DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by HalloweenJack » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:12 pm

clubbedtodeath wrote:I can give an account of one when an 8-voice REV2 finally arrives at my address in 3 weeks' time..
That would be great, thank you! =D>

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by ninja6485 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:45 am

Remember when synth companies were able to come up with cool, original names for their synths? Rev 2 was already in use to talk about the prophet 5 Rev 2. Now you have to specify whether you're talking about the prophet 5 Rev 2, or the new rev 2, which is confusing. It sounds like it was named by a marketing department.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:10 am

It's better than Little Phatty, though :music:
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by clubbedtodeath » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:42 pm

HalloweenJack wrote:That would be great, thank you! =D>
As promised - here's a quick demo, and my take on the Rev2. The clip below is all just played in, with some of the patches layered with keyboard split:


DSI Prophet Rev 2 demo (mp3 download)

Overall impressions:

Lovely machine with wooden end cheeks, and solid feel. It's heavy. It's an easy synth to get on with. Once I'd got my bearings, good sounds just popped out without too much effort. Most of the controls, and all of the most frequently used ones, have knobs for direct control. The key travel is slightly shorter than most keyboards, but after 5 minutes I didn't notice it nor did it impede my playing. The 5 octaves works well, especially for keyboard-split layered patches. The sequencer is a doddle to use (I've not even looked at the manual yet). A nice touch is being able to sequence separate patches in a program; so you can split the keyboard, have a nice arpeggio or bass pattern playing on patch A, with you playing leads on the top half with patch B.

There's no analogue ring mod; ring mod is in the digital effects section. I missed a smoothed (ie. not stepped) random LFO. However, you are more than compensated for by lots of modulation routings - you can couple the LFOs either directly to a parameter, or route them through the modulation menu. LFOs can modulate the frequencies of other LFOs, so you can get some complex modulations that way. You can also use one of the 4 LFOs to drive the pitch of oscillator A/B to get some nice ring-mod type effects.

The 8-voice version can suffer from voice stealing, if the patches are stacked. You've got a maximum of 4 notes in stacked mode, 8 in normal mode. I don't regret getting the 8-voice, and the synth certainly doesn't feel crippled without 16-voices, but I might think about the 8-voice extension card in 6 months' time.

My only real grumble is that there are 4 user banks, each with 128 patches, and only knobs to navigate them all (1 for bank, 1 for patch). Basically: you turn a knob, it changes the patch name. Very easy to miss one you're looking for - it would've been much better if they'd had some -/+ buttons for fine control. What I would've also liked to see here: as you scroll through patches, a list of patch names down the screen with the current one highlighted (there is room for this on the display). That would then give me a bit of warning as to what patches are next. Possibly with a page up/page down so I can quickly scan through.

In summary, it's well worth what I paid for it. It definitely sounds 'Dave Smith', but it has quite a different character from, say, the Evolvers or the Tetras. It'll stray into Oberheim territory and do brass or string pads, as well as nasty saw basses (16 oscillators+8 sub-oscillators in unison with 8 voices!). Genre-wise, I think it shouldn't be too hard to coax anything from funk to chiptunes to Boards of Canada out of this thing. It has a broad palette. I'll be playing a Rev2 for quite some time, I think.

Cheers

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by meatballfulton » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:16 pm

clubbedtodeath wrote:My only real grumble is that there are 4 user banks, each with 128 patches, and only knobs to navigate them all (1 for bank, 1 for patch). Basically: you turn a knob, it changes the patch name.
This is what DSI has been doing since day one with the Evolver. Of course, the Evo in keeping with the oft-quoted hatred of menus gave you nothing but a 7 segment LED with bank number (1-3) and patch number (1-128) displayed, not even a name, just like the good old days everyone misses :whistle: The first feature added to the keyboard versions was a display that could show patch names :roll:

I used to always dislike the multibutton push way of accessing patches in many synths...you know bank, sub-bank, number...but it does allow to get to a particular patch very fast (if you know the location). These days category searches and bank lists really are a must...with over 1000 patches, finding a patch without a search feature is no fun.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by AIDS » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:01 pm

Broadwave wrote:I'm suffering from Analogue fatigue at the moment - Too much of the same old. I'm after something that's going to slap me in the face and scream "WAKE UP"... Even if it's digital - GASP!
I know what you mean, it does seem to have led to a serious lack of innovation, and not even different manufacturers playing around with the standard vco/vcf/lfo/eg format in any sort of way that makes it their own... way too many competing products that all sound very similar but lack any kind of 'Oooooo' factor.

