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PEK and PER for Sale

PEK and PER for Sale
« on: December 23, 2015, 06:45:13 PM »
No, these are not mine!  For anyone interested, I noticed that Noisebug has a Poly Evolver Keyboard and Poly Evolver Rack set for sale at $2999.  I couldn't recommend this combination highly enough.  There's simply nothing like an eight-voice Evolver.

http://www.noisebug.net/used.cfm

In fact, there are presently three PEKs  and two MEKs listed on Ebay.  But it's not as if I'm watching for Evolvers....
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 06:59:41 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2015, 01:00:31 PM »
But it's not as if I'm watching for Evolvers....

Come on, Tim, hasn't this hymn just been written for you?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6FBfAQ-NDE
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2015, 02:04:31 PM »
To be completely honest I think its around time to consider newer voice architectures. Good stuff have happened in recent years at DSI and a new combinations of these ingredients could turn out to be far superior to the Evolver design. In particular less aliasing in the digital oscillators, possibly new analog oscillator designs, higher CV calculation speeds, more modulation destinations and no digital inserts in the analog signal path. That could give something with the sonic substance of Prophet 08 combined with the improved digital features of the newer instruments. The Evolver is very nice but there are plenty of room for improvements in future designs.

With the discontinuation of all the old Curtis machines I would not be too surprised to see a new Curtis machine combining features of some of the older instruments with newer features from Prophet 12, Pro 2 and possibly Prophet-6.

All that is of cause just speculations. We will have to wait until gearmas to see what they came up with this time around.
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2015, 02:11:49 PM »
But it's not as if I'm watching for Evolvers....

Come on, Tim, hasn't this hymn just been written for you?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6FBfAQ-NDE

Paul, I listened to thirty seconds of that song just for you.  I very quickly got enough.  You owe my ears an apology.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 06:21:56 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2015, 02:14:21 PM »
To be completely honest I think its around time to consider newer voice architectures. Good stuff have happened in recent years at DSI and a new combinations of these ingredients could turn out to be far superior to the Evolver design. In particular less aliasing in the digital oscillators, possibly new analog oscillator designs, higher CV calculation speeds, more modulation destinations and no digital inserts in the analog signal path. That could give something with the sonic substance of Prophet 08 combined with the improved digital features of the newer instruments. The Evolver is very nice but there are plenty of room for improvements in future designs.

With the discontinuation of all the old Curtis machines I would not be too surprised to see a new Curtis machine combining features of some of the older instruments with newer features from Prophet 12, Pro 2 and possibly Prophet-6.

All that is of cause just speculations. We will have to wait until gearmas to see what they came up with this time around.

Now where's your sense of humor?  You seem to be presuming that I'm not interested in new instruments, but that I'm looking to buy additional Evolvers.  If that were so, I would have bought the ones I referred to above.  I'm always checking the prices of PEKs on Ebay because I've had one of mine for sale.  I'm totally interested in new instruments, - I'm just not decided on which one.  I'm certainly getting more interested in that Prophet 12 Mk II!
« Last Edit: December 26, 2015, 02:25:35 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2015, 02:24:41 PM »
Where's the sense of humor?

Oh there are plenty of humor sense here. I just happen to be better at decoding Paul Dithers humor than yours! ;)

. o O ( time to post a duo pantoMorf video )
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2015, 02:33:13 PM »
In this case a quite evolved mystery! . o O ( :o )
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2015, 05:41:20 PM »
The Evolvers have attained somewhat vintage status, which means their slightly outdated technology now has charm and mystique.  If the instruments sound good, what else matters?  Whether an instrument is new or old is irrelevant, except regarding maintenance.

I still come across posts on the forums that insist nothing in the DSI line-up can substitute for an Evolver.  I can't verify that opinion, but it seems to be a rather common one.

I'm all for the newer instruments, but their mere existence doesn't make me dislike the older ones at all.  I'd guess I could be happy with one or the other or both.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2015, 06:14:11 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2015, 06:16:29 PM »
Another reminder that the Evolvers are now vintage instruments is in the minimal posting about them on this forum.  I'm practically the only one who still writes about them.  The older forum seemed to have much more Evolver interest and activity. 

