Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver Keyboard: Vintage Strings

November 29, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The Poly Evolver Keyboard is certainly not known for its vintage sounds or overall tone. I’ve heard it criticized as falling short in the strings department, and even Dave Smith himself has said this. Well, I would respectfully disagree; I think the PEK can make gorgeous string sounds, but strings of the Evolver sort. So, in the tradition of those bright and buzzy string synthesizers – the ARP Omni, Elka Rhapsody, and a dozen others – I decided to offer an Evolver’s version of vintage strings. However, I didn’t try to strictly “emulate” the sound – as awful as it is! – but to offer something certainly reminiscent of it but hopefully a little better. The PEK can produce a more accurate imitation than this, but I chose to record something only similar.

A few sound design notes. There are two ways of producing decent strings on the Poly Evolver Keyboard: using only the analog oscillators, or else, using the analog and the digital oscillators together. The first way seems more logical if one is imitating an old string synthesizer, but in order to increase the oscillator beating you have to partially or entirely eliminate the stereo field with the Output Pan parameter. But this eliminates a very desirable depth. The other way of combining both the analog and digital oscillators provides decent oscillator beating and maintains the stereo depth, but it unfortunately adds digital aliasing as well – especially on such a bright sound with which you’re prone to play a lot on the upper end of the keyboard. The best solution was to set the analog oscillators at 100 and the digital oscillators at 30. And I used one oscillator of pulse width modulation. This offered the best combination of old school effects and timbre and avoided unmusical aliasing.

Many years ago, I had a tan Elka Rhapsody 490. It was an ugly crackly shrill old thing that could be made to sound fair in a mix. But In my opinion, the Poly Evolver Keyboard sounds a thousands times better – even at the one and only sound the Elka made. But that’s not to deny that I’d be thrilled to see a re-issue of one of those vintage string machine classics.

DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard
DSI Poly Evolver Rack
DSI Evolver Desktop
Hammond XPK 200L

Lexicon MX300

Performed live and recorded directly to CD.

All music property of Sacred Synthesis

Dave Smith Mopho analogue synth sound programming – 32 programs

November 26, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

A set of 32 sounds programmed on the Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard analogue synthesizer.

DSI Pro 2 Demo

November 5, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

A couple of sounds for the Pro 2. No effects added.

All about the new Sequential Prophet-6 Module

October 23, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 


Dave Smith Instruments has announced the Prophet-6 Desktop synth module. The Prophet-6 Desktop puts vintage analog sound into a package small enough to fit in a backpack. The Prophet-6 Desktop module has all of the same controls as the keyboard version and provides the same immediacy and easy of use. As with the Prophet-6 Keyboard, all parameters are at your fingertips, with full-sized knobs and switches and an intuitive layout.

Vintage Analog Sound — Small Enough to Fit in a Backpack
The Prophet-6 desktop module is every bit as powerful and easy to use as its counterpart, the Prophet-6 Keyboard. The module has all of the same controls as the keyboard version and provides the same immediacy and easy of use — with absolutely no menu diving. As with the Prophet-6 Keyboard, all parameters are at your fingertips, with full-sized knobs and switches and a comfortable, intuitive layout.

Vintage with a Modern Twist
Both the Prophet-6 desktop module and keyboard are Dave Smith’s tribute to the poly synth that started it all—the Sequential Prophet-5. But it’s not simply a reissue of a classic. Rather, as Dave puts it, “It’s the result of our effort to build the most awesome-sounding, modern analog poly synth possible.” The Prophet-6 takes the best qualities of the original Prophet-5—true voltage-controlled oscillators, filters, and amplifiers—and adds enhancements such as studio-quality effects, a polyphonic step sequencer, an arpeggiator, and more. The result is pure, unadulterated analog tone with the stability and reliability of a state-of-the-art modern synth.

