environment (in terms of the gear you use) to be like. It is an extremely good challange to limit oneself to one particular instrument as it forces you to overcome its particular limits, work around them, or find other ways of mastering the instrument. It's a process that requires lots of patience and rewards you with some imaginative outcomes.

You have to really like one particular instrument, though, if you follow this path for other reasons than just monetary constraints or creative rules of the game. In this particular case and with regard to the stereo debate, the limitation even involves a little bit of extra cash. Not everyone can or would like to afford the keyboard and the module version of one and the same synth just to achieve a broader stereo image - even if it sounds superior to any compensating techniques. In the studio it's easy to compensate this effect anyway, as it just takes two recordings of the same passage hard-panned to the left and the right.

Genres and particular uses also come into play. Some might not even want a sound that gets that big. What serves a soloist just right, might be too much for a band context, to pick just two traditional models. I always regarded the stereo pan parameter as an option that serves the latter and the purpose to make according multitrack recordings: It widens the sound, but doesn't make it appear twice as big and hence taking up too much space.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: sylvain alias leo on February 25, 2016, 08:30:09 PM
This approach is of no interest to me because I don't care for the mediocre results, so I've chosen to do things differently by striving for that rare musical immensity.

Are you is saying that Moog , Roland, Korg , Modal, Alesis make mediocre synthesizer ? If this is the case what did you play before DSI happening again? Personally I use synthesizers for 40 years. I had EMS VCS 3 , several Korg, several Roland , Yamaha , Moog and with time I just realized that the synthesizer offered a different color. I do not think one synthesizer can replace all. It is a question of hardware, chipset. I agree that there are different grades because there are different markets. I listen some of your demos (very good) but you often use the same type of sound. This is probably the reason for which the prophet 08 satisfied you. But dont get me wrong I love the prophet 08.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 25, 2016, 09:01:01 PM
I'm not preaching here, fellas - just trying to explain what works for me. 

Moog, Roland, Korg, Modal, and Alesis all make exceptional synthesizers; I'm not in any way suggesting they're "mediocre".  I use the word to describe only the limitations of using a single instrument at a time, a single unit. 

There are many individual fine quality violins, but it takes a violin section to make an orchestra and its wonderful sound.  The same is true regarding brass instruments, organ pipes, and voices.  We all know and love the ensemble effect.  Well, my method of combining identical instruments emulates this ensemble effect - simple as that.  We all do this to a degree in adding additional oscillators to a single oscillator, or in adding a chorus effect.  All I'm doing is bringing this coveted ensemble effect to the next level.  The key word in all of this is not "mediocre," but "immensity".   

I'll be the first to agree that I use a small variety of sounds in my music, and that's deliberate.  I've designed a much larger range of patches in my memory banks, but I tend not to favor them when it comes to making serious music.  I'm not trying to win any awards for programming, nor am I trying to show off or impress anyone.  My primary interest is in pure traditional music.  So, I prefer a small number of patches that best serve this music and try to develop and perfect them to the degree I can, with the intention of putting the rest of my efforts into composition or improvisation. 

What does not interest me or work for my type of music is a wide sonic range that lacks depth and fullness - the main exception being tones for melodies.  And remember, I play everything live, so there's no opportunity or need for multi-tracking.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on February 26, 2016, 01:16:02 AM
I'll be the first to agree that I use a small variety of sounds in my music, and that's deliberate.  I've designed a much larger range of patches in my memory banks, but I tend not to favor them when it comes to serious music.  I'm not trying to win any awards for programming, nor am I trying to show off or impress anyone.  My primary interest is in pure traditional music.  So, I prefer a small number of patches and try to develop and perfect them to the degree I can, with the intention of putting the rest of my efforts into composition or improvisation.
That's interesting to hear someone else say that.  Although I make very different music to yourself, I have the same rules about what sounds I use. I'm most often trying to evoke a specific feeling in any music I make and I have a certain palette of sounds that I go back to and refine for that. It's not uncommon for me to listen to banks of pre-programmed sounds and factory patches and find nothing that I would personally use. It doesn't mean they are bad sounds, just that they don't speak to me personally.

I don't stick to DSI/Sequential instruments rigidly, but they usually make up at least 50% of the sounds I use. The rest is generally Roland (Jupiter 6 / Juno 60) and a bit of Moog bass. Of course, I'm more of a studio creature so I have the luxury of an expansive, constantly shifting set of instruments if I choose... but perfectly capable instruments by other manufacturers frequently get sidelined for the ones that always work for and mean something to me. In a more performance based setup I'm sure the DSI instruments would be my first choice due to their versatility and how configurable they are for expressive playing.

FWIW, I'm the same with guitars. I play a Fender Jazzmaster, which has a particular tone and feel that I love. I know that other Fenders, Gibsons and Rickenbackers would give me sounds quite different to my Jazzmaster but I don't need them to sound the way I want to. As it is, I understand the quirks and foibles of my guitar better than any of the guitar techs round here.

Slightly back on topic - The Prophet 08 is the closest I have to a synth equivalent of my Jazzmaster.  It's the synth I understand best of any I've had. It's a pleasure to have that level of understanding and commitment to a specific instrument, especially one that offers so few programming limitations compared to many.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 26, 2016, 06:41:44 AM
In the last few years, I've owned Hammond, Roland, and Moog instruments.  In the more distant past, I've also owned Korg, Octave, Hohner, Elka, ARP, and whatever else.  It just so happens that presently DSI synthesizers best serve my needs.  If this were not the case, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to switch to another company.  For example, I had seriously considered switching to Modal Electronics instruments, but decided their line was far beyond my financial reach.

This really is a synthesist's disagreement, and I have to laugh at it.  Having been raised on organ and some harpsichord, and possessing a profound love and reverence for the immense repertoire composed for each of these instruments, the suggestion that using only a Prophet '08 synthesizer is musically limiting - this is a tad shocking to me.  The only limitations each of us needs to be concerned about are our talent and our willingness to put that talent to work.  This is where the real scarcity lies. 

A Prophet '08, even a single Prophet '08, is more than enough to provide a lifetime of music making.  Just ask Marc Melia, whom many here highly respect for his musical ability - as I do, too.  The catch is, if you're thoroughly given to the synthesizer genre (which I'm not), then you're going to want to do the typical synthesizer thing - which is to own as many different instruments as your money and space allow.  Hence, countless Youtube videos, and many synth forum sub forums, revel in showing off all the stuff.   

This mass and variety of stuff could in no way serve my musical intentions.  The fact is, I could be happy with nothing but several Prophet '08s, or whatever other instrument might serve as well, such as the Modal Electronics 008.  My point is, the synthesizer - any decent synthesizer - already by its design offers so much sonic variety that the suggestion that having only one or even two synthesizers is too limiting - this is bizarre to me.  I guess I'm not enough of a synthesist to feel the same way.  I'm still struggling with my own limited musical talent, versus the immense musical potential of the instruments I play.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 26, 2016, 07:09:08 AM
I wonder if a "normal" Left channel would sound identical to the "combined Left channel" in your set up? If the Left channel of your rig sounds identical to the Left channel of a typical rig, then there may be hope for another way. The answer to this (whether or not what comes out of your Right speaker sounds identical in both setups) also has bearing on how big of a difference this technique would make in a live situation in which most of the audience isn't sitting in the sweet spot of the stereo field.

I tried testing the above last night, and I think the combined Left and Right channels are definitely different from, and thicker than, a typical single channel. This suggests a few things: it suggests that the combination would clearly be beneficial in a live context. (Even if part of the audience is only hearing a single side, that side is clearly better.) Sadly, it suggests that there may be no other way to get these benefits. With hope dwindling, I started to move money into different accounts.  :-\

It also suggests to me that the benefits may be coming more from the doubling of oscillators than it is from a stereo field. (Maybe describing it that way just makes more sense to me.) It seems to me that if the improvements came merely from it being a stereo image, then we should be able to create this effect by the normal means of creating stereo. In addition to chorus pedal experiments, a slight delay on one side should help get us there. I tried adding some Delay in the Amp Envelope of one layer last night, and, while it puts the two sides more out of phase and gives more of a stereo effect, it's nothing like the combined sounds that S.S. discovered.

The analogy of violins or horns seems appropriate. I've wondered numerous times why DSI isn't making synthesizers with three oscillators. I keep remembering the striking difference that the third oscillator made on my old MiniMoog. I would play one oscillator and think it sounded okay... then add the second and notice how much better it sounded- thinking that it would be a perfectly acceptable sound. But then, when I added the third, it would really put the smile on my face. Still, if adding the extra oscillator was all it took, then we should be able to get these desired results by simply using a layer of the exact same sound, which is not the case. So, S.S.'s technique seems to be a combination of the added oscillators with the stereo field.

So... is there a way to make a patch/layer only come out of one side?? If so, it may provide a way to get this effect for some songs/pieces in a concert without having to change cables and panning at the mixer. I ask because, as Paul noted, there are times when the thickness isn't as necessary in a band context, while other times it would make a big difference (when soloing for example). ...and this option could save me some money.  :)

Regarding the comparisons with other companies, the benefits of this technique don't seem to be a DSI benefit per se. It's not like DSI has noticed these techniques and worked to incorporate them into their instruments. This technique may work just as well with any analog synthesizer. I'm not sure we would get the same benefits with digital/sample based keyboards, but it's worth testing. So far, I've only heard of using this with analog synthesizer sounds. I can say that, when it comes to my experiences with getting analog sounds, this technique provides better and more satisfying results than anything I remember with my other keyboards (e.g. current Yamaha, Nord, Roland, old Korg M1, DX7, Oberheim Matrix 6, etc...)

It does make one wonder what the results would be of linking two MiniMoogs together in a similar way. Or what would happen if we added more oscillators to the '08 combination by panning two complete patchs from two '08's to the Left and another two '08's to the Right? With other instruments, including the human voice, the biggest changes to the tone, when adding other instruments, is found with fewer instruments, with the changes becoming more and more negligible with higher numbers of added instruments.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 26, 2016, 07:32:49 AM
Jason -

You're analyzing this method far more than I ever did.  For me, it was simple: the Poly Evolver Keyboard sounds great.  Why?  Because of the stereo hardwired oscillators.  But much more importantly, why does this stereo effect sound great?  In my opinion, it's because it sounds natural. 

Sound most often comes to us from a general complex environment of sound.  Very seldom is it a straight narrowly directed occurrence, such as we hear from mono instruments coming out of one or two speakers.  Consider the sound you hear as you walk through the woods - sounds coming from every direction and being tossed about by the wind and being deflected off of solid objects.  Then consider "natural" or acoustic instruments and the ensembles they often are played in.  This is my ultimate objective in using this technique: it is imitating both nature and acoustic instruments in musical ensembles. 

To explain myself a bit, an orchestra is an expanse of musical sound.  The violins are over here, the trombones are over there, the tympani is back there, and the piano is up here.  The sound is widely spread out across an area.  The same is true with the pipes of an organ and the voices of a choir.  And this is precisely how natural sounds come to us in an expansive natural environment, such as in the woods or at a sea shore.

In my opinion, the stereo effect imitates these settings - both nature and the musical ensemble.  And that's why it has such appeal to our ears.  It's pleasing because it sounds more natural, whereas a mono signal, especially with large sounds (strings, brass, pads), sounds annoyingly unnatural and artificial.  So, if you were to amplify natural or orchestral sounds through a single high-quality speaker that could perfectly reproduce every frequency and nuance, it still wouldn't seem right.  The sound would be there, but the spatial aspect would not.

My objective with synthesizer is to make it sound more musically pleasing by making it sound less artificial, electronic, and synthetic.  A stereo field is essential to this.

As the photographs on my Youtube "videos" show, I'm an outdoorsy guy, an avid hiker.  My reference point has always been the outdoors, and it's the same when I sit to make synthesizer music.  Nature is a rule I try always to follow.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on February 26, 2016, 08:22:12 AM
have you done this sort of experimenting with your Tetra?  It would be so easy to make a stereo instrument with those four outputs. 

Yes, I have tested your technique with both the Tetra and the A/B output option on the '08, and the results are equally satisfying. Your comment about the Tetra's four outputs is a good thought: I frequently forget that there are a few things that the Tetra has that the '08 does not. (One is the sub oscillator, which makes the Tetra better for bass, even though that's not something I'm currently looking for.) But I think you're right that the Tetra has greater flexibility with what is coming out of the four outputs. So I bet I could set it up as a very good, live, monophonic lead synthesizer that uses your stereo approach... and then switch patches and, without unplugging cables and changing the mixer, go back to a more traditional wiring in which I could use it as a four voice synthesizer.

Btw, when it comes to your lead Saw sounds, it seems that a vintage MiniMoog D would be a great fit for you. (I'm not as excited by the Voyager.) Is there a reason that you've ruled it out?

I bought the Tetra for a few reasons: One was to experiment with your setup, which has been eye-opening for sure.
Another was that I was interested in expanding the voices on the '08, especially when using layers and splits. With splits and layers in a "typical setup", it can give us six voices, which is usually sufficient compared to four, which is frequently limiting. But I find myself thinking that I'll eventually use the Tetra more from another keyboard in order to get three Prophet sounds going in a song without having to switch patches. (One source of frustration in the Prophet is that I can't use a pedal to quickly switch patches live.)

A third reason, which I think I mentioned elsewhere, is that I can safely download the other patches that are available from the DSI website into the Tetra. Once these are in the Tetra, I can easily move the ones I like to the patch number and bank that I want them in on the '08, and then dump the individual patches exactly where I want them. I don't have to worry that I'm gong to accidentally lose something that I want to keep. Frankly, this has been worth a lot, as I have found many good patches, and I was pretty fearful of losing the sounds that I had created. Of course, there is software for doing this, but I have also read of people accidentally losing their programs.

By the way, I was able to download some single patches from the old forum, but I have not been able to get them to load. The patch banks available from DSI load exactly as they should (and again, I found several there that I like). When I downloaded single patches from the old forum (for example, a Journey Separate Ways patch and an "improvement" on the Tom Sawyer Oberheim sound) they look the same/seem to be of the same format, but they won't load into the Tetra. Any ideas?
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 26, 2016, 09:38:39 AM
Btw, when it comes to your lead Saw sounds, it seems that a vintage MiniMoog D would be a great fit for you. (I'm not as excited by the Voyager.) Is there a reason that you've ruled it out?

I bought a Voyager Old School a few years ago, and I really disliked the sawtooth.  It sounded similar to a narrow pulse, no matter how carefully I set the waveform knob.  I've noticed this on Voyager videos as well.  It was quite a disappointment.

As much as vintage instruments would probably give me the sound I want, nevertheless, I don't want the headaches and expenses of maintaining old instruments.  Otherwise, I'd buy a Model D (which I had years ago) or a (full-sized) Odyssey. 

I'm presently searching for the "perfect' sawtooth.  The Sub 37 immediately comes to mind, but the instrument is just too small.  I'll probably put together a combination of things, such as an Oberheim module controlled by another synthesizer.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on February 26, 2016, 10:05:08 AM
This really is a synthesist's disagreement, and I have to laugh at it.  Having been raised on organ and some harpsichord, and possessing a profound love and reverence for the immense repertoire composed for each of these instruments, the suggestion that using only a Prophet '08 synthesizer is musically limiting - this is a tad shocking to me.  The only limitations each of us needs to be concerned about are our talent and our willingness to put that talent to work.  This is where the real scarcity lies. 

A Prophet '08, even a single Prophet '08, is more than enough to provide a lifetime of music making.  Just ask Marc Melia, whom many here highly respect for his musical ability - as I do, too.  The catch is, if you're thoroughly given to the synthesizer genre (which I'm not), then you're going to want to do the typical synthesizer thing - which is to own as many different instruments as your money and space allow.  Hence, countless Youtube videos, and many synth forum sub forums, revel in showing off all the stuff.   

This mass and variety of stuff could in no way serve my musical intentions.  The fact is, I could be happy with nothing but several Prophet '08s, or whatever other instrument might serve as well, such as the Modal Electronics 008.  My point is, the synthesizer - any decent synthesizer - already by its design offers so much sonic variety that the suggestion that having only one or even two synthesizers is too limiting - this is bizarre to me.  I guess I'm not enough of a synthesist to feel the same way.  I'm still struggling with my own limited musical talent, versus the immense musical potential of the instruments I play.

I'm not sure whether that is somewhat directed at me. In case it was, let me clarify:

First of all, I consider limitation to be a positive thing. Whether one focuses on a particular type of sound, whether one focuses on a particular type of instrument, and so on. I rarely use the term in a demeaning way, especially not in the creative realm. When I call the approach limiting to only use a Prophet '08 for example, I'm referring to sheer quantities only, not to the instrument's inherent possibilities. In this day and age, where almost everything seems to be possible and a keystroke away, focusing on just one instrument is a deliberately limiting choice. And I highly sympathize with that.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 26, 2016, 10:43:35 AM
I'm not sure whether that is somewhat directed at me. In case it was, let me clarify:

First of all, I consider limitation to be a positive thing. Whether one focuses on a particular type of sound, whether one focuses on a particular type of instrument, and so on. I rarely use the term in a demeaning way, especially not in the creative realm. When I call the approach limiting to only use a Prophet '08 for example, I'm referring to sheer quantities only, not to the instrument's inherent possibilities. In this day and age, where almost everything seems to be possible and a keystroke away, focusing on just one instrument is a deliberately limiting choice. And I highly sympathize with that.

Paul -

My comments are not directed "at" you, but you're certainly a part of this discussion.  By the way, I'm enjoying this exchange, and I'm glad to have some interesting back-and-forth with you, which has been rather lacking on this new forum.

I've already made the points I've wanted to, so I won't repeat them.  But the idea of limitation is also interesting.  One of the difficulties in being a synthesist is in owning modern instruments that have an almost incomprehensible complexity and potential.  There are a number of synthesizers that I've considered and studied in the last few years that, for me, would be totally frustrating to compose on, simply because I would always be aware of the inadequate use I was making of them.  One example of this would be the Roland Jupiter 80.  Perhaps it shouldn't matter, but it does as a sort of artist's distraction.  I've always found too much of anything to be distracting, when concentration was needed.  It's a bit like trying to write in a messy room or with junk all over your desk.  Some minds need a Spartan orderliness in order to work well, and this is probably true for more people than realize it. 

This is how music and instruments strike me.  I actually like limitation; I actually don't want a synthesizer that can do everything.  A modest instrument like the Prophet '08 makes for a wholesome creative environment and tool, and whatever it cannot do mysteriously becomes an aid to creativity, or at the very least, not a distraction from it. 

I've composed many pieces for church organ, having at my disposal what - to a synthesist - would be a tortuously limited range of  tones.  And it was never ever a problem.  The only problem or limitation came in the form of the organist!

On the other hand, even though I can appreciate the thought as a synthesist, I could never really look at a Prophet '08 as "limited," except in comparison to other more sophisticated instruments - obviously.  But unto itself, it is quite remarkable in its flexibility.  Every synthesizer is.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on February 26, 2016, 11:07:54 AM
I've already made the points I've wanted to, so I won't repeat them.  But the idea of limitation is also interesting.  One of the difficulties in being a synthesist is in owning instruments that have an almost incomprehensible potential.  There are a number of synthesizers that I've considered and studied in the last few years that, for me, would be totally frustrating to compose on, simply because I would always be aware of the inadequate use I was making of them.  One example of this would be the Roland Jupiter 80.  Perhaps it shouldn't matter, but it does as a sort of artist's distraction.  I've always found too much of anything to be distracting, when concentration was needed.  It's a bit like trying to write in a messy room or with junk all over your desk.  Some minds need a Spartan orderliness in order to work well, and this is probably true for more people than realize it. 

This is how music and instruments strike me.  I actually like the limitation; I actually don't want a synthesizer that can do everything.  A modest instrument like the Prophet '08 makes for a wholesome creative environment, and whatever it cannot do mysteriously becomes an aid to creativity.

I'm 100% with you on that. The only difference is that I used to produce my music a lot with software-based instruments a couple of years ago. And at some point I realized that the abundance of chances at hand are not entirely productive. In a way it's like when everything seems to be possible, nothing ends up being possible anymore, because making decisions is becoming much harder. I also rarely ended up designing my own sounds anymore - first of all because it's not particular attractive to tweak sounds with a mouse anyway, second of all because I somehow got lost in a huge array of already existing presets that I only modified here and there. So when I went back to hardware synths, I made up the rule to only use my hardware for synthetic sounds, i.e. everything that goes beyond samples and sample processing. I also like to use only one of my hardware instruments to make an entire track, since that can be quite liberating and forces you into trying to get the best out of one instrument, which is what I liked about having only one synth as a teenager. You dig in deeper and won't find any cheap excuses like "okay, if I want a bass I just turn towards my Moog" or something like that.

I've composed many pieces for church organ, having at my disposal what - to a synthesist - would be a tortuously limited range of  tones.  And it was never ever a problem.  The only problem or limitation came in the form of the organist!

On the other hand, even though I can appreciate the thought as a synthesist, I could never really look at a Prophet '08 as "limited" except in relation to other more sophisticated instruments.  But unto itself, it's quite remarkable in its flexibility.

Right. It always comes down to how you go about your tools, which are rarely faulty by design. And I also agree on your statement about the Prophet '08: it's far from being limited. I'd be the last person to say so. And although I sacrificed mine in favor of a Prophet-6, I will always point out that it does highly depend on your setup what to choose. If I could only have one synth, I would probably rather pick a Prophet '08 over either a Pro 2 and a Prophet-6. Another thing: Just because I appear to have "moved on" (which is not precisely how I would put it personally, hence the somewhat sarcastically meant quotation marks), doesn't mean that I forgot about the strengths of the very first DSI instruments.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 26, 2016, 11:39:04 AM
See?  We basically agree, with a few exceptions.  From knowing your instrument set up, I knew we couldn't be too far apart.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: chysn on February 26, 2016, 12:09:13 PM
This approach is of no interest to me because I don't care for the mediocre results, so I've chosen to do things differently by striving for that rare musical immensity.

Are you is saying that Moog , Roland, Korg , Modal, Alesis make mediocre synthesizer ?

The context here is "using lots of cheap synths superficially" versus "getting to know a small number of good synths really well." It's a position that I'm sort of coming around on, and if you graph my "number of synths" axis over time, there's definitely a downward slope. (Not to claim that I've achieved an expert level with anything).

And speaking strictly for myself: Yes, Roland makes mediocre synthesizers.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on February 26, 2016, 01:40:12 PM
And speaking strictly for myself: Yes, Roland makes mediocre synthesizers.
Today, yes. 30+ years ago not so much. All personal preference of course. ;) I'm pretty indifferent to Korg synths with the possible exception of the mono/poly.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 26, 2016, 01:44:41 PM
I had a Juno 60 many moons ago.  I thought it was good, especially the filter, but not worthy of the adulation it's given these days.  A Prophet '08 could run circles around it.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on February 26, 2016, 03:12:22 PM
I had a Juno 60 many moons ago.  I thought it was good, especially the filter, but not worthy of the adulation it's given these days.  A Prophet '08 could run circles around it.
I can't argue with that. The Juno sounds great but has none of the versatility of the P'08. It was my first analog poly so I'm still a little sentimental about it.

The Jupiter 6 appears to get quite a bit of bad press, presumably for not being a Jupiter 8. With thoughtful programming it can sound amazing. Often more rich and interesting than the Prophet 6 I have next to it, and with the Europa upgrade in some ways a more advanced and complete synth. There are certainly some features, such as the optimised voice allocation (rather than round robin) that I wish the DSI synths offered. The Jupiter 6 is the synth I use most after the P'08.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 26, 2016, 03:35:40 PM
I had a Juno 60 many moons ago.  I thought it was good, especially the filter, but not worthy of the adulation it's given these days.  A Prophet '08 could run circles around it.
I can't argue with that. The Juno sounds great but has none of the versatility of the P'08. It was my first analog poly so I'm still a little sentimental about it.

I've started a separate Juno 60 discussion in the "Other Hardware/Software" sub forum because it's worthy of it and because I don't want to lead this discussion off track.

http://forum.davesmithinstruments.com/index.php/topic,346.0.html
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 01:08:35 PM
It's a strange way of putting it, but one of the things I like about the Prophet '08 is that it sounds so much like a Prophet 600.  I've always thought the two instruments sounded more similar than any other P'08 sound-alikes.  And yet, the architecture more closely resemble the Prophet-6.  I'd like to hear a P-600/P-6 video comparison. 

This video is a good example of what I mean.  My Prophet '08 is full of these types of programs, which I really like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZvgYxHpIOQ
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 01:40:01 PM
It's a strange way of putting it, but one of the things I like about the Prophet '08 is that it sounds so much like a Prophet 600.  I've always thought the two instruments sounded more similar than any other P'08 sound-alikes.  And yet, the architecture more closely resemble the Prophet-6.  I'd like to hear a P-600/P-6 video comparison. 

This video is a good example of what I mean.  My Prophet '08 is full of these types of programs, which I really like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZvgYxHpIOQ

Hmm, I never owned a Prophet-600, but I've played one. My instant impression was that its core sound was much nastier than that of the Prophet '08.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 01:51:02 PM
That's surprising.  I've heard many videos of the Prophet 600 that immediately appealed to my conservative musical tastes.  Although I don't do vintage, if I did, it certainly would be one of my first picks. 
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 01:54:23 PM
I'm confident that one can tame it with careful programming and also some reverb. Yet, I would describe the Prophet '08 as sounding very polite in comparison.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 02:55:09 PM
The Prophet 600 is so basic a synthesizer - just the bare minimum.  So you're saying the filter is kind of edgy?
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 02:59:31 PM
The filter is stepping. I was referring more to the oscillators' sound. Much weightier. If the Prophet '08 would be Pop, the Prophet 600 would be Punk. By which I mean: it sounds bigger, brassier, everything more to the extreme. The oscillators' sound is more "in your face," which can't really be said about the Prophet '08.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 03:16:28 PM
In that sense, the Prophet 600 is certainly closer to the Prophet-5, the Pro One, and the Prophet-6 (in probably that order). The overall tone of the Prophet '08 is milder, mellower, which is probably why some people said it should rather be compared to the CEM-based Oberheims.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 03:20:36 PM
Yes, it does sound brassy and Oberheim-like , but I like that.  The architecture is so similar to the Prophet 6.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z5c71OOZXo
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 03:24:06 PM
Hmm, I would call the typical Oberheim sound the opposite of brassy. The Prophet-6 would run circles around the 600.

What I typically mean by "brassy" is a somewhat hollow tone that rather emphasizes the extremes of the frequency spectrum. It has nothing to do with the sound being "fat" or not. It's basically what I would describe as the classic Prophet tone. The Oberheim sound fills out what's left over. It's in that sense that I think the OB-6 will be an ideal partner for the Prophet-6.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 03:39:46 PM
We synthesists have exceedingly fickle ears! 

I like the whole Sequential Circuits/DSI range, and I think the Oberheim sound compliments it very well.  So, where would you locate the Prophet 6 character in all this?
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 03:44:20 PM
The Prophet-6 is a typical Prophet, which is why those who don't like it as much say it's bad for pads (I'd say that's bollocks though), but better for basses, leads, and effects. It's sonically the opposite of the OB-6. They almost share the same features, but yet they sound so different. If you like Peter M. Mahr's latest OB-6 demos you'd have to get an OB-6 instead of a Prophet-6. If you want an updated Prophet '08, you need both. If you like the sounds of the old Prophets and the DSI sound in general, a Prophet-6 would serve you just fine. That's as simple as I  can put it.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 03:54:23 PM
I'm impressed with both 6s, but I need to hear a lot more from the OB-6.  I'm quite happy with my current set up regarding polyphony.  It's monophony that has me searching for possible improvements.  So, although I'd like to hear more OB-6 pads, it's especially its sawtooth solo and other similar patches that interest me.

And I'd have to agree with you.  How could a Prophet synthesizer - any Prophet - be bad for pads?  We're getting spoiled.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 04:08:15 PM
I'd assume they'd be sweet. What I meant by the upgraded Prophet '08 and both is the following: The Prophet '08 is a great flexible analog standalone synth - probably the best you can get in terms of features, sound, and pricing. The Prophet-6 and the OB-6 are more specialized synths. They are more limited in terms of bells and whistles, but are incredibly good at what each of them is capable of (pure tone and filters). Both together cover almost anything you'll wanna have in terms of a true analog poly synth sound and will surpass the sonic flexibility of the Prophet '08. One will of course always argue that even if you combine both of them, they'll still not make up for the Prophet '08's mod matrix. Quantitatively that's true, but that's about it. I'd say a) you don't need that many mod slots if you know how to master the basics (which is also part of the charme and challenge), b) it makes designing sounds quicker, more gratifying, and c) even though the P-6 and OB-6 mod options seem super rudimentary, they can lead to quite complex results and it's not always as basic as the equation "one (LFO section) plus one (PolyMod/X-Mod)" suggests.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 04:26:35 PM
Well said. 

It's a matter of sound designing approaches.   One synthesist likes to sit at the instrument and experiment, searching even for hours for some exceptional sound he's never before heard.  Another synthesist has very specific sounds in mind and knows exactly what architecture is needed to create and refine them.  I'm definitely the latter type.  That's why the Prophet '08 and Poly Evolver work so well for me.  They're superb with details and refinement.  But that's not to say this type of designing can't appreciate the odd synthesizer, like either of the 6s.  There's room in my set up for one oddity, as long as it's very good at monophonic sounds.  But I do have a problem with the single LFO, in spite of the workarounds.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 01, 2016, 04:57:46 PM
Oh, I need space for both approaches too - that goes without saying.

I'd say wait until the OB-6 is out, which shouldn't be too far away. And if you got no other option, I would just make use of the 30 days money back guarantee that Sweetwater offers. Seriously, if the OB-6 - or the Prophet-6 for that matter - don't convince you within that time frame, you can safely assume that they are not for you.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 01, 2016, 05:04:25 PM
That's exactly what I intend to do.  Meanwhile, we may hear from Vermona on their 14 synthesizer.  I'm also anticipating Tom Oberheim's new SEM Plus module.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on March 02, 2016, 12:29:01 AM
Whilst I don't, as yet, find the Prophet-6 as natural for making pads as a number of other synths I have, it's certainly not "bad" at them. It's pretty good at everything I try and make with it, and exceptional at some sounds. This time, thankfully, I didn't buy it as a P'08 replacement but as something of to sit alongside and compliment it. :)

It's a good point about the different approaches to sound design. I naturally work in a logical methodical way, which suits the P'08, dealing with absolute values and often with a specific result in mind. The P-6 takes me out of that comfort zone (a good thing) and is if anything slightly less intuitive for me. With the P'08 almost all my sounds are designed with LFOs in mind, whereas on the P-6 I try to make sounds as interesting as I can without any use of the LFO, knowing it can't be relied upon so easily to liven it up. In truth, the "one amount to all destinations" limitation is more of a frustration to me.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: lnetzel on March 04, 2016, 02:18:38 AM
That thing about patch panel sheets (to document patches and share in a visual format I guess), why not just take a screenshots from SoundTower? You don't need the full version for that.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: musicmaker on March 05, 2016, 11:47:27 PM
Hope there will be remake of the P8 in same format  updated with USB MIDI (2.0 ?), P12 knobs  in the same price range and perhaps an updated display like OLED. but DSI always wants to do something different, do the same is not their style, but an updated 8 voice bi-timbral poly synth in this price range would be welcome.

Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on March 09, 2016, 04:02:28 PM
Just want to say I've been enjoying this conversation, especially the tips from Sacred Synthesis.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 09, 2016, 04:45:36 PM
Thanks, Dswo.

I rarely spend time any longer on the other synth forums, but today I stopped by the Moog Forum.  There's an interesting thread on the Prophet-6.  It was mostly positive, but even in the midst of the kind words directed towards DSI, there were the usual criticisms of the Prophet '08 and its "thin" tone.  I'm glad I don't consider such comments to be worth a cow flop, and it reminded me of something I've wanted to post for a while, I suppose somewhat ironically.

If you're trying to make a decision about musical instruments, take the forums very lightly.  They can serve the purpose of providing additional information to company and music store websites, but the voluminous comments and opinions can confuse and lead you astray when it comes to making an actual decision - the decision that is right for you.  I have found far more bad advice on these forums than good, and been led in the wrong direction more often than the right.  People often suggest that you do or buy what they would do or buy, and give advice that suits their interests, as if you would benefit from being them.  I would say, if you're trying to make a gear decision, eliminate or at least limit this mass of forum twaddle, be selective in what you read, and go light on opinions and heavy on facts.   Spend your time analyzing your own needs and comparing them with each instrument's capabilities.  Careful private research based entirely on facts is far more beneficial than reading a thousand opinions and then trying to come up with their average.  YouTube videos are very helpful, even if the sound quality is only moderate.  But cut way down on the volumes of viewpoints, which can cloud your thinking.

I say this recalling all the warnings I've come across the past seven years concerning the Prophet '08's and Poly Evolver's dreadfully bad Curtiss filters, thin tone, and etc.  Right.  I am sooooo happy with these instruments, and if I had taken too seriously this mass of negative opinions, I wouldn't have bought them; I would have bought, instead, what was right fro some one else. 

I've been fortunate enough to be able to consult with a few knowledgeable pals on this forum, such as Paul Dither, and it's been both helpful and enjoyable.  But most of what is found on the forums in general strikes me as utter rubbish when it comes to clarity of thought, so that going against the tide has been the wiser method of making right decisions.  There's much to be said for a generous amount of self-reliance when making these decisions.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on March 09, 2016, 11:41:12 PM
I've found constantly defending the Prophet'08 on other forums gets pretty tiresome after a while. Some people, sadly, don't want to listen. I think a lot of it is down to use of language. It's easy and lazy to throw around words like "thin", "bad" and "hate". I don't hate any instrument I've played unless it was actually physically broken and unplayable in some way. All I can ever state categorically is that a particular instrument isn't to my taste.

The one thing I always try to keep in mind when listening to demos or reading reviews is - Can it make sounds that I want to hear in the music that I make? It's easy to be impressed by many things a synth can do but at least 90% of those things are not things that I would use. Although I could be sold a Swiss Army knife, sometimes all I really want is an excellent corkscrew. :)
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 10, 2016, 06:53:22 AM
I don't even bother trying to defend the instruments I like.  I'm just marveling at the amount of blather one has to wade through in the search for a miniscule amount of valuable information.  Oh, the hours I've wasted late at night.  There's a better way.  I now do very specific searches on Google for whatever interests me, and these may lead me to a forum, but at least it's a narrowly defined, and therefore, short,  visit.  I find this approach to be a time-saver.  This is the only forum I actually peruse, but that's only because I'm expected to as a moderator.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Soundquest on March 10, 2016, 08:41:37 AM
As far as I'm concerned most of that "thin sound' PO 8 talk was mynah bird syndrome.   I had thought that had died down long ago, though I don't really visit any other forums.   There are simply too many great recordings out there with PO8 that squash the "thin" accusation. 
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 10, 2016, 08:48:10 AM
Absolutely.  Before DSI asked/invited me to help out here, I had removed myself from the old forum and all others as well.  I was 95% forum-free.  It was so refreshing.  Now I try to keep it to a minimum, the exception being when I'm researching an instrument or effect.  Which is why I'd like to decide soon which new instrument I'll buy and then quit the forum stuff altogether (except here).
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 10, 2016, 08:55:17 AM
The Prophet '08 naysayers are just too impatient. I stick to my verdict: If you can only have one analog polysynth you'll find nothing better than the Prophet '08 in terms of price, sound, and features - and I say that as a Prophet-6 and Pro 2 user.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 10, 2016, 09:05:11 AM
There's no conflict between those three instruments, Paul, as I'm sure you would agree.  Each is superb in its own way, and they could all wonderfully work together.  I'd be quite happy with either.  But there's something unique about the Prophet '08, in that it receives such a beating on the forums.  Even the Poly Evolver is relatively spared such abuse.  But my point has been that such forum blather is, in fact, voluminous misinformation given as opinion, and it can lead one to make the wrong decision.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on March 10, 2016, 09:13:40 AM
I know. I've recognized this attitude towards almost all DSI products though. In the case of the Prophet '08 it just seems to be the most extreme. But even with regard to the Prophet-6 I've read comments like "it has that typically thin DSI sound." Or with regard to the OB-6: "Thankfully, it doesn't have the typical DSI sound, but it still doesn't sound as good as a real vintage Oberheim." - It's becoming really boring to read stuff like that mostly written by people who didn't even touch the instrument in the first place.

Plus: I'm not criticizing that some people don't like the sound, but rather how they go about it.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on March 10, 2016, 11:05:29 AM
But even with regard to the Prophet-6 I've read comments like "it has that typically thin DSI sound." Or with regard to the OB-6: "Thankfully, it doesn't have the typical DSI sound, but it still doesn't sound as good as a real vintage Oberheim."

I have been speculating on why modern DSI instruments are said to be thin sounding. Maybe its the way the oscillators are controlled in the new VCO machines? I am wondering if the heavy low end of the older Oberheim machines stems from the free running oscillators pitch fluctuations. If so there are certainly room for more research or studies into oscillator pitch control.

I remember that "snowcrash" of the old forum mentioned that vintage synthesizers had pink or darker noise on their pitch CV channels. Now if its so that could in theory be emulated with lowpass filtering of digital noise in the modulation matrix on a suitable extended voice architecture.

Also I think that the long term softsynth producers may very well have great models of this pitch fluctuations and hence could be in a better position to make modern digital control of VCOs than possibly some manufacturers already working in the analog synthesizer field.

Of cause, this is just pure speculation. But certainly an interesting discussion!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Razmo on March 13, 2016, 09:56:16 AM
I don't think it has much to do with being DCO's... A Sub37 is also a DCO synth in theory... but the term DCO has so many definitions that it gets hard to categorize it. Are the oscillators running on their own, only having Pitch controlled by a CV signal from a processor? ... or is the cycles of the oscillators controlled by a clock like on the CEM chips? ... How unstable are the oscillators... have this unstableness been emulated in the digital control? etc. etc... I cannot say for sure, as I'm no electronics wizard, but I can definitely hear, that DSI synths, though capable of doing bass frequencies, that they will not sound like a Sub37.... though... the Waldorf Pulse2 has clocked oscillators, and sound absolutely massive compared to the DSI analog polys... so something is causing this "thinness".

Personaly I don't care, because I only need that beefyness in kick drums and basses, and will just use the tool that does it well... besides, that beef in the lowend will only serve to muddy up everything if it existed in every sound you use in a mix... The DSI synths have many other uses that those bass monsters will never touch... that's why it's nice to have more than one synth in your rig  ;)

Besides... if you want more beef out of your DSI... pump up the low end with an analog EQ... there you have it!  ;D
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: motwell on March 21, 2016, 10:52:59 PM
I just received my Prophet '08 last week (an upgrade after having a Mopho X4 for 4 years). 

I'll use it primarily for live performance (it's already done its first gig), so the finest details of my sound are often lost in the ambiance of the venue.  (I guess the solution to that is to design the patches as caricatures of themselves - everything a little more vivid than I really want it)

I certainly don't find it "thin" or "buzzy" or "harsh" or even "brassy."  If anything, I would like to be able to get a little *more* edge (to help me compete with cymbals & ambient noise). 

It just sounds like a traditional beautiful analog polysynth to me.  Seems like it has more cojones than the X4 (where I never use the sub-oscillators), but that may be my confirmation bias, and the pleasure of playing 8 voices on a 5-octave keyboard.

The mod matrix is familiar after the X4, but i'm glad to find this forum because it seems as if there is a lot of accumulated Prophet '08 wisdom here.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 23, 2016, 07:36:51 PM
Yes, it's a wonderful instrument.  You don't run out of octaves on the keyboard, or LFOs, or envelopes, you're able to create splits and stacks, you have the 2 and 4-pole choices in the filter, and a raw Oberheim-ish sound.  Personally, I find I'm never frustrated at a dead end when I'm using it, due to something essential being absent. The instrument does what I need it to.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on March 24, 2016, 08:58:48 PM
This is my first post on the board, and I read this thread with great interest. I've been seriously considering the Prophet 08 as my next synthesizer, and I'm glad to hear that it's loved! I've been listening to Sacred Synthesis's videos all afternoon, and I really like the classically inspired sounds and music. Your phrasing and dynamics are really exquisite, and the Prophet allows you to express yourself.

This is a real instrument with guts as well as idiosyncrasies. The programming doesn't look too difficult or open ended like the Prophet 12. Yet with the two layers, three envelopes, and modulation matrix, it seems like one can create a universe of sounds on it.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: wearekin on April 16, 2016, 02:33:10 AM
Same here as tumble2k - I'm looking to get a new synth at some point this year. The P6 / OB6 are very exciting, the Pro2 does a very different job wonderfully but the P8 always draws me back... Something about it, unfortunately there are none in my local area to try out (any DSI synths at all) so its likely I will have to take the plunge. But saying that, I don't think its possible I wouldn't enjoy owning any single DSI synth at all...
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 16, 2016, 07:27:40 AM
The P6 / OB6 are very exciting, the Pro2 does a very different job wonderfully but the P8 always draws me back...

The ability to layer two sounds is a huge thing for me. With layering I could combine 4 oscillators and two filters to get more timbres or use detuning and pan to get the big sound that Sacred Synthesis talks about earlier in this thread. Still have four voices to work with is a plus. This is simply not possible with the Prophet 6 or OB 6.

I've listened to so many videos and played my Ambika, and I've started to like the "brassy" Curtis filter. It has a brightness that I like. I also like the Prophet 6 and OB 6 filters though!

I also think about getting the Prophet 12. It's a tradeoff between a much larger range of sounds that can be produced vs. not having digital in the signal path, which always adds some high frequency hash, which bothers me.

So I guess I'm in the same boat. I could be happy with any of these!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 16, 2016, 09:12:02 PM
The P '08, P 12, P-6, and OB-6 are all excellent synthesizers, but they definitely have their own tonal personalities.  I wouldn't consider them interchangeable, even if we could all be happy with each of them. 

Regarding the first two instruments, I would say the ability to layer, all by itself, opens up a sonic world of complexity and immensity that is worth having.  I would feel confined without it.  It draws on the imagination in ways that a single layer does not.  As one example, I would mention the simultaneous combining of two envelopes.  One can be soft and slow, while the other is sharp and percussive.  Or the second one can be delayed, creating an echo effect, even with soft white noise.  To deepen this echo effect or make it more mysterious, you can process the second layer separately with additional reverb. 

Having the ability to combine two entirely distinct layers opens up a world of synthesis that is so unique and even demanding on the imagination.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 18, 2016, 08:34:32 AM
I'm very interested in creating instruments with the right articulation. I had a Yamaha MOXF rompler, and I found that even though strings were extremely realistic, they did not have realistic articulation. At least not in the way I wanted them to be articulated. I realized that the essense of an instrument is not its waveform. It has to do with how the performer expresses him or herself with it. I also realized that with a good analog synthesizer I could adjust the articulation in myriad subtle ways without the distraction of 1,700 waveforms to choose from. Then I saw Sacred Synthesis's Youtube videos and homed in on the Prophet 08. Will get it as soon as I sell my Ambika...
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 10:13:41 AM
You're right.  Strings are very tricky at the Attack phase.  Anybody can design a string patch that sounds decent when a note or chord is sustained, but the first instant of the sound is an entirely different matter, as are the other nuances.  I think the old vintage string synthesizers were poor influences on our ears, and I also consider the addition of a stereo chorus or flanger to kill a lovely string sound.  To state the obvious, string sections do not move back and forth while they're playing!  You want a stereo effect that remains the same throughout, and the best way to achieve this is by having the sound sources simultaneously coming from both sides, and some times with the slightest variances.  A simple and standard as it may sound to some, a superb string patch takes much time, care, and attention to details. 

The key is in knowing how you will be playing the patch - with fast notes, slow notes, staccato, pizzicato, sustained, and so on.  Next, you have to find the right combination of VCA and VCF for the Attack, to suit the rapidity of your playing.  I generally prefer a moderate VCA Attack with a slower VCF Attack - the filter set at only 8-10, which adds a pleasant bowing effect.  Then I set that small amount of filter modulation to close again as slowly as possible.  These settings, combined with a delayed vibrato that may also lessen when the note or chord is sustained, as well as a generous amount of reverb, make for a warm, living, breathing string patch.

One additional note: personally, I don't strive for an obsessively realistic string sound, even though a real string section provides an ideal and a starting point.  But I'm not trying to fool anyone.  What I strive for is a beautiful synthesized string patch, an electronic version of an acoustic sound, but one that doesn't sound electronic in a negative sense.  Strange as it may be, I'm usually trying to get my synthesizers to sound like acoustic instruments.  When you succeed at that, you have a synthesizer patch that sounds wonderfully sweet and musical.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on April 18, 2016, 11:25:38 AM
To state the obvious, string sections do not move back and forth while they're playing!

Thanks! That obvious and insightful comment made me smile on a gray Monday!

Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on April 18, 2016, 11:26:26 AM
Will get it as soon as I sell my Ambika...

Are you really sure you will sell your Ambika? Its a great machine!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 11:32:28 AM
Sell your Ambika to Dslsynth.  Problem solved.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 11:53:38 AM
To state the obvious, string sections do not move back and forth while they're playing!

Thanks! That obvious and insightful comment made me smile on a gray Monday!

Sorry to hear you're having a gray Monday.  Now cheer up!  There, I took care of your gray Monday.  ;D

My point was that, chorus and flanger can sound great when you want your synthesizer to really sound like a synthesizer.  But I prefer to use other forms of modulation.  For example, two slightly different rates of subtle pulse width modulation combined with two slightly different rates of vibrato produce a wonderfully full and complex sound that seems a bit more acoustic than electronic.  I much prefer that the modulation be part and parcel of the actual patch, rather than that it be added on by means of a device and in a static state.  And I'm obviously suggesting the advantages of multiple LFOs vs. external effects that create a shifting from side to side.  Hence, the dancing string section.  The only time I use panning is when I want a patch to blatantly sound like a synthesizer, which is usually with pads.  Yet, even then the panning gets lost in the reverb.

This is just my approach to making the synthesizer sound a bit more natural and acoustic.  It may seem contrary, but beautiful music and beautiful tone are ideals that require striving after.  The synthesizer must not be allowed to get in the way of making fine synthesizer music.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on April 18, 2016, 12:34:49 PM
Sell your Ambika to Dslsynth.  Problem solved.

Only trouble is that I cannot afford an Ambika. Even an used one!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on April 18, 2016, 12:41:53 PM
My point was that, chorus and flanger can sound great when you want your synthesizer to really sound like a synthesizer.  But I prefer to use other forms of modulation.

I think there are good points here when it comes to chorus/flange versus building it into the sound. One of them is what the LFO in a chorus/flange effect really are up as its essentially an approximation to multiple players being ever so slightly different in pitch and timing. One delay line and an LFO will add some movement to the sound but not be a multi-player substitute.

PS: Mondays are gray by definition! ;)
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on April 18, 2016, 12:52:46 PM
To state the obvious, string sections do not move back and forth while they're playing!

Hm, what about Stockhausen's "Helicopter String Quartet" for example?
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 01:20:12 PM
I'm sure if we looked through the loony bin, we could find a piece of music written for a string section dressed in grass skirts and hanging from the ceiling, but you'll have to excuse me for never thinking in such terms.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on April 18, 2016, 01:21:40 PM
I'm sure if we looked through the loony bin we could find a piece written for a string section dressed in grass skirts and hanging from the ceiling, but you'll have to excuse me for never thinking in such terms.

Isn't the orchestra pit the loony bin?
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 01:22:46 PM
It depends who's in it.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on April 18, 2016, 01:27:24 PM
It depends who's in it.

Musicians?  ;D
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 01:50:15 PM
Classical musicians, who tend to be a tad less loony.    ;D
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on April 18, 2016, 04:06:29 PM
Classical musicians, who tend to be a tad less loony.    ;D

Based on my opera experiences I have to say: I beg to differ.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on April 18, 2016, 05:13:00 PM
This thread continues to be fun and practical (dulce et utile).
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 18, 2016, 06:08:42 PM
Very practical with wonderful sound design advice from Sacred Synthesis. Thank you for the inspiration. You definitely have succeeded in making the Prophet 08 expressive like an acoustic instrument, even if it's not exactly like any acoustic instrument I know of.

Dslsynth, here's a deal for you: how about I trade the Ambika and cash for your Prophet 08?  ;) That solves both your problem of not having an Ambika and not having money. Of course it creates a new problem for you, one I'm trying to solve myself!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 11:06:05 PM
Classical musicians, who tend to be a tad less loony.    ;D

Based on my opera experiences I have to say: I beg to differ.

Oh, opera singers.  Now those people are loony!  ;D
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2016, 11:26:51 PM
My point was that, chorus and flanger can sound great when you want your synthesizer to really sound like a synthesizer.  But I prefer to use other forms of modulation.

I think there are good points here when it comes to chorus/flange versus building it into the sound. One of them is what the LFO in a chorus/flange effect really are up as its essentially an approximation to multiple players being ever so slightly different in pitch and timing. One delay line and an LFO will add some movement to the sound but not be a multi-player substitute.

One additional reason I don't care for chorus or flanger as a substitute for LFO modulation is that each sounds unnaturally regulated.  You can actually hear the rate of the effect, which screams, "electronic!"  LFOs obviously are regulated as well, but when you use multiple LFOs - as I described above - then the rate of each becomes immersed and lost in the complex modulation of the patch as a whole.  The end result is that you don't especially notice the modulation...unless you turn it all off.  I would say that's the right type and level of modulation for strings - that which goes unnoticed until it's removed, at which point the patch sounds unnaturally static and lifeless.

When I first bought a Prophet '08, I tried several choruses with it - an MXR, Fishman, and Electro-Harmonix.  I liked the EH the best, but regardless, I just didn't like the finished sound.  Plus, when I switched off the effect, I had a hard time adjusting to the stale sound of the instrument by itself; I wanted the chorus on all the time, as if the synthesizer was a Hammond organ that cried out for a Leslie rotating speaker.  It struck me that using a chorus was not the right way to design sounds, but more of a cover for poorly made patches.  Again, a stereo chorus can sound fabulous, if that's the sound you're after.  But it can also keep you from finishing your patch, from striving to create the very best sound without the effect - one that is so good that it doesn't need the effect. 

The end result of my eliminating all choruses was the forced exploration of the modulation potential within the Prophet '08.  Since then, I've never felt the need for a chorus or flanger.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 19, 2016, 12:01:11 AM
Very practical with wonderful sound design advice from Sacred Synthesis. Thank you for the inspiration. You definitely have succeeded in making the Prophet 08 expressive like an acoustic instrument, even if it's not exactly like any acoustic instrument I know of.

Thanks, Tumble2k.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on April 19, 2016, 08:56:23 AM
It struck me that using a chorus was not the right way to design sounds, but more of a cover for poorly made patches.  Again, a stereo chorus can sound fabulous, if that's the sound you're after.  But it can also keep you from finishing your patch, from striving to create the very best sound without the effect - one that is so good that it doesn't need the effect.

Good point, Sacred Synthesis! Making the sound come alive without effects are surely an interesting design approach we all can learn from!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 19, 2016, 01:10:17 PM
I was thinking about why I am interested in synthesis in the first place, and I think it all starts when I was a kid taking piano lessons and listening to Beethoven's Sixth Symphony on my dad's hi-fi system. A few years later Switched on Bach came out and I realized that a single person could create the sound of an entire orchestra. I think I've been hoping to do that ever since.

I'm a little sad the in the intervening years I contributed very little to the digital music revolution (I'm a software developer that works close to the hardware). I've owned a bunch of synthesizers that came close to scratching the itch but not quite doing so. The closest was a Ensoniq MR-76, which made it super easy to lay down tracks. But its interface was not so conducive to sound design. The Prophet 08 interface seems perfect for that.

Now I listen more to Tchaikowsky, who uses a lot of brass and woodwinds with strings. I'm going to take my time and build up these instruments slowly. I'd also like to make a nice harp sound and a choir although I suspect the latter may never be convincing on the Prophet 08 because I would need three resonance peaks to handle the three formants, and I'd have at most two using two layers.

I guess the goal is not to create perfect facsimiles of these instruments. But I know from experience that good instruments can fill the soul just playing simple notes. That's what I'm trying to accomplish here.

Anyway, this thread has a lot of great hints for string, reed, and brass sounds, so many thanks for the hints!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 19, 2016, 02:01:35 PM
Similar to yourself, I was drawn to the immense and dramatic intensity of the brass sections found in the third and fourth symphonies of Robert Schumann.  It's been my desire to re-create that sort of expressive musical power on the synthesizer.  Hence, I think very much in terms of pipe organs and symphonies whenever I sit at my synthesizers, such that one of the main obstacles for me is the synthesizer's comparable smallness of tone.  The gradations from delicate to massive are all necessary in producing great music, but the synthesizer is naturally capable of the former, but not so much of the latter.  So, my mind is forever pondering ways of overcoming this inherent smallness. 
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: chysn on April 19, 2016, 02:33:47 PM
Classical musicians, who tend to be a tad less loony.    ;D

You can't fool me. I've seen Mozart in the Jungle.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 19, 2016, 02:55:59 PM
Oh no, Mozart wasn't loony; he was "colorful."  Surely you see the differences.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 19, 2016, 03:40:36 PM
Similar to yourself, I was drawn to the immense and dramatic intensity of the brass sections found in the third and fourth symphonies of Robert Schumann.  It's been my desire to re-create that sort of expressive musical power on the synthesizer.  Hence, I think very much in terms of pipe organs and symphonies whenever I sit at my synthesizers, such that one of the main obstacles for me is the synthesizer's comparable smallness of tone.  The gradations from delicate to massive are all necessary in producing great music, but the synthesizer is naturally capable of the former, but not so much of the latter.  So, my mind is forever pondering ways of overcoming this inherent smallness.

I'm looking forward to listening to the Schumann symphonies you mentioned. I find your comments about big and small very interesting. Looks like I have much to learn about sound design.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on April 19, 2016, 03:50:53 PM
So, my mind is forever pondering ways of overcoming this inherent smallness.

You can start off with 12 SEM modules.  ;D
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 19, 2016, 08:22:11 PM
So, my mind is forever pondering ways of overcoming this inherent smallness.

You can start off with 12 SEM modules.  ;D

That would definitely do it!  I only wish my wallet could afford my imagination.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 19, 2016, 08:25:49 PM
Similar to yourself, I was drawn to the immense and dramatic intensity of the brass sections found in the third and fourth symphonies of Robert Schumann.  It's been my desire to re-create that sort of expressive musical power on the synthesizer.  Hence, I think very much in terms of pipe organs and symphonies whenever I sit at my synthesizers, such that one of the main obstacles for me is the synthesizer's comparable smallness of tone.  The gradations from delicate to massive are all necessary in producing great music, but the synthesizer is naturally capable of the former, but not so much of the latter.  So, my mind is forever pondering ways of overcoming this inherent smallness.

I'm looking forward to listening to the Schumann symphonies you mentioned. I find your comments about big and small very interesting. Looks like I have much to learn about sound design.

They're actually fairly brief sections, but Schumann knew just how to effectively exploit the power of the brass ensemble. 
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 20, 2016, 08:32:35 PM
Similar to yourself, I was drawn to the immense and dramatic intensity of the brass sections found in the third and fourth symphonies of Robert Schumann.  It's been my desire to re-create that sort of expressive musical power on the synthesizer.  Hence, I think very much in terms of pipe organs and symphonies whenever I sit at my synthesizers, such that one of the main obstacles for me is the synthesizer's comparable smallness of tone.  The gradations from delicate to massive are all necessary in producing great music, but the synthesizer is naturally capable of the former, but not so much of the latter.  So, my mind is forever pondering ways of overcoming this inherent smallness.

I'm looking forward to listening to the Schumann symphonies you mentioned. I find your comments about big and small very interesting. Looks like I have much to learn about sound design.

The sections I mentioned are just that - sections, rather than movements.  They're very brief, or else they're mixed with strings, but they reveal a musical power that only multiple synthesizers can achieve.  Here's about a one-minute example from Schumann's Fourth Symphony:

https://youtu.be/jCdQrkwUuEo?t=20m48s

Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 21, 2016, 09:17:50 PM
@Sacred Synthesis: Those trombones are beautiful. And when the orchestra all plays together -- wow! I see what you mean: it's difficult to get that kind of bigness out of a synthesizer. I suppose just brute forcing the sound with several voices is a solution, but it gets expensive!

Anyway I hope I can get the mellower brass sounds out of the Prophet 08. Can't wait to get started. I've generated a little interest on the Ambika, but no sale yet...
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on April 23, 2016, 08:42:45 AM
The big brass sounds of John Barry move me the most:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yfaY5ovFhs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZsCxkGWOk4

I remember an interview with someone (from his memorial concert) saying that they visited him while he will recording, and that he had 12 French horn players lined up in the session. The question was: isn't that a little excessive? His answer was something like a simple "Yes, but just listen to them...."

I continue to be fascinated by the idea of using two 08's like Sacred Synthesis to get a bigger sound. (I nearly won a '08 module on eBay and will continue trying for a good deal on one.) When hearing complaints about the '08 sounding thin, I wonder how two combined 08's would compare to a single "thick" vintage synth. For example, how would a patch on two '08's compare to a similar patch on a single OB-X?
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 23, 2016, 02:12:50 PM
I understand that a judgment of quality of tone regarding the Prophet '08 is partly individual, but not entirely.  At least, folks are more prone to agree that two Prophet '08s together make a tone that is, well, not so thin-sounding.  Taking it from there, I would put my P'08 pair up against an OB-6 any day.  That's not to criticize the OB-6, because I really like its sound and would love to have one.  I just don't buy into the whole Prophet-'08-is-thin deal, not even in the case of a single Prophet '08.  In my opinion, it's more a matter of one's programming ability than the nature of the instrument.  And as a prudent rule, one should never judge a synthesizer by its factory programs.  Those are meant generally to show off the instrument's complexity, rather than its character. 

There's a new Tetra thread over on the Moog Forum in which the Prophet '08 sound is shredded without mercy.  I was always a fan of the "Moog sound" myself, but my Moog ear has always been impressed with the Prophet '08 sound as well, so I don't believe they're so far apart.  It's a reminder that all forum opinions - including those of the experts - should be taken lightly.  Often, you have to swim against the current to find what's good.  And it's generally best to follow a school of thought, rather than a school of fish. 
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on April 24, 2016, 09:48:41 AM
I think I first got excited about the Prophet '08 after seeing the YouTube video called: "Minimoog compared to dsi Prophet 08"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yvt5VycR1Aw

It's not an ideal comparison: the volume and tuning are a tad off. I also suspect that the differences would be more striking if we could be in the room, rather than listening to a recording on our computers. Still, it's pretty difficult to watch it and come away thinking that the Prophet is "thin." With one or two oscillators, it sounds pretty similar. Obviously, the Moog excels in no small part because of the third oscillator, and I would still like to get one (or perhaps something like an AJH MiniMod).
http://www.ajhsynth.com/Minimod.html

I would love to be able to do a similar comparison myself, but I no longer have a MiniMoog. It's worth considering that the tester decided to sell the Moog.

There don't seem to be many people saying that the Prophet 6 and OB-6 sound the same... But obviously the '08 and Prophet 6 do sound very similar. We also have the many comparisons between the '08 and Oberheims. When I put all that together, along with the features like splits/layers and 61 keys, it makes me think that the '08 is the best single analog synthesizer for those of us who want to own just one. I would be happy to have more synths, but I really want to keep my live rig to two keyboard if possible (the other being a ROMpler), so I'm still very, very happy to have my '08.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 24, 2016, 05:05:04 PM
I remember seeing that Minimoog-Prophet '08 video a few years ago.  If nothing else, it at least testifies to the fact that some feel the P'08 is worthy of a comparison, and that the P'08 comes away still standing.  I can say in my case, I definitely preferred the P'08 to the Voyager Old School, so much so that I sold my Voyager and bought a second P'08.  In fact, I even preferred a Mono Evolver Keyboard to a Voyager.   

As for the Minimoog's three oscillators, I don't miss them one bit because I use one of my Prophet '08s quite regularly in stacked mono mode - which gives me four oscillators, and in stereo pairs if I wish.  That's a substantial advantage over the Moog.

I see the Prophet '08 as a moderately flexible workhorse synthesizer with a character of its own.  The Prophet-6 and OB-6 would make excellent compliments to it;  their smaller size and more limited architecture make them accessories for when you've already got the basics covered with a P'08, but they also add some elements the P'08 cannot.  I'd say any combination of these three synthesizers would work very well.


Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on April 25, 2016, 06:04:43 AM
Having read the snippets over in the Moog Forum, there are some good points raised:


At the end of the day, however, the original poster ended up picking up a Tetra, which (at current street pricing) reflects a screaming deal for 4-part multitimbral analogue sound modules, with a big-boy-pants MIDI implementation.

* - Frankly, the keybed is the one thing that precludes shelling out for a Prophet 12 kbd, for me anyway, but that's not the only must-have item missing - Evolver / VS waves are another.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on April 25, 2016, 08:06:56 AM
Funny that the P'08 keyboard comes in for criticism. From my, admittedly non-pianist, experience the keys on the P'08 and MEK are the only ones I've played that give me aftertouch I feel able to control. How do other people judge keyboard quality?
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 25, 2016, 08:25:10 AM
What I'm getting from this discussion is that when creating an ensemble type of sound the more detuned (or not completely in sync) oscillators one has the more massive the sound. If the detuned oscillators are panned differently this gives a spatially massive sound. One advantage of the VCO over the DCO is that by its nature a VCO is not going to be completely in sync with a VCO running at exactly the same frequency. Of course with the Prophet 08 you can use slop or other subtle modulations to simulate this effect.

Now I want to get a few Prophet 08 modules in addition to the keyboard. :D

Regarding the keyboard, is the Prophet 08 keyboard different from the Prophet 6 keyboard? That one was fine.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on April 25, 2016, 09:44:02 AM
I believe that the P6 / OB6 keybed assemblies are Fatar 49TP/9S (not sure as regards the unweighted / semi-weighted / fully-weighted part).

Without flying too far off-topic, at least as far as aftertouch is concerned - some prefer the ability of the individual keys to uplift at the rear (near the spring) when a significant amount of pressure is applied to the front of the key. In this respect, the CME keybeds do seem to be better at this.

It may not seem like an important detail to some, but (like a fresh pair of new shoes) the feel does contribute to the overall enjoyment of playing an instrument: pivot point, return spring mechanism, etc. IMHO Yamaha got this down pat, were it not for the mechanical complication of the DX7 / Motif ES keybeds - but, ehh - to each his own.

