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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » DSI Synths
DSI Prophet '08 Synthesizer
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The Analog Organist



Joined: Apr 07, 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: DSI Prophet '08 Synthesizer
Subject description: Information and Comments on Instrument
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I've owned a Prophet '08 synthesizer since early 2009, and have just ordered a second one, so pleased am I with it. I've found it to be an exceptional musical instrument. While some people criticize it for its alleged lack of versatility, I would say it's fairly versatile. But even more, I would say the Prophet '08 is classic analog - warm, rich, and easy enough to program. The modulation possibilities are substantial, and the stack mode opens up fabulous texture possibilities. It has a decent keyboard with a responsive touch. I also like its appearance, which is modest, conservative, and nothing like a geekish toy. All in all, it may not be an Andromeda A6, but neither is the Andromeda a Prophet '08. Let's leave it at that, disallowing the redundant and overly obvious comment, "But it's not an Andrmeda." No kidding.

The Prophet '08 deserves to have a following of its own. So, I'd be interested to hear from other OWNERS, from people who have extensely used and worked with this instrument. What are your thoughts on this synthesizer? Any unique discoveries or techniques in using it? And how does it compare with the other Dave Smith Instruments? Instead of a second Prophet '08, I almost bought a Poly Evolver Keyboard, but had no need for the sequencer or distortion capabilities, at which the PEK seems to excel. Regardless, any comparisons between these two instruments?

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Last edited by The Analog Organist on Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:11 am; edited 4 times in total
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The Real MC



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I auditioned a P'08 in a store. Being an A6 owner I wanted to see if the rack '08 would comp the A6.

I was greatly disappointed, especially that the 12dB filter has no resonance control whatsoever.

I have a technique for brass sounds that involves a microsweep of a VCO pitch with an envelope. The '08 was incapable of pulling this off - you can't get small enough modulation depth and the response was exponential it only sounds right with linear response.

It's a good beginner polysynth, but I'm not a beginner.
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The Analog Organist



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A synthesizer can be less sophisticated than other instruments without being 'for beginners.' The Prophet '08 does what it does extremely well, and a person who works with it over time can produce very rich sounds. I would say a number of its strengths are somewhat hidden from a cursory user, so that only dedicated use and fine programming will discover them. Yes, it has its limitations, but for the relatively compact size and modest price tag, it's to be expected. For example, with generous amounts of reverb and while in the stack mode, it can produce fabulous synthesized string sounds and effects - extremely ethereal - but this takes an amount of experimentation. Its pulse width modulation is very rich and musically useful. It also allows for very smooth filter sweeps. For some, these are only the basics. Well, the Prophet '08 is a basic but excellent polyphonic analog synthesizer, and nothing more.
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Tim Kleinert



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Real MC wrote:
The '08 was incapable of pulling this off - you can't get small enough modulation depth and the response was exponential it only sounds right with linear response.

It's a good beginner polysynth, but I'm not a beginner.

That criticism pertaining envelope responses would apply to all the classic analogue polysynths. Rolling Eyes

I think the P08 is great. At least it's digital modulations are not compromised by zipper artefacts, like the Andy. Wink I love the Andy too for what it is, but smooth PWM is definetely NOT it's strength (and yes, I DO know about the engine optimiser). I think they complement each other very well actually.

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The Real MC



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

tim wrote:
The Real MC wrote:
The '08 was incapable of pulling this off - you can't get small enough modulation depth and the response was exponential it only sounds right with linear response.

It's a good beginner polysynth, but I'm not a beginner.


That criticism pertaining envelope responses would apply to all the classic analogue polysynths. Rolling Eyes


It is blatantly obvious how little experience you have with classic analogue polysynths.

That technique works on an Oberheim SEM, A6 and Moog Voyager.

It does not work on Memorymoog.

It all has to do with the control law between the slope of the EG envelopes and the VCO CV input.

Next time you feel the need to lay out some blanket gross misjudgement, do some research first.
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The Analog Organist



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Pulse Width Modulation Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Prophet '08 does have very smooth pulse width modulation. You can add quite a depth of it before it becomes overly modulated in the lower pitch range. This is perfect for thick bass sounds as well as string patches with a bite.
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Tim Kleinert



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Real MC wrote:
tim wrote:
The Real MC wrote:
The '08 was incapable of pulling this off - you can't get small enough modulation depth and the response was exponential it only sounds right with linear response.

It's a good beginner polysynth, but I'm not a beginner.


That criticism pertaining envelope responses would apply to all the classic analogue polysynths. Rolling Eyes


It is blatantly obvious how little experience you have with classic analogue polysynths.

That technique works on an Oberheim SEM, A6 and Moog Voyager.

It does not work on Memorymoog.