By which I mean, I listen to it and go "Oooooooo' :D

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by clubbedtodeath » Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:58 pm

meatballfulton wrote:I used to always dislike the multibutton push way of accessing patches in many synths...you know bank, sub-bank, number...but it does allow to get to a particular patch very fast (if you know the location). These days category searches and bank lists really are a must...with over 1000 patches, finding a patch without a search feature is no fun.
The Novation KS had a good system. You could just type in the patch number, or you could search via patch type (pads, bass, etc) or just flick through patch-by-patch. Either by detented knob or +/- buttons. Was pretty easy to find what you wanted quickly.

I'm hopeful DSI will implement a workaround at some point. Perhaps instead of having 4x128 of user banks x patches, we could maybe have a more practical 16x32, even if it just means splitting up the banks for the UI only.

Cheers

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by meatballfulton » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:08 pm

Are those presets in the demo or did you dial up some sounds of your own? That first part does sound really Obie-ish. Boy did I pick a bad time to stop using hardware :lol:
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by clubbedtodeath » Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:39 am

meatballfulton wrote:Are those presets in the demo or did you dial up some sounds of your own? That first part does sound really Obie-ish. Boy did I pick a bad time to stop using hardware :lol:
:D Sorry MBF!

The first bit with the brass and strings is mine. The last one is a modified DSI patch; all the rest are Dave Smith Instruments'. The John Carpenter patch is the wonderfully-titled It's Back.

Btw, the low pass filter can do 2 or 4 pole, so you can go for a softer or more resonant filter.

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by HalloweenJack » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:20 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write the review and post the mp3, I found them all very useful, I really appreciate that! :thumbleft:

It's definitely on my radar since I don't have an analog poly and I was a bit dissapointed by the DeepMind 12, I'm looking forward to playing it and testing it personally, even though here in Italy nobody knows when it will be in the stores :(

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by clubbedtodeath » Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:08 pm

No problem - I hope you find one soon, it is rather good!

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by GuyaGuy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:05 pm

Haven't been around here much but thought I'd drop a review I posted elsewhere...

Image

The Prophet Rev2 is a beauty and, so far, my favorite poly synth--with almost all of the things I loved about the PolyEvolver, which this is replacing, and the P600 plus lots of extra bits. It's been a while since I've been excited about poly synths but this is doing it for me. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a workhorse.

DCOs
The oscillators can be big and warm but with the wave shaping on all waves it’s easy to find nasal, thin, and flutey tones too. And the ability to modulate the waves allows for some very rich sounds. I like these so much more than on the PolyEvolver, where they always seem a bit nasal and slightly clipped. I’m not sure if that’s from the calibration of the Curtis chip or A/D convertors, but it always made me not quite love the DCOs.

16 voices of polyphony is somewhat absurd but also so perfect for the lushest of stacked-layer pads. Unison mode with all 16 voices is almost absurdly huge. The mixer is one pot for both DCOs and there is a volume drop in the middle position—much like on the Prophet 600. It also means there’s no way to control the volume of the DCOs as they hit the filter. I found having that helped shape the sound to smooth versus aggressive on the Evolver.

FILTER
Again, I feel like this is less nasal by default than on the Evolver. The Curtis filter always seems like the dividing line between those who like the Prophet/MoPho line and those who don’t. I find it great for poly and some mono synth patches but if you’re looking for a Moog sound, stay away. But with the 2 modes it’s pretty versatile and even capable of some limited KB tracking and oscillator to filter FM.

ENVELOPES
These are richer than the Evolvers'—with Delay in addition to ADSR and looping on EG3. The delay is great for anything from delaying the LFO from starting on key strike to wilder effects. Expressive, easy to program, and—with the ability to route any envelope to any modulation destination—very versatile.

SEQUENCERS AND ARP

The 16 x 4 sequencer has always been one of the key strengths of this line and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s capable of entire melodies or grooves to base a song around as well as polyrhythmic patterns. In stack and split mode the sequencers can even have different clock divisions for more complex patterns. Unlike the Evolver keyboards and the P08, there are no dedicated or semi-dedicated knobs for programming the step sequencer. But it’s still straightforward to program—just using one knob to go to the next step and another to control the value.

The arpeggiator has all of the standard modern functions, and the poly sequencer couldn’t be easier—very old school and simple but also useful. While A and B can have different patterns and indeed sequencer types, the gate sequencer can’t be combined with the poly sequencer on the same layer. Nor can you combine the arp with the gate sequencer.