I come from a classical organ & piano background, so feel is really a big deal to me, but I appreciate that others may not care at all.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on April 25, 2016, 10:10:56 AM
While I agree this is flirting with being off-topic, it's very interesting to hear opinions of those more accustomed to playing traditional keyboard instruments.

It's not so much that I don't care about the keys themselves (I could list a great many keyboards that I don't like the feel of) but that my only direct frame of reference is other synths and how comfortable I find them to respond to velocity and aftertouch. My only experience of Yamaha was an An1x, which felt pretty good but effectively had on/off aftertouch with nothing in between.

I think without the piano background, I'm a very light player. Maybe that's why I like the P'08 keybed? I can get a good velocity response without hitting the keys too hard. The P-6 does definitely feel like a better made keybed but I must admit that it's taking some getting used to after the P'08.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 25, 2016, 12:35:35 PM
Funny that the P'08 keyboard comes in for criticism. From my, admittedly non-pianist, experience the keys on the P'08 and MEK are the only ones I've played that give me aftertouch I feel able to control. How do other people judge keyboard quality?

If it's between the Mono/Poly Evolver Keyboard and the Prophet '08, I would say the latter is better.  I prefer it for playing, but also for triggering the after touch.  Where as, on the Evolvers, the aftertouch is too sensitive and reacts only a little better than an on/off switch.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 25, 2016, 12:45:28 PM
What I'm getting from this discussion is that when creating an ensemble type of sound the more detuned (or not completely in sync) oscillators one has the more massive the sound. If the detuned oscillators are panned differently this gives a spatially massive sound. One advantage of the VCO over the DCO is that by its nature a VCO is not going to be completely in sync with a VCO running at exactly the same frequency. Of course with the Prophet 08 you can use slop or other subtle modulations to simulate this effect.

Massiveness comes from having multiple variably tuned oscillators in stereo, rather than only two that are widely detuned.  For me, anything less than four oscillators is inadequte.  And as for "Slop," it's probably the parameter for which I find the least use.  I don't share the enthusiasm of other synthesists for it, nor do I think it effectively emulates the character of old analog oscillators.  Rather, it emulates the shortcoming I most disliked on old synthesizers.  Decades ago, I owned and played those old synthesizers, and the worst problems I faced with them daily were all related to tuning.  It's beyond me how anyone would want to recreate those head aches.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 25, 2016, 01:06:50 PM
Having played for years on old tracker pipe organs, I much prefer a firm keyboard touch.  The keyboards on those organs, especially when the manuals are coupled, are so firm that you practically need a running head start and a leap to depress the keys.  That was a little too much of a good thing.  But in general, I've found that a firm keyboard allows for more precision.  Equally important is the point in the key depression at which the note is actually triggered.  This is equally true with bass pedal boards.  If the trigger point is too close to the surface so that the slightest depression triggers the note, then it's difficult to control the attack because the note sounds sooner than you want or expect.  This shows especially in classical and Baroque music, or any type in which the attack of simultaneous notes is audible.  For example, when depressing a chord.  In a high-quality keyboard, each note of the chord can be easily trigger simultaneously so that the attack is crisp.  With a poor musician or a poor keyboard, the chord strikes consist of a series of sloppily triggered notes that create a smeared effect.  I hear this all the time with Hammond players, or when a pianist is playing an organ, but I have the same difficulty with the PEK and P'08 when I'm playing organ music.  Sad to say, these instruments don't have especially high quality keyboards, but I do think the P'08 has the better.

This sort of problem does not show up when you're playing fast.  You have to play somewhat slowly to notice it, especially from chord to chord in a legato style, as hymns are to be played.  And the envelope has to be organ-like: immediate Attack and Release with full Sustain.  That's how I test a keyboard.

Here are some examples of smeared chord strikes.  Listen carefully to the first six chords on the string synthesizer, especially the second and last ones.  The fourth chord strike is the cleanest, but the others are quite sloppy.  It might be due to Banks' somewhat careless playing, but it can also be due to a cheap keyboard that doesn't precisely trigger.  In either case, a good organ teacher would have your liver for it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U2nTJ4huxA
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 25, 2016, 02:50:44 PM
Wow that song brings back memories! That's a great album. I'd love to be able to write such great music.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on April 25, 2016, 04:43:40 PM
At current street pricing, you could buy twelve voices (3 x Tetra) for what you'd pay for a Prophet '08 module, while getting USB and a pair of sub-oscillators per voice along with the deal.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 25, 2016, 08:28:37 PM
Wow that song brings back memories! That's a great album. I'd love to be able to write such great music.

It brings back memories to me as well.  Would you believe I've remembered the attack of those chords all these years later?  In my old band days, I used an organ sound that imitated Banks' - a drawbar organ through a phaser and a chorus.  It's quite easy to get it just right.  It's Banks' exceptional talent that also hooked me on the ARP 2600 and Roland Space Echo - two pieces I was never able to afford.  I loved the gorgeous and layered electronic orchestral sound he mastered with such instruments as the Polymoog, Prophet 10, Mellotron, and ARP Quadra.  Even his use of the ARP Pro Soloist was excellent.  I have to admit that I'm still influenced by him today in both music and sound.  He taught me the exceptional usefulness of the diminished seventh chord.  That chord can segue between two unrelated harmonic places with remarkable grace.  I'm sure my love of crescendi is partly through his influence, as well as the classic sawtooth solo patch that I use so much.  My last improvisation ("Crescendi") is pure Banks. 
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on April 25, 2016, 10:17:39 PM
Wow that song brings back memories! That's a great album. I'd love to be able to write such great music.

It brings back memories to me as well.  Would you believe I remembered the attack of those chords all these years later?  In my old band days, I used an organ sound that imitated Banks' - a drawbar organ through a phaser and a chorus.  It's quite easy to get it just right.  It's Banks' exceptional talent that also hooked me on the ARP 2600 and Roland Space Echo - two pieces I was never able to afford.  I loved the gorgeous and layered electronic orchestral sound he mastered with such instruments as the Polymoog, Prophet 10, Mellotron, and ARP Quadra.  Even his use of the ARP Pro Soloist was excellent.  I have to admit that I'm still influenced by him today in both music and sound.  He taught me the exceptional usefulness of the diminished seventh chord.  That chord can segue between two unrelated harmonic places with remarkable grace.  I'm sure my love of crescendi is partly through his influence, as well as the classic sawtooth solo patch that I use so much.  My last improvisation ("Crescendi") is pure Banks.

Vintage Banks, yeah. Clearly a master of modulations. One of the best examples for me is still the musical knowledge facilitated in a piece like "Apocalypse in 9/8" - harmonically and rhythmically. Just to have those three notes at the bottom (E, F#, B) that enable him to go thru all kinds of key changes. That and the rhythmic juxtaposition creates a very well orchestrated tension and a great built-up.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 25, 2016, 10:37:12 PM
The challenging thing in that piece is that the 9/8 time signature is not done in the usual three groups of threes.  It's difficult to follow without counting out nine eighth notes because the notes are not grouped in the usual sets.  Otherwise, 9/8 is usually an easy time signature to follow.  Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" is in 9/8!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3UuGPCCm_I

Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: F5D on April 25, 2016, 10:43:31 PM
The Prophet '08 is still a fantastic synth, no doubt about it. It is a bargain compared to the more expensive and limited P6 and OB6. I have never had a problem not liking the sound of the P'08. I will soon have the joy to play some more, as I am nearing completion of wiring of my current setup in a new place. I like modulations and the ones on offer in P'08 just work and sound really good. Don't know about the noise generator of the P6 and OB6, but the one in P'08 sounds lovely, also as a mod source, especially compared to the more digital sounding noise of P12.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 25, 2016, 11:05:07 PM
F5D, I have to say that your recordings of the Prophet '08 have always been among my favorites.  You effectively get at the heart of its raw analog sound, a characteristic that many assert it lacks.  I'm sure your demos persuaded me to look more and more in the P'08 direction.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on April 26, 2016, 07:09:54 AM
And as for "Slop," it's probably the parameter for which I find the least use.  I don't share the enthusiasm of other synthesists for it, nor do I think it effectively emulates the character of old analog oscillators. 

Interesting. I guess I haven't experimented with it very intentionally. So you keep it at 0?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 26, 2016, 07:21:24 AM
Yes, almost always.  Slop is not an important part of any patch I've made.  Although I experiment with it, I usually eliminate it in the end for causing an unnatural quality.  For example, I used it in a small amount in an organ piece I recorded about a year ago, and at one point it moved the oscillators to a "1" tuning.  The sound of one oscillator tuned to "0" and the other tuned to "1" is an exceedingly synthesizer-ish effect; it has an excessively electronic twisting quality that I really dislike.  Ah well; a lesson learned. 

To my ear, Slop just sounds sloppy.  I hear it used in many demos, and it always jumps out at me as sounding very crude, very artificial.  It sounds like your synthesizer is trying a little too hard to sound like some one else's synthesizer.  Actually, that's exactly what it's for.  Slop is the only parameter on the instrument that exists primarily to make a Prophet '08 sound like something other than a Prophet '08.  Again, although I like an analog character, the infamous drifty oscillators are a problem to be shunned.  I love the sound of a pipe organ, too, but I wouldn't design a sound on a synthesizer that imitated a rank of pipes during a hot humid July when they go out of tune!  Besides, with the number of oscillators I often use all at once and the resultant amount of beating and swirling, the very idea of Slop becomes irrelevant.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on April 26, 2016, 08:35:25 AM
Thanks for the thoughtful answer, S.S.  I'll definitely have to play with that a bit more.

Do you ever change any settings on your doubling module compared to the keyboard instrument? For example, detune oscillators in one but not the other, or have one instrument detuned compared to the other? It seems like this could thicken things up nicely. But sometimes I'm surprised that detuning actually makes a patch sound thinner or less strong.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 26, 2016, 08:44:34 AM
Yes, that's generally how I do it.  Some times, when using identical patches, I thicken things up a bit by going to Global on the Module and detuning it by two or three digits.  In addition, I often alter the patch on the Module and save it, so that, when I turn to a program on the Keyboard, both patches come up together. 

Here's a bi-timbral example of the two units having completely different sounds saved on the same program number.  The second sound slowly comes in beginning at 2:34.  I adjust the volume on the mixer as I play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzBVP5RCNVI

Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on April 26, 2016, 09:03:15 AM
Yes, it seems like that would open up many more options by changing the sounds on each instrument. So you may have the LFO frequencies and rates different on the two instruments? But you always have the module coming out of the one side and the keyboard coming out the other? You don't generally MIDI them the the way most players tend to, even when the sounds are fairly different?
Thanks for the insight.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 26, 2016, 09:12:25 AM
I never poly chain the two, but only Midi connect them and set the Globals so that any parameter changed on the master/Keyboard unit effects the slave/Module unit as well.  If I want different patches on each, then I make the changes to the Module and save the program.

As for the stereo field, that is set at the mixer.  If I want the two units entirely on separate sides, or if I want to partially or entirely draw them both to the center, I simply do so at the mixer.  What I like about this arrangement is that I can adjust the panning as I play.

The additional advantage of this set up is that I can process each unit differently.  In the improvisation I linked to above, the soft pad has a moderate amount of reverb, while the high shrill patch has lots of reverb to give it an extra ethereal quality.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on April 26, 2016, 12:49:51 PM
The challenging thing in that piece is that the 9/8 time signature is not done in the usual three groups of threes.  It's difficult to follow without counting out nine eighth notes because the notes are not grouped in the usual sets.  Otherwise, 9/8 is usually an easy time signature to follow.  Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" is in 9/8!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3UuGPCCm_I

That, and the fact that the keyboard part is strictly speaking in 4/4 against 9/8. Also interesting that the whole solo is basically done on top of a suspended chord.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 27, 2016, 08:44:07 AM
When hearing complaints about the '08 sounding thin, I wonder how two combined 08's would compare to a single "thick" vintage synth. For example, how would a patch on two '08's compare to a similar patch on a single OB-X?

I think there's now an opportunity to make nearly a side-by-side comparison.

There are many variations on the brass patch in this excellent OB-6 demonstration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjArgGTGhec).  Compare it with my Prophet '08 pair brass patch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PKz3qwN1-0).

I find the OB-6 state-variable and the Prophet '08 2-pole filter to sound quite similar.  There's a greater similarity in tone between these two instruments than between the OB-6 and the Prophet-6.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: BobTheDog on April 27, 2016, 10:54:13 AM
2 poles LPF difference, which is huge really.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on April 27, 2016, 06:34:09 PM
I find the OB-6 state-variable and the Prophet '08 2-pole filter to sound quite similar.

I've been forming the same impression.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 27, 2016, 07:06:30 PM
I find the OB-6 state-variable and the Prophet '08 2-pole filter to sound quite similar.

I've been forming the same impression.

Interesting.  Is it those upper frequencies that are allowed to pass through the filter?  Even as it's being closed, there's a fizziness that prevails.  I work a lot with the Prophet '08's 2-pole filter, and it's a character that sounds familiar.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 27, 2016, 09:53:39 PM
I find the OB-6 state-variable and the Prophet '08 2-pole filter to sound quite similar.

I've been forming the same impression.

I'm not sure I hear what you guys are talking about. I really like the refinement of Sacred Synthesis's brass. The Oberheim patches are really bristly on the top end. They don't sound similar at all to me, and I'm not that fond of the Oberheim sound.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 27, 2016, 09:58:56 PM
The Prophet '08 brass patch uses the 4-pole filter setting.  So I agree, it doesn't at all resemble the OB-6 sound.  I was referring to other patches that do use the 2-pole setting.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on April 28, 2016, 01:00:57 AM
Of course the OB-6 state-variable filter can do a lot more than just 2-pole low pass. However, when I listened to the recent OB-6 Classic/vintage demo yesterday it also struck me how close the P'08 2-pole mode gets to that sound. I'm also undecided on how musically useful I would find the non-low pass states anyway.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 28, 2016, 06:56:07 AM
The Prophet '08 brass patch uses the 4-pole filter setting.  So I agree, it doesn't at all resemble the OB-6 sound.  I was referring to other patches that do use the 2-pole setting.

Oh I see. Thank you for the introduction to 4-pole vs. 2-pole sound.

This is how we get stupid opinions (mine) on forums about the Prophet 08. The poster (me) doesn't know anything about sound design, has heard a few Youtube videos, and doesn't want to be left out of the party. Sometimes the poster has paid considerably less for an inferior product (Ambika?) and wants to justify his purchase against a more expensive one that he can't afford (yet).

Anyway thank you again for clarifying. I'll go back to playing with Ambika (who doesn't have a 2-pole setting). :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 28, 2016, 07:19:46 AM
The Prophet '08 brass patch uses the 4-pole filter setting.  So I agree, it doesn't at all resemble the OB-6 sound.  I was referring to other patches that do use the 2-pole setting.

Oh I see. Thank you for the introduction to 4-pole vs. 2-pole sound.

This is how we get stupid opinions (mine) on forums about the Prophet 08. The poster (me) doesn't know anything about sound design, has heard a few Youtube videos, and doesn't want to be left out of the party. Sometimes the poster has paid considerably less for an inferior product (Ambika?) and wants to justify his purchase against a more expensive one that he can't afford (yet).

Anyway thank you again for clarifying. I'll go back to playing with Ambika (who doesn't have a 2-pole setting). :)

Your humor and humility are refreshing.  Don't lose either.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 06, 2016, 09:44:57 AM
Well I just ordered a Prophet '08. Eagerly anticipating trying all of the sound design techniques in this thread.

Right now I'm thinking about a method for making a harp sound where I use two oscillators. Oscillator 1 is a base triangle wave, and oscillator 2 is a waveform rich in higher harmonics. I would use envelope 3 to cause osc2 to decay quickly by modifying the mix.

Then I use the filter with a moderate Q to simulate the resonance of the harp. Keytracking would be off.

I remember when I saw Fellini's Satyricon (very bizarre by the way), one of the characters played a simple harp. Just the sound of a single note was amazing, much more so than anything coming out of the low-calorie Yamaha TX-81Z that I had at the time.

I know I won't be able to create that exact sound, and why would I do that? Better to just sample it. But perhaps I can create a sound reminiscent of the harp that has a strong and beautiful character of its own.

The other sound that I'm going to try to create is a choir. I suspect I will fail miserably because I will need to create a formant filter, which is really three parallel bandpass filters. With layering I would only be able to get two of them.

One more of my random thoughts. I've heard complaints that the Prophet '08 does not produce good bass. Others have said that the filter does not compensate for the Q, which makes me think that with the proper modulation one could put the Q compensation in the patch by varying the VCA output with the resonance. An issue may be that with increasing resonance, the amplitude probably should not increase linearly. Anyway, I think it's pretty cool that with increasing Q the Prophet '08 filters become more like bandpass filters.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on May 06, 2016, 10:21:07 AM
The Prophet '08's bi-timbrality leaves a lot up to your imagination, but the results often turn out other than the way you had anticipated.  I've had a number of "great" bi-timbral ideas that ended up falling flat when I finally tried them out.  But don't be too easily discouraged.  You're entering a domain that is quite different from the usual designing of synthesizer sounds, and it requires a different sort of patience.

I haven't put much energy into creating a choir patch on the P'08, mainly because the Poly Evolver does such a fine job on this sound.  I don't think the P'08 is quite up to this challenge, though, because of its filter, but you can get vaguely similar.  The closest I've come is in "Improvisation LXII," but I wasn't even trying.  The key is in using a lot of filter Keyboard Amount, setting the right amount of Resonance, finding the exact spot on the Cut Off Frequency, having a fairly wide vibrato depth (3), and using a moderately slow Attack. 

When you get your Prophet '08, don't forget to experiment with the B Output jacks on the back panel!  It unfortunately leaves you stuck in a limited configuration, but that configuration offers some fabulous musical/sonic opportunities.  And I have to warn you, Tumble2K, once you've worked with the instrument for a while, you're going to see the logic of coupling the keyboard with a module, as you see your best ideas limited by a four-voice result.  The Prophet '08 cries out to be a sixteen-voice instrument.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 06, 2016, 01:18:54 PM
I haven't put much energy into creating a choir patch on the P'08, mainly because the Poly Evolver does such a fine job on this sound.  I don't think the P'08 is quite up to this challenge, though, because of its filter, but you can get vaguely similar.  The closest I've come is in "Improvisation LXII," but I wasn't even trying.  The key is in using a lot of filter Keyboard Amount, setting the right amount of Resonance, finding the exact spot on the Cut Off Frequency, having a fairly wide vibrato depth (3), and using a moderately slow Attack. 

I am listening to Improvisation LXIII Crescendi -- lovely! At 2:40 you have a drone that sounds a bit like a female choir. Is that the Evolver?

The sound in LXII sounds a bit more like a male choir but doesn't quite have that resonant quality I'd expect. Still a sweet sound that I would play all day!

Aargh don't talk about a module. I don't want to hear it!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on May 06, 2016, 01:31:39 PM
No, that note/sound is played on the upper Prophet '08.  Here's a Poly Evolver choir patch, starting at 1:18 and continuing throughout:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpWEOEIo0So

All the string sounds in this video were made on the Prophet '08s.

Yeah, I know the module issue is a wallet-killer.  I'll try to contain my enthusiasm.... 

But what about a Tetra?  ;D


Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on May 10, 2016, 02:16:34 AM
Moinmoin,

Well, You needn't...  (SCNR, Thelonius 8))

... use a formant filter to synthesize a choir.

Formants are nothing else than massive peaks within the frequency spectrum of a given sound, the main peaks of the most wanted vocal voices being at:
"U" ~ 320Hz ~ E4
"O" ~ 500Hz ~ B4
"A" ~ 1000Hz ~ B5

These peaks may be generated in multiple ways, of which a formant filter surely is one. But there are other possibilities:
To get a choir You will have to do those things quite normal generating "many voices":
Now care for those formants:
You may start from here by tweeking Osc 1 frequency, Osc mix, filter, audio mod, and noise to Your taste. Audio mod and noise may be relevant, as formants do shine in a sort of mix more than in a sound only defined by one single frequency. If satisfied with the sound, try modulations (LFOs) and Envelopes on some parameters.
You may even get two pleasing sounds and manage to "morph" between those by use of the modulation wheel:
This is what I did to morph a sort of el cheapo male choir from "aaah" to "oooh" (see attached PDF), but do Yourself a favour:
Take the time to check the way described above before "mindlessly setting knobs"
Don't keep Yourself from learning...

HTH

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 10, 2016, 06:29:01 AM
Thank you for your post Martin! I have had a little experience with sync and was able to get a somewhat vocal sound so your explanation makes sense to me.

My Prophet '08 should show up on Monday. Between SS's strings and brass tricks and MM's choir tips I'm completely beside myself with anticipation!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on May 10, 2016, 08:30:52 AM
Moinmoin,

Well, You needn't...  (SCNR, Thelonius 8))

... use a formant filter to synthesize a choir.

Formants are nothing else than massive peaks within the frequency spectrum of a given sound, the main peaks of the most wanted vocal voices being at:
"U" ~ 320Hz ~ E4
"O" ~ 500Hz ~ B4
"A" ~ 1000Hz ~ B5

These peaks may be generated in multiple ways, of which a formant filter surely is one. But there are other possibilities:
  • setting a filter to nearly resonate at the (main) frequency of the required formant
  • mixing the "normal" sound with a more or less filtered frequency (or noise, filtered as above) of the required formant
  • syncing an oscillator with the formant's (main) frequency
To get a choir You will have to do those things quite normal generating "many voices":
  • set Osc waveforms to square to allow pulse modulation to mimick a kind of chorus
  • use a stacked patch (A+B), which will again make the sound more chorus-like
  • set slop to a value >3 as a third measure to mimick some more voices
Now care for those formants:
  • set Osc 1 key follow to OFF (Osc 2 remains ON) to free Osc 1 to generate a frequency in the formant range
  • set Sync to ON, and sync Osc 2 with the formant frequency set by Osc 1
You may start from here by tweeking Osc 1 frequency, Osc mix, filter, audio mod, and noise to Your taste. Audio mod and noise may be relevant, as formants do shine in a sort of mix more than in a sound only defined by one single frequency. If satisfied with the sound, try modulations (LFOs) and Envelopes on some parameters.
You may even get two pleasing sounds and manage to "morph" between those by use of the modulation wheel:
  • write down the differences in parameters of the two sounds
  • set one of  them with modulation wheel in its zero position
  • set the parameter differences as parameters of the modulation wheel
This is what I did to morph a sort of el cheapo male choir from "aaah" to "oooh" (see attached PDF), but do Yourself a favour:
Take the time to check the way described above before "mindlessly setting knobs"
Don't keep Yourself from learning...

HTH

Martin

Martin, if you have an audio sample of this patch, I would love to hear it.  I haven't found Sync to be helpful in creating a large realistic chorus sound.  It is useful in creating an individual voice, although one that is a bit humorous and lacks dignity.  The big choir effect necessitates at least eight voices.  A mere four voices, especially with the needed longer envelope release time, would have reassigning notes all over the place, which would destroy the necessary gracefulness and immensity of the sound.   But if you've managed the big choir patch or anything close to it on a Prophet '08, I'm all ears.  Can you post an audio sample, something polished with reverb?  I'd love to hear the finished sound in context.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 10, 2016, 10:57:55 AM
I haven't found Sync to be helpful in creating a large realistic chorus sound.  It is useful in creating an individual voice, although one that is a bit humorous and lacks dignity.

That's a pretty understated and hilarious description. Do you mean it sounds like "mow mow mow?" But I think your earlier comments about creating ensembles apply here. There's no substitute for cubic inches!

I am ever more convinced you're just trying to get me to buy another Prophet '08 module even before I've received my keyboard version yet. You're pretty evil considering your moniker (just kidding!)

I'll try to make something like this patch on my Teenage Engineering OP-1 to see what I get.

Martin, I too would love to hear an audio sample if you'd be willing to create one.

I was thinking about the choir-like drone in Improvisation LXIII. I think that the reason it sounds like a female choir is because the wave is almost a pure sinusoid. There's supposed to be a fourth formant that is very strong in opera singers. I wonder if there's some relationship.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on May 10, 2016, 11:09:37 AM
That's a pretty understated and hilarious description. Do you mean it sounds like "mow mow mow?" But I think your earlier comments about creating ensembles apply here. There's no substitute for cubic inches!

I am ever more convinced you're just trying to get me to buy another Prophet '08 module even before I've received my keyboard version yet. You're pretty evil considering your moniker (just kidding!)

I'll try to make something like this patch on my Teenage Engineering OP-1 to see what I get.

Martin, I too would love to hear an audio sample if you'd be willing to create one.

I've made a distinctive soprano voice using Sync, but it's not anything I'd want to actually use.  It's the sort of sound that makes me laugh, so into the music it will not go.  Using it in a polyphonic mode is hard to imagine, but perhaps Martin is on to something. 

I'm not trying to talk you into buying a Prophet '08 Module, Tumble2k.  Okay, I am.  No, wait, I'm not....  :P

The problem is, the Prophet '08 is an excellent instrument as is, but it has a potential that it cannot reach without that other module.  It's transformed by the second unit.  That's the "problem."  I would say the same about a Poly Evolver Keyboard: it's transformed by a Rack.  I consider voice-count to be of extreme importance, as important as the length of the keyboard.  These are just the basic necessities of music, and coming up short on them leaves one musically handicapped in ways that can't be easily overcome.  So, my personal approach is to have only a few larger/expanded instruments, rather than have many smaller ones.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 10, 2016, 02:42:08 PM
I'm not trying to talk you into buying a Prophet '08 Module, Tumble2k.  Okay, I am.  No, wait, I'm not....  :P

The problem is, the Prophet '08 is an excellent instrument as is, but it has a potential that it cannot reach without that other module.  It's transformed by the second unit.  That's the "problem."  I would say the same about a Poly Evolver Keyboard: it's transformed by a Rack.  I consider voice-count to be of extreme importance, as important as the length of the keyboard.  These are just the basic necessities of music, and coming up short on them leaves one musically handicapped in ways that can't be easily overcome.  So, my personal approach is to have only a few larger/expanded instruments, rather than have many smaller ones.

Yeah, I hear you. Back in March(?) I had the idea that I might buy a Korg Minilogue having played one that belonged to a friend. At some point I realized that it was a toy. A cute and nice sounding toy, but a toy. The four voices and the three octave keyboard would never be enough for real music. I agree that four layered voices won't do for any sort of classical music. At the same time I'm not sure how to convince my wife that I need a $1350 module in addition to the keyboard I just bought.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on May 11, 2016, 04:24:02 AM
Moinmoin,

don't know what Sacred Synthesis is trying to convince of, but IMHO P'08 is the synth currently available giving me most of what I need.
In my case: It is a musical instrument of own worth, and although I sometimes use it for "mimicking something", I prefer the sounds unheared yet, which it is capable to produce a lot of: I need knobs to extensively use them in realtime!

I will take a sound sample of my
Quote
sort of el cheapo male choir from "aaah" to "oooh"
(don't forget that "cheap", although I really use this sample) and post it.

Will take me until friday this week as I am on travel.

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on May 11, 2016, 07:55:10 AM
Moinmoin,

don't know what Sacred Synthesis is trying to convince of, but IMHO P'08 is the synth currently available giving me most of what I need.
In my case: It is a musical instrument of own worth, and although I sometimes use it for "mimicking something", I prefer the sounds unheared yet, which it is capable to produce a lot of: I need knobs to extensively use them in realtime!

I will take a sound sample of my
Quote
sort of el cheapo male choir from "aaah" to "oooh"
(don't forget that "cheap", although I really use this sample) and post it.

Will take me until friday this week as I am on travel.

Martin

Martin -

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.  I simply find your idea intriguing and would like to hear the results.  If they're good, then you've definitely got one on me, because I haven't yet been able to produce a satisfactory choir patch with the Prophet '08.  Plus, our respective ideas of a good choir patch may differ.  And again - if possible, could you add a fair amount of reverb and play the patch a bit, rather than just sustain a few chords?  I'd like to hear it sound its best and get a sense of its potential.  This is one sound that I haven't seriously attempted on the P'08.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 11, 2016, 09:03:40 AM
I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.

I think he means convincing me to get another Prophet '08.

I tried a sync'd sawtooth on my OP-1. The slave was set to get a peak at around 1kHz to get the "AHH" formant. Then I set a resonant filter at around 3 kHz for the "4th formant". This didn't sound like much until I did a unison of six voices, and then it sounded like a choir! The range is limited because there's no concept of removing key follow so I can't turn it off.

I'll record this and post it tonight. It does not have the same level of refinement as SS's instruments, but neither does the OP-1. Of course I did this on the train coming in to work this morning...

MM: Looking forward to hearing your patch too.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 12, 2016, 08:15:55 AM
Well, I didn't post the recording because I realized that without the ability to keep the slave oscillator fixed, there was only one note or maybe two that sounded good. The rest had a subtle chipmunk quality, like a poorly sampled choir. I also didn't post because this is a Prophet '08 forum not an OP-1 forum (Monday just can't come soon enough!)

In order to get the voice to sound like a choir I needed to unison the six voices, which meant I could only play a single note at a time, which was pretty sad. This problem lends credence to SS's findings that if you want to create ensembles, there's no substitute for more voices.

Here's a link to an explanation of the "singing formant" I referred to in an earlier post.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/music/singfor.html
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on May 12, 2016, 09:24:40 AM
I do think the key to the choir patch, before all else, is to start off with the proper wave shape.  In such a case, that requires either a particular digital wave shape, or a substantial number of analog wave forms that can be combined to imitate that wave shape.  And then, voice number.  This is why I think a twelve-voice poly synth like the Prophet 12 is by no means over the top.  But, not having played a Prophet 12, I don't know if it has the right wave shape.  I've asked this question at least a couple times on P12 threads, without receiving a clear answer.  For now, I'm content to consider the Poly Evolver Keyboard (or Prophet VS) to be among the best means, in the DSI line up, for creating a decent choir patch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIN0sthfksg). 

Listening online to those patches that are called "synthesized choir," I find that they generally have a throaty quality about them, but little more.  But many are so covered in a dense digital smog of aliasing, filter sweeping, and white noise, so as to have an ethereal character, that it's not quite accurate to call them choir patches.  I would consider this example to be more accurate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUqZvhO_TeI

Many moons ago, I created a choir patch on a Juno 60 that was fairly good.  It was the Roland filter that made it possible.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on May 17, 2016, 04:06:22 AM
Moinmoin,

was a little bit knocked out on friday and rather busy regarding real life during whitsun, so I respond just now.

The attached raw "choir" is exactly the patch attached to my recent posting here and was taken directly and mono out of the P'08 without any further processing into an mp3-recorder. All I did with it afterwards was adjusting the level with audacity.

A few months ago I spent a little time trying to recreate a simple choir of a friend's microkorg, that pleased me. This is what I ended up with and sometimes use to create a sort of "dark monks attitude" (BTW: Do You know the Monks? Great band of the 60s). Now that I hear it directly out of the P'08, I think I could still tweak it to make it sound fuller. Pulse-width modulation is not yet used, the voices are still very similar, so there are some things to play with.
There is also some "twizzle" at certain morphing stages, that I might try to get rid of.