It all has to do with the control law between the slope of the EG envelopes and the VCO CV input.

Next time you feel the need to lay out some blanket gross misjudgement, do some research first.


I was referring to classic polysynths. The Voyager is a monosynth. And both the A6 and the Voyager are not (yet) classic.

Anyway, so the Memorymoog is a beginner's polysynth then. And the Prophet5 too, I guess.

Linear envelopes only are also a limitation. There's alot of snappy percussive stuff you cannot pull off with those. So, by logical reasoning, the SEM and the Matrix12 -for the same lack of flexibility- are beginner's synth too then.

On the Matrix12, one could at least work around that by feedbacking the envelope output to it's own rates. But I'd better shut up now because of my lack of experience. Wink

The A6 is one of the very few synths, digital or analogue, that offers control over the responses, which is great. But there are some situations where one where log/expo envelopes do the trick just nicely, and smoother modulations are more of importance -which the A6, with it's unfiltered 100Hz mod engine, does NOT have, regardless of optimizer settings. The Matrix series clock at mere 60Hz, but at least are sufficiently filtered after the DAC stage. But again, I'd shut up now because of my lack of experience. Wink

The P08 digital mod engine clocks at 1,6 kHz. I asked Dave personally. PWM on the P08 pisses over the Andy in terms of smoothness. Same for ultra-fast LFO pitch mod with high ranges,

I like both, for what they are. Smile

Anyway, in the age of multisampling by the megabyte, it's a little sad that you put down a nice instrument purely on it's lack of capability to pull off "brass" Confused sounds of your subjective liking. Personally, I liked the pseudo-"brass"-sounds from the Memorymoog, but that's just me.

That you have to put down other forum members however -well, I'll just let that speak for itself. Maybe you should do some research into your motives for posting here.

Fanboys are unideal partners to objectively discuss the merits of a particulars synthesiser.

Have a nice day.

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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"...the sexiest little analogue synth I've played in years."
Sound On Sound
February 2008

Must be lots of beginners working at Sound On Sound.

I never realised!
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The Analog Organist



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"I have a technique for brass sounds that involves a microsweep of a VCO pitch with an envelope."


I'm familiar with the brass sound you're after with this technique, but it has only limited use. It's an effect I neither need nor even like. It sounds dance-band-dippy to me. The slight pitch sweep at the attack phase is appropriate for certain poppish styles of music, but for other styles, such as those that use a more classical brass sound, the pitch sweep is not appropriate. For classical brass sounds, the Prophet '08 is superb. In fact, in testing the quality of a synthesizer, I would always attempt this patch first of all. When I first tried this sound on the Prophet '08 I thought, "Yep, this is the instrument I'm looking for." It's very warm, rich, and precise at all stages of the envelope. And with the stack mode - which admittedly reduces the polyphony to 4 voices - you can double octaves, giving a tremendous thickness to the patch. This in itself is one of the many musical virtues of this instrument, regardless of what other synthesizers can or cannot do.

I'll admit one problem, though. I, too, would like finer increments in modulation depth. For certain sounds, especially solo patches, a vibrato depth between "0" and "1" is needed. The depth of "1" is just too much.

And by the way, can we skip the insults on this forum? It's rather obnoxious to call some one inexperienced (as if there' something wrong with that). So, quit the snobbery. Also, let's not allow this forum to deteriorate into yet another redundant Andromeda glory and praise session. I'm quite sick of the A6 cult.

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The Real MC



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Analog Organist wrote:
And by the way, can we skip the insults on this forum? It's rather obnoxious to call some one inexperienced (as if there' something wrong with that). So, quit the snobbery.


Rebuking over-generalization is not snobbery or insulting, so spare me the shaming tactics.
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The Real MC



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

tim wrote:
I was referring to classic polysynths. The Voyager is a monosynth. And both the A6 and the Voyager are not (yet) classic.


There are many who argue that the A6/Voyager are destined to be classics. Although I did not assert that, I won't dispute it either.

Quote:
Linear envelopes only are also a limitation. There's alot of snappy percussive stuff you cannot pull off with those. So, by logical reasoning, the SEM and the Matrix12 -for the same lack of flexibility- are beginner's synth too then.


This just in - the Minimoog, arguably one of the snappiest envelopes in the business - has linear envelopes.

You can get snappy percussive stuff with linear envelopes, there's a secret to that. It's called control law and is the relationship between an envelope generator and the response of the receiving modulator - VCF or VCA.

Keep it up, you're still proving how little experience you have.

Quote:
Anyway, in the age of multisampling by the megabyte, it's a little sad that you put down a nice instrument purely on it's lack of capability to pull off "brass" Confused sounds of your subjective liking.


