Tried the DSI P8, bought a Poly Evolver Rack

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REwire
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Tried the DSI P8, bought a Poly Evolver Rack

Post by REwire » Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:32 pm

I've had a Mono Evolver for quite some time and always liked it as a monosynth but I had a great desire to try the P8 so I tried it Friday. Here are my thoughts: It has a beautiful sound and warm analog lushness. It reminds me most of a Prophet 600 but at times like a Juno6 or OB-8. It immediately screamed 80's when I went through the presets (which may or may not be a good thing for some). I have a Prophet 5 and while the 5 is more edgy and thick, the P8 covers more sonic ground and is more versatile.

What I didn't like were the controls. The endless rotaries were horrible for me to program as you had to look at the little screen each time to see what the value was. Not fun for setting up envelopes and quick programming. I would rather have it as a rack and I'd just use my mouse or slider controller on a virtual editor, the way I do with the Evolver Desktop (MidiQuest).

Then it occured to me; For $700 less and half the voices, I could have all the same oscs and filters but add in the cool digital oscs, feedback, FM, HP filter and distortion and end up with 4 Evolvers. I am generally a mono player so the most notes I'll hit at a time is maybe 3, it's so thick it's hard to do. Also, the same editor works for the PER so I could avoid the same programming issues with the PEK.

So I'm very happy with my decision. DSI made a bank of all analog patches to use with the PER/PEK and if I was told I had a P8 hours after my demo I would not know the difference. Having a LP and HP to make BP sounds is the world to me. It's always confused me over the years, everytime I played the PEK it sounded so digital with it's patches but now hearing it as a poly analog it seems to be the best of both worlds.

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Post by Tex » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:09 pm

Yeah the PER/PEK is my favorite. Gotta love the Prophet 08 so, I gotta have both. If DSI keeps making great products they're gonna put me in the poor house!

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Post by Shanesaw » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:45 pm

As far as the encoders on the 08, are they the same as the MEK/PEK in terms of resolution? I really hated that about the PEK.

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Post by synthetic88 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:19 am

Then it occured to me; For $700 less and half the voices, I could have all the same oscs and filters but add in the cool digital oscs, feedback, FM, HP filter and distortion and end up with 4 Evolvers.
I can hear many heads hitting desks right now. I'm sure the P'08 was a response to all of the people who whined about the digital effects in the signal path of the Evolver. But that's why they make both, I suppose. :)
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Post by analogue wings » Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:08 am

synthetic88 wrote:
Then it occured to me; For $700 less and half the voices, I could have all the same oscs and filters but add in the cool digital oscs, feedback, FM, HP filter and distortion and end up with 4 Evolvers.
I can hear many heads hitting desks right now. I'm sure the P'08 was a response to all of the people who whined about the digital effects in the signal path of the Evolver. But that's why they make both, I suppose. :)
I'm sure it isn't breaking DSI's hearts to lose a sale to... DSI :)
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Post by Tex » Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:12 am

Just like the old saying "you can't win em all". Before I bought my PEK, most of my stuff was vintage and was skeptical about buying new and after I bought it I kinda felt like rip van winkle and realizing what I've missed by not stepping outside the box.

Quote: "As far as the encoders on the 08, are they the same as the MEK/PEK in terms of resolution? I really hated that about the PEK."

I never imagined the resolution could be something to hate. There's stepping when choosing variable waveforms but, I don't consider that to be a critical real time performance parameter. however when, doing things like manually sweeping the filter it's as clear as day to me and as far as them being endless encoders what's the difference if you stare at the parameter knob or at one centralized location. I prefer to just use my ears.

-Tex
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Post by Shanesaw » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:07 am

Maybe there was something wrong with my PEK I don't know. I also couldn't twist knobs too quickly either because the values would jump to some random number and so did the sound (Delay feedback, Delay time, LFO frequency, amount, etc). Strangely the frequency knob never did it though.
I didn't care that they were endless encoders, I just wanted to know if the resoulution was the same as the PEK. Try cranking the resonance until it self-oscillates then manually sweep the filter(slowly). Is it smooth?

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Post by synthetic88 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:09 am

I assume you got it at Analogue Haven? I can't imagine another dealer who would have a P'08 on display and a Poly Evolver in-stock.
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Post by sizzlemeister » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:08 am

Interesting perspective, Mr. REwire, on the analog properties of the Evolver engine VS. the P'08. Considering both use the same analog engine, fundamentally, I have been going through my PEK trying to see if there are things I DON'T use or would miss going to a P'08.