Anyway: You can hear a sort of choir and the morphing of formants. You may also take it as an example how to use different parameters (sync, audio mod, resonance) to create formants, which are nothing else than peaks at certain frequencies.

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 19, 2016, 01:53:29 PM
I received my Prophet '08 on Monday night, and I've been heads down in it every evening since then. When I first listened to it I was unimpressed, but I found that you need to really crank it up to enjoy it properly. I've been enjoying the build quality and the UI of this high-class instrument.

Thank you Sacred Synthesis for your choir videos. I did enjoy your Poly Evolver patch and the elegant simple counterpoint. The Prophet VS patch sounded a lot like what I expect from a choir, but I suspect that it's only good in an extremely limited range (as you point out in your notes for your video).

Thank you Martin for your recording. This does sound choir-like. However, it seems to me there's an important formant missing. I'm not sure which one, but it's high and broad. I experimented around with your method and came up with a patch that is similar to yours but not as sophisticated. You gave me some great places to start working from. Anyway the patch is wonderful sounding, and if you feel inclined to share your refinements, please do. I will enter in your patch exactly as you specified it and play around with it.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 21, 2016, 03:44:09 PM
Well, using the techniques from MartinM's post I was able to put together this choir sound. It's not half bad! The key was to use a pulse wave with an LFO creating a subtle chorus sound. Then I added a little vibrato with a second LFO. I doubled the voice using a layer using a slightly different filter frequency and resonance (along with the base frequency for a little detune). I'm amazed how good of a choir comes from this beastly instrument! Thank you again Martin and Sacred Synthesis for all of the tips and tricks.

The recording was made with Logic Pro 7 (very old). The chord sequence is played dry and then with Logic Pro's Space Designer with a cathedral reverb.

Some of my settings:

Layer A

Osc1 Freq (sync slave): F#5
Osc1 Fine: 0
Osc1 Shape: Pulse 27
Osc2 Freq (master): C 2
Osc2 Fine: -5
Osc Mix: 46

Filter Freq: 105
Resonance: 53
Env Amount: 0
Env Velocity: 0
Keyboard Amount: 3

LFO1 Freq: 33 (Chorus)
LFO1 Amount: 6
LFO1 Shape: Triangle
LFO1 Dest: Osc1 PW

LFO2 Freq: 82 (Vibrato)
LFO2 Amount: 3
LFO2 Shape: Triangle
LFO2 Dest: OscAllFreq

Layer B

Osc1 Freq (sync slave): G 5
Osc1 Fine: 0
Osc1 Shape: Pulse 27
Osc2 Freq (master): C 2
Osc2 Fine: 4
Osc Mix: 46

Filter Freq: 106
Resonance: 58
Env Amount: 0
Env Velocity: 0
Keyboard Amount: 3

LFO1 Freq: 32 (Chorus)
LFO1 Amount: 7
LFO1 Shape: Triangle
LFO1 Dest: Osc1 PW

LFO2 Freq: 77 (Vibrato)
LFO2 Amount: 4
LFO2 Shape: Triangle
LFO2 Dest: OscAllFreq

Both
Amp Attack: 90
Amp Sustain: 127
Amp Release: 50

Osc1 Key Follow Off
Osc2 Key Follow On

No modulation (but I'll play around with MM's trick of getting other formants).

Sacred Synthesis, should I start a different thread? It's kind of morphing into a choir thread.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on May 21, 2016, 03:54:47 PM
No, I wouldn't bother.  It's all Prophet '08 based, and I don't think the choir theme will last for long before we move onto other P'08-related topics.

Good choir patch, by the way.  It sounds decent with reverb.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on May 21, 2016, 06:19:37 PM
Well, using the techniques from MartinM's post I was able to put together this choir sound.

Nicely done! Thank you for sharing the patch details.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 22, 2016, 09:03:10 AM
Moinmoin, (stolen from MartinM!)

Thank you Sacred Synthesis and dswo!

There are two directions I want to go with the patch.

1. Make the sound morph into a female choir as you go up the keyboard by using the keyboard note number.
2. Try to have the mod wheel morph between different formants.

I was experimenting earlier today and found the answer to one of Jason's questions far back in the forum: Is there a way to pan one layer on one side and the other layer on the other?

The short answer appears to be NO, but as Sacred Synthesis has explained early in this thread, you can set the Pan Spread to 0 and use one Main Output and one Output B channel to get that nice spacious sound.

However, I don't have a mixer, so I'd have to pass these cables into my computer to listen to them over headphones (I don't really have a studio either), and I hate working with the computer. I usually use the headphone out.

I discovered that if I set the Pan Spread to 127, the two layers are always panned to opposite sides. This means that if the two layers are similar you still get the spacious sound. I certainly can't tell that with each note played the voices are swapping between the left and right channels.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on May 23, 2016, 11:45:42 AM
once you've worked with the instrument for a while, you're going to see the logic of coupling the keyboard with a module, as you see your best ideas limited by a four-voice result.  The Prophet '08 cries out to be a sixteen-voice instrument.

Hey All,

If you've read this whole thread, you may remember that I've been looking to get a module to accompany my Prophet '08. I've been trying to get a good deal on eBay and just missed one a couple months ago. I finally got one over the weekend at a good price. Were it not for the extra mixer channels, I may have gone for two Tetras instead. In addition to being cheaper, I like that they are smaller. But the module will work better overall, and so I'm glad that I got it. I'm very happy to finally have it and really enjoyed going through many of the sounds to compare and to hear the improvement.

Because my focus is live use, I intend to keep it in a rack down on the floor. This brings up a Midi question:
In addition to the module, I use my Prophet '08 keyboard to control a Hammond organ module (btw, the best one that I've found is the HX3). I intent to keep the Midi channel on 3 for controlling the module and then switch to Midi channel 1 or 2 to play the organ. I'm hoping that, with only these two slaves, I won't need a Midi thru box. When I make the switch from playing synthesizer to playing Hammond, I first turn down the volume on the keyboard and then change channels. As long as the volume is turned down, it works fine. The issue is that when I change to channel 1, the module also changes to channel 1. So if I accidentally touch the Prophet's volume pedal, the module volume jumps up and becomes audible. Most slave instruments should stay on the Midi channel picked on it and would not change with channel changes on the master (I think). How can I get the module to not respond to Midi channel changes but still respond to everything else?

I'm sure I'll have other comments and questions, but I need to get going. Obviously, I think S.S. is really on to something here. I love how these two sound together.
-Jason
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on May 26, 2016, 08:59:33 AM
I discovered that if I set the Pan Spread to 127, the two layers are always panned to opposite sides. This means that if the two layers are similar you still get the spacious sound. I certainly can't tell that with each note played the voices are swapping between the left and right channels.

Unfortunately I tried this again last night and the two layers were always panned on the same side. So this idea doesn't work.

Jason, I'm a newbie here, but can you turn MIDI off before switching channels? Or pull the cable (yuck I know). The other possibility is to use a MIDI filter to filter out the channel change...
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on June 15, 2016, 08:23:34 AM
In addition to the module, I use my Prophet '08 keyboard to control a Hammond organ module (btw, the best one that I've found is the HX3). I intent to keep the Midi channel on 3 for controlling the module and then switch to Midi channel 1 or 2 to play the organ. I'm hoping that, with only these two slaves, I won't need a Midi thru box. When I make the switch from playing synthesizer to playing Hammond, I first turn down the volume on the keyboard and then change channels. As long as the volume is turned down, it works fine. The issue is that when I change to channel 1, the module also changes to channel 1. So if I accidentally touch the Prophet's volume pedal, the module volume jumps up and becomes audible.

I'm curious about this method of changing MIDI channels.  Since you're using one keyboard to control two modules, why wouldn't you make the changes at a little keyboard mixer?  It would be as simple as releasing one button and pressing another; it would take one second.  There would be no need to go into Global or to adjust volume levels.  I make this kind of change constantly while I'm playing, and even though I'm in a music room, still, everything I do is live.

If it isn't too small for your needs, a Mackie 802 VLZ4 could be just perfect for this use.  Use the Mute buttons to come and go from your modules.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/802VLZ4
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on June 16, 2016, 02:40:14 AM
Moinmoin,

I seem to have some time, so I write my own experience with mixers, which I think have many advantages, even if You use the P'08 alone:


This said, I will describe my use of a mixer:
My "normal" setup is P'08 (2 stereo channels), Transcendent 2000 (analogue synth, mono channel), an old Rhodes VK1000 (stereo channel) and sometimes a MIDI extender with sampled mellotron-strings (stereo channel) and "some effects":

Prefade, in order to have them independently from the original sounds, I
Two homebrew effects are used post fade:

My mixer BTW is a soundcraft M4, which I selected because it has 4 aux outputs, 2 of them pre-, 2 post fade, which is what I wanted for the effects-thing I described above. The effect returns may come in normal channels as well as in 4 extra stereo channels, leaving the main channels free for the instruments. In addition it has "control room" and additional mono-outputs that double the stereo main out, which serves me perfectly as a private monitor live and at rehearsals: Independent from other people's hearing again...
I just started to experiment with the mono output feeding an old Leslie clone, this definitely is fun ;)

Of course there is a disadvantage: Next to the drummer, my stuff uses the most room on stage as well as during transport. If the Leslie-clone remains in the setup, I will even top him, can't have everything...

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on June 16, 2016, 06:57:50 AM
You won't find all effects You like with stereo inputs. To find an effect with two stereo inputs is nearly impossible. But if You use a mixer with aux outputs (effect send), You will be able to use effects with monophonic inputs on the P'08 stereo outputs.[/li][/list]

I try to maintain maximum stereo at every step.  That's why I like the Lexicon MX300 and even the cheap little Nanoverb 2.  They have both stereo inputs and stereo outputs.  It does get more difficult to find effects with stereo inputs if you go the pedal route.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on June 16, 2016, 02:58:23 PM
Since you're using one keyboard to control two modules, why wouldn't you make the changes at a little keyboard mixer?  It would be as simple as releasing one button and pressing another; it would take one second.  There would be no need to go into Global or to adjust volume levels.  I make this kind of change constantly while I'm playing, and even though I'm in a music room, still, everything I do is live.

Thanks for the idea. ...So just keep it set to channel ALL and control with the mixer volumes. That hadn't actually occurred to me because I have been intending to put the mixer down on the floor on a rack or something, so that it's not as visible to an audience. However, I haven't actually done this yet; I still have it up on a stand similar to your setup. I have a lot to learn about mixers, but I don't think I have mute buttons that will work as simply as yours. Please advise if you see an option:
http://www.allen-heath.com/ahproducts/zed-10fx/

Of course, I could do the same thing with the volume knobs, and that probably would be a bit easier than what I'm doing now. I currently have the '08 and '08 module going into the two stereo channels and the Hammond module going into channels 1 and 2, panned Left and Right. (With my Tetra sucking up channels 3 & 4.) So it would mean adjusting four knobs. 

I've been keeping my eye on the "TS to TRS Question" with the hopes that someone will hit on a way to cut down on the number of channels I'm using!

Thanks for the idea, S.S.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on June 16, 2016, 03:07:32 PM
  • The P'08 has some output noise at high frequency that is independent of its volume setting. This is minimized by cranking the P'08 volume totally up and setting the overall volume at the mixer (which is the right method of mixing, anyway...).

For some reason, I had the impression that this wasn't the best way to run the '08, even though it was my understanding that it normally is for other keyboards. I've been keeping the '08's around 12:00. I will have to look into changing this.

Thanks for your suggestions on how you set up your mixer. As I just mentioned, there is still a lot that I don't know about mixers.

By the way, if anyone is looking for chorus pedals with stereo in/out, the Diamond Halo does the job and is all analog. Having said that, I am only using reverb on my Prophets. The Allen and Heath Zed has several combinations of effects, but I mainly keep it on just reverb.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on June 17, 2016, 01:23:49 AM
Moinmoin,

Jason wrote:
Quote
I've been keeping my eye on the "TS to TRS Question" with the hopes that someone will hit on a way to cut down on the number of channels I'm using!

You will not cut down on the number of channels by different cabling only, as one stereo signal will always use up one stereo channel, no matter what cable(s) is used to feed it.
Using a TS -> TRS cable will possibly save You an input jack, not a channel !

Apologies if this insults You, but do You confuse symmetrical/balanced TRS inputs (which are mono: T=signal, R=inverted signal, S=ground) with unbalanced TRS stereo inputs (which are stereo: T=left, R=right, S=ground)?

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on June 17, 2016, 07:43:10 AM
Thanks for the idea. ...So just keep it set to channel ALL and control with the mixer volumes. That hadn't actually occurred to me because I have been intending to put the mixer down on the floor on a rack or something, so that it's not as visible to an audience. However, I haven't actually done this yet; I still have it up on a stand similar to your setup. I have a lot to learn about mixers, but I don't think I have mute buttons that will work as simply as yours. Please advise if you see an option:
http://www.allen-heath.com/ahproducts/zed-10fx/

Yes.

I use my mixer like an effects device; meaning, I'm at it constantly, even as I play.  I keep it close out of necessity, and see it as an integral part of my keyboard set up.  I think this makes sense for a synthesist who operates as a one-man ensemble.  But I realize your circumstances are different from mine.

I'm not familiar with your mixer, so I'll just put in a good word for the Mackie VLZ line.  I've used three of them by now, and will be upgrading to a fourth soon.  They're simple, well-built, quiet, have no onboard effects, and work well for stereo keyboards.  They have just the controls needed for my live music room recordings, which might not be so unlike your performances. 

I think the best policy for a synthesist is to use a mixer with as many channels as he or she can afford.  There's nothing worse than having to use one channel when an instrument really needs two.  So, you might want to eventually consider the 1202 or 1402.  Just a suggestion for the future.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on June 19, 2016, 08:44:54 AM
It's always interesting to hear how you configure your instruments for solo performance, Sacred Synthesis.

Until recently my synths were all hooked up to the computer via an over-elaborate and less than reliable set of audio interfaces. I've since switched to a Zed 14 mixer. All stereo synths are connected accordingly (only Jupiter 6 and Minitaur are mono) and if something isn't consistently connected it simply isn't used.

I'm using 2 effects sends, to an El Capistan delay and a Big Sky reverb. I experimented with stereo sends to these fx pedals (both jumpered to accept stereo input) but found it didn't make enough of a difference to keep that way. The output from those pedals is 100% wet and stereo. The dry synth audio is generally the only part I feel needs to be kept fully stereo.

I'm curious - Do you run your MX300 and Nanoverb on effects sends or between synth and mixer?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on June 19, 2016, 09:10:14 AM
Fuseball,

I guess I'm following my instincts.  Many moons ago when I was playing in bands, I functioned as the "sound guy" as well - which meant only that the mixer was to my right, so that I was generally responsible for the band's mix, getting rid of feedback, adding onboard reverb and EQ, and so on.  So, my mentality is still that the mixer is part and parcel of the keyboard set up, and not some sort of unfortunate afterthought or complication to it. 

I use the Lexicon MX300 only for reverb, but it provides it for all the instruments.  So, naturally, I run it in the mixer from the Aux. send-return and adjust the depths channel-by-channel.  It works exceptionally well this way and is trouble and hassle free.  I use the Nanoverb 2 only for delay on the upper Prophet '08, so that's hooked up in between the instrument and the mixer.  I intend to replace it with a second Lexicon, even though the Nanoverb works quite well, up to a certain depth; but it does start to hiss and distort a bit beyond a certain point.

My objective is always to keep my set up simple and direct, with minimal wires.  Because it's entirely instrument-oriented, and because I don't use any sorts of drum machine, sequencers, computers, or other devices, I'm able to do this.  But I'm also nearly forced to keep things simple, because I haven't a fraction of the techno-wizardry that you guys have!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 03, 2016, 10:51:02 AM
Regarding my MIDI switching issue, while S.S.'s mixer solution worked better than what I had been doing, I still want to get my mixer down into a rack for a cleaner look on stage. I had been looking at a discontinued Phil Rees product, but they are going for around a $100, when they can be found at all. But at some point, I stumbled upon this product which is cheap and exactly what I wanted:

http://www.sears.com/new-midi-cable-ab-2way-switch-box-5pin/p-SPM6165300408

I'm really loving my Prophet '08/Desktop Module setup. I also continue to use my Tetra controlled via my extremely flexible Yamaha S70/XS. I just did a big bass sound for Foreigner's Cold as Ice. After programming the fun sound on the '08 and transferring it to the Tetra, I then dialed in some of the sub-octave oscillator generator and feedback and the end result was even better on the Tetra.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: _ADSR_ on July 06, 2016, 04:31:27 AM
I just did a big bass sound for Foreigner's Cold as Ice.

Ohhh!  Let's here it, please.  :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Bryan_D on July 15, 2016, 12:49:15 PM
I have very much appreciated the enthusiasm for the P08 and its derivatives in this thread (and some of the others). This enthusiasm, along with my recent less-than-stellar experiences with the P6 and OB6, have inspired me to hook up my Tetras again and re-evaluate them . . . in TRUE STEREO! It's been a lot of fun, and I really do like the way this engine sounds. Just want to say thanks for the contributions and inspiration.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 15, 2016, 01:01:37 PM
Ditto.  It's nice to see some enthusiasm for an instrument that deserves it.  Reading complaint after complaint can be depressing, even if you happen to like the instrument that others are complaining about.  It can make you question your own contentment with it, as if it might just be that you don't see what others see.  This is where the forums can spread misery.  Putting it all aside, this thread is a breath of fresh air.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 18, 2016, 08:19:30 AM
Foreigner's Cold as Ice.    Ohhh!  Let's here it, please.  :)

I'm afraid that I just don't have a good method of recording right now. But I really like this thread, so here's an attempt: I am able to run a single line into the mic input of my Yamaha S70/XS and then record onto a thumb drive. So, these recordings are a little distorted, and they are only one channel.

Keeping that in mind, the first clip is the Prophet doing the Cold as Ice sound, and the second is the same sound with added sub and overdrive on the Tetra. I haven't been able to attach all of the clips, and so you can hear them at my bandmix site link below (at the very bottom of the page).

To keep the post on the subject, I also am including a little demo of a few sounds I made for the '08. The first clip is a segment from Rosanna by Toto. It demonstrates how we can use the third Envelope to make a little "blip" at the beginning of a horn sound. I discovered this method in an old instruction video by the Toto man himself: Steve Porcaro. He's not much of a teacher (and he's high as a kite in the video), but I think his programming is very impressive. The idea is to add a very short descending pitch to one of the oscillators and then blend it in with the second "straight" oscillator. In my experiments with the third Envelope, I found the Amount range to Osc 1 Freq was best from 7-25. This example was set to 11. The other variable is the Decay rate, which seems best from 20-30; this one was set to 22. It is my understanding that neither the OB-6, nor the Prophet-6 is capable of such a blip (Steve's word), because they don't have the third Envelope.  8) The other feature from this clip that cannot be done on the other instruments is the Split that you will hear, where I play a MiniMoog part lower on my Prophet '08.

The second little demo is a String sound that makes use of all four LFO's: frequency and PWM for each Oscillator... which again, cannot be done on the other instruments. By the way, is there a way to track these LFO's with the keyboard? In the same video by Porcaro, he demonstrates tracking the LFO's so that they get faster as you play higher. This allows the strings to sound better across the whole keyboard. If there's a way to do this on the '08, I can't figure it out.

The third little clip is the sound that I developed for the lead in Come Sail Away by Styx. I just like the sound.... and am learning to accept, and even appreciate, the subtle clicks.  ;)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 18, 2016, 08:33:29 AM
By the way, is there a way to track these LFO's with the keyboard? In the same video by Porcaro, he demonstrates tracking the LFO's so that they get faster as you play higher. This allows the strings to sound better across the whole keyboard. If there's a way to do this on the '08, I can't figure it out.

First, really nice sounds and explanation of how you created them! I believe you can create a modulation with the key number as the source and an individual LFO frequency or all LFO frequencies as the destination.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 19, 2016, 06:12:57 PM
Most people who have been contributing to this thread are very sophisticated so they already know this.  Just wanted to share my recent experience in the hope it helps others.

I've been getting a lot of crackles on presets, and I was beginning to wonder whether the internal circuitry was running too hot or something. Last night I discovered the VCA Env Amount knob! Turning this knob sets the output level of the voice into the mixer. Seems to make the sound have less of that drilling brightness, but that could be my imagination.

There have been complaints about the Prophet '08 filter. I think a lot of it has to do with a misunderstanding of how modulation works. Basically you take the Filter Frequency and add the Env Amount scaled by the envelope (127 on sustain is full scale), add the Velocity amount scaled by the key velocity, and add the key amount multiplied by some key number. That gives the final filter frequency. Very logical, and it's how the entire modulation system works.

Once I started to get control of the filter I was creating sounds that I wanted to hear. I also modulated the oscillator frequencies with noise (I used a mod amount of 1) and added some audio mod to brighten the filter. These are tricks that mephistofeles wrote about in another forum.

Anyway, at this point I was making sounds my brain wanted to hear. I started getting lost in the sound and couldn't stop playing. I now get what people have been saying: The Prophet 08 doesn't have a single big sweet spot. You need to find the sweet spots, but when you do, you get that huge dopamine rush.

This is an amazing machine.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 20, 2016, 06:34:14 AM
I've been getting a lot of crackles on presets, and I was beginning to wonder whether the internal circuitry was running too hot or something. Last night I discovered the VCA Env Amount knob! Turning this knob sets the output level of the voice into the mixer. Seems to make the sound have less of that drilling brightness, but that could be my imagination.

Once I started to get control of the filter I was creating sounds that I wanted to hear. I also modulated the oscillator frequencies with noise (I used a mod amount of 1) and added some audio mod to brighten the filter.

Thanks for your insightful posts! I still have a lot to learn, and you've given me some things to experiment with. I definitely need to check out your suggestion of using a key number as the source and LFO frequencies as the destination. That does seem like it should get me what I'm looking for with keyboard tracking. Does anyone have any advice on how they like to set this?

I've also never done anything with the VCA Env Amount knob. I have a few sounds that seem to overdrive and distort quickly, and so I am hoping this may help with those sounds. I have a wonderful Pink Floyd type horn sound that does this a bit- the only fly in the ointment in an otherwise lovely sound.

I like your explanation of the filter; that's a good way of thinking about it.

I'm especially interested in: "I also modulated the oscillator frequencies with noise (I used a mod amount of 1) and added some audio mod to brighten the filter. These are tricks that mephistofeles wrote about in another forum." I noticed this in another thread and attempted to use a random wave shape to modulate an oscillator... but I didn't have good results. Would you please give your settings for this and for the audio mod?? Is there still a link to check out these old posts?

I noticed that Sacred Synthesis mentioned using audio mod on his last (brilliant) video, and I really don't understand what how it works.

Many Thanks,
-Jason
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Synthmaniac on July 20, 2016, 11:31:27 AM
tumble2k, your post is spot on.

What you say about the filter is also true for the VCA or modulation with envelopes generally. If you positively modulate a parameter, the modulation amount is added to the set value of the parameter (or subtracted in case of negative modulation).
Using the velocity amount parameter it can be confusing. I have other synths where the velocity amount uses the set value of the destination for velocity=127 (full velocity) and reduces the value for lower velocity values.

I often use VCA velocity amount on the Prophet08. If I do that, I have to dial back the VCA env amt, because its initially at 127. There's no higher value possible, so the VCA vel amt can't add anything to it. This is why I always use the inverse value (e.g. vel amt 64 -> env amt 63 | vel amt 80 -> env amt 47), if I want to retain volume but not cutting off high velocity values.
I also, like you said, dial back VCA env amt, if my patch seems to distort, but it seems to me that lowering the overall patch volume (misc parameters -> voice volume) is achieving the same result.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 20, 2016, 12:48:45 PM
I'm especially interested in: "I also modulated the oscillator frequencies with noise (I used a mod amount of 1) and added some audio mod to brighten the filter. These are tricks that mephistofeles wrote about in another forum." I noticed this in another thread and attempted to use a random wave shape to modulate an oscillator... but I didn't have good results. Would you please give your settings for this and for the audio mod?? Is there still a link to check out these old posts?

I noticed that Sacred Synthesis mentioned using audio mod on his last (brilliant) video, and I really don't understand what how it works.

So there are two ways I know of to inject some variation into the rock solid frequencies of the oscillators: use an LFO or use the modulation matrix. The advantage of using the LFO is that modulation slots are kind of valuable -- you only have four (I wish we had 16 like the Prophet 12!). But I haven't been able to get good results from using the Random LFO. Mephistofeles says that the rate is best between 70-100 IIRC, but I still hear the oscillators burbling. Higher LFO rates did not help this problem. I think this is what you're saying doesn't give good results.

Therefore I was forced to use a modulation slot. The last modulation source is noise. I set one slot as follows:

Mod source: noise
Mod dest: oscillator 1 frequency
Mod amount: 1

I set another slot as follows:

Mod source: noise
Mod dest: oscillator 2 frequency
Mod amount: 1

Interestingly it seems that choosing the same source for both modulations does not make the two oscillators track with each other in this case. I'm not sure why. Anyway somehow getting the randomness in the oscillator frequency this way sounds better than using the Random LFO. I'd like to hear opinions.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 20, 2016, 09:18:23 PM
I often use VCA velocity amount on the Prophet08. If I do that, I have to dial back the VCA env amt, because its initially at 127. There's no higher value possible, so the VCA vel amt can't add anything to it. This is why I always use the inverse value (e.g. vel amt 64 -> env amt 63 | vel amt 80 -> env amt 47), if I want to retain volume but not cutting off high velocity values.
I also, like you said, dial back VCA env amt, if my patch seems to distort, but it seems to me that lowering the overall patch volume (misc parameters -> voice volume) is achieving the same result.

I hadn't experimented with this the VCA velocity amount, so this information is very useful. What you say makes perfect sense now. Also I didn't know about the voice volume parameter. I suppose the VCA Env Amount is nice because I can twiddle it using one knob instead of having to select the parameter with another knob.

Jason, the audio mod parameter is a type of FM synthesis where the actual output of oscillator 1 modulates the frequency of the filter. If you have the resonance way up you can get real FM sounds, but with the resonance lower audio modulation just adds some more higher harmonics to the filtered sound. Mephistofeles suggested using it to brighten up the filter when the cutoff is set really low.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 21, 2016, 06:55:10 PM
I believe you can create a modulation with the key number as the source and an individual LFO frequency or all LFO frequencies as the destination.

Yes, that's it! Thank you. That's exactly what I was looking for, and playing with it gave me a better understanding of how the modulation can affect the LFO's. My string sounds are definitely sounding better.

I also, like you said, dial back VCA env amt, if my patch seems to distort, but it seems to me that lowering the overall patch volume (misc parameters -> voice volume) is achieving the same result.

I have to say that that is also what I found when experimenting with it. It's nice to have the ability to take the volume down with one knob, but both adjustments seemed to give the same effect for me. So I feel like I have to either live with the slight distortion or turn down the volume of the patch.

I haven't been able to get good results from using the Random LFO. Mephistofeles says that the rate is best between 70-100 IIRC, but I still hear the oscillators burbling. Higher LFO rates did not help this problem. I think this is what you're saying doesn't give good results.
.

Yes, that is what I was doing, and "burbling" is a good word for it. But I did have better results today with the suggestion of keeping the rate between 70-100. Although it didn't improve any of the patches that I tried it with today, depending on what I am going for, I think that could definitely be useful. I honestly can't say that I liked the other method with a Mod source of noise any better. It seems to give a low level of distortion, which I can't say I liked. In the end, I think Slop is a bit more useful for me, or at least for the patches that I was working with today. But I want to keep experimenting with both of these options.

Jason, the audio mod parameter is a type of FM synthesis where the actual output of oscillator 1 modulates the frequency of the filter. If you have the resonance way up you can get real FM sounds, but with the resonance lower audio modulation just adds some more higher harmonics to the filtered sound. Mephistofeles suggested using it to brighten up the filter when the cutoff is set really low.

Thank you. That's probably the best description of Audio Mod that I've seen, and it gives me a better idea of how to use it. I did notice today how it added some highs to the filter (I was using pretty low resonance.) Did Mephistofeles or anyone else offer a range that is most helpful?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 21, 2016, 10:12:46 PM
I did notice today how it added some highs to the filter (I was using pretty low resonance.) Did Mephistofeles or anyone else offer a range that is most helpful?

Actually I had Mephistofele's instructions wrong. Here they are from another forum, but I don't know which one. He is responding to some bellyaching about the Prophet '08's sound.

-------------------------------------------
See my comment above.

I thought all of these at one point but it can actually sound quite different with the right techniques.

You need to do 2 things:

- "Destabilise" the oscillators.
- Find the lower rich filter sound.

Use the LFOs to "wobble" the oscillators, experiment with different waves, speeds etc. I tend to keep the speed fairly high (60-80) and level very low (low single figures). 

If you are using a PWM based sound do the same at the same time for an even bigger sound. 

Another trick is to route noise into the filter or oscillator, gives it a strange grainy quality. 

The filter thickens up nicely at the low end. But to get it low enough you need to know that the other controls (velocity, envelope, keyboard) also effect the cutoff. You need to turn these all down to get it low. Also make sure you're using the 4 pole filter. 

Once you have it low turn up the resonance so it's not quite self-oscillating. You will probably have a very rich but somewhat dull sound. 

Add in the filter mod, this adds in higher harmonics allowing you to some brightness even with a low cutoff. 

After this it's just tweaking to get a much more vintage type sound.
Try it. You'll probably be very surprised at the sorts of sounds you can get - I certainly was.


BTW These techniques should apply to all of DSI's synths including the Evolver and Tempest.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 22, 2016, 12:11:55 AM
The view that destabilizing the oscillators and filter produces a vintage sound still mystifies me.  I'm never striving to create a vintage sound, and the last thing I want is a sound that is destabilized anyways.  Nor would I ever attribute that characteristic to the essence of a fine synthesizer sound.  But if some one can post an audio sample of the above sound, I'm all ears.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on July 22, 2016, 01:35:58 AM
Moinmoin,

IMHO the most interesting - if not the best - sounds from an electric guitar are achieved, just before "something really bad" happens: feedback, screamig, collapsing, You name it.
I found out that this is also true for synthesizer sounds. Parameters may be different, the principle remains: For a simple example there is no acoustical feedback, but filter resonance, electrical feedback, or other methods to achieve the same kind and degree of "danger"  ;)

In these situations, the musician walks the small line between "wow" and "aaaargh", which requires direct control and fast reaction. This BTW is the reason why I prefer analog synthesizers with a lot of knobs, as they give instant and direct access (analog) without fingering through menus (knobs), while sound, ears and minds go berserk...

If this is meant with destabilisation, I do agree. Otherwise I am with Sacred Synthesis. "I'm all ears" shall be the whole of the law for any kind of music(ian) anyway.

Martin

Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 22, 2016, 08:29:38 AM
I don't have much sound design experience but when I've listened to pure sawtooth waves with the filter wide open on different synthesizers I hear differences. For example, on a Moog Thin Fatty, the sawtooth is very pleasing on its own. Contrast that with a single sawtooth on the Prophet '08. It sounds flat and static by comparison--like a signal generator in an electronics lab. An acoustic instrument never sounds static like this, one reason why sampling is such a fine art. Perhaps that is why Marc Doty recommended modulating the frequency of the oscillators when he created his video about making the Pro 2 sound "vintage"? I'm still trying to figure this out.

