Dave Smith Prophet 6 Synth: 6 Analog Voices, and a Dilemma

Never say never. Few would have imagined just a few short years ago that essentially all – not most, but all – the major 2015 electronic instrument news out of the annual NAMM trade show would come down to 70s-/early 80s-style analog synthesizers, in the form of keyboards and modular. Nor would you imagine two of the big names would still be Tom Oberheim and Dave Smith, alongside Korg and Moog. (Well, maybe Tom and Dave did – how ambitious were you three decades ago, gentlemen?) Certainly, no one ever expected to see the name Sequential Circuits again. But that’s …


Here Are Two Rigs That Let You Play Live with Hardware [Videos]

A funny thing happened on the way to the future. Thing is, at the same time the computer has improved as a music-making instrument, so, too, has standalone hardware. The reality is, hardware rigs for music making are more affordable and more accessible than they ever were before. They do more, better. They’re easier to use. And when it comes time to record and arrange, the computer doesn’t require the investment of cost and time it once did, either. So the upshot is, even the computer is making it easier to spend some time working with hardware. And that means …


Hands on with Dave Smith Pro 2: “The Most Useful Synth I’ve Ever Played”

Synthesist Chris Stack has had his hands on a lot of gear – and a lot of it with the Moog Music moniker on it. But every chance he gets, he’s bugging me about how in love he is with the Dave Smith Pro 2, the richly-appointed, nicely-overpowered monosynth on steroids as we described it earlier this summer. And he’s having a lot of fun, transforming it into a hybrid digital/audio “hub” – a sound source, but also a central brain for exceptional soundscapes. And in Chris’ hands, I’m certainly convinced, as this beast sequences beautiful frontiers of noise and …


The Dream Modular Rig, Making Amazing Sounds: Cyrus Rex

cyrusrex + Baseck – #DBC611G-1D from Muff Wiggler on Vimeo. Pulsing, rattling, buzzing, quivering, the music of LA-based artist Cyrus Rex is a sumptuous feast of sound. Here’s a musician who connects massive arrays of gear, like some post-apocalyptic robot dream, and then makes it sound like it – rapid-fire machine reveries set in motion amidst nests of cables. Little wonder this video at top, with Cyrusrex and Baseck, comes from MuffWiggler. It is full of gear: Cyrusrex + Baseck – Modular Synth, DSI Tempest, DevilFish TB303, Strymon BigSky, casio #DBC611G-1D But don’t stop there. Cyrus Rex’s music is an …


Dave Smith Goes Modular, with a $179 Curtis Filter Module

Eurorack fever continues to spread. The ease of making musical electronics fit the standard, pioneered by Germany’s Dieter Doepfer, and the growing appetite from a small but passionate audience, seems to make producing new modules irresistible. The entire design equation is different: a single task or handful of tasks can become a product. Dave Smith Instruments is the latest entry. And the product is the perfect choice for DSI. It’s a module built around on the Curtis filter, the signature filter found on everything from the 1980s Prophets (back when Dave’s company was Sequential Circuits) to the latest Mopho and …


The Monosynth, on Steroids: Dave Smith Pro 2 Synth Revealed

In a world full of monosynths, how do you stand out from the crowd? Easy: build a monosynth that thinks it’s a high-end synth workstation. Never has so much power been built into one note. Looking at the Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2, what you get is really something resembling the Prophet 12, an instrument that’s been getting loads of acclaim of late. The rich synth architecture, the controls and modulation, the ample connectivity opportunities (including CV) — everything’s there. In that basic mold, though, the Pro 2 has an architecture all its own – and, by default, it’s monophonic. …


Prophet 12, 12-voice Synth, Now as a Module, and Demonstrated by Dave Smith Himself

Strictly speaking, the Prophet 12 isn’t news. It’s just a module version of the Prophet 12 keyboard introduced earlier this year. (You can add ears and rack-mount it.) And yet, it’s getting lots of buzz online. I was thinking for a bit about why that was, and eventually arrived at this solution: for synth lovers, the Prophet 12 module is about the most perfect way imaginable right now to spend two grand. Watch legendary pioneer and hardware namesake Dave Smith himself demonstrate the results: It’s also a triumph of making a module that works without the maker feeling obligated to …


Dave Smith Mopho SE: Sensationally Sensible 44-key Monosynth

Monophonic analog synths are all the rage these days. Unfortunately, so too are tiny keyboards or few octaves. The Mopho is what you’ve been asking for. It has 44 keys, semi-weighted, with not only velocity but aftertouch, too. That means you don’t need to relegate your monosynth to tiny basslines and carry another controller. You also get a metal enclosure, now with artwork screen-printed on directly, plus the soft-touch knobs from the Prophet 12. And one killer feature, for people who hate yellow, or fear school buses or bees: it’s a tasteful gray color, not the shade of a canary.


More Than Ever: Tour Dave Smith’s Monster Synth, the Prophet 12

The Prophet 12 from Dave Smith Instruments is a landmark synth: packed with polyphony and sound features, it’s the latest demonstration that “new” and “synth keyboard” can go together. So, for our first-look tour through the new Prophet, we get a special treat – writer, electronic musician, and mathematician Gina Collecchia got a hands-on look with the engineers who designed the instrument. Gina, who demystifies signal processing for all the rest of us in her book Numbers and Notes, get to talk with Chris, one technologist to another. -Ed. Meet the newest member of the Dave Smith Instruments family: the …

The year we made contact: photo evidence now proves that the first public MIDI connection was made between a Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 and a Roland Jupiter 6. Now, get those instruments and an Instagram filter and recreate this shot, if you like. Courtesy Dave Smith (personal collection).

Grammy for MIDI Creators Dave Smith, Ikutaro Kakehashi; First Connection Mystery Solved

It’s been almost 30 years since MIDI was first demonstrated at the winter NAMM show, 1983. Marking the anniversary, The Recording Academy is giving a coveted Technical Grammy to the two people most associated with its creation – so-called “father of MIDI” Dave Smith (then founder of Sequential Circuits, now Dave Smith Instruments) and Roland founder and engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi. Actually, it’s a bit interesting to me that Mr. Kakehashi is being left out of some of the news; it was the fact that MIDI could connect between two pieces of gear that demonstrated its value. In other words, it …