So far I think losing the distortion PER VOICE would be a huge loss. I also think the delay path PER VOICE would be a significant loss. Not to mention the HP filter and, of course, the digital oscillators with the FM and ring-mod. Something else that seems to be over-looked is that the Evolver engine has two separate analog filters per voice to accommodate the stereo imaging. IINM the P'08 has one filter per voice and just pans the entire voice - not the oscillators.

I mean, the PEK (or PER) is four DISCRETE Evolver engines happening at once. I don't believe there are too many synths that have that kind of per-voice craziness with analog voices and filters.

Now, on the flip side with the P'08 you have that pure analog lushness with 8 voices and modern facilities. One thing that bugs me about the Evolver engine is that I hit the ceiling on the converters too frequently, especially when I use more than one voice.

I honestly don't believe that one can replace the other completely. The PEK can do pretty much everything the P'08 can do, but some folks (like myself) will notice the converters. But to get the eight voice lushness you're spending a lot of money to do it even at used prices.

I'm still considering what I'd like to do about getting a P'08 whilst already owning a PEK and desktop Evolver.

With regards to the '80s sounds - I think ANY poly analog is going to give you that impression until you reprogram the sounds to suit your needs. The P'08 goes well beyond the capabilities of your typical '80s analog polysynth - but remember that the analog polysynth's hey-day was in the '80s.

With regards to stepping on the pots - I hate to break it to people who may not realize this, but ALL analog POLYsynths will have stepping on the pots, whether they're endless rotaries or old analog pots. That's because the position of the pot has to be converted first to a numeric value for the Digital Processor to be able to do anything with it. Then that value is converted to an analog CV and sent to the appropriate part of the analog circuit. Unless every CV is smoothed there will be stepping. The resolution at which this stepping occurs is up in the air. In fact, I wouldn't doubt that even the smoothing algorithm is actually stepped but at such a high resolution most people would have to find something else to complain about.

Like "not knowing the position of the pot by sight" which is pretty silly (to me) because on the one hand your ears will tell you when the pot is in the correct position, and secondly, whether you have a number on a screen or a little pointer on a pot, you DO have a visual cue. The only legit argument here is that you can't see the sound mapped across all pots at once. But, tell me, when you select a patch on a PolySix, do you know where all the pots are SUPPOSED to be positioned? What about on an OB8 or a Jupiter 8? Sorry, even these glorious old beasts REQUIRE you to fiddle the knob or slider to determine where it's at - AND THEN you don't have the numeric cue you DO have on something like a P'08 (thanks to its screen).

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Post by Shanesaw » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:42 am

Thanks for the info sizzlemeister. I did not know that about analog poly's when it comes to stepping. As far as pot position, numeric values n' stuff I knew about but that wasn't my concern about the P 08.

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Post by Jazzpunk » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:16 am

sizzlemeister wrote:Now, on the flip side with the P'08 you have that pure analog lushness.
So is the analog 'edge' attributed to the 08 simply the fact that it doesn't go through any kind of D/A conversion? I hadn't realized the DCO's and filters were the exact same ones that are used in the Evolver.

I don't own any DSI synths and will probably still go for the 08 over the PEK but it is a harder decision in light of this info.
Last edited by Jazzpunk on Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by neandrewthal » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:28 am

sizzlemeister wrote:The only legit argument here is that you can't see the sound mapped across all pots at once.
What about when you want to turn 2 knobs at once? If you are going just by ear it can be a pain to have to hit a key over and over and listen to the envelope attack/decay times if they are fairly long. The biggest problem is that it counteracts the way I work. I only use the polysix and any other synth in manual mode so the knobs are always in the right place but because of this, it is essential for me to be able to see everything at once and make quick changes.
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Post by sizzlemeister » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:19 am

neandrewthal wrote:The biggest problem is that it counteracts the way I work. I only use the polysix and any other synth in manual mode so the knobs are always in the right place but because of this, it is essential for me to be able to see everything at once and make quick changes.
This is a guess on my part, but I would say that if you NEVER use patch memory on a polyanalog synth (or any synth that has patch memory) then you are in the extreme minority and the axiom "you can't please all of the people all of time" applies directly to you. I would accept it and get on with life. Perhaps play the guitar instead.

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Post by electronique » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:25 am

neandrewthal wrote:Perhaps play the guitar instead.
RUDE!

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Post by jp8080 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:39 am

sizzlemeister wrote:but some folks (like myself) will notice the converters
Unfortunately, I think I'm noticing them too. Is it that odd, digital noise on bass notes? Sounds like an old 12 bit ensoniq eps sampler or a yamaha dx?

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