Jason affirmed my observation that modifying the frequency using a random LFO was plainly audible, and in a detrimental way. I suspect this is because the modulation amount of 1 is still too high to get the required variation without sounding like an artifact (that fine line between "wow" and "aaaargh" that Martin refers to). I found that modulating the frequency with noise was better, but it's still a little too obvious, especially if you're listening to the plain oscillator.

I suspect (but I don't know for sure) that if I could set the modulation amount lower (I can't find a way to do this because the logic of Prophet '08's modulation system seems to disallow finer adjustments) I might be able to get the oscillator to sound pure and yet not have that flat and static sound.

Another thing I suspect is that the stability on a very fine level can affect how we subconsciously react to the oscillators even if we can't consciously put our fingers on it, especially after mixing with another oscillator, filtering, and enveloping.

Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 22, 2016, 09:05:50 AM
There are probably advantages to having access to both very precise oscillators (like we have in the '08) and also oscillators that seem to have more natural movement, which is what I think I'm hearing in videos of some older instruments. For example, in the Porcaro video that I mentioned, he starts with a single oscillator starting point much like our Basic Patch, but I hear a more interesting sound coming out of his Oberheim Xpander than what we get with a single, unaffected oscillator on a '08. It could be that there are effects on the single oscillator demo that aren't being mentioned, and it could be that I'm hearing things (it's a copy of an old VHS tape). I think I also hear more movement in some of the videos of the OB-6 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t81GYNGqO48). If there's a difference, I think there has to be applications for both; sometimes precision is better.

Thanks tumble2k, for taking the time to find and post the Mephistofele quote. I notice that he didn't specifically mention using the random wave of an LFO, although he suggests experimenting with different wave shapes. I'm interested in experimenting with adding trace amounts of other wave shapes to the oscillators, as well as trying his other suggestions.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 22, 2016, 09:28:47 AM
Perhaps that is why Marc Doty recommended modulating the frequency of the oscillators when he created his video about making the Pro 2 sound "vintage"? I'm still trying to figure this out.

Yes, Doty's first Pro 2 video is representative of this view, and I would cite that demo as proof - in my opinion - that the destabilizing achieves nothing but destabilizing.  I thought the end result on the Pro 2 sounded worse than the "perfect" sound he started with.  It's like claiming that a good singing voice consists of the inability to create a smooth controlled vibrato.  Many singers have no, little, or an uncontrolled vibrato, and yet, their voices still sound excellent in spite of the fact.  But it's an entirely different matter to believe that, if you wreck your own vibrato, then as a direct result you'll have an excellent singing voice.

So, I'll have to part ways with the popular view here, and say that I'm never striving to destabilize the Prophet '08's sound; no, just the opposite.  If I add a quality to a Prophet '08 patch that sounds somewhat randomly modulated, it's actually an effect other than destabilization that I'm after.

I would agree that, if you play one oscillator of the Prophet '08, using a sawtooth wave form with a wide open filter and no modulation, the result is less than satisfying; it certainly does sound thin and rather unmusical.  But this is merely to admit that the P'08 is capable of creating a musically sterile sound.  Surprise, surprise!  It's an electronic gadget, so don't be disappointed if it can, at points, sound like a glorified fire alarm.  To me, it's not a concern that a single sawtooth with a bright filter setting sounds bad.  In my opinion, such a patch sounds bad on a Minimoog as well.  Personally, I would never use such a sound, so it doesn't concern me.  This leads to an entirely new topic, however - that of creating a nice warm and rich musical tone on the Prophet '08.

I think a single P'08 sawtooth with a slow attack (72), short release (32), soft to medium filter setting, and a generous amount of reverb, truly sounds beautiful.  It resembles the diapason stop on a pipe organ.  As a means of slightly rounding-off the tone, you can choose instead the sawtooth-triangle wave form - an option I've never seen discussed on any forum.  It has a character all its own, especially as you rotate through the cut off frequency.  Using the 2-pole filter setting, even with full resonance, will give yet another array of pleasantly music characteristics, even though this will attenuate some of the lower frequencies.  Another option is to add a slight amount of volume from the second oscillator - just enough to add a faint slow oscillator beating.  If you combine the first oscillator's sawtooth with, say, the second's square, or even slight PWM over a selected range, then you open up a domain of very subtle tonal characters.  This is an area in which I spend quite a bit of time - this searching for subtle differences from solo patch to solo patch.  I use a number of melodic tones that differ so slightly, one from the other, due to the combinations of pulse widths, sawtooths, and triangles.  Still another option for creating warm mono patches is to use the Output B or Layer options to double the identical patch.  You're still using the same sound, but panning it or differently processing it.  Don't underestimate the effectiveness of using substantially different amounts of reverb to each layer.  Using a patch with a moderate amount of reverb, combined with the identical patch having a large amount of reverb and adjusted down to a soft volume, can create wonderfully ethereal effects, rather like a natural echo.

Although the Prophet '08 can sound thin and sterile if you want it to, this is an advantage.  The question is, can it only sound thin and sterile in producing mono patches?  I would obviously answer, "By no means".  The approach I follow in designing musical mono patches never uses random destabilizing, but only vibrato or other forms of regulated modulation.  If I use the P'08's rather crude FM, it's for reasons other than modulation and more related to timbre.

Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on July 22, 2016, 10:39:32 AM
Forum user "snowcrash" once wrote the following on the old forum:
Quote
I had lengthly discussions with people who are professionals in analog and digital signal processing and one guy mentioned, that the older synths have a kind of pink noise (or even darker) in the pitch-CV of the OSCs. So basically each OSC has a slightly different dark noise modulation (much different than what you can try to achieve with a single digital noise source for all OSCs) that makes the harmonics seem to sound "broader" and thus "fatter" if you want to stress that terminology.

So the idea with noise modulation is simply to try and mimic the older instruments in some digital way. Wonder if using lowpass filtered noise would make any difference? At least its a technique that deserves more exploration even though it may not work for everyone!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 22, 2016, 11:32:10 AM
By the way, this thread shows the advantages of having instruments that have been around for a while.  The good old Prophet '08 has been fully vetted and its idiosyncrasies substantially fixed.  Now, it is what it is, and no changes will be made to it.  As a result, this thread is a decent mature discussion about effectively using the instrument, with no comments or complaints about software, bugs, updates, and so on.  It's so refreshing to be at this stage with a synthesizer.  My point is, it seems to be a luxury to reach this state in an instrument's life, when talk of changing it is long past, and only talk of using it is of interest.  I wish the Poly Evolver were still in production for the same reason. 
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 22, 2016, 12:02:13 PM
So, I'll have to part ways with the popular view here, and say that I'm never striving to destabilize the Prophet '08's sound; no, just the opposite.

I'm not sure that destabilizing an oscillator is a popular view. I would bet that most of us are going for similar qualities regarding sound design. (I, for one, consider the sounds that you are able to get to be the high watermark.) I think the clearest difference here is that you have probably experimented with and abandoned these ideas long ago, whereas, I have only experimented with them briefly and recently. As I said, my results weren't favorable, but there are still several things I would like to experiment with... including the suggestions you give in the second part of your email.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 22, 2016, 01:12:50 PM
So, I'll have to part ways with the popular view here, and say that I'm never striving to destabilize the Prophet '08's sound; no, just the opposite.

I'm not sure that destabilizing an oscillator is a popular view. I would bet that most of us are going for similar qualities regarding sound design. (I, for one, consider the sounds that you are able to get to be the high watermark.) I think the clearest difference here is that you have probably experimented with and abandoned these ideas long ago, whereas, I have only experimented with them briefly and recently. As I said, my results weren't favorable, but there are still several things I would like to experiment with... including the suggestions you give in the second part of your email.

Jason -

I meant "popular view" regarding this forum in general and beyond it, not just regarding this single thread.  Related to the Pro 2, several of us have gone back and forth quite a bit about the theory that digital oscillators can be made to sound more analog simply by destabilizing them.  I disagree with this, while most others - such as Doty - agree with it.  I think the character and quality of an oscillator comes down to the fundamental and partials that comprise it, as well as the filter that attenuates it.  These two elements give you that starting tone which already has a personality.  All the other parameters only modify it.

I think this discussion should have some audio samples.  Let some one provide a sterile sawtooth from one P'08 oscillator, with the filter wide open.  I think we would agree this will sound sterile.  But leaving the filter as it is, then provide a sample of it destabilized by random modulation.  I say the result will be the same as Doty's - a sterile sawtooth that has been destabilized by random modulation, and not a tone that now sounds warm, rich, musical, or greatly improved.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 22, 2016, 02:29:30 PM
I say the result will be the same as Doty's - a sterile sawtooth that has been destabilized by random modulation, and not a tone that now sounds warm, rich, musical, or greatly improved.

In fact you're quite right, the result IS a sterile sawtooth that has been destabilized by random modulation.

I agree with Jason. You're experimenting with some different and powerful approaches that I'd like to try out as well, especially adding small amounts of the second oscillator slightly detuned. Thank you for the explanation.

At the same time I'm interested in the idea that applying low pass filtered noise to the oscillator may broaden the spectrum in a pleasing way -- perhaps setting up two layers and sending layer B to the CV input can simulate this method (on one oscillator only). Very interesting!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 22, 2016, 02:57:38 PM
Oh, I'm not suggesting that anything and everything shouldn't be tried.  Indeed, the Prophet '08 is a relatively simple instrument, and so, we should strive to get the most out of what is there.  I've only been addressing the view that fluctuations are at the heart of the analog character.  I say they have next to nothing to do with what really makes the character so musically appealing.  I find myself avoiding as best as I can destabilization, precisely because I'm after that warm rich analog tone.

Regarding your second comment, I should fill in a few details.  I find a lovely effect is created by designing, say, a flute or oboe type mono patch on the first oscillator, and then adding the second oscillator at about a quarter of the volume - just enough to create a slight oscillator beating.  I de-tune oscillator 2 to either 1 or 2, so the beating is very slow and gentle.  Combined with reverb, it creates a subtle acoustic instrument effect, since even they are constantly interacting with their environment - be it with other instruments or with room acoustics.  Even in a little practice studio there are such effects.

Another approach is to design two oh-so-slightly different single oscillator mono patches, and then pan the layers.  Since each sound is coming from a different side, they only slightly interact with each other.  The result is a slightly richer version of the above technique.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on July 22, 2016, 04:29:29 PM
The modulation amount of 1 is still too high to get the required variation without sounding like an artifact (that fine line between "wow" and "aaaargh" that Martin refers to). I found that modulating the frequency with noise was better, but it's still a little too obvious, especially if you're listening to the plain oscillator.

I suspect (but I don't know for sure) that if I could set the modulation amount lower (I can't find a way to do this because the logic of Prophet '08's modulation system seems to disallow finer adjustments) I might be able to get the oscillator to sound pure and yet not have that flat and static sound.

Evan Valencia, who was on the old forum, shared two methods for getting smaller values:

"You can get less than 1 by routing the source through either the Mod Wheel or Envelope 3 if neither are used for other functions. I.e. say in the above example you want less than 1 LFO amount for Osc 1 to pitch. First get an LFO and assign it to Osc 1 Freq, LFO frequency and waveform to taste and LFO Amount = 0. Then you go to the Mod Matrix and assign source = Mod Wheel and Destination = LFO X Amount. The Mod Amount will be your top line of the extent of the range you want to cover, in the case you want less than 1, you set this value = 1. Now as you sustain a note, push the mod wheel up and you’ll hear the ‘warble’ get more intense. If you set the Mod Amount = 1 you won’t hear much of a difference, because now the extent of the mod wheel covers all values from 0 to 1 (which is what we want in this circumstance). The mod wheel has a resolution of 8192 or something like that so you get very precise control of the mod. Say if you set the Mod Amount = 127 now you hear the mod wheel affect Osc 1’s pitch in a much more profound way because now the Mod Wheel controls all values ranging from 0 – 127, makes sense?"
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on July 24, 2016, 06:28:35 AM
In an older 1V / oct synthesizer using a linear power supply (typically an EI-core transformer with a few thousand KµF of reservoir capacitance across all the rails), a noise level of 150 µV on the DC rails would definitely make a difference of a few cents here or there, keeping in mind that the fixed-voltage 78XX/79XX linear regulators manufactured 35 years ago aren't nearly as good performance-wise than their modern equivalents - so this effect may in fact be more pronounced in some cases. Note too, that this is all spurious noise, and gets worse as they age.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on July 25, 2016, 04:13:50 AM
Moinmoin

one thing about "sound philosophy" strikes me:

Indeed, the Prophet '08 is a relatively simple instrument...

Yes!

This is true for all analog synthesizers. They consist of only the very basic sound-generating and forming components:
And that's quite it. You simply cannot create piano, guitar or double-bass sound with an analog syntesizer, be it literally a classic or just designed that way (as P'08 is). You cannot even mimick the human voice.
Even string or choir pads are much simpler if compared e.g. to mellotron-sounds or modern samplers / romplers, not to speak of real choirs or orchestras. These pads only live by the fact, that "masses" are less precise than "individuals".

Let's put it straight: The only thing, an analog synthesizer does better - at least more distinct - than any "natural" instrument is filter sweep. Looking (hearing!) back into the 70s will teach You, that the most acclaimed vintage lead sounds have much in common with flutes, which are the most simple natural instruments regarding harmonic and modulational content. Some of them become lead sounds by heavily using filter sweep, all of them use the pitch wheel close to a rock guitarist's way of articulation, which in turn inherited a lot from violin-players. The "lead-character" lies more in playing style than in sound!
As a consequence of this simplicity, most synthesists used reverbs, delays or chorus-like modulation and some distortion in order to add more harmonics after the filter did its work. They did this because they regarded the "dry" synthesizer sound as to simple. These effects consequently were integrated into those synthesizers of the 80s, that now are regarded as best sounding of that age.
And most attempts to let VCOs "beat" against each other are merely mimicking chorus effects in order to "thicken" the sound.

This said, let's come to the positive part of it:
If You think about it, the very character of an analog synthesizer sound even lies in its simplicity. Concentration on a comparably small amount of comparably simple parameters is a veritable characteristic of real art. You can work out each single parameter and make it shine. Even if more than one parameter is changed, this principle is what the listener hears and feels.
And like in the old days of the 70s, the further processing of the mere VCO-sound is still crucial:
Did anybody really have a chance, to hear the sawtooth of a Moog VCO, or was it not always routed through a - maybe even wide open - filter and other components?

What I look for in a synthesizer is a
toolset with
from there I may go wherever it leads me. And as with every craftsman's toolset, it is not the quality of one single tool, be it hammer or VCO, but the combination, that will do the work.
And did I say that I love the P'08?  :)

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 26, 2016, 06:52:00 AM
I just wanted to say that this is indeed a very interesting conversation that covers the artistic, technical, and philosophical. And we're pretty much only talking about the oscillators!

Fascinating what dslsynth said that the VCO frequency undergoes a slow random walk that gives it its characteristic sound. Playing around with adding noise to the VCO frequency in very small amounds (using the trick dswo kindly provided) I think I confirmed what Sacred Synthesis was saying: if you add enough noise to provide movement the oscillator doesn't sound realistic. I think the characteristic frequency of the noise matters, i.e., if it's pink or darker. At a low enough frequency the noise becomes Oscillator Slop, which at high numbers sounds to me like a bad VCO, just as Sacred Synthesis said. Small amounts of slop (up to 2) are nice.

What DavidDever says is even more interesting because he says the rail variation will appear as spurious noise, which I interpret to be broadband. I am imagining a VCO that never quite hitting the same trigger voltage every cycle. This can be mimicked on a Prophet '08 up to middle C (where the LFOs top out in frequency), and I'd expect the effect would sound quite different from slop. I would expect you could simulate this effect on a Prophet 12 at higher frequencies by FM modulating your oscillator with white noise. I don't have a Prophet 12, but I'll try on the Prophet '08 and report back.

Sacred Synthesis's method of mixing in a small amount of a slightly detuned oscillator is great. It does provide a subtle movement while maintaining the integrity of the original oscillator. I also agree with Martin that the Prophet '08 provides powerful real time control over a harmonically simple instrument. The other thing I might add is that an analog synthesizer can sound 80 to 90% like almost any instrument out there (okay maybe 50% of the human voice) which is pretty fun when you want to understand what makes instruments sound the way they do (up to the last 10 to 20% or so).
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 26, 2016, 08:09:20 AM
Playing around with adding noise to the VCO frequency in very small amounds I think I confirmed what Sacred Synthesis was saying: if you add enough noise to provide movement the oscillator doesn't sound realistic.

Sacred Synthesis's method of mixing in a small amount of a slightly detuned oscillator is great. It does provide a subtle movement while maintaining the integrity of the original oscillator.

I agree. Sacred has not yet said "I told you so," but he certainly could. I like to experiment and have had the time to do so this week. The methods of destabilizing the oscillators have not produced good results for me. The most effective suggestions are the techniques that S.S. recommends. One of my favorites how he uses larger amounts of PWM with slower frequencies. So thanks, S.S., and keep the suggestions coming!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 27, 2016, 07:15:03 AM
One thing that I think spoils synthesizer sound design is a lack of subtlety and a tendency towards extremes.  In listening to many synthesizer videos and recordings, it often seems as if synthesists are trying to impress other synthesists with complexity, as if more is necessarily better.  The sounds are so over-packed with loud and caustic characteristics, blatant filter changes and modulation, that they better belong in a bank of company demo patches, rather than in a beautiful piece of music.  Good sound designers knows how to turn a parameter just one digit, or not at all.  They spend an hour or more searching for the finest minutest adjustments that are almost unnoticeable to the untrained ear, but that perfect a sound and finally attain the nearly unattainable - a sweetly musical character. 

There's nothing worse than a patch that screams, "Synthesizer!"  That's my view, anyways: get the electronics out of the sound and, to the degree that it's possible, make it seem acoustic, or like it sprang right up out of the soil, all green and leafy. 

Less is more, and in all things, simplicity.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on July 27, 2016, 10:56:25 AM
It's ironic that we're choosing to use a relatively complex instrument, with regard to modulation in analog terms, to create sounds of great subtlety. For all the Prophet~6's simplicity, it's difficult to use the bare bones modulation for anything other than in-your-face effects. It's far from easy to make those single-digit parameter changes. I still far prefer sound designing with the P'08, if I'm honest.

I often wonder if the P'08 would be better regarded if it had built-in fx, like most other polyphonic synths in the past 20 years? I find a lot of synths pretty underwhelming when you turn the fx off. Even the OB-6 and P-6 are flattered by them. It's arguably a much more powerful tool than the modulation in shaping the sound of those two.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 27, 2016, 11:21:02 AM
Well, having all those modulation possibilities still allows us to use them to the most subtle degrees.  It's good to have them there for the times when you want to "pull out all the stops," but those times should only be occasional. 

I've often wished that the Prophet '08 had onboard delay, like the Evolvers.  It would save us the trouble of having in our set ups yet another pedal and needing yet another power outlet and yet another set of wires.  It would be nice, but I wouldn't want any more effects than that.  One thing that has really turned me off the OB-6 videos - and therefore, the instrument itself - is the frequent use of the phaser.  I'm so used to hearing the OB-6 and its onboard phaser, that sometimes I forget it's even being used.  If an instrument needs that much help - and a phaser is a substantial contributor to a patch - then something is wrong with it.  The same is true for the chorus.  In general, I don't like the sound of a synthesizer run through either effect. 

By contrast, what I like about the Prophet '08 is that its modulation capabilities are so substantial that using a phaser or chorus never even crosses my mind.  Several years ago, I had both for the P'08, but I happily ended up selling them because they simply weren't needed.  There's no paucity in the instrument's sound that makes you search for an effect to compensate.  Reverb and perhaps delay are all that are needed.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on July 27, 2016, 03:22:06 PM
I think even the most basic sounds I program on the P'08 use at least 2 or 3 LFOs and a couple of mod slots. As you say, it makes phasers and chorus redundant. I've tried both on the P'08 and found neither particularly useful, whereas I use them to compensate for the lack of other modulation on the P-6. Even then, just a little to the mix can work wonders rather than overpowering the core sound.

Agree 100% on the delays. I'm quite fussy about reverbs, so I don't mind keeping that external.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 27, 2016, 05:43:19 PM
Fuseball -

I'm always amused to read your comments about the Prophet-6.  You seem to have a love-hate relationship with it, and I never know which you're going to express next.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 27, 2016, 10:14:38 PM
I've been thinking a lot about delays lately. I really wish the Prophet '08 had a delay like the one on the Prophet 12. My understanding of the one on the Prophet 12 is that you can create delays, reverbs, chorus, phasers, and flangers with it using the LFOs, panning, and other parameters. I would imagine that the reverbs wouldn't be as nice as a top shelf reverb, but the delays would be a wonderful toolkit for creating effects.

It's funny that no manufacturer is creating a nice stereo multitap delay unit that can be configured in such a flexible way. I think that Dave Smith has mentioned that they've talked about creating a delay pedal like the Prophet 12 delay but just haven't gotten around to it. I for one would be very interested in it. If the Prophet '08 had it built in, well wow!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on July 28, 2016, 04:24:59 AM
Fuseball -

I'm always amused to read your comments about the Prophet-6.  You seem to have a love-hate relationship with it, and I never know which you're going to express next.
:D

It's a frustrating instrument insofar as I often can't quite get it to do exactly what I want... but the sounds I do come up with instead usually sound great. It's definitely more love than hate, but I'm not blind to its weaknesses.

I enjoy playing it a lot more than either the P12 or Pro 2, both of which I owned for a while. The P12 just made me realise that I still preferred the P'08, which I find is my perfect balance of simplicity and complexity. The Pro 2 was a strange one. On paper it looked amazing and I loved the sound of the two filters, but I don't think it made it onto a single track of mine. It could be bold and aggressive but I never got it sounding pleasingly solid like the best analog monosynths. It didn't help that, at the time, the OS and sequencer felt a bit undercooked. For leads and arpeggios I still get better results from the MEK.

The Prophet-6 is at least a whole lot more inspiring for me, but I still struggle to completely turn off that inner-voice that says "what if?" and wishes for that second LFO etc.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 28, 2016, 05:39:26 AM
I think I would have the same reaction to each of those instruments as you did, Fuseball.  In nearly all things, I find the Prophet '08 to be just right.  I would get quickly exasperated with a synthesizer that offered anything less.

If it were only possible, I wish the Prophet '08 could have added to it an onboard delay, longer envelope times, and a high pass filter.  That would make an already excellent instrument approximately perfect, in my opinion.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: BobTheDog on July 28, 2016, 10:49:49 AM
With all this P8 love I am wondering how it would be better than an 8 voice evolver setup?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on July 28, 2016, 11:11:30 AM
Even though its the exactly same oscillator/filter Curtis chip as in the Evolvers I am left with an impression of the fully analog signal paths sonic advantages including a better bass.

. o O ( just like Iggy Azalea )
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 28, 2016, 11:34:59 AM
I can respond to both of your comments, because I've obviously got both instruments side-by-side and have many times compared the same patches on each.  An eight-voice (or twelve-voice) Poly Evolver is a pad masterpiece.  The hybrid aspect obviously allows you to go in one, the other, or both directions at the same time.  A number of the digital wave shapes respond beautifully to changes in the filter, making much more than merely typical sweeps, but something more enchanting.  It makes superb evolving pads with minimal effects that are both warm and dreamy.  That's what I most like about the PEK.  But by no means do the two synthesizers stand on equal footing when it comes to simple direct analog tone.  In this area, the Prophet '08 wins.  If I want an immense brass patch, or a rich string patch, or a sweet sawtooth solo patch, I always go to the P'08.

The Evolver has a cooler analog tone, which is not a problem when you're piling on all the oscillators.  There are various ways to compensate for the shortcoming, but when you use a simple clean sound - say, one or two analog sawtooths with minimal effects and modulation - it's quite noticeable. 

In addition, the two instruments have differently behaving envelopes.  I always use the linear setting on each, yet the response is different.  For something like a brass patch, again, the P'08 works much better; it seems easier to control and anticipate its behavior.

The Prophet '08 is also able to make finer increments - be it through after touch or in setting LFO modulation depth.  For example, when using the PEK's third envelope for a delayed vibrato, the first increment of modulation depth is already too deep for creating a moderate vibrato.

I realize in one sense the analog side of the PEK is identical to the P'08, but it must be that the AD/DA conversions have a substantial sonic effect.  There's no way these two instruments sound the same.  If they did, I probably would have sold my P'08s years ago; but, in fact, I much prefer them over the PEKs because I prefer quality over variety.

It probably seems strange to most of you.  I have two beautiful PEKs, and one of them is coupled with a PER.  And yet, I find myself constantly drawn more to the P'08s, which are significantly smaller and simpler instruments.  But that's consistently my ears' preference.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on July 28, 2016, 01:07:32 PM
Hiding behind my Prophet-6…
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 28, 2016, 01:18:05 PM
Quote
But by no means do the two synthesizers stand on equal footing when it comes to simple direct analog tone.  In this area, the Prophet '08 wins.  If I want an immense brass patch, or a rich string patch, or a sweet sawtooth solo patch, I always go to the P'08.

Well lucky for me, because the Prophet '08 was the only device in the DSI lineup I was able to afford! An eight or twelve voice Evolver setup is completely out of the realm of possibilities for me. I might just as well be talking about Modal.

Quote
In addition, the two instruments have different behaving envelopes.  I always use the linear setting on each, yet the response is different.

I didn't know about this linear setting. Can you tell me more? Or is it only an Evolver thing?

Quote
I realize in one sense the analog side of the PEK is identical to the P'08, but it must be that the AD/DA conversions have a substantial sonic effect.  There's no way these two instruments sound the same.  If they did, I probably would have sold my P'08s years ago; but, in fact, I much prefer them over the PEKs because I prefer quality over variety.

The conversions can make a huge difference. I had a decent audio interface board by Avid that I used for digital recording. I was completely surprised how obvious it was when I bypassed the board on my mixer or listened to the board just converting the signal to digital and converting it back to analog. The converted sound became noticeably more metallic even in instant A/B comparisons, which tend to hide subtle differences.

Paul, what's your opinion on the Prophet 6? I do get an inferiority complex thinking I couldn't afford the "real" analog synth :).
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on July 28, 2016, 01:59:59 PM
Paul, what's your opinion on the Prophet 6? I do get an inferiority complex thinking I couldn't afford the "real" analog synth :).

I guess I can only act like the Judas of this thread.  ;)

Seriously though, generally speaking I like them all: the Evolver, the Prophet '08, the Pro 2, and the Prophet-6 (those are all the instruments I can really speak for due to personal experience). Each of them sounds unique and cannot replace the other. The reason I basically switched from an Evolver and Prophet '08 setup to a Pro 2 and Prophet-6 setup doesn't say much about what I think about the first generation DSI synths, but was only a matter of finances and priorities, and also the fact that I prefer to keep my setup rather small because there are only so many synths I can fully explore at the same time. Plus: I prefer to get the most out of less instead of having one device per sound so to speak.

That said, it all depends on your use. I like to own the Prophet-6 because it sounds good, looks good, and feels good to play. And first and foremost it's a quite simple synth engine that nicely balances what the Pro 2 is capable of on the very other end of the complexity continuum. So in practice that means that I'm following a rather analytical sound design approach with the Pro 2, while I only go by ear and intuition on the Prophet-6. This may sound a bit more schematic than it actually is, but that's roughly how I approach both synths (happy accidents included).

The different architecture aside, I think that both synth's ingredients complement each other well: the different types of filters and the analog and digital oscillators. Both do cover entirely different sonic universes.

Could I only own one of these synths, though, I would probably pick neither, but rather a Prophet '08 for all of the aforementioned reasons in this thread, i.e. especially the sound and feature ratio. At least an 8-voice Poly Evolver setup would also be an option, albeit the more expensive direction. What I prefer about the latter over the Prophet '08 is the stereo signal path and the according filter settings it allows for. I was never too keen on its digital high-pass filter and distortion though, both of which I definitely prefer in the latest DSI designs.

Other than that, I always liked the Prophet '08 and found that the bad rep it received at times was totally unjustified and in many cases the result of impatience or ignorance.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 28, 2016, 03:28:46 PM
Hiding behind my Prophet-6…

That's right, the Prophet '08 commission is coming for y'all.  We intend to rid the land of all Prophet 6's.  If we find anyone with a four-octave keyboard...chop!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: BobTheDog on July 28, 2016, 11:18:35 PM
I can respond to both of your comments, because I've obviously got both instruments side-by-side and have many times compared the same patches on each.  An eight-voice (or twelve-voice) Poly Evolver is a pad masterpiece.  The hybrid aspect allows you to go in one, the other, or both directions at the same time.  A number of the digital wave shapes respond beautifully to changes in the filter, making much more than merely typical sweeps, but something more enchanting.  It makes superb complex pads that are both warm and dreamy.  That's what I most like about the PEK.  But by no means do the two synthesizers stand on equal footing when it comes to simple direct analog tone.  In this area, the Prophet '08 wins.  If I want an immense brass patch, or a rich string patch, or a sweet sawtooth solo patch, I always go to the P'08.

The Evolver has a cooler analog tone, which is not a problem when you're piling on all the oscillators.  There are various ways to compensate for the shortcoming, but when you use a simple clean sound - say, one or two analog sawtooths with minimal effects and modulation - it's quite noticeable. 

In addition, the two instruments have different behaving envelopes.  I always use the linear setting on each, yet the response is different.  For something like a brass patch, again, the P'08 works much better; it seems easier to control and anticipate its behavior.

The Prophet '08 is also able to make finer increments - be it through after touch or in setting LFO modulation depth.  For example, when using the PEK's third envelope for a delayed vibrato, the first increment of modulation depth is already too deep for creating a moderate vibrato.

I realize in one sense the analog side of the PEK is identical to the P'08, but it must be that the AD/DA conversions have a substantial sonic effect.  There's no way these two instruments sound the same.  If they did, I probably would have sold my P'08s years ago; but, in fact, I much prefer them over the PEKs because I prefer quality over variety.

Thanks for all the info.

I had been thinking of getting a second hand rack for my PEK but for the same sort of price I could buy a new P8 module. I think I might be tending towards the P8...

Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 29, 2016, 09:34:27 AM
That's great.  Just make sure you first give it a good run through, since our tastes are probably quite different.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on July 30, 2016, 10:03:23 AM
I made a discovery yesterday, and I'm not yet sure what it means. I've been using an inexpensive set of Ultimate Ears in ear monitors plugged directly into the headphone output of the Prophet '08. It sounds a little edgy and lacking in bass. I have read criticism of the Prophet '08 in both sound qualities.

When I use my home stereo I get the same general character, and it makes the keyboard somewhat uninvolving. Last night I plugged in my cheap iPhone headphones that pump the bass and roll off the highs.

What a difference! The Prophet came alive with a warm and rich presence I associate with vintage synthesizers. This is with the standard presets.

I am beginning to suspect that my recollection of "vintage" means an amplifier/monitor system with a "sagging top and flabby bottom," and that rose-tinted memory is so imprinted in my psyche that I subconsciously compare every synthesizer experience to it.

I read somewhere else that equalizing the Prophet '08 quickly makes up for any perceived lack of bass. That makes a lot of sense to me now.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 30, 2016, 12:35:21 PM
Hmmm.  I'm wondering what to make of your finding, because when I record the Prophet '08, I tend to do just the opposite.  Using EQ, I open up the high end and trim off the lower end a tad.  The P'08 tends to rattle the house very easily.  I've recorded a few times without EQ-ing in this way and not been happy with the results.  But I tend to like a crisp sound.

