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Loads of DSI synths now out of production.

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2015, 08:29:43 PM »
Yeah, I saw that Sweetwater's Carson McClain posted the price drops exactly a week ago on Facebook, which got me wondering initially, whether this would hint at something "bigger."

Despite the reduced prices though: Are you all really so surprised that some of these products will be discontinued? I mean the Evolver has been around for 13 years, which is not too shabby at all. The Mopho desktop, the Mopho keyboard and Tetra have been around for five and six years respectively. The Mopho SE doesn't fully count as it was announced as a kind of limited edition from the getgo if I remember correctly. It is also not that hard to imagine that the two incarnations of the Prophet '08 and the Mopho x4 will probably be next in line.

We've seen many manufacturers' instruments come and go in the past couple of years (look at Moog alone, to pick a company with a comparable size). And the market has changed significantly since DSI started back in 2002. Back in the day, no one saw a hardware and/or analog revival coming. I mean image someone telling you in 2002 that Korg is going to release a MS-20 again, or that there would be lots of affordable analog units beyond that from all kinds of companies and kickstarter initiatives. Who would have thought that modules would get this popular again and even mini keys?  ::)

The synth landscape changed quite a bit ever since the Evolver was released. These days, there are many companies that offer affordable hardware below $1000 - analog, hybrid, or digital. A couple of them outsource their production to where labour costs are cheaper, which DSI don't do. There's a much more diverse product range being offered now when you look out for an instrument between $499 and $999. In that segment, DSI obviously did some spring cleaning. That doesn't mean that they are going to avoid that market as a whole. It's just that their most recent innovations took place at the other end of the price continuum, where they also have less competitors and the market isn't that saturated (the only direct competitors that come to my mind are currently Elektron, Modal Electronics, and Roland if you count the JD-XA).

Also, with the exception of the first incarnation of the Evolver, the other affordable instruments have always been the outcome of a top-down development: the flagship came first, then came more affordable derivatives. Taking that into account, you'll realize that only the offsprings of the Prophet '08 are affected by the discontinuation (again, with the exception of the Evolver). Ever since the Prophet-6 was announced, this development was somehow foreseeable, wasn't it? There's probably going to be a new all analog line for more than just one price group, just as much as there are probably going to be a couple of more affordable products that will built on the architecture that has been utilized in the Prophet 12 and/or Pro 2 synths, whether it'll be in Eurorack format, as desktop units, or portable keyboards. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it's still harder to place products in a saturated market than to design and release flagship models, or models that make use of a new architecture in a non-limited, non-cutdown way.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 08:50:29 PM by Paul Dither »
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2015, 09:16:23 PM »
I'm not at all surprised by the retiring of these instruments.  We all knew the day was coming and had stated as much on these forums many times.  We expected that the Evolver Desktop would probably be the next to fall, and it was also obvious that there was quite a bit of redundancy in the Mopho line.  What surprised me was only that DSI would retire five instruments all at once.  I would have expected a spacing of, say, six months or so between each one, so that as one instrument was retired, another new one would take its place.  That's basically how the other three Evolvers were retired.  It hurt a bit less that way.

The sudden move certainly points to something out of the ordinary happening in the near future, as in winter NAMM.  But I can't imagine DSI releasing more than one new instrument at a time.  I'm also concerned that the keyboard/module pairing may be passing away.  It's worked so well for me that I've come to rely on it, even to presume on it in my future musical plans.  And this is where the musician within, rather than the synthesist, begins to get irritated.  I don't like when music is the slave of a market, when musical instrument trends dictate to music just what can be done.  The instruments should serve the making of music so that the effort is directed towards art, rather than business.  I realize I'm sounding like a dreamy idealistic musician, but so be it.  For example, I don't want shorter and smaller keyboards that make good business sense; rather, I want longer full-sized keyboards that make good musical sense.  I don't want an instrument that tells me, "Sorry, but you can't play any lower or higher because I'm all out of keys."  I want one that says, "I'm designed for making great music, so I've got all the keys you need."  This is a weird way of putting it, but it's how I think as a musician.  Instrument design should have one primary purpose: to enable the composer and musician. 