Classic Tone, Classic Vibe
Central to the warm, punchy sound of the Prophet-6 are its two newly-designed, discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) per voice. Continuously variable waveshapes provide the tonal palette with triangle, sawtooth, and variable-width pulse waves. There are two discrete filters per voice—a four-pole, resonant, low-pass inspired by the original Prophet-5 filter, and a two-pole, resonant, high-pass filter. Voltage-controlled amplifiers complete the all-analog signal path.

Dual Effects
The dual effects section provides studio-quality reverbs, delays (standard and BBD), chorus and phase shifter. While the effects themselves are digital, with 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution, a true bypass maintains a full analog signal path. There’s also an independent stereo distortion effect, which is 100% analog.

Poly Mod and Poly Step Sequencing
Also present from its classic predecessor is a Poly Mod section, with enhancements. True to the original, modulation sources are filter envelope and oscillator 2 (both with bi-polar control). Destinations include oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, and high-pass filter cutoff. Another welcome reprise is Unison mode, which features configurable voice count (1-6 voices) and key modes. The polyphonic step sequencer allows up to 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step. You can create sequences polyphonically, with rests, and sync to an external MIDI clock. The full-featured arpeggiator can be synced to external MIDI clock as well.

Easy to Program
The knob-per-function front panel offers instant access to virtually all Prophet-6 functions. Included are 500 permanent factory programs in 10 banks of 100 programs. In addition to these, you can create and save up to 500 user programs of your own. Toggling off the Preset button enables live panel mode, in which the sound of the Prophet-6 switches to the current settings of its knobs and switches. In this state, what you see is what you hear.

Easy to Play
All of this awe-inspiring sound is packed into a desktop module that’s small enough to fit in a backpack. It’s an ideal combination of portability and power for the project studio or the gigging musician.”


Legendary Designer to Ship Desktop Version of Acclaimed Analog Poly Synth in November

San Francisco, CA—October 22, 2015—Dave Smith Instruments today announced that they will begin shipping a desktop module version of their acclaimed Sequential Prophet-6 six-voice analog synthesizer at the end of November. Like the keyboard version, it features an all-analog signal path and discrete VCOs, VCAs, and filters. The knob-per-function front panel is free of menu-diving and offers immediate access to virtually all parameters.

As Dave Smith explained: “The Prophet-6 has been our most successful product launch ever. In the four months since its release, a huge number of artists have already added it to their setups.” Added Smith: “Apart from its awesome sound, we feel that a big part of its appeal is the immediacy of its user interface, so we made sure that the desktop version retained all of the same controls as the keyboard version.”

Smith continued:
‘As a bonus, we’ve added a poly chain feature so that any two Prophet-6s can be paired for 12-voice polyphony. The biggest sound in modern analog poly synths just got bigger.’

Key to the vintage sound of the Prophet-6 is its two newly-designed, discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) and two discrete filters: a four-pole, resonant, low-pass inspired by the original Prophet-5 filter, and a two-pole, resonant, high-pass filter. Voltage-controlled amplifiers complete the all-analog signal path. Said Smith: ‘The desktop module sounds every bit as good as the keyboard because, on the inside, it’s exactly the same — the same VCOs, VCFs, and VCAs and the same classic, punchy, analog poly sound that’s been earning raves from customers and reviewers.’

The module weighs approximately 13 lbs (5.9 kg) and measures 21.25” L x 7.43” W x 4.4” H (54.0 cm x 18.9 cm x 11.2 cm). ‘It’s an ideal mix of portability and power,’ Smith said.

The Prophet-6 desktop module will be available at the end of November with a projected MAP of $2,199.

Download high resolution photos of the Prophet-6 desktop module at http://www.davesmithinstruments.com/product-photos/

View a video of Dave Smith introducing the Prophet-6 desktop module at: https://youtu.be/2bBXcJOKxC8

Price and specifications subject to change.