I'll agree with you on your other point, though.  I, too, think our memories of the old vintage instruments have been pleasantly and unrealistically colored over time.  When I was playing my Juno 60, CAT SRM, Elka Rhapsody, and Taurus pedals, I distinctly remember often being frustrated with many issues, including sonic qualities.  I wasn't revelling in their famous  phatness, warmth, and richness.  I was too busy half of the time getting them repaired!  So, I do think we've quite romanticized the old synths into a synthesist's utopia.  Of course, that's not to say that modern synthesizers sound better, but just different.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on July 30, 2016, 12:48:37 PM
I, too, think our memories of the old vintage instruments have been pleasantly and unrealistically colored over time.  When I was playing my Juno 60, CAT SRM, Elka Rhapsody, and Taurus pedals, I distinctly remember often being frustrated with many issues, including sonic qualities.  I wasn't revelling in their famous  phatness, warmth, and richness.  I was too busy half of the time getting them repaired!  So, I do think we've quite romanticized the old synths into a synthesist's utopia.  Of course, that's not to say that modern synthesizers sound better, but just different.

That's actually what I've heard from a lot of people who were around when the classics have been released. I think a forum like Gearslutz would explode once the casual user had to deal with the issues of most of the highly praised instruments.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on July 30, 2016, 01:07:49 PM
You're right, Paul.  My memories tell me so.  The problems were constant and expected.  I seldom have any problems now, even though I've got more equipment than ever before.

[I made a spelling correction to my post quoted above.]
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on July 30, 2016, 08:38:41 PM
Last night I plugged in my cheap iPhone headphones that pump the bass and roll off the highs.
What a difference! The Prophet came alive with a warm and rich presence I associate with vintage synthesizers.

I had read somewhere that turning up the bass in the EQ could had some warmth to the '08, but I guess I hadn't experimented with it before. Today I turned the EQ bass from 12:00 to 3:00, and I turned the highs from 12:00 back to 11:00. I then added about five to the filter setting in order to get the brightness where I had it before. I have to say that I think you're on to something here! My initial experiments were that I liked just about all the sounds better. Keep in mind that in my typical band setting, I am not playing a lot of low notes on the Prophet, and so I was mainly testing right hand parts. I went through many of my favorite sounds with good results. The other thing that I didn't yet experiment with is using the Prophet and Module pair. Maybe making the above adjustment on one and leaving the other one straight would be the way to go?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on July 30, 2016, 09:32:33 PM
I had read somewhere that turning up the bass in the EQ could had some warmth to the '08, but I guess I hadn't experimented with it before. Today I turned the EQ bass from 12:00 to 3:00, and I turned the highs from 12:00 back to 11:00. I then added about five to the filter setting in order to get the brightness where I had it before. I have to say that I think you're on to something here! My initial experiments were that I liked just about all the sounds better. Keep in mind that in my typical band setting, I am not playing a lot of low notes on the Prophet, and so I was mainly testing right hand parts. I went through many of my favorite sounds with good results. The other thing that I didn't yet experiment with is using the Prophet and Module pair. Maybe making the above adjustment on one and leaving the other one straight would be the way to go?

If you use different EQ settings for two Prophets that might expand the stereo feel slightly in case you're using both on different channels. It's an old trick for when you record drums with just one overhead microphone: Duplicate the according track, pan one to the left and the other to the right while using different EQ settings on each.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 03, 2016, 08:45:11 AM
I have been playing around with random modulation of pitch in a way to add some movement to the P'08's DCOs. I used dswo's techniques to lower the amount of modulation so that it is not perceptible directly. Specifically I use the following settings:

LFO 3 Freq: 149
LFO 3 Amount: 0
LFO 3 Shape: Random
LFO 3 Dest: Osc 1 Freq

LFO 4 Freq: 143
LFO 4 Amount: 0
LFO 4 Shape: Random
LFO 4 Dest: Osc 2 Freq

Env 3 Dest: LFO 3 Amount
Env 3 Amount: 1
Env 3 Delay: 0
Env 3 Attack: 0
Env 3 Decay: 0
Env 3 Sustain: Anything less than 10
Env 3 Release: 127

Mod 4 Source: Envelope 3
Mod 4 Dest: LFO 2 Amount
Mod 4 Amount: 1

So with this setup I can modulate the modulation level using the Envelope 3 Sustain knob.

For a lot of my tests I run the two oscillators slightly detuned say +-2 and the slop at low levels or off. What I find is that if the sustain level is at 10 I can start hearing the beats between the two oscillators, and it sounds lumpy and unnatural. However, if I have the sustain level below 10 I can't hear the lumpiness.

Here's the crazy part. At this low level of modulation, the P'08 oscillators *feel* more alive. I just can't prove it's so because it's really subtle; if I was doing a double blind test I probably would not be able to tell the difference. Anyway, I've set up the basic patch with these modulations as the basis for my analog emulation patches and will experiment further. If anyone else has or cares to play around with these ideas I'd love to hear about it.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: lnetzel on September 06, 2016, 01:56:56 AM
I have been playing around with random modulation of pitch in a way to add some movement to the P'08's DCOs. I used dswo's techniques to lower the amount of modulation so that it is not perceptible directly. Specifically I use the following settings:

LFO 3 Freq: 149
LFO 3 Amount: 0
LFO 3 Shape: Random
LFO 3 Dest: Osc 1 Freq

LFO 4 Freq: 143
LFO 4 Amount: 0
LFO 4 Shape: Random
LFO 4 Dest: Osc 2 Freq

Env 3 Dest: LFO 3 Amount
Env 3 Amount: 1
Env 3 Delay: 0
Env 3 Attack: 0
Env 3 Decay: 0
Env 3 Sustain: Anything less than 10
Env 3 Release: 127

Mod 4 Source: Envelope 3
Mod 4 Dest: LFO 2 Amount
Mod 4 Amount: 1

So with this setup I can modulate the modulation level using the Envelope 3 Sustain knob.

For a lot of my tests I run the two oscillators slightly detuned say +-2 and the slop at low levels or off. What I find is that if the sustain level is at 10 I can start hearing the beats between the two oscillators, and it sounds lumpy and unnatural. However, if I have the sustain level below 10 I can't hear the lumpiness.

Here's the crazy part. At this low level of modulation, the P'08 oscillators *feel* more alive. I just can't prove it's so because it's really subtle; if I was doing a double blind test I probably would not be able to tell the difference. Anyway, I've set up the basic patch with these modulations as the basis for my analog emulation patches and will experiment further. If anyone else has or cares to play around with these ideas I'd love to hear about it.

Can you attach an audio sample, sounds like something I'd like to hear :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 08, 2016, 06:47:11 PM
Quote
In addition, the two instruments have different behaving envelopes.  I always use the linear setting on each, yet the response is different.
I didn't know about this linear setting. Can you tell me more? Or is it only an Evolver thing?

This is an old question that I remembered I hadn't answered.

Under "Misc Parameters," the Poly Evolver allows you to choose between exponential and linear envelopes  The first has a natural curve to it and is the one I usually use, whereas the second is stiff and unnatural sounding.  These settings are not available on the Prophet '08.  The surprising thing is, even though the Prophet '08 lacks the options, its single envelope setting (which I presume is exponential) is much easier to play.  It's perfect for brass patches, whereas I find brass patches on the PEK to be somewhat clumsy to play due to the envelope curve, regardless of which envelope curve I use.  It's one of the many subtle but significant ways in which the two instruments differ.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: StarskyCarr on September 09, 2016, 09:14:14 AM
I have been playing around with random modulation of pitch in a way to add some movement to the P'08's DCOs. I used dswo's techniques to lower the amount of modulation so that it is not perceptible directly. Specifically I use the following settings:

LFO 3 Freq: 149
LFO 3 Amount: 0
LFO 3 Shape: Random
LFO 3 Dest: Osc 1 Freq

LFO 4 Freq: 143
LFO 4 Amount: 0
LFO 4 Shape: Random
LFO 4 Dest: Osc 2 Freq

Env 3 Dest: LFO 3 Amount
Env 3 Amount: 1
Env 3 Delay: 0
Env 3 Attack: 0
Env 3 Decay: 0
Env 3 Sustain: Anything less than 10
Env 3 Release: 127

Mod 4 Source: Envelope 3
Mod 4 Dest: LFO 2 Amount
Mod 4 Amount: 1

So with this setup I can modulate the modulation level using the Envelope 3 Sustain knob.

For a lot of my tests I run the two oscillators slightly detuned say +-2 and the slop at low levels or off. What I find is that if the sustain level is at 10 I can start hearing the beats between the two oscillators, and it sounds lumpy and unnatural. However, if I have the sustain level below 10 I can't hear the lumpiness.

Here's the crazy part. At this low level of modulation, the P'08 oscillators *feel* more alive. I just can't prove it's so because it's really subtle; if I was doing a double blind test I probably would not be able to tell the difference. Anyway, I've set up the basic patch with these modulations as the basis for my analog emulation patches and will experiment further. If anyone else has or cares to play around with these ideas I'd love to hear about it.

Interesting...

I've tried many times to increase the movement in the DCOs - pitch is the only real way here, although you can also add a bit of randomness to the filter I suppose. 

I've attached a screen grab of the settings I've used based on these values - but the most important change I suppose is that I've used Env 3 as an irregular LFO by modulating its attack and decay with LFO1 and LFO2

This works well for strings as it increases the apparent slop without really noticeable artefacts. Play the oscillators independently and you can hear they're well and truly f**ked up ;) together it just sounds richer.

I also have slop on 5, and modulate the Osc mix with the amp envelope - to alter the volumes of the osc through the held notes. The amp envelop also modulates LFO4, which I've changed to a sawtooth.  This changes the speed of LFO 4 without glitching.

Of course I've now used up a while host of modulation options - all my LFOs, env 3 and all the mod busses !!

I've always thought the slop does't go far enough - I want a knackered old battered bit of kit sometimes!!  The P6 slop is much more effective - so effective that it's an effect in itself when turned to maximum.  Why it only goes to 5 and not 11 is beyond me.

I've tried using slower LFOs and low amounts - but the amount is never fine enough  - it's either non existent or far too much.  It'd be useful to have Env 3 Sustain as a modulation destination as the modulation control amount could be randomised as I've done in this patch but with changing attack and decay values to give an irregular slew.

I think we should petition DSI to give us another update with increased slop... not sure how to go about it though :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: StarskyCarr on September 09, 2016, 09:59:11 AM
For anyone who's interested...

Here's a comparison of 2 patches - one without all the additional mods for instabilities, and one as per my previous post.  The settings are pretty much identical on both - but I've adjusted the filter slightly on the standard patch to try to match how the modded one 'sounds' as it's being modulated around the principle value.

I've detuned both to Oc1 -3 and Osc2 +6 - this was because with the previous settings the un-modded patch was far too dull in comparison so this makes it more realistic 'test'.

Nothing scientific about this - just seeing if the movement is increased favourably with the extra programming... if I can do it then surely DSI can add something similar to their slop algorithm?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 09, 2016, 10:44:03 AM
Sorry Inetzel I have not been able to provide any audio samples yet. We have a newborn in the house and I don't get to play the '08 much these days.

Thanks for the followup Sacred Synthesis. I think I read somewhere that the Prophet '08 envelopes are exponential with hand tuning.

StarskyCarr, this is interesting and a clever use of envelope 3 as an LFO. I will listen carefully when I get a chance. The slop approach is to modulate the oscillator frequency with a slow random walk. What I was trying to accomplish (and I'm not sure if I was successful) is to add a small amount randomness on a per cycle basis to the oscillator frequency, which is why I'm running the LFOs as fast as I can. I think that in a real VCO both effects are present. One problem with my approach is that there's some limit to the frequency resolution on a DCO, and I may be running into that.

Anyway I'll do my best to get some samples out soon.
Title: Re: Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Mickeyziggyk on September 21, 2016, 08:58:51 AM
Thanks, Dswo.

I rarely spend time any longer on the other synth forums, but today I stopped by the Moog Forum.  There's an interesting thread on the Prophet-6.  It was mostly positive, but even in the midst of the kind words directed towards DSI, there were the usual criticisms of the Prophet '08 and its "thin" tone.  I'm glad I don't consider such comments to be worth a cow flop, and it reminded me of something I've wanted to post for a while, I suppose somewhat ironically.

If you're trying to make a decision about musical instruments, take the forums very lightly.  They can serve the purpose of providing additional information to company and music store websites, but the voluminous comments and opinions can confuse and lead you astray when it comes to making an actual decision - the decision that is right for you.  I have found far more bad advice on these forums than good, and been led in the wrong direction more often than the right.  People often suggest that you do or buy what they would do or buy, and give advice that suits their interests, as if you would benefit from being them.  I would say, if you're trying to make a gear decision, eliminate or at least limit this mass of forum twaddle, be selective in what you read, and go light on opinions and heavy on facts.   Spend your time analyzing your own needs and comparing them with each instrument's capabilities.  Careful private research based entirely on facts is far more beneficial than reading a thousand opinions and then trying to come up with their average.  YouTube videos are very helpful, even if the sound quality is only moderate.  But cut way down on the volumes of viewpoints, which can cloud your thinking.

I say this recalling all the warnings I've come across the past seven years concerning the Prophet '08's and Poly Evolver's dreadfully bad Curtiss filters, thin tone, and etc.  Right.  I am sooooo happy with these instruments, and if I had taken too seriously this mass of negative opinions, I wouldn't have bought them; I would have bought, instead, what was right fro some one else. 

I've been fortunate enough to be able to consult with a few knowledgeable pals on this forum, such as Paul Dither, and it's been both helpful and enjoyable.  But most of what is found on the forums in general strikes me as utter rubbish when it comes to clarity of thought, so that going against the tide has been the wiser method of making right decisions.  There's much to be said for a generous amount of self-reliance when making these decisions.

Right on.
Just got a Prophet 08 and after an initial hump ('why does this synth not sound like synths I've used before?'), I now love it. To the point that it has a bigger smile on my face than buying a Wurlitzer EP200.

The filters are not weak, bad or anything like that. What they are are precise tools for sculpting musical tones. The 2 pole mode is amazing, especially at full resonance, this is where the juju is. Before I read the same thing in this post, I'd found this last Sunday and it made me chuckle that folks dismiss the filters. Although I can understand this synth is not for everyone, and that's good too.

It can do squelchy sounds and dial-a-synth tones, but it has already taken me far further than any other instrument I have ever played (except a Bluthner baby grand). It can make emotional sounds full of subtle and wild movement; with no fx (especially anywhere after middle c).

I've had it less than a week, so I am in a honeymoon period, but I feel that the Prophet 08 is not about making synthy sounds, it's about making musical sounds that just so happen to be generated via subtractive synthesis topology.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 21, 2016, 09:34:34 AM
I'd be proud to put my name to your post, Mickey.  Very well said.  Yes, the secret to appreciating the Prophet '08 is in seeing it as nothing other than a Prophet '08.  It's not a this and it's not a that; it's not a Prophet 5 or a Prophet 600, or any other SC instrument.  Nor is it merely the extracted analog side of the Poly Evolver. It's simply and purely a P'08.  Start there, and you'll be thrilled with the music and sound that can be made with it.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on September 25, 2016, 04:33:13 AM
I would have loved to see a random source in the mod matrix that acted per voice. I have a couple of VA soft synths and some of them has that random source, and it's a very simple and efficient way to get some natural detuning between voices by simply routing random to main pitch with a small value (each note in a chord will have it's own static random value assigned). I'm sure that random would have worked really well with the P'08 as well.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: jdt9517 on September 25, 2016, 09:56:38 AM
I'm new to the forums here.  I bought my P-08 about a year ago and just  bought a Pro 2.  Love both of them.  This thread has been very interesting for me.

A little about my background.  I was heavily involved in the music scene in Los Angeles during the '70's and '80's.  Did a lot of recording work and played keyboards for "star acts" of the time.  I was known as an electronic keyboards guy then.  I had two Sequential keyboards - a P5 and a Pro One.  Loved the P5, the Pro One not so much.

I made a change of careers in the late '80's due to a fairly radical change in the music industry in that decade.  I was glad that I made the change, but still miss the work.  Sold my P5 and Pro One back then (major mistake). 

I remember that I was losing fondness of the P5 because it didn't have the brightness of the newer digital keyboards, e.g., DX-7.  The P5 was losing favor generally then because its sound was dated.  I regret now selling it, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Fast forward 30 years - I started getting back into electronic keyboards more for hobby than anything now.  I investigated the keyboards that were out and decided to try a P-08.  Did not play one before ordering it on line.  Based upon the reviews, I thought it was a good risk.  Have had it for about a year now.

I'm glad I bought it.  What was striking to me was that the P-08 felt so much like the P5.  However, it was like Dave Smith had gone into my memory and addressed all the shortcomings I felt about the P5 and fixed them.   The oscs were "brightened" to about the level I thought they should have been in 1985.  Touch sensitivity is great.  I don't think any of us back then appreciated MIDI but now it is essential.  I would have liked to see more of the "poly mod" features retained, but the new modulation features definitely do well.

What others have said on this thread are true - one must approach the P-08 as its own instrument and not try to compare it to others.  With that said, I look at the P-08 as a worthy successor to the P5 and really a superior overall instrument. 
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 25, 2016, 10:39:08 AM
Now there's an interesting viewpoint.  The Prophet '08 just isn't a Prophet 5; Oh no, it's better than a Prophet 5!

Way back, when I was playing in bands in the 80's, I couldn't afford a P5.  The best I could afford was a Juno 60, and I'm glad for it.  Even if I wanted to, I couldn't now compare a P5 to a P'08.  So, it's been easy to take the latter instrument as it is, without any expectations or mental comparisons to spoil the appreciation of it.  I've read so many posts on various forums that speak badly of the P'08, seemingly for the one reason that it just doesn't measure up to the P5 standard.  I definitely understand the pristine analog ideal and share it myself, but every analog instrument can approach it in different ways.  That is, there doesn't have to be a single analog ideal or standard.  The Moog sound is miles away from the ARP sound, and yet, both are classic analog standards.  That's the way it should be - a certain width to the analog character.  Hence, there is plenty of room for both the P5 and the P'08 within a broad analog standard, without one in any way infringing on the other.  It's the same with the P'08 and the new P6.  There's plenty of room for both.

 
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 25, 2016, 12:36:20 PM
Sadly I never owned a P5. I was too young to afford anything like that back in the day. However, when I listen to recordings of the P5 (specifically the ones done by Katsunori Ujiie) I find that the 40 year old P5 has a dark sort of sound that's closed in the highs, which definitely sounds dated, but it also sounds wonderful in its way. I find it interesting that the same is said of vintage audio amplifiers from that era. The highs were definitely lacking. I think the Compact Disc changed all of that in the audio industry just as the DX-7 changed it in the synth industry. There is a difference in the quality of the capacitors, especially at certain value ranges where they now use polystyrene and polypropylene instead of electrolytics. The newer caps are definitely better at reproducing the high frequencies.

I've been fiddling with my P'08 for a few months now sometimes getting good sounds and sometimes not. I've always found the filter somewhat grating, but better when I played it through an old school amplifier that cut the highs and boosted the bass somewhat. Last night I realized (I think the word might be rediscovered) that I might be overdriving the output stage of the P'08 because of the output level was set too high. The default voice has the level set to 127, and yes, that does drive the output hard to the point it's slightly clipping.

When I dialed the output level down (to a very conservative value of 90) I found that the filter smoothed out quite considerably. Gone was the tendency to go instantly from too bright to muffled. The P'08 is definitely brighter than the P5 in the video, but in a nice modern way, as if the output stages aren't cutting everything off above 12kHz or so.

I opine that the bad rap the P'08 filter gets is due to the output clipping. I'm still playing with the overly stable DCO question but my results are inconclusive. I still owe Inetzel a recording, which will be improved now that I have the output level set correctly. I may need to get a P6 to find out what VCOs bring to the party that DCO's don't, if anything.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on September 25, 2016, 05:07:44 PM
I've been fiddling with my P'08 for a few months now sometimes getting good sounds and sometimes not. I've always found the filter somewhat grating, but better when I played it through an old school amplifier that cut the highs and boosted the bass somewhat. Last night I realized (I think the word might be rediscovered) that I might be overdriving the output stage of the P'08 because of the output level was set too high. The default voice has the level set to 127, and yes, that does drive the output hard to the point it's slightly clipping.

When I dialed the output level down (to a very conservative value of 90) I found that the filter smoothed out quite considerably. Gone was the tendency to go instantly from too bright to muffled. The P'08 is definitely brighter than the P5 in the video, but in a nice modern way, as if the output stages aren't cutting everything off above 12kHz or so.

I opine that the bad rap the P'08 filter gets is due to the output clipping. I'm still playing with the overly stable DCO question but my results are inconclusive. I still owe Inetzel a recording, which will be improved now that I have the output level set correctly. I may need to get a P6 to find out what VCOs bring to the party that DCO's don't, if anything.

Very interesting! I've been working on guitar recently, so my P08 hasn't had much love. But I'd be curious to hear what others think of this.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 25, 2016, 08:11:04 PM
Tumble2K, that's a very fortunate discovery on your part.  I hope it gives you a fresh start and transforms your view of the Prophet '08 sound. 

I must confess that, contrary to an Internet full of complaints, I've liked the P'08 filter right from the start.  I've always been mystified by the excessive belly-aching about it, as if it made the most dreadful sound on earth.  In fact, the thought of getting an instrument without a 2-pole option concerns me, since I so frequently use that setting and have adopted it as my personal sound.  I love the P'08's filter and find that it covers the sonic range from bright and bristly to dark, warm, and mysterious. 

One of my favorite practices is to find the P'08 filter's most characteristic qualities and then emphasize them.  That often leads to a brass patch - the very type of patch that rates high on the forum irritation scale.  When I come across another complaint, I follow what they're claiming, try to reproduce the same sound even to an exaggerated degree, and then find myself liking the instrument more than ever!  It's become a sort of sport for me.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: jdt9517 on September 25, 2016, 09:03:29 PM
Now there's an interesting viewpoint.  The Prophet '08 just isn't a Prophet 5; Oh no, it's better than a Prophet 5!


This is true.  I'm sure I've read the same posts and threads which pan the P-08 compared to the P5.  I just wonder how many of those people actually worked with a P5 and got to know it on a fairly deep level - and learned its limitations. 

I loved the instrument, and it helped me make a very good living during the '80's.  I bought it in 1980.  It was a Rev. 3.0 with 40 memories.  Paid $3200 for it (which is about $7k in today's dollars).  The keyboard was in such high demand that I was getting calls for gigs and sessions just because I had the P5.  It paid for itself very quickly.   I previously had some ARP instruments and learned how to program.  The P5 was a piece of cake to learn.  Having polyphony and memory made it a dream machine.  So, between having a P5 and knowing how to program it made me very popular.

Then the DX-7 came out.  The sounds were absolutely amazing compared to anything previous.  The keyboard was touch sensitive and had 16 voices.  The P5 started feeling dated really fast - especially the lack of touch sensitivity.  Also, in those days you always had to have the latest toys to work.  I found the P5 sitting in the closet more and more while the digital revolution took hold.   The DMX and the DX-7 became my mainstays.

Just before I sold the P5, I remember A/B-ing the two instruments for sound.  The DX could do most of the what the P5 was popular for and sounded better.  The P5 sounded comparatively dull and lackluster.  I ended up selling the P5 for $900.  Should have never sold it.  I still have my DX from that era.  Really should have kept the P5 too.

When I bought the P-08 I did the same A/B that I had done 30 years before with the same DX.  I was pleasantly surprised how vibrant the P-08 sounded next to the DX.  The P5 couldn't hold a candle to the DX.  My love affair with analog was coming back.  Touch sensitivity!!  That in itself makes the P-08 light years ahead of the P5. 

The P5 was an amazing instrument for its time.  It can't compare to a P-08, however. 

Sacred Synth - I listened to your Youtube tracks and you are doing amazing stuff!  I love what you are doing.  BTW, a lot of what you are doing could not have been done on a P5.  For your own work, think about taking away MIDI and touch sensitivity.  How far would you get?  A P5 can have some basic MIDI elements retrofitted, but AFAIK not touch sensitivity. 

If I had a choice of a P5 or a P-08 for my workhorse synth, it would be the P-08 in a heartbeat.  I know this time that I will not make the mistake of selling by P-08!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: jdt9517 on September 25, 2016, 09:22:44 PM
I must confess that, contrary to an Internet full of complaints, I've liked the P'08 filter right from the start.  I've always been mystified by the excessive belly-aching about it, as if it made the most dreadful sound on earth...

Me too.   I spent a couple hours at Guitar Center and played the P6.  Aside from the onboard effects, I wondered what all the hubbub was about.  I think the P6 is a step backwards from the P-08.  I understand the nostalgia which is driving it, and the touch sensitivity helps, but the P-08 is still more capable.

BTW, you have done a great job of bringing out the best of the P-08.  I started playing with how you use of the 12db filter and its amazing!    That's another thing the P5 could not have done. 
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: jdt9517 on September 25, 2016, 09:38:10 PM

I opine that the bad rap the P'08 filter gets is due to the output clipping. I'm still playing with the overly stable DCO question but my results are inconclusive. I still owe Inetzel a recording, which will be improved now that I have the output level set correctly. I may need to get a P6 to find out what VCOs bring to the party that DCO's don't, if anything.

Very interesting! I've been working on guitar recently, so my P08 hasn't had much love. But I'd be curious to hear what others think of this.

I'm gonna try this too.  Makes a lot of sense.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 25, 2016, 10:05:49 PM
I finally made a short recording of jittering the oscillator frequencies. The sound is a basic two-oscillator sawtooth slightly filtered detuned by one cent. Slop is set to zero. I attempt to play the same silly phrase twice. The first time there is no oscillator jitter. The second time I used an extremely small amount of noise modulation to jitter both oscillators. I had to use dswo's trick of modulating the modulation amount to get the amount low enough that it wasn't completely distracting.

I think the two takes sound slightly different. Does the second one sound like a VCO synth? I honestly have no idea because I haven't critically listened to a VCO synth enough to know what makes a VCO sound like a VCO. I also don't know if the jitter is important at all if I detune the oscillators more and add slop. Right now I'm playing around with all of these settings, but I'm not convinced the effect really works or is pleasing.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 25, 2016, 10:20:28 PM
I find the difference to be just barely discernible.  Nice patch, though.

I've always had my doubts about the whole "slop" approach to emulating a vintage analog synthesizer.  I've had enough experience with those old instruments, and honestly, I don't find the slop parameter to successfully simulate them one bit.  First of all, the worst thing about those old synths was the tuning problems.  How comical it is that now people pay to have a parameter meant to imitate the worst of their shortcomings.  But even more, the distinctive issue was that the oscillator beating rate gradually changed as you ascended and descended the keyboard.  At the bottom it would be one rate, and at the top it would be another.  But the rate did not change when you held a single note, unless the instrument had just been turned on.  On the contrary, the slop parameter randomly alters the tuning of each and every note.  This is not at all an accurate imitation of the actual vintage tuning problem.  So, I don't get all the hype over slop.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on September 26, 2016, 11:48:46 AM
This is why I personally prefer the random approach that can be applied per voice, because it simulates the natural detuning that would occur between voices (or voice cards) on an older instrument, without introducing exaggerated drift, etc. To each his own but I love the effect from holding a chord and getting some natural detuning between the voices.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 26, 2016, 12:27:32 PM
I should have written that my above comments concerned monophonic synthsesis.  I actually somewhat like the effect of a tiny amount of slop applied to polyphonic playing, and I do occasionally use it.  My point is, though, that the random and constant detuning of notes does not emulate the character of a vintage mono synth.  Whether or not one likes slop, it adds an effect that is quite different from the oscillator beating changes on a vintage instrument.  It's an attempt at vintage imitation as seen through the eyes of modern synthesis. 
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on September 26, 2016, 01:52:43 PM
My point is, though, that the random and constant detuning of notes does not emulate the character of a vintage mono synth.

There's no microprocessor in most vintage monophonic synths, so the notion of per-voice assignment / unison detune that changes per note couldn't and wouldn't happen. (Of course, one way to do this would be to pin the randomness values to individual oscillators, or alternately, have very-long-running LFOs to mimic a slow-drifting effect.)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 26, 2016, 02:05:08 PM
What would accurately imitate the vintage analog character would be to offset to the slightest degree the keyboard tracking of one oscillator.  Then the relationship of the two oscillators would change ever-so-slightly as one ascended or descended the keyboard, thus effecting the beating rate.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on September 26, 2016, 02:07:06 PM
I think the problem with slop, like I think have been touched upon already, has something to do with the frequency division and that is probably why you can never get a DCO with natural sounding drift.

It's the only logical explanation to me, as there is software out there today that is virtually indistinguishable from their hardware counterpart, and that emulates different VCO properties in a very realistic way.

That said, the Prophet 08 is still a fantastic instrument in it's own right, and offered at a very affordable price. I find it much more tempting than i.e. the upcoming Behringer synth (based on comparing features and interface alone).
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 26, 2016, 02:12:56 PM
That said, the Prophet 08 is still a fantastic instrument in it's own right, and offered at a very affordable price. I find it much more tempting than i.e. the upcoming Behringer synth (based on comparing features and interface alone).

Absolutely!  I'm not complaining at all about the Prophet '08.  I'm just trying to pinpoint a particular quality that so many folks like in VCO instruments.  The fact is, I don't like Slop at all for monophonic patches and would be fine without it altogether.  I only play around with it because it's there.  And I like DCOs specifically because they remain perfectly tuned in all registers.  I want the oscillator beating rate to be the same on the bottom octave as on the top, and DCOs achieve this.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on September 26, 2016, 02:15:22 PM
That said, the Prophet 08 is still a fantastic instrument in it's own right, and offered at a very affordable price. I find it much more tempting than i.e. the upcoming Behringer synth (based on comparing features and interface alone).

Absolutely!  I'm not complaining at all about the Prophet '08.  I'm just trying to pinpoint a particular quality that so many folks like in VCO instruments.  The fact is, I don't like Slop at all for monophonic patches and would be fine without it altogether.  I only play around with it because it's there.  And I like DCOs.

Fwiw, I didn't think you were complaining. It's all good. :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on September 26, 2016, 02:16:59 PM
Gotcha.  ;D
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 26, 2016, 03:47:41 PM
I think the problem with slop, like I think have been touched upon already, has something to do with the frequency division and that is probably why you can never get a DCO with natural sounding drift.

It's the only logical explanation to me, as there is software out there today that is virtually indistinguishable from their hardware counterpart, and that emulates different VCO properties in a very realistic way.

I was wondering about that because the random modulation I'm applying to the oscillator frequency makes it sound "burbly" if that is indeed a word. I may be hitting the limits of the DCO frequency resolution. I suppose I could measure this resolution by using the mod wheel to modulate the Envelope 3 value modulating one of the oscillator frequencies. If I fix the other oscillator, I can nudge the mod wheel until I hear any evidence of beating. By measuring the beat frequency I should be able to determine the frequency resolution. To verify I should nudge the mod wheel again until I hear beating at a higher frequency. This frequency should be double the previous one.