Gee, when I bought mine about five years ago, I thought I was on the frontlines of synthesizer technology.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2015, 06:18:19 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2015, 03:56:18 AM »
Well there is one very good reason for limited Evolver interest on this forum as this community is still in its startup phase and furthermore DSI have not yet officially announced their official forum to their customers. Also there are very little DSI employee participation on this forum so some of the potential advantages of an official forum is not here yet and could possibly never happen at all. So I would not take the activity levels on this forum as any kind of indication of how the general customer base behaves.

The Evolver is indeed a very nice and well sounding machine. As they say - use what you got - rather than always hunting around for new solutions all the time. No new synthesizer will make the Evolver sound any different but newer instruments may have better solutions in the same sound spaces that the Evolver excels in thereby making the newer instruments more interesting. This is why I at times write about looking forward rather than buying more Evolvers.

One well known Curtis chip challenge is the analog oscillator crossover point click described on the other forum and acknowledged by DSI support. And that is not the only source of unwanted clicks in the Evolvers voice architecture. Obviously when designing new analog oscillators a high priority is to avoid such sonic artifacts where possible again making newer instruments more interesting.

With that said one can wonder how much the Evolvers are actually used today? How many Evolver sounds occurs in todays pop music? Good question!

At times I have the feeling that Evolver users just use this lovely multi-tool rather than talking wildly about it on the net. Or it could be that people just send it a smile on its vintage shelf in their studio?

Its indeed a very good question, Sacred Synthesis!
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2015, 09:45:15 AM »
The Evolvers have attained somewhat vintage status, which means their slightly outdated technology now has charm and mystique.  If the instruments sound good, what else matters?  Whether an instrument is new or old is irrelevant, except regarding maintenance.

I still come across posts on the forums that insist nothing in the DSI line-up can substitute for an Evolver.  I can't verify that opinion, but it seems to be a rather common one.

I'm all for the newer instruments, but their mere existence doesn't make me dislike the older ones at all.  I'd guess I could be happy with one or the other or both.

The Evolvers are cool for what they are. And if you're happy with how they sound and their features, you should hang on to them. Especially since they do have their unique sound. And it's the latter that makes it impossible to find a substitute for them. It's the particular combination of analog and digital waveforms and the true stereo signal path that is missing from newer instruments. And it's all this combined with the mod matrix that still makes the Evolver desktop an attractive instrument these days - either for those who are on a tight budget or those who are beginning to explore more complex forms of synthesis. There is nothing quite like it out there, which I'm not pointing out in order to mystify the Evolver. It's just based on the package the Evolver is and its particular ingredients.
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Razmo

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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2015, 12:43:36 PM »
Sure, the Evolver is a nice synth, and certainly it has been bettered by many newer synths, from DSI... but still it does have a very unique sound to it, thanx to many things... yes, one is it's stereo configuration, another is it's lo-fi digital oscillators... yet another it's analog oscillators and not to mention all that ADC/DAC going on under the hood... the user waveshape possibilities too.... all of these ingredients boil down to the sound of this thing, that makes it stand out and be untouchable by any other DSI synth.

The Evolvers have a remarkable midtone sound, that some like, others do not... I actualy talked to someone recently who wanted to sell his Rack version because he never liked it's "nasal sound character".... I like this character, and it reminds me of the hard but organic quality of the old Waldorf Microwave 1 synthesizer... I almost decided to sell my PER myself, but I'm glad I did not... I would have regretted it for the rest of my life I think.... despite all it's flaws, MIDI bugs and other pecularities.

In these Star Wars times I'd compare the PER to the Millenium Falcon.... it's an old piece of "junk", but it's still a gem... it's Dave's first incarnation of the idears he had when he began doing hardware synths again, and it's the father of A LOT of what has been developed into more modern standards in DSI instruments to follow it.... it's DNA is in all of them. Thus much of the technology suffers from being a bit older.... nasty digital oscillatorts, dodgy DAC/ADC, quirky CEM chips (that Dave learned to tame better in later products)... an OS coded in mostly assembly... the DSI "Millenium Falcon" reeks of newly designed idears carried out in perhaps not the best way it could have, but all that just boils down to THAT sound... the sound of the Evolvers.

Many of the never synths don't really bear that much of new technology... they are reitterations of this Evolver design, adding upon it, removing upon it, refining it and thgrowing in a few new things along the way.... that is what I'd like to see Dave do again... I mean... DROP IT ALL!!! ... throw away all those codebases for reuse... start FROM SCRATCH again! ... do something completely new and unseen like he did with the Evolver back then... I could say the same to Dave that he tell every customer in his manuals: "Tweak some knobs, have some fun!" ... I'll refrace that: "Tweak some components, have some fun!" .... invent playing around again, instead of just focusing so much upon what new product you can conjure up, using all the existing technologies he has allready made.