Put another way, when I sit at a synthesizer, I want to feel the same potential as when I sit before a blank page of manuscript paper; the only thing placing limits on the musical potential of the moment should be my lack of talent.  The musical instrument should not add to this limitation.

Thus far, DSI has almost perfectly served my musical needs.  That's why I'm a fan (though not some moronic "fan boy;" there's a difference).  The keyboards paired with the modules - just fabulous.  A move away from this, a re-direction towards keyboards without modules, or to mini keys and mini synths or some other fad, would send me elsewhere.  I know they'll continue producing full-sized instruments like the P08 and P12, but will they continue producing the matching modules?  And as for these soon to be retired modules, what style of instrument will replace them?  I'm not panicking, but I am a bit concerned that their following certain musical instrument trends will leave us with fewer appealing choices in the DSI line up.

There is such a contrast between being a synthesist and being, say, an organist or a violinist.  When I was a working church organist, I never wasted a moment fretting, "Gee, I sure hope organs still exist in a few years".  They'll always be there.  The same is true with other traditional instruments.  A violinist can be certain that violins will always be available.  But with the synthesizer, you can literally worry, "Gee, I hope the instruments I need will not be abandoned by market fashions in a few years." 

I like to create the sort of set up that is based around one large instrument.  Several years ago, I was in the midst of building a mostly-Evolver set up.  It was a master plan that would wonderfully serve my musical needs.  Then one day, unexpectedly, DSI announced it was retiring the Poly Evolvers.  It completely messed up my plans because I had wanted all new instruments that were still in production and fairly maintained.  Now my set up is built around the Prophet '08 and I'd still like to add at least one more unit to it.  But can I depend on the instrument still being around in a couple of years?  Nope.  Should I next build my set up around the Prophet 12?  But that will eventually pass away too.  It's very frustrating to a musician who knows exactly what he wants to do and has no interest in merely following the latest populer synthesizer trend.  The "in thing" is the last thing that interests me and is usually the worst thing in my opinion.  And yet, the synthesizer is an instrument that is totally at the mercy of trends and markets, so unlike traditional instruments.  It's a very a-musical situation that has the potential of pushing away altogether a serious composer/musician.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 11:12:16 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2015, 08:20:09 AM »
Well said, Sacred Synthesis! The modules are indeed important because they give users the options of keyboard or not. Plus that modules are cheaper making them reachable for more users. Plus that there are additional module based use cases like yours. So I would be really sad if DSI discontinued the tradition of having both keyboards and modules for a given voice architecture.

That said I think that a Pro2 module would not be a good idea. I would rather prefer a polyphonic evolution of the Pro2 voice architecture with layers and possibly with the super waves being removed and VCOs/DCOs added instead. Like MEK the Pro2 got a high user interface versus voice contents ratio so more attractive module versions are possible.

A way to make modules more affordable is for DSI to develop a more or less standard front panel for their modules. I like the concept of the Prophet 12 module user interface even though I have never tried to use it. The OLED display is surely a huge step forward compared to the Mopho/Tetra endless scrolling based user interface. So there was an idea for DSI to use.

Also more and more competitors use discrete electronics oscillators and filters which can have a significant advantage on the instruments sound quality. So I can see one good reason for DSI to discontinue these older designs on that reason too. Its time to move forward.

Agree with Paul Dither that its way more challenging for DSI to position themselves in todays synthesizer market that provides many more options for the customers compared to a few years ago where DSI essentially only competed with themselves as Dave had said in several recent NAMM interviews. So not only are DSI adapting their product range to the current market situation. DSI also need to adapt themselves to the new market situation or face downsizing. Will be interesting to see how they handle that challenge!