I think I'll try to make this measurement. If the frequency resolution is the reason my tones are "burbly" then I should increase the modulation amount to make the effect more realistic. :-\
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 26, 2016, 10:40:20 PM
So I made the measurement. I played a D below middle C, which has a frequency of approximately 147 Hz. The minimum beat frequency I could generate was around 1/14 Hz or around .07 Hz. This gives a frequency resolution of around 0.04%. I'd expect that the total noise on the control voltage of a VCO would be in this ballpark, which would mean that the modulating a DCO with noise would not result in a normal frequency distribution as we'd expect with a VCO. Instead we'd get three spikes, one at 147 - 0.07 Hz, 147 Hz, and 147 + 0.07 Hz. Based on that I think that the DCO would have a lot of trouble sounding like a VCO just as eXode says. Darn!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Fuseball on September 30, 2016, 01:14:00 AM
The only vintage VCO-based polyphonic synth I've spent enough time with is the Jupiter 6. The one I have is surprisingly stable for a 30+ year old instrument.  The one thing I have noticed is the tuning/tracking of one voice is very slightly out with the rest. You don't really notice it when playing but it does give chords an extra bit of movement. Very subtle but it sounds gorgeous and very musical.

I personally find the P6 VCOs so stable as to offer no discernible benefits over DCOs. If anything, the P'08 has the edge as you can precisely fine tune both oscillators apart from each other. :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 30, 2016, 07:14:36 AM
When I dialed the output level down (to a very conservative value of 90) I found that the filter smoothed out quite considerably. Gone was the tendency to go instantly from too bright to muffled. The P'08 is definitely brighter than the P5 in the video, but in a nice modern way, as if the output stages aren't cutting everything off above 12kHz or so.

I opine that the bad rap the P'08 filter gets is due to the output clipping.

It turns out that the amp env amount can also cause clipping if it's set too high. If the system is clipping or is near clipping, it sounds subtly harder.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on September 30, 2016, 07:23:45 AM
I personally find the P6 VCOs so stable as to offer no discernible benefits over DCOs. If anything, the P'08 has the edge as you can precisely fine tune both oscillators apart from each other. :)

Thanks for the information. I've been meaning to listen to a P6. I suspect it's impossible to hear the instantaneous variations in the pitch of a single VCO as small amounts of noise on the control voltage of the VCO cause it to trigger slightly randomly each cycle. However, if you combine that with another VCO that is also triggering with slight randomness, there might be something that's audible.

Last night I was playing around with extremely small amounts of random modulation on one oscillator while the other one was constant. I seem to be able to get lost in the sound a little better than without the modulation, but that's too subjective.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 09, 2016, 06:13:11 PM
I hope this doesn't become tumble2k's Prophet '08 rant thread, but I thought I'd report on some more of my findings as I play with this amazing machine.

On slop:

I was playing the T8 Strings preset and tweaking it to my taste: enabling velocity sensitivity, disabling aftertouch, turning down the voice volume, which smooths out the filter, etc. When I was able to control it right I started playing some string pieces. Hmmm. Someone is playing out of tune. Is this high school orchestra? Oh yeah, slop! The slop was set to 2 or 3. I turned it to 0 and ... okay this sounds more professional! I think Sacred Synthesis said that slop recreates the worst quality of an old vintage synth, and I definitely agree.

On VCOs

I went to the local guitar center to play the Prophet 6 and the OB-6. The Prophet 6 struck me as an incredible keyboard. Everything I played sounded nice ... kind of the way a Moog always sounds nice. Very different from the '08! On the '08 you need to work for the good sounds. I have heard discussions about the sweet spot on the two instruments and now I understand what they mean.

Anyhoo ... I decided to take a careful listen to a single unadorned sawtooth and then a pair of sawtooths on the P6. I observed the following:

1. The single sawtooth on the P6 sounded pretty similar to the P'08's sawtooth, except it was maybe a little darker (but it could have been the sound system)
2. When there are two sawtooths running on the P6 with no detune, they always beat against each other. This is different than the P'08.

The same was true with the OB-6.

A bit discouraged, especially after my experiments with injecting noise into the DCO frequencies on the P'08 that turned out badly, I went home and played the P'08. Using a random LFO still sounded lumpy or burbly. On a whim I tried to use a reverse sawtooth LFO with a rate of 136 (about 120 Hz) and an amount of 1, the lowest possible.

Jackpot! The single sawtooth sounded pretty much the same. But when I combined two they tend to beat a little even with no detuning and no slop. The combined sound was very reminiscent of what I had heard from the Prophet 6.

I'm going to use the basic patch with these two LFOs, detune set to 0, and slop set to 0 as the starting point for my "VCO simulation" patches in the future.

I'm following mefistophelees's footsteps here. He said to experiment with rates and waveforms for the LFO. I think this works rather well. The reverse saw is a little like the ripple on a power supply (which is why I chose the LFO frequency of 120 Hz). I wonder if that has anything to do with anything.

Samples attached. First phrase is done with no detuning and no LFO modulation. The second phrase is done with a fair amount of detuning and no LFO modulation. The third phrase has no detuning and LFO modulation.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 10, 2016, 07:57:30 AM
Two mistakes with my last post (I should probably create a new thread for this).

1. One of the oscillators in the example has no modulation.
2. The net effect of the LFO was to offset the DCO by a small positive amount. If I offset the oscillator by 6 or 7 cents negative the effect goes away.

I still haven't found a way to make the Prophet '08 DCOs sound like VCOs but I'll keep trying.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on October 10, 2016, 08:07:55 AM
On slop:

I was playing the T8 Strings preset and tweaking it to my taste: enabling velocity sensitivity, disabling aftertouch, turning down the voice volume, which smooths out the filter, etc. When I was able to control it right I started playing some string pieces. Hmmm. Someone is playing out of tune. Is this high school orchestra? Oh yeah, slop! The slop was set to 2 or 3. I turned it to 0 and ... okay this sounds more professional! I think Sacred Synthesis said that slop recreates the worst quality of an old vintage synth, and I definitely agree.

That's funny. I always found that the slop parameter had only minimal impact that was barely noticeable. Definitely not to the point of anything being out of tune. Even in "The Definitive Guide to Evolver" the slop parameter is being described as subtle only, which made me - just like Anu Kirk writes of himself - set it to 5 by default.

This is also why - if I was going for that sort of effect - I always assigned two random (or random and triangle) LFOs at different speeds to each of the oscillators' pitch at an amount of 1. That gave me more slop than the slop parameter was able to produce.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 10, 2016, 11:38:42 AM
I looked up the slop amount for the T8 Strings patch. It was set to 3. I think that this is the setting where some may hear the oscillators as being out of tune. I certainly did. On a setting of 1 I can only hear the smallest amount of beating between to oscillators that have their fine values set to 0 so I don't expect that I'd hear the slop. It's also possible that the combination of detuning in the patch plus the slop put the frequency just in that range where it sounded "off." Additionally because I was playing classical music, my expectations for accurate pitch might have been more exacting.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: jdt9517 on October 13, 2016, 10:56:00 PM
tumble2k-

i tweaked the X-strings patch too.  Attached are a couple of examples.  It's just a test piece.  The performance is not that great, but i think it gives the flavor of an OB-X type string patch.  One is dry and the other has a little reverb and chorus added on for good measure.  Enjoy!  If you like it, I'll give you some of the tweaks I did.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 14, 2016, 03:06:24 PM
That does sound like an Oberheim string patch! I definitely would like to know the tweaks you did. Nice playing too.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 14, 2016, 04:51:13 PM
tumble2k-

i tweaked the X-strings patch too.  Attached are a couple of examples.  It's just a test piece.  The performance is not that great, but i think it gives the flavor of an OB-X type string patch.  One is dry and the other has a little reverb and chorus added on for good measure.  Enjoy!  If you like it, I'll give you some of the tweaks I did.

Yes, that's an excellent string patch.  It's more than merely Oberheim-ish; it's also sounds much like a vintage string machine.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: jdt9517 on October 15, 2016, 04:21:36 PM
Thanks Tumble2k and SS.  Here is the patch - at least the parts that matter.  I didn't touch anything else of the X-String patch.  So you can start from there.


OSC
          Freq.          Fine          Wave           MIX     SLOP
1           C2            +9           PW 33           60       5
2           C2             -6           Saw

Low Pass Filter - 2 Pole NOT 4 Pole

Freq.        Res        Env          Vel          Key Amt
88            0             7             53           5

D          A        D          S           R
4          33       85        127       64

AMP

VCA Lev        ENV AMT        VEL        PAN      VOICE VOL
0                    98                    0             3          127

D          A          D          S          R
0          56         93        88         71

LFO
          Freq      Amt     Shape       Dest
1        83         3           Tri            OscAllFreq
2        40         47         Tri            Osc1PulseWidth
3        -            -         
4        23         7           Tri            OutputPan
 
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on October 16, 2016, 04:05:55 AM
So I made the measurement. I played a D below middle C, which has a frequency of approximately 147 Hz. The minimum beat frequency I could generate was around 1/14 Hz or around .07 Hz. This gives a frequency resolution of around 0.04%. I'd expect that the total noise on the control voltage of a VCO would be in this ballpark, which would mean that the modulating a DCO with noise would not result in a normal frequency distribution as we'd expect with a VCO. Instead we'd get three spikes, one at 147 - 0.07 Hz, 147 Hz, and 147 + 0.07 Hz. Based on that I think that the DCO would have a lot of trouble sounding like a VCO just as eXode says. Darn!

Don't know which bit is currently used in the P'08, but I am curious what kind of impact using 64 bits (with high frequency clocks) would have on the frequency resolution of a DCO.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on October 17, 2016, 03:33:05 AM
Moinmoin,

tumble2k asked
Quote
Don't know which bit is currently used in the P'08, but I am curious what kind of impact using 64 bits (with high frequency clocks) would have on the frequency resolution of a DCO.

If this is meant as resolution of the DCO control signal, it would be pretty useless:
The human ear/brain-combination will not be able to resolve 64 Bit resolution, which equals to 2-64 = 5,4 * 10-20 = 5,4 * 10-18% = 0,000 000 000 000 000 005 4%.
One cent BTW makes a difference of 0,000 577 789 5 = 0,057 778 95%

As a comparison some maximum deviations of pretty common instruments:
Hammond B3 (largest deviation being contra G# with 0,71 cent): 0,041 023 054 5%
M086 (one of the more accurate TOS-chips used in the eighties): 0,069%

The sensitivity of human ear/brain-combination depends on the human individual, of course. But more on the sound's purity - whether exact sine or not - level, and duration. Under optimal conditions, which never occur when listening to music, involving a talented, healthy, and even trained person under test, also using an exact sinewave of ideal level and duration, it may be given as:
Less than 3Hz for frequencies < 500Hz, resulting in 0,000 06% in the ultimate best case. For frequencies above 1kHz, this reduces to about 0,6%.
But as 1000Hz sits in between B5 and C6, which already are fairly "high" notes, we will ignore this bad value, throwing bad light on us humans compared to possibly higher developed beings in this universe...

We mehums (mere humans, does anybody remember the Illuminatus trilogy?) will never need 64Bit resolution, as this results in an accurracy 14 decades higher than necessary. Even DCOs designed by morons will never use up this reserve  ;)

In order to get reasonable binary resolution for DCOs, You might calculate backwards: 2-x < 0,000 06%, which would result in a resolution of 21Bit (0,000 0476 837%).
As we normally do not like to listen to pure sinewaves, prefer some chords over single notes, and usually have some other noises involved (excuse me, drummers 8)), this still remains overkill. So take 16Bits and happily get 0,001 525 879%, which is 45 times more accurate as the M086 and its siblings, which were used in numerous organs and string machines of the seventies.

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: chysn on October 17, 2016, 05:36:42 AM
(mere humans, does anybody remember the Illuminatus trilogy?)

Ha! Yes, I'm near the end of the first book now.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on October 17, 2016, 12:29:12 PM
Moinmoin,

tumble2k asked
Quote
Don't know which bit is currently used in the P'08, but I am curious what kind of impact using 64 bits (with high frequency clocks) would have on the frequency resolution of a DCO.

If this is meant as resolution of the DCO control signal, it would be pretty useless:
The human ear/brain-combination will not be able to resolve 64 Bit resolution, which equals to 2-64 = 5,4 * 10-20 = 5,4 * 10-18% = 0,000 000 000 000 000 005 4%.
One cent BTW makes a difference of 0,000 577 789 5 = 0,057 778 95%

As a comparison some maximum deviations of pretty common instruments:
Hammond B3 (largest deviation being contra G# with 0,71 cent): 0,041 023 054 5%
M086 (one of the more accurate TOS-chips used in the eighties): 0,069%

The sensitivity of human ear/brain-combination depends on the human individual, of course. But more on the sound's purity - whether exact sine or not - level, and duration. Under optimal conditions, which never occur when listening to music, involving a talented, healthy, and even trained person under test, also using an exact sinewave of ideal level and duration, it may be given as:
Less than 3Hz for frequencies < 500Hz, resulting in 0,000 06% in the ultimate best case. For frequencies above 1kHz, this reduces to about 0,6%.
But as 1000Hz sits in between B5 and C6, which already are fairly "high" notes, we will ignore this bad value, throwing bad light on us humans compared to possibly higher developed beings in this universe...

We mehums (mere humans, does anybody remember the Illuminatus trilogy?) will never need 64Bit resolution, as this results in an accurracy 14 decades higher than necessary. Even DCOs designed by morons will never use up this reserve  ;)

In order to get reasonable binary resolution for DCOs, You might calculate backwards: 2-x < 0,000 06%, which would result in a resolution of 21Bit (0,000 0476 837%).
As we normally do not like to listen to pure sinewaves, prefer some chords over single notes, and usually have some other noises involved (excuse me, drummers 8)), this still remains overkill. So take 16Bits and happily get 0,001 525 879%, which is 45 times more accurate as the M086 and its siblings, which were used in numerous organs and string machines of the seventies.

Martin

My post was in relation to the information in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqY6cVJS9fo

Considering that older DCO's based synths had lower resolution in relation to their clocks my question was whether you could get a more natural sounding drift emulation from a DCO if you used more bits with a higher clock. The problem isn't with static sounds that are slightly detuned imho, but with emulating an oscillator that varies in pitch over time.

Neither an electrical organ nor a string machine is expected to drift in the same way so I don't think they are relevant.

I can't help wonder if resolution was an issue with the Prophet 08, or why they never implemented a more coarse slop setting, or implemented a manual detune setting for all the voices when played in unison (there are just a handful of "set" choices iirc).
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 17, 2016, 08:39:49 PM

The sensitivity of human ear/brain-combination depends on the human individual, of course. But more on the sound's purity - whether exact sine or not - level, and duration. Under optimal conditions, which never occur when listening to music, involving a talented, healthy, and even trained person under test, also using an exact sinewave of ideal level and duration, it may be given as:
Less than 3Hz for frequencies < 500Hz, resulting in 0,000 06% in the ultimate best case. For frequencies above 1kHz, this reduces to about 0,6%.
But as 1000Hz sits in between B5 and C6, which already are fairly "high" notes, we will ignore this bad value, throwing bad light on us humans compared to possibly higher developed beings in this universe...


This is a little like the argument that humans can't hear sine waves above 20kHz therefore humans can't tell if a signal has been band limited to 20kHz.

I was easily able to resolve (using just my ears) a frequency differences of 0.04% which is much better than the 3Hz in 500 Hz (0.6%) that we're supposed to be able to resolve. This is because I was listening to two waves beating against each other, which amplifies the effect of the frequency difference.

I think it's worth investigating that more frequency resolution might help the DCO sound like a VCO if it's combined with the proper modulation.

Having said that I agree with your conclusion that 64 bits is overkill for this purpose. I sat down and calculated that the number of bits used on the Prophet 08 DCO is approximately 18. 32 bits should be quite sufficient to get VCO type frequency jitter from a DCO.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 17, 2016, 10:51:44 PM
Having said that I agree with your conclusion that 64 bits is overkill for this purpose. I sat down and calculated that the number of bits used on the Prophet 08 DCO is approximately 18. 32 bits should be quite sufficient to get VCO type frequency jitter from a DCO.

Correction: it looks like the lowest frequency that the P'08 can play is about 8 Hz, so the the number of bits is more like 15 with a base frequency of approximately 300kHz.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on October 18, 2016, 01:18:29 AM
I'm more interested in if using a higher number of bits would have an impact, regardless of whether 64 bits would be overkill or not. Also, if I understood correctly, it's not the bits alone that determine the resolution, it also depends on the master clock, as explained in that video.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on October 18, 2016, 06:06:42 AM
Moinmoin,

sorry for the long post(s), but one of my most sensitive spots has been hit  ;)
I want to apologize if I seem a little bit eager, even sometimes react incensed regarding things right in principal but out of range in practice: Unfortunately I am not only musician, but also an engineer in signal transmission and processing...

The musician performs as a (fretless) bass player for 30 years. He is of course able to distinguish notes better than in 3Hz increments (Although meanwhile at the age of 58, I definitely can tell and play the difference between unstopped E-string and 1st fret F 8)).

The engineer knows, that letting two frequencies beat against each other is a very common method of measuring slight frequency deviations otherwise not possible with enough resolution. And yes, the human reception also will be more sensitive. Every bass- or guitar player tunes his instrument this way, even if he is totally def and relies on electronic tuners exclusively, as these devices use the very same effect.
This method has a drawback however: You will have to measure (listen) long enough to be able to realize that beating: Perfect match even needs infinite time (Attention: It's theory again...) So if the frequency-difference is let's say 0,2 Hz, You will have to hear 5 seconds for a full circle. If it is not about precision (tuning!), You will not have to wait for a full circle or even more to complete in order to hear an effect, but it will surely take a second or so.

We need not discuss at all, whether life above 20kHz in the sonic domain will have any impact on human beings, especially of the older-than-15-years-and-regularly-practicing-as-well-as-performing-musician-type: For the P'08, which I bet is controlled by MIDI internally as well as externally, there is a hard restriction. MIDI note numbers [0, 127], representing a key range of [C0, G8], will result in a range of [16,356Hz,  6,27192kHz].
As the designer may handle modulation of +/- one octave in a constant way for the entire range, we will generously enlarge this to finally [~8Hz, ~12,5kHz]. And as the control of DCOs has to be done for the fundamentals, we need not care for harmonics or bat-ears.

Beating with ~0,1Hz (one full circle in 10 seconds) in this frequency range will result in deviations of ~1% and ~0,00001% at the low/high end respectively. As even those of us with bat-ears may not really enjoy listening to string sounds with fundamentals at 12kHz, we may restrict the higher end to practical values in the 1kHz region, resulting in minimal deviations of about 0,01%.
This would be possible with 20Bit resolution, gaining 2-20 = 0,0095%.

The engineer having said all that, this is a very academic discussion: MIDI teaches us, that even 7Bit are enough as control signal width. All the rest said here may be handled DCO-internally: As DCOs are digital, two or more of them would react exactly the same, if digital calculations are made before the very control of the analog part.
I do not know, where DSI generates this "real thing" controlling the analog part of the DCO, but there are so many ways to achieve this.

The musician also has to put his feew cents in: Tuning of wide frequency ranges has some psychoacoustic impacts, that every piano tuner knows of. Electronic oscillators should not need stretched tuning, as their harmonic content should be precise, but You never know how exact Your analog sine/saw/rectangle ist at which frequency...

All I want(ed) to tell is that brute force aproaches - and using 64Bit is exactly that - will neither help nor even lead to the right direction, they never do.

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on October 18, 2016, 06:42:28 AM
All I want(ed) to tell is that brute force aproaches - and using 64Bit is exactly that - will neither help nor even lead to the right direction, they never do.

Martin

I just want to make clear that my suggestion of 64-bit was just a number in my post. It could have been any number that is more than 16-bit really (i.e. like your 20 bit example).

What I am interested in is whether using more bits would allow for finer variations (if the goal is to emulate VCO style drift) or not. :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 18, 2016, 07:00:02 AM

Beating with ~0,1Hz (one full circle in 10 seconds) in this frequency range will result in deviations of ~1% and ~0,00001% at the low/high end respectively. As even those of us with bat-ears may not really enjoy listening to string sounds with fundamentals at 12kHz, we may restrict the higher end to practical values in the 1kHz region, resulting in minimal deviations of about 0,01%.
This would be possible with 20Bit resolution, gaining 2-20 = 0,0095%.

The engineer having said all that, this is a very academic discussion: MIDI teaches us, that even 7Bit are enough as control signal width. All the rest said here may be handled DCO-internally: As DCOs are digital, two or more of them would react exactly the same, if digital calculations are made before the very control of the analog part.
I do not know, where DSI generates this "real thing" controlling the analog part of the DCO, but there are so many ways to achieve this.


A well-reasoned post definitely by an engineer!  The only thing I take issue with is that the control channel resolution of 7 bits is a bit of a red herring, isn't it? You can bend the pitch as well as detune it by as little as 1 cent in the P'08 user interface. This would mean that the DCO resolution would need much higher than the MIDI resolution.

eXode, I agree it would be very interesting to see whether using a higher resolution DCO would help it sound more natural. The digital timers/counters on modern SOCs have 32 bit resolution and typically run at the system clock speed which could be in the tens of megahertz range. Additionally, the Prophet 12 generates its waveforms digitally, which allows for extremely fine frequency resolution at all pitches if designed properly. So that is perhaps the better synth to use for emulating a VCO. Kind of ironic, huh?  ;)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on October 18, 2016, 07:14:21 AM
eXode, I agree it would be very interesting to see whether using a higher resolution DCO would help it sound more natural. The digital timers/counters on modern SOCs have 32 bit resolution and typically run at the system clock speed which could be in the tens of megahertz range. Additionally, the Prophet 12 generates its waveforms digitally, which allows for extremely fine frequency resolution at all pitches if designed properly. So that is perhaps the better synth to use for emulating a VCO. Kind of ironic, huh?  ;)

Yeah, I have thought along those lines too, because the Prophet 12 also has the same, or similar depth to it's slop as the Prophet 6, as far as I know. That DCO video also helped me understand more about DCO's, esp the frequency division part that I hadn't considered or fully grasped before. Really interesting.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on October 18, 2016, 07:18:56 AM
I shouldn't derail this thread about the excellent Prophet 08 any further, so I give you Marc Melià :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpYfuUX9hVM
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2016, 07:36:17 AM
I shouldn't derail this thread about the excellent Prophet 08 any further, so I give you Marc Melià :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpYfuUX9hVM

Thank you.  Granted, this chat has more or less remained about the Prophet '08.  But I would suggest that one of you start a new thread on resolution or whatever has become the actual theme here.  Things have drifted away from the original topic, which is a direct hands-on general use/appreciation of the Prophet '08, together with various ideas in applying its musical/sonic capabilities.  Less technical, more practical.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on October 18, 2016, 07:54:08 AM
One thing I love about the Prophet 08 and it's many LFO's is the type of modulation you can do. One trick in particular that I like is setting OSC1 to Saw and OSC2 to Pulse - LFO modulating OSC1 Pitch @ approx. 4.5 Hz and LFO modulating OSC2 PW at approx. 3 Hz (both set to triangles). The two oscillators can be slightly detuned. It creates a very nice beating and lush sound. Especially if combined with the 2-pole mode. Mmm. :)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2016, 07:57:23 AM
Sounds nice.  Any samples?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: jdt9517 on October 18, 2016, 08:20:29 AM
Moinmoin,

sorry for the long post(s), but one of my most sensitive spots has been hit  ;)

Very interesting post.  Thank you.  Definitely helps with the programming of my P-08 as well as my other synths!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on October 18, 2016, 10:31:06 AM
Thank you.  Granted, this chat has more or less remained about the Prophet '08.  But I would suggest that one of you start a new thread on resolution or whatever has become the actual theme here.  Things have drifted away from the original topic, which is a direct hands-on general use/appreciation of the Prophet '08, together with various ideas in applying its musical/sonic capabilities.  Less technical, more practical.

My bad. I've been considering creating a tumble2k rant thread about my Prophet'08 discoveries. Some of what I've contributed to this thread I've later found to be untrue or at least not the whole story. This is a testament to the depth of this instrument.

Over the course of the VCO and DCO investigation, I have a new appreciation for DCOs. When you're looking for purity of tone they are second to none. VCOs may have some natural movement and digital oscillators may have more flexibility, but the Prophet'08 has some beautiful pristine oscillators especially in the high frequencies. Ahhh!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 18, 2016, 11:03:26 AM
Thank you.  Granted, this chat has more or less remained about the Prophet '08.  But I would suggest that one of you start a new thread on resolution or whatever has become the actual theme here.  Things have drifted away from the original topic, which is a direct hands-on general use/appreciation of the Prophet '08, together with various ideas in applying its musical/sonic capabilities.  Less technical, more practical.

My bad. I've been considering creating a tumble2k rant thread about my Prophet'08 discoveries. Some of what I've contributed to this thread I've later found to be untrue or at least not the whole story. This is a testament to the depth of this instrument.

Over the course of the VCO and DCO investigation, I have a new appreciation for DCOs. When you're looking for purity of tone they are second to none. VCOs may have some natural movement and digital oscillators may have more flexibility, but the Prophet'08 has some beautiful pristine oscillators especially in the high frequencies. Ahhh!

No problem.  I'm guilty of getting other threads off track as well.  Your idea about another thread on P'08 discoveries sounds like it actually belongs right here.  I think this thread is quite broadly about such things.

I feel the same way about DCOs.  I'm instinctively a VCO guy, but I've slowly come to appreciate the DCO as the best of the analog/digital worlds.  First, I like the actual tone of the P'08 oscillators.  I don't find the P'08 to be thin, even if it isn't a Model D.  It's close to an ARP sound, which was always my favorite.  Second, I'm really pleased with the tuning stability and exact oscillator-keyboard tracking.  I want the oscillator beating to have the exact same rate at the bottom of the keyboard as at the top, and DCOs wonderfully achieve this.  On VCO synthesizers, you tune the oscillators as you like, but then expect the beating rates to be different, depending where you are on the keyboard.  But what's the point of setting them with the utmost care on one note if, only a few notes away, they'll be different?  I've always been amazed and amused that synthesists actually like this old school shortcoming, and that manufacturers are more than happy to indulge them.  It was the one thing I truly disliked in my old VCO synthesizers.

So, I'm thoroughly happy with the tone and performance of DCOs.  But I do wonder if DSI will offer another DCO instrument, or if they've moved on to digital oscillators passed through analog filters.  I just don't hear these newer instruments achieving the P'08 character that I've come to like so much.  And of course, the Prophet-6 and OB-6 are an entirely different topic.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Soundquest on December 20, 2016, 11:32:44 AM
Listening to so many video demonstrations on YouTube and recordings on Soundcloud, I've been convinced of one thing: the best string sound comes from the Prophet '08.  Yes, it needs reverb, but it doesn't need chorus or any other effect.  I dare say, the same is true for many other types of sounds, such as brass and various pads.  This has occurred to me since the early Prophet 12 demos appeared, it was strikingly apparent in Starsky Carr's videos, and the latest from Synthetic Things makes it painfully clear.  I think one of the main reasons is the P'08's abundance of modulation.  In my opinion, it generally sounds more natural to produce modulation with LFOs than to try to compensate for a lack of modulation with an effect such as chorus.  If you feel the need to add chorus, something is wrong with your instrument.  Effects make a synthesizer sound excessively electronic and unnatural.  Some folks like this, but I definitely do not.

In spite of the instruments that have come out since the Prophet '08 was released in late 2007, I haven't heard anything that substantially surpasses what I'm able to create with my P'08 Keyboard/Module pair, or even with a single unit.  Which is only to say that each instrument has its strengths and weaknesses - of course.  But the musical excellence of the Prophet '08 has not faded one iota beside the newer DSI synthesizers.  I think it shines all the more these days.   

All I can say is that I tend to slowly orbit my studio every 3 months eventually landing back at the PO8.  I'm always impressed when I get back to this instrument with the whole feel, it's beautiful sound and capabilities.  The more I learn the other synths this one remains my favorite, actually followed by another DSI instrument (the PEK).   The price of a PO8 now is ridiculous for what you get.  For the keyboard quality alone I'm considering getting another one and putting in storage for some rainy day incase my 'ole PO8 dies ;)   
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 20, 2016, 02:12:19 PM
DSI has confirmed it through an email.  Both the Prophet '08 Keyboard and Module have been cancelled and the company is out of stock.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: chysn on December 21, 2016, 03:55:26 AM
DSI has confirmed it through an email.  Both the Prophet '08 Keyboard and Module have been cancelled and the company is out of stock.

Wow.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on December 21, 2016, 06:13:21 AM
There will be an upside to this, I'm sure–as there are plenty of used Prophet '08s out there (keyboard and module) in sufficient numbers to keep everyone satisfied, just as there are sufficient numbers of Evolvers of all shapes and sizes out there in the used market.

My only regret for the Prophet '08 platform was the omission of the dual sub-octave generators featured in the Mopho / Tetra, which really made a difference in terms of extending the voice flexibility (e.g., set Osc 1 to 8' with PWM on LFO 2, Osc 2 to 4' with PWM on LFO 3, with a bit of the sub under each)–by that account, I was much more bummed about the demise of the Tetra (which remains screamingly good value for money)–as every other DSI offering provides sub-octave functionality.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on December 21, 2016, 06:28:32 AM
My only regret for the Prophet '08 platform was the omission of the dual sub-octave generators featured in the Mopho / Tetra, which really made a difference in terms of extending the voice flexibility (e.g., set Osc 1 to 8' with PWM on LFO 2, Osc 2 to 4' with PWM on LFO 3, with a bit of the sub under each)–by that account, I was much more bummed about the demise of the Tetra (which remains screamingly good value for money)–as every other DSI offering provides sub-octave functionality.

That and the programmable feedback of the Tetra in my opinion. I think the feedback is great for adding a bit of extra bite.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on December 21, 2016, 06:33:23 AM
and the programmable feedback of the Tetra in my opinion. I think the feedback is great for adding a bit of extra bite.

Agreed–I still have my Mopho SE, which on reflection does some things amazingly well for the silly amount of money I paid for it used, of which I am still discovering, within a post-Tetra, monophonic context.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on December 21, 2016, 04:18:54 PM
DSI has confirmed it through an email.  Both the Prophet '08 Keyboard and Module have been cancelled and the company is out of stock.

Mine's working fine, but I wonder what impact this will have on repairs.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on December 21, 2016, 04:27:30 PM
DSI has confirmed it through an email.  Both the Prophet '08 Keyboard and Module have been cancelled and the company is out of stock.

Mine's working fine, but I wonder what impact this will have on repairs.

I assume none. When I got a Mono Evolver Keyboard 2nd hand after it was already discontinued and was experiencing an issue, DSI helped me out as if it was still in production. There are also still Prophet '08 and Evolver PE conversion kits and spare parts available. So as long as the main board remains intact, no one has to start worrying.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: extempo on December 21, 2016, 05:07:36 PM
Paul's assessment is correct. We still service every DSI instrument that's been made, even the long discontinued ones.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on December 22, 2016, 06:42:10 PM
Paul's assessment is correct. We still service every DSI instrument that's been made, even the long discontinued ones.

That means a lot to me, and will factor in my next synth purchase.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Mefistophelees on December 22, 2016, 06:57:53 PM
Oh well, can't complain, it had a good run.  In production for almost 10 years.

Funnily enough, I was playing around with mine today for the first time in ages.
It's a far more capable synth than most people think.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on December 23, 2016, 03:44:48 AM
Paul's assessment is correct. We still service every DSI instrument that's been made, even the long discontinued ones.