Just me sayin'...

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2015, 01:28:20 PM »
that is what I'd like to see Dave do again... I mean... DROP IT ALL!!! ... throw away all those codebases for reuse... start FROM SCRATCH again! ... do something completely new and unseen like he did with the Evolver back then...

If one takes a close at most analog synthesizers the Oscillator-Filter-Amp structure is what happens all the time. Even the Evolver is Oscillator-Filter-Amp just with a few feedback paths and digital delays much like Prophet 12 and Pro 2 got it. Agree with you that the whole Prophet 08, Mopho, Tetra and Tempest voice architectures are essentially simplifications of the Evolver design with a few tweaks.

Take a look at a modular heinz compatible setup like this Richard Devine video below. If you read the description I guess you will find mostly Oscillator-Filter-Amp structures all over the cable mess. Its just how sound are made in the analog synthesizer world.
https://vimeo.com/139872178

But its not the same as saying that improvements cannot be made and that new ideas cannot be introduced. For evolving the Evolver concept I would suggest interviewing eurorack modular users to study what kind of module connection paths they use. Also with higher CV computation speeds made possible by faster signal processors new types of operations may make sense to introduce to DSI style voice architectures such as lowpass/highpass/slew filters in the modulation slots. Some time ago I took at look at the Oberheim Xpander manual. Quite interesting reading and good inspiration for future voice architectures.

Honestly I doubt we will ever see Dave progress from the basic Oscillator-Filter-Amp concept but one could hope for new variations on the theme. One of the most important aspects is proper integration of analog and digital sound sources before the filter which is why I keep talking about having both analog and digital oscillators in a voice architecture and furthermore have analog filter feedback for added sound shaping.

Basically I think we agree on the need for voice architecture progress, Razmo. I had a recent twitter talk with the Mutable Instrument owner and it seems like he is after combining some of his eurorack modules into a new voice architectures. I would love to see similar features happen in DSI voice architectures.

PS: Before you write modulation sloths again could I have you read this first, Razmo?
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2015, 01:46:15 PM »
Well said, Razmo, actually. 

I think the first in a series is often the best and most unique.  I find when I improvise, say, ten pieces in a row that, as I fine-tune my ideas and themes, a certain mystique or originality is lost.  Afterwards, when I'm deciding which one to post, I always expect to prefer the later pieces, since these will have a deeper development of musical ideas that the early pieces lack.  But most often, I surprisingly prefer the first one, which sounds a bit less organized but more spontaneous and inspired (pardon the vanity). 

I think the same is true with Dave's line of instruments.  The Evolvers came out of nowhere - sort of a burst of inspiration and originality - full of imperfections and quirks, but with nothing immediately comparable.  As Dave progressed and refined his ideas, a degree of monotony set in.  There was the Prophet 08/Mopho/Tetra era with one very similar instrument after another.  Even I got bored with it all.  Finally the Prophet 12 appeared, which was then followed quite predictably by the Pro 2.  Both instruments were the products of the lessons learned on previous instruments and showed a maturing of concepts.  Following these, the P6 was a drastic change, and yet, it really was a ghost from the past, an updated Prophet 5. 

In the whole line-up, the Evolvers appear to me to be the most unique - and that's not to criticize the masterful P12 - and I guess this is why I have such a stubborn fondness for them.  Sure, there's plenty wrong with them, especially the aliasing of the digital oscillators, but there's still a massive amount of musicality in the engine.  I love the fact that the stereo signal is a matter of hardwired oscillators that can be adjusted by degrees.  It's an excellent starting point that avoids the loss of an LFO.  It's a fabulous instrument to sit with in a dimly lit music room and play into the wee hours.  That's when you know an instrument suits and inspires you, when the time disappears as you work/play, and suddenly you look at the clock and it's 3:30 in the morning.  I've had many-a-groggy morning, thanks to those Evolvers.