Prophet-6 Desktop Specifications:


  • Two newly designed, discrete VCOs per voice
  • Continuously variable wave shape (triangle, sawtooth, pulse, square) per oscillator
  • Pulse width per oscillator
  • Hard sync: oscillator 1 syncs to oscillator 2
  • Triangle sub-octave generator (oscillator 1) per voice
  • Low frequency mode (oscillator 2)
  • Keyboard tracking on/off (oscillator 2)
  • Oscillator slop amount for increased tuning instability, from subtle to extreme


  • Oscillator 1 amount
  • Oscillator 1 sub-octave amount
  • Oscillator 2 amount
  • White noise amount


  • Two-pole, resonant, high-pass filter per voice
  • Bi-polar filter envelope amount
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount
  • Keyboard tracking: off, half, full


  • Four-pole, resonant, low-pass filter per voice, inspired by the original Prophet 5 filter
  • Filter can be driven into self-oscillation with the Resonance control
  • Bi-polar filter envelope amount
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount
  • Keyboard tracking: off, half, full


  • Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator


  • Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount


  • Five wave shapes: triangle, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, and random (sample and hold)
  • Clock sync (internal or external MIDI clock)
  • Initial amount
  • Mod destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, oscillator 1 and 2 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, high-pass filter cutoff


  • Sources: filter envelope (bi-polar) and oscillator 2 (bi-polar)
  • Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, high-pass filter cutoff


  • Source: channel (mono) aftertouch with bi-polar amount
  • Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, LFO amount, amplifier envelope amount, low-pass filter envelope amount, high-pass filter envelope amount


  • Master clock with tap tempo
  • BPM control and display
  • MIDI clock sync


  • Selectable note value: 16th note, 8th note triplet, 8th note, dotted 8th note, quarter note
  • One, two, or three octave range
  • Up, down, up/down, random, and assign modes


  • Polyphonic step sequencer with up to 64 steps and rests


  • Stereo analog distortion
  • Dual, 24-bit, 48 kHz digital effects, including: reverb (room, hall, plate, spring), delay (full bandwidth digital delay and emulated bucket brigade and tape delays), chorus, and phase shifter
  • Delay sync
  • True bypass maintains fully analog signal path when digital effects are off


  • Polyphonic glide (portamento)
  • Hold switch latches held notes on
  • Unison (monophonic) mode with configurable voice count, from one to all six voices, and key modes
  • Preset switch: when off, the front panel is live; what you see is what you hear


  • 500 user and 500 factory programs in 10 banks of 100 programs each
  • Direct program access, including Prophet 5-style single-button access to the current set of 10 programs


  • Left and right audio outputs (2 x 1/4” phone jack)
  • Headphone output (stereo, 1/4” phone jack)
  • MIDI in, out, and thru ports
  • USB for bidirectional MIDI communication
  • Low-pass filter cutoff expression pedal input
  • Volume expression pedal input
  • Sustain footswitch input
  • Sequencer start/stop footswitch input


  • IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
  • Operates worldwide on voltages between 100 and 240 volts at 50 to 60 Hz; 30 watts maximum power consumption


  • 21.25” L x 7.43” W x 4.4? H (54.0 cm x 18.9 cm x 11.2 cm)
  • 13.0 lbs (5.9 kg)
  • Walnut end panels and trim

Projected MAP for the Prophet-6 desktop module is $2,199.

Analogue Synth Battle: Arturia MicroBrute vs DSI Mopho

October 20, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

First comparison of the 2 analogue mono-synths. In this clip you will hear the arpeggios from Dave Smith’s Mopho Keyboard and the spooky sounds of the Arturia MiniBrute.

Dave Smith Prophet 08 Synthesizer – Synth-Pop Demo

October 17, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Dave Smith Prophet 08 Synthesizer – Synth Pop Demo, by al l bo:

al l bo – Scheme of Beautiful Inks (album mix)

Created (C), (PH) by al l bo with Dave Smith Prophet 08 Synthesizer (100% sounds, except drums & Arturia Minibrute solo at 01:59), 2015.

Publisher: Clouds Testers The Legendaries (C) 2015

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ’08: Drawbar Organ

September 1, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

This improvisation is meant to demonstrate the ability of the Prophet ’08 to imitate the sound of a drawbar organ. The pulse width modulation patch solo was played on a second P’08.