Speaking of research, you neglected my mention of the lack of resonance on the 12 dB filter. Mighty convenient of you so you could discredit me.

Quote:
That you have to put down other forum members however -well, I'll just let that speak for itself. Maybe you should do some research into your motives for posting here.


Now you twist the rebuking of your over-generalization to fit the definition of "putting you down". Nice manipulation tactic, I am well familiar with them.

Quote:
Fanboys are unideal partners to objectively discuss the merits of a particulars synthesiser.


Wow you're really spewing birdshot today.

OK I correct you for the over-generalization "all the classic analogue polysynths" and that makes me a fanboy - how? I politely informed you how little you know of vintage keyboard history and techniques, and somehow you don't like it. Stick and stones, take your name-calling and ----- it because that is rather unprofessional of you.

Quote:
Have a nice day.


You first.
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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good gosh! This is as silly as the Mac/PC debates. For crying out loud; they are all fine instruments. Each to his own. I own a Voyager, and I love it. I have played the A6 and the Prophet 08, and I would jump at the chance to own a P08 or Andy if I had the money. I could give a shit about the zipper. All these instruments have so many other fine sounds and qualities, and it seems trivial to quibble over the zipper issue or linear vs exponential envelopes. Quite frankly, there would be times I could use the zipper effect. Every instrument has its strengths and weaknesses. These are instruments for playing music. So play. . .play nicely.
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The Analog Organist



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey, Mr. Real MC, what on earth is your problem? This is supposed to be a friendly exchange about a musical instrument that we enjoy. If you need a place to let out your personal anger and frustration, then find another forum, take up a sport, or see a therapist. Your attitude is just ridiculously nasty. Don't be so sensitive. This is not a debate, duel, or shoot out. We're merely chatting about a hunk of plastic and metal that makes sounds, nothing more. Back to music and musical instruments, please, and omit the personal attacks. Your comments are welcome, if they're civil and relevant to the topic. Otherwise, hold your peace. And if you hate the Prophet '08, that's fine with us. But why not move on?
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The Real MC



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Analog Organist wrote:
Hey, Mr. Real MC, what on earth is your problem? This is supposed to be a friendly exchange about a musical instrument that we enjoy. If you need a place to let out your personal anger and frustration, then find another forum, take up a sport, or see a therapist. Your attitude is just ridiculously nasty. Don't be so sensitive. This is not a debate, duel, or shoot out. We're merely chatting about a hunk of plastic and metal that makes sounds, nothing more. Back to music and musical instruments, please, and omit the personal attacks. Your comments are welcome, if they're civil and relevant to the topic. Otherwise, hold your peace. And if you hate the Prophet '08, that's fine with us. But why not move on?


Where did I say I "hate the P'08"?

Why do people not get it?

That is not my beef. The beef is this gross generalization:

tim wrote:
The Real MC wrote:
The '08 was incapable of pulling this off - you can't get small enough modulation depth and the response was exponential it only sounds right with linear response.

It's a good beginner polysynth, but I'm not a beginner.

That criticism pertaining envelope responses would apply to all the classic analogue polysynths. Rolling Eyes


Was I not friendly and polite when I corrected him? Did I call him names? Did I use language? Did I explain how things are possible despite their "limitations"?

I don't need you rebuking me over "personal attacks" when he drew first blood.

I am not going to argue over petty misjudgements.

I said it before, and I'll say it again: I like the P'08, it is a good beginner synth.

Drop it and move on.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:03 pm    Post subject: Re: DSI Prophet '08 Synthesizer
Subject description: Information and Comments on Instrument
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The Analog Organist wrote:

The Prophet '08 deserves to have a following of its own. So, I'd be interested to hear from other OWNERS, from people who have extensely used and worked with this instrument.


The Original question was posed to Owners of this Synth not people who have had a play on it in a shop one afternoon.

Mr MC your posts do have a slight ring of the Troll about them and are slightly antagonistic, can we leave this post to people who have some decent experience of this synth and other DSI synths.


Andy
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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Real MC wrote:
tim wrote:
The Real MC wrote:
The '08 was incapable of pulling this off - you can't get small enough modulation depth and the response was exponential it only sounds right with linear response.

It's a good beginner polysynth, but I'm not a beginner.


That criticism pertaining envelope responses would apply to all the classic analogue polysynths. Rolling Eyes


It is blatantly obvious how little experience you have with classic analogue polysynths.


Mr. Real MC. If you can't tell, this is insulting. We don't want to read this kind of thing here. FYI, Tim is one hell of an expert on synthesis. He is a valued and honored member of our community. I can understand that you being new here might not know that. It doesn't matter, though, as we expect everyone here to be treated respectfully.

