Percussa micro super signal processor
There is a lot in each of those 12 voices. And while you might assume this is just a 12-voice variation of the Prophet, Dave Smith Instruments say they've built a new voice architecture from scratch. Images from DSI; click to upgrade to biggie size.

There is a lot in each of those 12 voices. And while you might assume this is just a 12-voice variation of the Prophet, Dave Smith Instruments say they’ve built a new voice architecture from scratch. Images from DSI; click to upgrade to biggie size.

Dave Smith has reason to celebrate this year. He’s been creating synths for 35 years. The MIDI protocol he helped create turned 30. And now, amidst a wave of new analog monosynths, he’s got a monster keyboard with – gasp – polyphony, and lots of it. Dave sent CDM some pics of his baby earlier this week. The Prophet 12 looks like a real titan, with 12-voice polyphony (of course) and what Dave says is an all-new design.

That’s the surprise: whereas previous Dave Smith models have tended to build on the voice architecture of previous outings, Dave says that the team started “from scratch” on the Prophet 12. (Okay, I’m guessing not entirely from scratch – but it is a new design.)

Each voice has four oscillators each, configurable to both “classic and complex” wave shapes. There’s a sub-oscillator on each voice. There are resonant analog low- and high-pass filters and analog amplitude on each voice. (The rest of the architecture is digital.)

Then we get to the “character” section, and there are a range of options for dirtying up and transforming sounds, including things called “Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air.”

And:

  • Tuned feedback path
  • Four-tap stereo delay – also per voice
  • Arpeggiator, LFO, and delay, each with sync.
  • Modulation section.
  • Bi-timbral operation.
  • Internal clock and external MIDI clock. (Hey, what’s this MIDI thing I keep hearing about?)

Look closer.

Look closer.

Also interesting: taking a page from the Tempest (and collaborator Roger Linn’s fascination for such things in hardware design), you get two touch strips in addition to the conventional pitch and mod wheels. The strips are sensitive to both position and pressure.

All in all, it looks like a massive twelve-pack (twelve-wheeler?) of American synth … uh, girth. There’s so much there that I hope we get Dave’s team to walk us through more of the details, here on Create Analog M– uh, well, there’s digital circuitry in analog synths.

You would expect this wouldn’t come so cheap; projection pricing is US$2999. That’s a lot of synth power per dollar, though. Due in Q2.

Just sell everything, then hold down your ten fingers and two of your toes on some monster patch.

Video

I love Dave in the video – there really is something different about letting an engineer show the instrument.

Oh, and keep watching, as you do eventually get to some crazier sounds. (Love that freaky, ghostly one toward the end.)