EFFECTS
These are in a sense freebie add ons, so the fact that some are pretty lackluster (chorus and BBD) and some are pretty good (reverb and stereo delay) is fine. The main strength to me is that they are tied to the modulation sources so you can step sequence an LFO rate or LFO the fx mix.

HARDWARE
This thing feels solid. While the old plates that DSI used to mount onto the body were never cheap looking per se, the direct silk screen does make this a classic-looking synth. The keyboard is solid—with a bit more tension than the PolyEvolver’s. The power cable make me feel more at ease than the wall-wart supplies on other DSI units.

UI
Having had the Evolver as well as a P600 and a Tetra, the setup is all very familiar to me. But even to non-DSI/SC users, most of what you need is a knob the panel and very simply laid out. There are some menus but they are almost always just one layer deep, for example hit the gated sequence button to start programming it with the OLED, which is nice and crisp. Only the Misc Params and Global settings have a bit more to scroll through and those are all set-and-forget anyhow. But there are some things I would have liked on the panel—VCA level, EG repeat, and program volume.

Splitting and stacking couldn’t be easier—easily the simplest UI I’ve seen for this and miles ahead of the Evolver combo mode complexities (where you have to save 2 patches individually and then go to combo mode to combine them).

THINGS I WILL MISS ON THE POLYEVOLVER
I ended up mostly using the analog side of it but I will miss the stereo filters of the Evo, although the pan spread is a nice replacement. And I didn’t notice until I got it that the Rev2 has no audio inputs—so no using it occasionally as and effects box. Otherwise, the effects are all there (delay, distortion, HPF) except the tuned feedback gets replaced with flangers and phasers.

I’ll be honest, thought. I’ll miss the Evo’s illuminated pitch and mod wheels!

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by Rokk » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:09 pm

The demo sounds great! It shows that REV2 can sound silky and soft, which I king of doubted it can, based on my experience with the P8. I'm not sure if it's the effects that do it or did they actually change the synth engine a bit (which I doubt as Dave says that it accepts P8 patches and they sound the same).
It appears that this synth needs some effects in order to get some depth. When I played P8 dry in a store I was underwhelmed. The sound was very boring and flat, very harsh and whatever I did sounded brassy and couldn't make it to produce nice sounding synth strings. Nord Lead 2x for example always sounded superb to me even without any fx.
I'm looking forward to trying this synth in person. On paper and based on the demos this just might be the polysynth I'm looking for.

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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by HalloweenJack » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:25 am

A long and detailed overview made by Paul Dither who was part of the sounds design team...


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Re: DSI Announces New REV2 16-Voice Analog Poly Synth!

Post by clubbedtodeath » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:57 pm

Rokk wrote:The demo sounds great! It shows that REV2 can sound silky and soft, which I king of doubted it can, based on my experience with the P8. I'm not sure if it's the effects that do it or did they actually change the synth engine a bit (which I doubt as Dave says that it accepts P8 patches and they sound the same).
It appears that this synth needs some effects in order to get some depth. When I played P8 dry in a store I was underwhelmed. The sound was very boring and flat, very harsh and whatever I did sounded brassy and couldn't make it to produce nice sounding synth strings. Nord Lead 2x for example always sounded superb to me even without any fx.
I'm looking forward to trying this synth in person. On paper and based on the demos this just might be the polysynth I'm looking for.
I'll second Guyaguy's comments.It's a lovely, lovely synth. The lowpass filters are more musical than the Evolver's, whose filters took a bit of work. With the Rev2 you can go for 2-pole, for nice brass pads etc., or you can switch it to 4-pole, which is far more resonant.

However, there's clear that this shares some features of the Evolver too - the modulation matrix is quite extensive. You've got 8 modulation routings, that can control pretty much anything - LPF cutoff freq, oscillator 1/2 shape mode, etc. In addition, you've also got 4 LFOs which can be assigned to anything, even each other. This kind of tweaking requires very little menu diving, and can give quite subtle variations to your sound.

The multitimbrality adds extra depth if you need. It works fine on the 8-voice (I have the 8-voice), but 16 voices would allow massive, dense chords. That's not to say the 8-voice is lacking - it's not - but I'm strongly tempted to buy the 16-voice upgrade at some point.

Anyway, here's some samples of my ham-fisted noodlings. Should give you a better idea.

Pizzihorn (download link)

Random Attack w/ Organ(download link)


Cheers

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