As for the instrument size consideration I had the chance to stand in front of a Prophet-6 and Pro2 the other day. And I must say that I do get the compact size idea. These are indeed neat compact boxes. However there are full sized keyboard users like Sacred Synthesis and there DSI need to either make modules or make a full sized instrument with a well proportioned or even gorgeous front panel.

Only time will tell what Dave decided to do this time around and whenever it will be considered a smart or not so smart move for the customers. Interesting times indeed!
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 08:26:42 AM by dslsynth »
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2015, 09:35:02 AM »
I'm all for improvement, but not all change is improvement.  "Moving forward" is one of those excessively over-used expressions most often heard on the lips of shrewd manipulative politicians who are claiming just this, that their "change" and "progress" must invariably and infallibly be improvement.  By no means.  As if one can't possibly move forward and progress in the wrong direction!

I'm not arguing for keeping all things DSI just as they presently are.  I'm actually happy to see most of the Mopho line go, in the hopes that something new, better, and having a more respectable name will follow.  But there is a need for a standard to be maintained, for the existence of musical elements that can be relied upon.  Otherwise, our creative projects will be little more than exercises in keeping a market alive; then, we'll be mere "users," rather than devoted composers and musicians. 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 10:12:45 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2015, 09:42:43 AM »
What I mean is progressing in the direction of better/warmer/fuller sounding analog electronics as well as faster and more expressive digital controls in the voice architectures.

I can sense that you sound really tired of a certain part of your country's operation. Welcome to the club! :o ;D :-X
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2015, 10:10:53 AM »
What I mean is progressing in the direction of better/warmer/fuller sounding analog electronics as well as faster and more expressive digital controls in the voice architectures.

I can sense that you sound really tired of a certain part of your country's operation. Welcome to the club! :o ;D :-X

Then we're in agreement on both points.  ;)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 10:14:41 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2015, 10:33:10 AM »
:o . o O ( angry old mens synthesizer howlings )
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2015, 11:01:21 AM »
It's a very a-musical situation that has the potential of pushing away altogether a serious composer/musician.

Perfect summary.  ;)

And don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to defend certain trends or developments, but at the end of the day DSI/Sequential is still a company that needs to deal with certain strategical decisions in the face of the so called market. I think, though, that they've always managed to keep a good balance between ingenious integrity and commercial necessity. If you look at their current catalog it's as diverse as it can get for such a rather small company. Plenty of stuff to choose from in all price categories. And apart from the compact size of some modules, most instruments are designed in such a way that not much gets in the way between the utilized technology and the aim to make music. The layout of the front panels is usually pretty clear and allows for intuition.

DSI/Sequential will be smart enough not to compete with companies like Roland, Yamaha, or Korg when it comes to lower priced instruments. So I highly doubt we are going to see any mini key instruments or other shrunken designs from them that are supposed to be produced for a mass market.

As for the compact size of instruments like the Pro 2 and/or the Prophet-6: Let's not forget that there are still plenty of touring musicians that prefer a rather portable setup - after all it's not the 1980s anymore (in so many regards of the music industry). There's also a difference between these two instruments. With its 3 1/2 octaves I'd consider the Pro 2 a pretty full-sized mono synth. On the other hand, I wouldn't have been terribly upset if the Prophet-6 had 61 keys - I get the reasoning behind it though. And who knows, maybe there's going to be a bigger version at some point - maybe once the Prophet '08 retires.

As for the lifespan of single synthesizer models, I don't think that much has changed in the past 30 years. That certain instruments are produced for longer than 5 or 6 years is rather the exception. Of course that's different from other types of instruments, especially acoustic ones, since the synthesizer industry is more innovation driven 'by nature.' That doesn't prevent you from sticking to what's working for you though.
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2015, 11:03:19 AM »
:o . o O ( angry old mens synthesizer howlings )

Will there be an AOMSH soundset in the future?  ;)
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2015, 11:15:47 AM »
Seriously, this is a good and useful discussion.  We're not whining or complaining angry old men, but impassioned musicians/synthesists.  And I hope DSI reads this thread because it provides much food for thought, as well as the concerns of their customers.  They are known for listening to us.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 02:07:48 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2015, 01:25:39 PM »
Yes, its an essential discussion about DSIs future direction and the relationship to their customers.