I've had a number of synthesizers over the years that I liked very much, but I couldn't call any of them unique.  The Poly Evolver Keyboard is totally unique.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 02:10:08 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Razmo

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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2015, 01:53:30 PM »
But hey... Sloths are useful for extremely slow modulations! ;)

Actualy I don't mind the normal audio path modules at all... you know: tone generator -> Filter -> AMP... .this IS the basic building blocls of sound, and basicaly you don't have that many parameters to manipulate in audio.... you have pitch, and amplitude and that's it! .... filters are just volume controls for specific frequencies anyway.

What I do not like is the reuse of the same filters, the same oscillators etc... if Dave decides to continue using the new digital ones, it'll start to get boring ... in my opinion... it has been used on Pro2 and P12 now... it's tried and tested, I don'rt need more synths with that oscillator architecture.

I want something new.... and fiddling with interconnections between those basic building blocks would be welcome as well... but just not more reuse of the old.... the same goes for the LFO's Envelopes etc.... dump the darn codebase, and create some new ones... faster, more features... snappier! ...

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2015, 02:50:07 PM »
The Evolvers came out of nowhere - sort of a burst of inspiration and originality - full of imperfections and quirks, but with nothing immediately comparable.  As Dave progressed and refined his ideas, a degree of monotony set in.

Good points on creativity, Sacred Synthesis!

Maybe one of the reasons is that Dave took his time in developing the Evolvers. Rumor says it took him a good two years to develop that voice architecture and its initial implementation. Noways DSI takes at most a year to make a new product and that leaves less time for experimentation and thought. So it would be nice if some background project happened at DSI with longer term idea being developed and experimented with until they were ready to see their first NAMM show as a product.

Also note the creative limitation of the Evolvers voice architecture: 2 x 64 voice parameters and 1 x 64 sequencer parameters. When studying newer DSI voice architectures its easy to spot the unfolding of certain shoehorned parameters as the voice architectures evolve. Maybe that limitation affected the voice architecture as well?
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2015, 02:53:45 PM »
The Evolvers came out of nowhere - sort of a burst of inspiration and originality - full of imperfections and quirks, but with nothing immediately comparable.

Not really, at least not according to "The Prophet from Silicon Valley." A lot had to do with the improvements in chip design by second half of the 1980s, especially the Motorola chip DSP 56000 (1986). Already at Sequential there had been conversations about what would eventually become the Evolver. So that's not really out of nowhere, rather a potential instrument that only got to be realized years after Sequential went out of business.

As for the typical subtractive synth architecture: I too would be ready for something different. I would even consider it to be inevitable, since I don't really see what could be added to the concepts of the Prophet-12, Pro 2, or Prophet-6 other than quantitative aspects.
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Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2015, 02:56:13 PM »
In interviews, Dave often refers to several things they're working on at once.  They do indeed fire out a new product every 9-12 months, but I would expect that they also have larger ideas that are kicking around the office for longer periods of time.  I would guess that the Prophet 12 was such an idea.

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2015, 03:03:19 PM »
The Evolvers came out of nowhere - sort of a burst of inspiration and originality - full of imperfections and quirks, but with nothing immediately comparable.

Not really, at least not according to "The Prophet from Silicon Valley." A lot had to do with the improvements in chip design by second half of the 1980s, especially the Motorola chip DSP 56000 (1986). Already at Sequential there had been conversations about what would eventually become the Evolver. So that's not really out of nowhere, rather a potential instrument that only got to be realized years after Sequential went out of business.

Well, naturally there was discussion about ideas.  I didn't mean to imply that there wasn't long planning involved based on available technology.  But the Evolver Desktop was Dave's return to hardware synthesizers and the first DSI piece of gear.  And it was unique among other synthesizers of the day.  What other comparable hybrid instrument existed at the time?  At least, nothing that struck me when I was then researching synthesizers.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 03:12:24 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: PEK and PER for Sale
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2015, 05:13:44 PM »
Well, naturally there was discussion about ideas.  I didn't mean to imply that there wasn't long planning involved based on available technology.  But the Evolver Desktop was Dave's return to hardware synthesizers and the first DSI piece of gear.  And it was unique among other synthesizers of the day.  What other comparable hybrid instrument existed at the time?  At least, nothing that struck me when I was then researching synthesizers.

Sure. I just wanted to point out that the Evolver technically didn't come out of nowhere and that the idea for it was based on the options more powerful processors and chips would allow for. As for its uniqueness I completely agree: there was and is nothing out there that's like the Evolver - neither with regard to sound nor features.
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