Nice to know, thanks! Could the "still service" indicate that that would not continue on the longer term? What could make DSI stop servicing old instrument one day? Any official policy on this?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on December 23, 2016, 04:09:21 AM
Paul's assessment is correct. We still service every DSI instrument that's been made, even the long discontinued ones.

Nice to know, thanks! Could the "still service" indicate that that would not continue on the longer term? What could make DSI stop servicing old instrument one day? Any official policy on this?

I assume that depends on the availability of spare parts. The PolyEvolver PE conversion kit is out of stock for example, which probably means there's no way to perform that conversion anymore via DSI.

But there's also a difference between the spare parts in stock, which can be purchased individually (knobs, wood panels, conversion kits) and the instruments' main boards. Parts for those are probably only available as long as the according instruments are still in production. However, repairs might still be possible if those parts can also be found in not yet discontinued products. And then there are those repair cases, in which a part maybe doesn't have to be swapped at all - if there's only a loosened component for example.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dslsynth on December 23, 2016, 04:55:57 AM
I do get the common sense and to a large extend agree with it. However, what I am fishing for is an official long term hardware maintenance policy from DSI.

ProTip for DSI: The best such policy is "as long as the parts are available". ;)
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Paul Dither on December 23, 2016, 05:27:06 AM
I do get the common sense and to a large extend agree with it. However, what I am fishing for is an official long term hardware maintenance policy from DSI.

ProTip for DSI: The best such policy is "as long as the parts are available". ;)

But that is already indicated by the continued service. Based on my experience, DSI is willing to service any instrument they've produced in the most uncomplicated and affordable way, no matter whether you're the first, second, or third owner, or whether the instrument has been discontinued or not. Only in the most extreme cases, where a board that is not produced anymore is completely shot for example, they couldn't do much anymore, as long as a partial exchange of still available components or resoldering won't help. That makes the likelihood of an according "panic case" pretty slim. So I don't really see any reason for concern.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Robot Heart on December 23, 2016, 04:37:53 PM
You know us well, Paul Dither  ;)
Listen to this man, as he understands how our company operates.

PEK PE conversion kits are on the way, we ran out but we're building more. They should be available sometime in January.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on January 01, 2017, 11:46:22 AM
I'm going to follow up on an old topic, making the Prophet '08 DCOs to sound like VCOs. I have what I think is a pretty good method that is subtle and doesn't consume a lot of LFOs.

LFO3
Frequency: 130
Shape: Rev Sawtooth
Destination: Osc 1 Freq
Amount: 1

LFO4
Frequency: 136
Shape: Triangle
Destination: Osc 2 Freq
Amount: 1

No modulation.

I used two equally mixed sawtooth waves for OSC1 and OSC2. Slop = 0-2.

This sounds pretty good to me. I can't hear obvious artifacts of the modulation. But I'd be interested to hear from others. Sorry no time to make a sample.

Right now my opinion is DCOs can do a decent job recreating the fullness of VCOs with lower cost and better tuning stability.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: dswo on January 01, 2017, 06:39:29 PM
I'm going to follow up on an old topic, making the Prophet '08 DCOs to sound like VCOs. I have what I think is a pretty good method that is subtle and doesn't consume a lot of LFOs.

Thanks for this report, tumble2k.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: guywp on January 04, 2017, 05:21:33 AM
tumble2k , that was really helpful - took me down the path to what i think is my best patch in a while.. so thanks!

Something that is relatively new to me is using the repeat function of the ENV 3 to have cyclic modulation with different shapes to an LFO that are possible to further modulate. Can get very expressive and interesting rhythms with it!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on January 04, 2017, 02:02:59 PM
tumble2k , that was really helpful - took me down the path to what i think is my best patch in a while.. so thanks!

Something that is relatively new to me is using the repeat function of the ENV 3 to have cyclic modulation with different shapes to an LFO that are possible to further modulate. Can get very expressive and interesting rhythms with it!

I think I spoke too soon. Part of the reason the modulation sounds good is that the reverse sawtooth LFO adds a frequency offset to one of the oscillators while the triangle does not. This causes some detuning that can be neutralized by modifying the oscillator frequencies.

Earlier in this thread I found that the DCO resolution was around 0.07Hz at 147 Hz. If you scale that to 440Hz you get 0.21Hz. In a Prophet 12 forum thread, jdt9517 found that a VCO on the Korg ARP Odyssey had a variation of +/- 0.1 Hz at 440 Hz. (I should redo my resolution measurement at 440 Hz). In other words, the minimum jump in frequency is twice as large as the total variation on an actual VCO. That's very not promising for creating an exact replica of VCO behavior.

Nevertheless I'm still working on some other modulation methods and will update as I discover more.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on January 05, 2017, 08:45:29 AM
I'm not sure there is an internal way to get the VCO sound out of the '08... But I applaud your efforts and will continue to try your suggestions!

When I listen to the simple VCO sound of the something like a OB-X, like in this video, I can't help wishing that I could get such a full, alive sound. Why can't someone develop an effect to give us a sound like that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQzth1wRO9Y
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on January 05, 2017, 02:09:30 PM
There is no such feature on the P'08 afaik but fine control of the kbd tracking of the oscillators could probably have helped for a more imperfect "VCO" sound. MIDI Note routed -1 and +1 on OSC 1 and 2 respectively might get you there unless it's too coarse.

Also a polyphonic, bipolar random source would work very well obviously.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 05, 2017, 10:03:18 PM
I'm not sure there is an internal way to get the VCO sound out of the '08... But I applaud your efforts and will continue to try your suggestions!

When I listen to the simple VCO sound of the something like a OB-X, like in this video, I can't help wishing that I could get such a full, alive sound. Why can't someone develop an effect to give us a sound like that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQzth1wRO9Y

Hmmm.  I listened to this video and thought the Prophet '08 does sound that good.  Certainly the filter sweeps differ between the two instruments, but otherwise, I wasn't overly impressed with the Oberheim over the P'08.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on January 06, 2017, 10:26:07 AM
I believe that VCOs sound the way they do is that the VCO has a small amount (+/- 0.02% or 0.39 cent on the Korg ARP Odyssey according to jdt9517's measurements) of random frequency variation. When you mix two of them they don't beat in a predictable way and therefore blend together. On the Prophet '08 the DCOs are so precise that when they are detuned they create a slow beating sound (jdt9517 described this as "phasing"). Additionally when you first press the key, the two oscillators are in phase on the Prophet '08 and then slowly move out of phase.

I suppose an effect to do the same thing would be a phasor with a tiny random phase. Is there any effects box that does this?

I think that the Behringer DeepMind 12 has some phase randomization built in to make the DCOs sound more VCO-like but I don't know the details. A higher resolution timer would help (I think the timer on the Prophet '08 uses is 15 bits).
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Jason on January 06, 2017, 10:58:31 AM
I believe that VCOs sound the way they do is that the VCO has a small amount (+/- 0.02% or 0.39 cent on the Korg ARP Odyssey according to jdt9517's measurements) of random frequency variation. When you mix two of them they don't beat in a predictable way and therefore blend together. On the Prophet '08 the DCOs are so precise that when they are detuned they create a slow beating sound (jdt9517 described this as "phasing"). Additionally when you first press the key, the two oscillators are in phase on the Prophet '08 and then slowly move out of phase.

I suppose an effect to do the same thing would be a phasor with a tiny random phase. Is there any effects box that does this?

So far, there doesn't seem to be an ideal way to do this internally. But what about the idea of doing this with a Prophet/Module pair... (perhaps with each in sync mode), with each taking the place of one oscillator? Maybe it could work by using slop on one of the boards and not on the other? ...or using slop (or something else) in different amounts on the two boards?   I detune one to -2 and the other to +2, which sounds great. But maybe there is a way to get one Prophet '08 synthesizer to act like one oscillator (of say an old Oberheim) and another to act like the other???
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: eXode on January 06, 2017, 11:14:49 AM
I believe that VCOs sound the way they do is that the VCO has a small amount (+/- 0.02% or 0.39 cent on the Korg ARP Odyssey according to jdt9517's measurements) of random frequency variation. When you mix two of them they don't beat in a predictable way and therefore blend together. On the Prophet '08 the DCOs are so precise that when they are detuned they create a slow beating sound (jdt9517 described this as "phasing"). Additionally when you first press the key, the two oscillators are in phase on the Prophet '08 and then slowly move out of phase.

I never heard the two oscillators on the Prophet '08 start in phase in the manner that I normally associate the term "start in phase" to.

Regarding VCO's, there's not just drift. In some cases there is something that could be described as jitter as well, and like I've already touched upon VCO's usually don't track consistently over the octaves, there's almost always small variations and when you have two VCO's or more you'll have variation between them on top of that, because of small variances in their tracking.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on March 22, 2017, 10:59:19 AM
I hope it isn't bad to resurrect this thread. First, I'd rather not have the last post be a rebuttal to misinformation I posted. My apologies, and thanks eXode for setting the record straight.

But I also wanted to mention that I just purchased a Tascam DP-32SD digital multitrack recorder. This single box also can act as a mixer, eq, and basic effects. So I finally have been able to use Sacred Synthesis's trick with using Layer A on the left and Layer B on the right with reverb. I used this trick with a modified version of the T8 Strings patch.

The sense of space is really incredible, and using both layers definitely makes the strings sound even more like an ensemble. My goal is to multitrack some of my favorite orchestral pieces using just the Prophet and the Tascam (like what Strange Quark Star did with the intro to the Nutcracker—amazing!). But now I'm hankering to get a Prophet '08 module so I can get more voices in the ensemble to get more power and impact.

Sacred Synthesis mentioned that he was working on getting a big brass ensemble from the P'08. I wonder if he or anyone else has been successful.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 22, 2017, 11:20:03 AM
Tumble2K,

You've been bitten by the stereo bug, and you'll never ever recover!  At the same time, congratulations and I apologize. 

Two things: first, I've had my eye on the Tascam DP- 24SD for a year now, and I'm sure the 32 version that you've got is more or less the same.  Could you tell me your thoughts on it?  Is the final product a moderate or high-quality recording?  Is it superior to CD quality?  And second, I did do a monster brass recording using one Prophet '08 keyboard and two module versions, and it's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IotEYek6gv4.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on March 22, 2017, 12:23:29 PM
I just got the DP-32SD used with a very good discount. I missed a chance to get the DP-24SD for $305 from Guitar Center before they discontinued it. The DP-32SD is supposed to be exactly the same as the DP-24SD with extra tracks.

I can't tell you if it's superior to CD quality. I do record in 24-bit at 48kHz, so in theory it should be better. The one test I do is to compare the sound to the sound when the digital electronics are bypassed. Usually I hear the sound get metallic, which I find very unpleasant. I will try this test with the Tascam some time this week.

The best thing about the Tascam is that I have a professional set of recording tools without having to resort to the computer. Laying down tracks is easy, editing appears to be pretty decent too.

I just listened to your brass ensemble. That does sound pretty massive! I assume you set it up as 8 x 3 voices? So you have six oscillators per note?

My approach will probably to use two Prophet '08s stacked for 4 x 4 voices with eight oscillators per note. If you can get that mass out of six I think I can be successful.

One thing I also want to get is the punch. In Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony first movement, there are brass punches that I feel in the gut. I'll give it a try with the 4 x 2 setup on the single Prophet '08 to see how close I can get.

Thanks for sharing your piece. It's truly lovely.

Edit: Okay I read your comments more closely. You were using 4 x 6 voices. You're always pushing me to get more equipment. Drat!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on March 22, 2017, 12:41:04 PM
Thanks, Tumble2K.  The piece of music actually uses the three Prophet '08 units in stack mode, so the patch consists of twelve oscillators per note and only four voices.  I was deliberately pushing the system to its limits to test the sonic potential.

As you get more familiar with the Tascam, I'll be interested to here more of your thoughts on it, especially about the audio quality.  I'm presently using a Tascam CD-RW900 Mk II for direct mixer to recorder live recording.  It works well and the audio quality is good, but I'm always looking for a better means of simple live recording without a computer.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on March 26, 2017, 04:04:53 PM
I just realized I can get an ensemble sound by recording two tracks with the same music but slightly different voices.

Anyway, there's one thing that you might not like about the DP-24SD. If you record on a stereo track and you want to use your Lexicon reverb as a send effect, the stereo tracks don't have a way to have the left and right channels going to separate effect sends. The DP-24SD has two sends, send1 and send2 along with two returns. For stereo tracks, the two tracks are sent equally to both sends.

In order to do the send properly you need to use the mono tracks and turn the send1 level up on the "left" track and the send2 level up on the "right" track. The DP-24SD has 12 mono tracks so this isn't a huge problem. The six stereo tracks can be used as mono tracks too, which would give you 18 total tracks, and not the full advertised 24.

Anyway before I derail the topic completely, I'm finding that multi tracking the Prophet '08 gives me the studio I've dreamed about since I was in high school in the very early 80's.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: idobb on April 05, 2017, 12:24:12 AM
hi.   first post here.

in the last 3 years i became a synth freak. had like 30-40 of them.
a few Moogs, a few rolands, a few Korgs, Vermona. waldorf, aruturia and  so many others. Top synth Like The Voyager, Performer MkII , juno 106 and others

One of my biggest mistakes was selling the Prophet 8.
after 2 years i now bought it again.
this time. after so much synths that i had or have.. i know so much more about synth sound and abilities.

at for sound, the Prophet 08 is THE BEST Poly SYNTH in My opinion. by Far.

in the last few days that i play with this synth again i know that this synth is staying for good.
if u knew me youll know that it is a big thing in my studio.

Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 05, 2017, 09:16:42 AM
Congratulation, Idobb, on getting another Prophet '08.  I appreciate your enthusiasm.  Yes, she's a superb sounding instrument.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 05, 2017, 12:16:37 PM
idobb this is good news for me because I have known no other polysynths other than the Prophet '08 (and the Mutable Instruments Ambika, which was very difficult to use). I have often wondered if I had made the correct choice. Should I have gotten a Prophet 6 or Deepmind 12? I guess for me I come back to the overall brightness of the sound. I think that the smooth dark sounds of some vintage poly synths is nice, but when you're trying to make classical sounding instruments like I am, you need some high frequency action. The Prophet '08 seems to be very good in the highs: clean and clear without digital hash.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 05, 2017, 01:02:35 PM
...But when you're trying to make classical sounding instruments like I am, you need some high frequency action. The Prophet '08 seems to be very good in the highs: clean and clear without digital hash.

I have to ask you about those "classical sounding instruments."  Do you mean classical sounding synthesizers, or traditional acoustic instruments?
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: tumble2k on April 05, 2017, 01:22:33 PM
I meant traditional classical acoustic instruments. My impression is that vintage synths are too bloated and dark to sound like classical acoustic instruments. I love the sound of old Moogs and stuff, but it's not what I'm trying to create, and it's not necessarily good combined with other instruments. Is that what is meant by "sitting well in a mix?"

The advantage the Prophet '08 has over a ROMpler is that I can quickly and easily modify the articulation of the sound without having to switch samples. Granted the sound won't be as realistic, but I feel that with samples you start to get this Uncanny Valley effect where the sound is so much like the real thing that small differences become jarringly obvious. It takes more and more work to fix these differences until it becomes all you do.

The analog nature of the Prophet '08 has a couple of advantages too. For one, it has a good amount of dynamic impact, like a real instrument. In other words, it's not always polite and subdued. Also I'm never wondering if the sound is thin because some aliasing is interfering with the harmonics.

You should ask, Sacred Synthesis. You're a huge sound design influence on me.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: DavidDever on April 05, 2017, 01:53:20 PM
I meant traditional classical acoustic instruments. My impression is that vintage synths are too bloated and dark to sound like classical acoustic instruments. I love the sound of old Moogs and stuff, but it's not what I'm trying to create, and it's not necessarily good combined with other instruments. Is that what is meant by "sitting well in a mix?"

The advantage the Prophet '08 has over a ROMpler is that I can quickly and easily modify the articulation of the sound without having to switch samples. Granted the sound won't be as realistic, but I feel that with samples you start to get this Uncanny Valley effect where the sound is so much like the real thing that small differences become jarringly obvious. It takes more and more work to fix these differences until it becomes all you do.

The analog nature of the Prophet '08 has a couple of advantages too. For one, it has a good amount of dynamic impact, like a real instrument. In other words, it's not always polite and subdued. Also I'm never wondering if the sound is thin because some aliasing is interfering with the harmonics.

You should ask, Sacred Synthesis. You're a huge sound design influence on me.

That's a very well-stated point.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 05, 2017, 02:00:53 PM
I meant traditional classical acoustic instruments. My impression is that vintage synths are too bloated and dark to sound like classical acoustic instruments. I love the sound of old Moogs and stuff, but it's not what I'm trying to create, and it's not necessarily good combined with other instruments. Is that what is meant by "sitting well in a mix?"

The advantage the Prophet '08 has over a ROMpler is that I can quickly and easily modify the articulation of the sound without having to switch samples. Granted the sound won't be as realistic, but I feel that with samples you start to get this Uncanny Valley effect where the sound is so much like the real thing that small differences become jarringly obvious. It takes more and more work to fix these differences until it becomes all you do.

The analog nature of the Prophet '08 has a couple of advantages too. For one, it has a good amount of dynamic impact, like a real instrument. In other words, it's not always polite and subdued. Also I'm never wondering if the sound is thin because some aliasing is interfering with the harmonics.

You should ask, Sacred Synthesis. You're a huge sound design influence on me.

I'm honored.  And I agree with your comments.  Several years ago, I had a Moog Voyager Old School, and I found that it mixed terribly with my DSI synthesizers - stood out like a sore thumb.  Contrary to this, the Prophet '08 goes a long way in the area we're discussing.  As simple as it is, it still has a lot to offer when designing natural acoustic sounds, even if these are not imitations of existing instruments.  And the Evolvers mix wonderfully with the P'08.  A nice little electronic ensemble that can sound most musical and natural with tasteful and meticulous programming.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on April 06, 2017, 01:59:49 AM
Quote
The advantage the Prophet '08 has over a ROMpler is that I can quickly and easily modify the articulation of the sound without having to switch samples.

Yes !

Quote
For one, it has a good amount of dynamic impact, like a real instrument. In other words, it's not always polite and subdued.

Yes again !

IMHO exactly this makes the very difference between a piece of electronics and a musical instrument.
Sonic facilities in combination with the possibility to "quickly and easily modify the articulation" make it possible or even encourage to walk the line between genius and madness: Similar to intruments like violin or electric guitar, the "best" sounds are achieved close to the border of catastrophe (feedbacks, formants/resonances, You name it).
Having this at hands - and ears! - makes the P'08 really shine for me.

Martin
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 18, 2017, 06:05:57 PM
There is an area in between traditional acoustic instruments and the synthesizer that is of special interest.  Although my exposure to electronic music now consists entirely of YouTube demonstration videos (I don't ever list to synthesizer music on the stereo, but only sacred and classical) so that I'm anything but an expert in synthesizer music, as far as I know, this sonic area is fairly unexplored and generally not of interest to folks.  I can only describe it a being 100% synthesizer, and yet, strongly reminiscent of acoustic instruments.  It also effects the way I categorize sound programs on my instruments.  For example, I'll typically have groups of ten programs each named according to a pre-existing acoustic instrument - reed, flute, piano - but the various programs in each group will not actually attempt to imitate the reeds, flute, or piano.  So, the term "reeds" is used only as a general tonal description, meaning only, "sort of reedy."  The programs will be named "Reed 1," Reed 2" etc..  My point is, the synthesizer has the wonderful potential to make sweetly natural and musical tones that sound familiar because they do fit into familiar sonic categories, and yet, are entirely new sounds.  So, what is a Reed 3?  It's a synthesizer program that sounds a bit like an oboe, but definitely is not an oboe, and yet, can be used like an oboe because it sounds similar and quite natural.  What is a PWM Piano?  It's a synthesizer program that sounds a bit like a piano and a bit like a harpsichord, but is definitely neither, and yet, can be used very naturally like both.  The key is in the many natural sounding nuances of the patch, avoiding anything overtly electronic sounding, and in designing each patch to exactly suit the piece of music you're making. 

One of the most popular nuances these days seems to be Slop.  Personally, I find it to be anything but natural sounding, and never use it; it sounds too forced to me.  The important nuances I use are: both subtle and dramatic dynamic changes, smooth delayed vibrato, faint phasing of various types, an opening of the filter as one ascends the keyboard, a very modest use of resonance except when in 2-pole filter mode, a constant stereo field but with no panning back and forth, and - most unpopular of all - avoiding anything course or bizarre.  With these nuances used as a sort of guide ("rules"), the unnatural and unmusical (yes, that's in my judgment) are avoided, and a whole world of sound that seems often missed by the synthesist awaits to be discovered - sounds that are so very oboe-like, violin-like, flute-like, and so on.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: MartinM on April 20, 2017, 02:22:31 AM
Moinmoin,

Your post, Sacred Synthesis, reflects exactly my personal reception (and sort of analysis) of Your recordings. Your interest in "sacred and classical" music makes You use sophisticated polyphonics. "Sophisticated" is not meant however in terms of modern Jazz, but that thing deliberately used by the composers of classical european music.
BTW: Characterising myself as a modern Jazz afficionado (and musician), Johann Sebastian Bach is definitely one of my favourite musicians of all times. Back to sound programming...
Although slop may be used in orchestral sounds, it has to be handled - at least in my personal opinion - with care: The typical 70's string machines as e.g. (ARP) Solina sound good in their own right, but neither are real string sounds nor can be used as such (in the way You described e.g. reed sounds). One of the main reasons to my ears is: slop!
This normally results in too much swirling and may even change dignity into ridiculousness, which may or may not be wanted...

Slop in my opinion is heavily needed and used by musicians striving for typical lead sounds. This mostly means monophonic lines, even if sometimes supported by "some other note". If needed at all, harmonic complexity will be achieved by contrast between the lead line and the fellow musicians. Used like this, slop in many cases will make the sound become more prevalent, which of course is a good thing for lead lines.

At least this is just the opinion of

Martin



Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on April 20, 2017, 06:29:07 AM
Yes, I'd agree with your statements about the use of Slop.  It certainly has its uses in the world of contemporary music and soloing, but not within my type of music - among other reasons, because I'm never trying to emulate an old analog synthesizer with unstable oscillators.  I couldn't get far enough away from the sound of unstable oscillators!

I've many times tried to incorporate Slop into my sounds, but even the least amount causes the opposite effect I'm after.  For example, perhaps the most electronic-sounding tuning of two oscillators is heard when the two become very closely tuned, so that the beating is almost stopped.  The beating then sounds as a slow twisting phase - not in the least bit smooth or warm, and exceedingly electronic-sounding.  Even when using a setting of "1," Slop will eventually move your oscillator tuning of "3" to "5" to a "1," thus creating that most electronic-sounding effect.  This has ruined a few otherwise decent organ patch recordings I've made.

This doesn't mean I can't ever use a second oscillator tuned to a "1" setting.  No, I do so all the time; that's my usual setting for monophonic patches.  But I often lower the volume of the second oscillator so that the beating is softened and the tone sounds more natural.  My object is to find the middle ground in which no sound is static - since the acoustical environment always contributes some effect - but neither is the sound overly modulated, especially in a way that draws undue attention to the modulation.  This is one reason, by the way, that parameter increments on a synthesizer need to be ever-so-slight.  For example, the LFO Amount on the Poly Evolver's third envelope, even when set to "1," is far too deep for a gentle delayed vibrato.  The Prophet '08 is much better.  This is one reason I find the P'08 to serve as an excellent monophonic synthesizer: it's ability to provide subtle settings and slight increments.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: wimichae on June 17, 2017, 05:01:00 PM
When I listen to the simple VCO sound of the something like a OB-X, like in this video, I can't help wishing that I could get such a full, alive sound. Why can't someone develop an effect to give us a sound like that?

Instead of using Slop, I've been playing around with the following settings in the Mod matrix and fine tuning, using a 12dB filter and attaining a "CS-80" or "OB-X" style Vangelis patch with long attack and delay/release times, and low sustain values. (Starting from a basic patch, hold Program, and +/Yes at the same time) You could use either Pulse waveform set to 60-70 or sawtooth for the oscillators, with the mix at around 64 (in order to get that beating sound) both set to the same note (OSC1 and OSC2 set to C3 or C2, etc):

Mod Source:            KeyNumber
Mod Destination:     OSC1Freq
Mod Depth:             1! (Sounds like a chorused/old piano at the higher registers if tuned more than this!)

Fine tuning OSC1:   Between -30 and -20

Now, depending on the register you are playing in, to make the "beating" faster or slower, play around with the fine tuning of OSC1 from -40 to -20. The great thing about the Prophet 08 is the accessibility of the controls, so mess around with the filter settings and ENV amount controls to get more harmonic bite. Just a little tweaking and there we have the Vangelis Blade-Runner sound. That's it! I have a Lexicon so I add a touch of the ol' chorus and reverb to it. The idea for this came from watching a video on the Korg Minilogue and thinking, "I could do the same thing on my Prophet 08!"

Cheers!
Title: Re: Prophet '08 among Prophets
Post by: wimichae on June 23, 2017, 09:20:12 AM
Third, I set the modulation wheel to control the filter cut off frequency for dynamic changes, and I use this a lot throughout the music.  Fourth - and here's the catch - the patch has to have a deep stereo field.  Since I use a P'08 Keyboard in conjunction with a P'08 Module, I dump the patch from the keyboard to the module and then pan each instrument to opposite sides at the mixer.  This is essential to the overall sound and gives it a spacious depth that a mono signal could only envy.

I agree with Sacred Synthesis on these two points. Typically when I am designing a sound on the Prophet '08, I will involve both timbres. The left hand will often be set up for the bass sounds utilizing the last octave or so. This is so I can play an octave apart and get both timbres, typically playing the root of whatever chord I am in. I often find myself controlling frequency cutoff with the mod wheel. There are times when my bass part is set up in unison with the mod wheel also controlling pan spread, with 0 being when the mod wheel is turned down and the filter closed, and about 50 with the filter open when the mod wheel is up. I get pretty massive bass sounds this way!

After designing a patch, I find myself desiring a wide stereo field as well. While I don't have two Prophets, I achieve this utilizing pan spread. Typically, I will set up a slow triangle LFO free running, and the amount set to zero. Then, using the mod matrix, I set the modulation source as either the mod wheel for dynamic changes I control, or I set up envelope 1 (Filter envelope) or envelope 3 as my modulation source. With patches where the attack and decay is slow, I set up the filter envelope with a moderate amount to give it a swirling effect. For sounds with a snappy attack and decay with a moderate amount of sustain, I set up envelope 3 with some delay to allow the sound to have the attack, and then sort of swirl.

I also discovered how to obtain the sound of a stereo delay without a bucket brigade delay pedal. This works best on bell-like, piano-like, or plucked instrument sounds with a quick attack and decay on the filter envelope with little sustain. First, I set up my main bell/piano/plucked instrument sound, and set LFO 1 to a sawtooth wave, set to low pass frequency and I turn on either key sync or I use timing sync set up fast or slow depending on how quick I want the initial echo to be. I will set the depth to determine the brightness of my delay. At this point I adjust the release time on the amplifier envelope to control the delay time. Then, I set up another LFO with pan spread as the destination, depth controlling the wideness of my stereo field, and the timing sync as twice LFO 1. So, if LFO 1 frequency was 1 step, LFO 2 frequency would be 2 steps, if LFO 1 frequency was an eighth note step, LFO 2 frequency would be a quarter note step. Add a little reverb to it, and it is a perfect delay!

The Prophet 08 is such a good instrument for teaching subtractive analog synthesis, I find myself finding new jewels every day!  ;D ;D
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: wimichae on June 23, 2017, 01:56:05 PM
Oh yes, I almost forgot on the stereo delay without a delay pedal, make sure to select a sawtooth shape for LFO 1 modulating the filter for the delay sound, and select a SQUARE wave for LFO 2 at twice the frequency. Otherwise it will sound off. Originally I got this idea from inside synthesis on youtube and from reverse engineering Program 27 "Delay<MW>EarlRef," but I believe the manuals for newer DSI equipment have a similar procedure in there.
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: wimichae on June 23, 2017, 04:52:48 PM
So there are two ways I know of to inject some variation into the rock solid frequencies of the oscillators: use an LFO or use the modulation matrix. The advantage of using the LFO is that modulation slots are kind of valuable -- you only have four (I wish we had 16 like the Prophet 12!). But I haven't been able to get good results from using the Random LFO. Mephistofeles says that the rate is best between 70-100 IIRC, but I still hear the oscillators burbling.

I was experimenting with the injection of random noise modifying Oscillator frequency to create a flute patch. This idea came from looking through the old MS-20 settings examples manual. Thank goodness Korg keeps all the manuals for their equipment as downloadable PDFs! I used a triangle wave and a square wave (or a Pulse Width of 40-60, experimentation is best!) for my oscillators with mix set at around 64. You can experiment with different settings of the pulse width and mix to get a more reedy sound or a more round sound. The flute timbre is obtained with a fast attack (2-6), quick decay and release (so the sound is the same if you strike the keys or hold the keys) and a moderate sustain (above 50) on both the filter and the amplifier. Experiment with keyboard tracking, filter envelope velocity, and low pass filter cut off until you find a sound that suits your taste, and that's it for the body of the flute sound. I made my patch a unison patch with global settings "Unison mode" set to "one voice" so I would not play more than one flute sound at a time. I played around with different "unison assign" settings until I found "last retrig" and I think this is best for how a recorder or penny whistle sounds in real life.

For the "chuff" at the beginning of the sound, I set up Envelope 3 with zero attack, a fast decay and release (set to the same times), zero sustain, with a moderate amount of envelope depth, and the destination as Mod 1. I also used a moderate amount of velocity in order to make the flute sound more intense when you strike the keys harder, to emulate blowing on the flute harder. In the 1st slot of the Mod Matrix, I have the source set as noise and the destination set as OSCALLFREQ (all oscillator frequencies) with the amount set at 0. This will make the patch sound chuff and then sustain with no noise in it. I also added a little vibrato by routing a fast (60-75) triangle shaped LFO 1 through OSCALLFREQ setting the amount at about 5-10. You could set the amount of the vibrato LFO to zero and using the mod matrix to set up either pressure or mod wheel with destination as the vibrato LFO amount with the amount as 5-10.

I still have not found a way to make it "squeak" in the same way a pennywhistle will if you blow too hard at the initial attack, but I'm still experimenting. I tried setting pressure with destination as OSCfreqall up one octave, but that just sounds too odd. Happy synthing!
Title: Re: The Prophet '08 Among Prophets
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on August 12, 2017, 03:11:50 PM
One thing I've learned from emulating the stereo spread of the Poly Evolver on the Prophet '08 is that, having heard it, there's now no turning back to a mono sound.  Whatever instrument I intend to use, it must have a parallel module version available to combine with the keyboard version.  Period.  That's an expensive requirement, but absolutely worth it.  This allows for the Prophet '08, the Prophet 12, the Prophet-6, the OB-6, and hopefully in the near future, the Rev2 as well.  Unfortunately, it means the Pro 2 is out.  I so wish DSI had made a Pro 2 Module because, now that I've learned the P12 has a beautiful sound, I'm sure the Pro 2 would fulfill my quest for the ideal monophonic synthesizer.  But no, stereo is supreme.