If we look at the technical side of the current product offerings including the now discontinued products there are essentially two types of products: the older slow CV update speed machines mostly based on the Curtis chip and the newer fast CV update speed machines with either Curtis chip or new discrete filters designs. Tempest is the crossover point with fast(er) CV update speeds and a new discrete highpass filter.

The keyword is: new platform building.

The recent machines are heading towards fast DSP based digital control with CV update speeds in the audio range and new designs for analog/digital oscillators and filters. These designs have several sonic advantages over the older designs. So it makes sense for DSI to focus on these and therefore discontinue most of the older designs.

DSIs autumn cleaning in their product range makes sense to me now. Or at least as long as they continue to make products in several price ranges to accommodate both budget users such as me or flagship users such as Sacred Synthesis.

There is no doubt that DSI stole the show at last winter NAMM with Prophet-6. Just hope that they find the time to something for all of their customers.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 01:34:40 PM by dslsynth »
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2015, 07:00:41 PM »
The keyword is: new platform building.

The recent machines are heading towards fast DSP based digital control with CV update speeds in the audio range and new designs for analog/digital oscillators and filters. These designs have several sonic advantages over the older designs. So it makes sense for DSI to focus on these and therefore discontinue most of the older designs.

This.

Also, what makes me optimistic is the fact that the Prophet-6 seems to sell quite well, although it's rather on the expensive side. In a way, I perceive it as DSI's answer to the Sub 37 - just with regard to what DSI/Sequential is traditionally good at: poly-synths.

Furthermore, no one really predicted anything like the Pro 2 or the Prophet-6 despite all the speculation. So I'm confident that there might be further surprises on the horizon.
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2015, 07:52:17 PM »
Still the deciding difference is whenever DSI will make (1) modules and (2) affordable designs in the future. If its only flagships with blacks and whites I personally do not see anything that would interest me.

That said I am willing to wait for affordable two/four/six voice modules with a stripped down user interface to after a flagship release. Also I surely want Dave to continue making the flagship machines that he loves so much to make as long as goodies are produced for the rest of us eventually.
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2015, 10:03:24 AM »
Looks like some in here won the lottery.



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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2015, 11:03:46 AM »
Ah! Advance product leak! I am sure DSI are pretty annoyed now and will probably delete these references. But after all the goat is out of the enclosure and its good to see DSI (ups, Sequential) have done the right thing by making a module.

Where did you find these images? Hopefully its not all of their NAMM candy! Anyone make sure that Modal Electronics new product(s) gets leaked too in order to keep the competition fair!? . o O ( :o 8) ;D :-X )

Tasty box! Wonder what it will cost and when it will be announced?

I remember seeing an official DSI photograph of the Prophet-6 voice board where each voice was placed on a vertical circuit board mounted in a RAM block like connector. Which is why this module is higher than the other DSI modules.

Predictable humor dialog with DSI about the Prophet-6 RA^H^H voice cards:
https://twitter.com/dslsynth/status/590593246713221120
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2015, 11:07:12 AM »
The photos are on Reddit. The event is the Amsterdam Music festival, where Dave is presenting the Prophet-6, or rather the knobby rack version as it seems. If this one's ready for poly-chaining, it's going to be a winner all around.
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2015, 11:12:51 AM »
https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/3p3wdg/prophet_6_module_confirmed/

So according to one local witness they should be out next month and are capable of poly-chaining. So, Sacred Synthesis, how many are you going to preorder?  ;)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 11:31:55 AM by Paul Dither »
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2015, 11:35:16 AM »
So that's a P6 module?

Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2015, 11:36:12 AM »
It undoubtedly looks like one.
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Re: Loads of DSI synths now out of production.
« Reply #39 on: October 17, 2015, 01:07:45 PM »
Mmm, and it's nearly Christmas.