Background video description:
I’ve never been a fan of the Hammond Organ. I’ve owned several – most recently an XK 3c – and don’t regret selling them a bit. There are only a few drawbar settings that I like, and this patch is an imitation of one of them. However, the classic Hammond/drawbar organ sound positively requires a Leslie effect, or at least a Leslie simulator. Mere detuning is a lame substitute. This patch would greatly benefit from such a simulator.

Good organ playing requires an exacting technique. Because of the nature of the instrument’s envelope – having a sharp attack and an immediate release – it’s essential that notes played together be struck exactly at the same instant. Sad to say, I find that synthesizer keyboards do not meet the quality necessary so that such a precise attack can always be made. This is true for the Prophet ’08 and Poly Evolver Keyboard as well. I’ve noticed many times, especially when playing hymns or Bach chorales, that it’s nearly impossible to get the attacks of the notes to be crisp and clean, even with repeated tries of the same passages. The same is true for this piece. There are many instances when the strikes of simultaneous notes are not together, creating a smearing effect. That’s my disclaimer. There are many imperfections in this improvisation.

Here’s a bit of trivia. Although the Hammond Organ is now most widely used for rock and jazz, as well as Gospel music, its inventor, Laurens Hammond, in no way intended it to be so. He actually designed it to be used in churches as an inexpensive substitute for the pipe organ. It was meat to be used for traditional liturgical music, hymns, preludes, interludes, postludes, and so on. It has been used in many small churches, and I’ve had the misfortune of having to play a CV at a country parish, but I can say that…A HAMMOND IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A PIPE ORGAN!

DSI Prophet ’08 Keyboard (2)
DSI Prophet ’08 Module
DSI Evolver Desktop
Hammond XPK 200L

Lexicon MX300
Alesis Nanoverb 2

Respectably Insane – Dave Smith Instruments – Sequential Prophet 6

August 31, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The weird and wonderful world of the beautiful Prophet 6. Arpeggiated patch at very slow intervals and bpm with the occasional knob-twiddle for good measure. Recorded live in 1 take and the only effects are a touch of built-in chorus and BBD. Video shot separately just after the audio had been recorded, then spliced together.

CodeKnobs releases a DSI Mopho Patch Editor

July 31, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 


CodeKnobs has introduced an unofficial patch editor for the Dave Smith Instruments Mopho synthesizer, for both Mac & Windows. 


  • Full Mopho Parameter Control: This editor offers complete control over all of the Mopho’s parameters.
  • Real Time Editing And Automation: You can make all your edits and adjustments in real time, and create automation sequences.
  • Simple Saving: Programs can also be stored automatically within your DAW sequence. All you have to do is save your sequence, and all your programs, in all of your instances will be saved.
  • Program Manager: This allows you to collect all of your Mopho programs into one place, and manage them. You can import, and export syx files, and use Prophet 8 and Mopho program files as well. You can also use the tagging feature to categorize, and sort your programs.
  • Multiple Instances: You can add multiple instances of this editor within your DAW, allowing you to have multiple programs available at the same time. You can choose which instance is active, by pressing the power button located on the instance window. Once activated, the Mopho will take on the program of the active instance. This will allow you to swap between programs on the fly.

Note: CodeKnobs Mopho Editor 1.0 is for the Mopho Desktop only.

The Mopho Editor is available for US $39 from the CodeKnobs site. A demo version is also available.

Recent interview with Dave Smith (DSI and Sequential)

July 4, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Mitch Gallagher sits down with synth pioneer Dave Smith here at Sweetwater Sound. Dave was visiting Sweetwater for GearFest ’15, featuring a special panel discussion between Dave Smith, Roger Linn, and Tom Oberheim.

Legendary synth designer and Grammy-winner Dave Smith was the founder of Sequential Circuits in the mid-’70s. His Prophet-5, the world’s first fully programmable polyphonic synth, was the first musical instrument with an embedded microprocessor. Dave is also known as the driving force behind the development of the MIDI specification. He has continued to innovate, and recently unveiled his latest synth creation, the Sequential Prophet-6.

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