I'm sure we can count on your cooperation in taking the high ground in the future.

thanks

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The Real MC



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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I guess introductions are in order. I may be new here, but I have been an expert resource on the net since 1997 and have been performing with synthesizers since 1981.

Active member of Harmony Central
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22The+Real+MC%22+site%3Aacapella.harmony-central.com&aq=f&oq=

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Longtime member of Analogue Heaven go to http://www.retrosynth.com/ah/
change dropdown to “From: Field only” and search on “calorosome” or "mlcaloroso" or “analogdiehard” or “analoguediehard”

Member of beta test and sound design team for Andromeda
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Thorough knowledge of Memorymoog
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Thorough knowledge of Polymoog
http://search.retrosynth.com/ah/search/lookit.cgi?-v9911.749
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Designed reliability improvements for Memorymoog
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Designed boot-up modification for Moog Source and Memorymoog
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Did you know that the Moog Source has a hybrid software/hardware EG? http://search.retrosynth.com/ah/search/lookit.cgi?-v9908.907

Can you design a hard sync for the Minimoog?
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Designed tuning reliability improvements for Minimoog involving modifications of power buss, exponential converter, and replacement of selected opamps and passive components, all without impacting sonority.

Designed filter improvement for Micromoog
http://www.emusic-diy.org/MoogManuals/MicroMoog

A letter to Bob Pease appeared in his column http://electronicdesign.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=3240

Uncovered evidence of filter differences in Minimoogs production run - later models only had matched transistors in the top and bottom pairs of the ladder filter, early models (according to original schematics) had ALL five pairs with matched transistors. This directly impacted the sound of the filter. Studies with three early minimoogs all with different VCO boards revealed they all sound the same, while later models with same VCO board sound different.

Not complete, but trolls do get tired of typing.
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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes very good.

Maybe you should have a look at Tims posts here and at the G2 stuff he has posted on this forum.
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So, about that Prophet 08.

Dave Smith's FAQ wrote:

Are the Curtis chips used in DSI products the same chips used in the Sequential synthesizers?

The Curtis chips we use are newly manufactured (not NOS—new old stock) and are not chips that were used in Sequential products. However, the filter design is essentially the same as that used in the earlier chips.


And apparently the PEK uses the same chips on its analog side. One thing I haven't found in any of the manuals or the specifications was which equivalent chip design they're actually using.

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fac



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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi all. I just bought a Prophet 08 rack and although it's definitely not the best synth out there (e.g. no multimode filter), I'm really liking it. I'm in the process of downsizing my studio from about 14 synths to 5 or 6, and bought the P08 will replace an ESQ-1, Matrix 6R, and Korg MS2000R. The P08 is as nearly as flexible as any of those synths and definitely sounds better.
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gd



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I quite enjoy the P 08, the only issue I have had with mine is over some of the encoders that sometimes can have a mind of their own. I actually quite like that it is not a truely overpowering synth like the CS80 or MemoryMoog always seemed to be - at least for me but that was my own doing. I actually traded a Voyager AE for this just over 1 year ago as the guy had it for 1 week and decided he ultimately wanted a Voyager. I wanted a poly analogue since I had sold my JP8 but was not looking for a direct sound replacement. The P 08 is its own synth - if Dave had called it anything but a Prophet I bet much of the criticism would not have happened as it is not and was never intended to be a P5 clone. For me the P08 just works, others it may not and there in lies the fun of synthesis. I recently added a vintage Ibanez CS 505 chorus from the 70's, it really plays nicely with the P08 next up I'll pick up a vintage phazer.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome gd. Good to have you here.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Real MC wrote:

Not complete, but.........


Crikey! Shocked Shocked Shocked

If this is what playing synthesisers does to you after playing them since 1981, I think I'll go and take up knitting instead! Shocked Wink

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Laughing

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G2 patch files: 318

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
I think I'll go and take up knitting instead! Shocked Wink


Reminds me of something ... patch cords I think thinking hmm ... sounds good Laughing

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gd



Joined: Jul 02, 2009
Posts: 15
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
welcome gd. Good to have you here.


Thank-you, much appreciated. I started in '74 with my miniD - picked one up in Vancouver shortly after going to ELP's Brain Salad Surgery concert. The guy I bought if from couldn't make heads nor tales of it and just couldn't get into the programming of it as he was used to immediate sounds from his Continental and M series Hammond spinet. Its funny but I just have not really gotten into much programming with the P08 - mostly using patches that others have written then tweaked them somewhat. Maybe it's because the pots sometimes do strange things ie. today the resonance pot would only increase unless I turned it very slowly or the parameters changing mid song (glad for the compare button). These issues aside I would buy another if it ever became necessary.
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