DSI_Prophet_12 module_angled

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 stick a keyboard on. And the module seems sensibly laid out. I’m generally a fan of having as many dedicated knobs onboard as possible, particularly when shelling out for hardware. But the P12 seems to be a smart compromise. Encoders do require some push-button switching, yes, but the switches are laid out in a smart, logical way. The connection between the buttons and the encoders is intuitive, and they’re grouped in a way that means you should be able to adjust sound parameters quickly. Signal flow is smack-you-in-the-face clear. And most importantly (cough, Slim Phatty), you get dedicated filter knobs, so switching modes of the encoders doesn’t mean you have to lose access to filter cutoff.

The features, as before, remain impressive:

  • Four oscillators with a variety of waveforms
  • Hybrid digital/analog design (which, frankly, I think yields the greatest versatility)
  • Sub oscillator
  • Resonant low-pass an dhigh pass filters
  • Analog VCA
  • Tuned feedback path
  • Four-tap stereo delay per voice (yes, this can get insanely huge)
  • Arpeggiator
  • Modulation
  • Bi-timbral operation
  • Wave shaping, sound sculpting, “Girth”, “Air”, “Hack” and “Decimation” (bit depth and sample rate of the mixed oscillators, smart), Drive…
  • Robust I/O: headphones, A and B outputs, MIDI in/out/thru, two pedals plus sustain, USB

In fact, if I had two grand to spend on an outboard synth, it’s hard to imagine anything right now competing with this.

Actually… scratch that. I’d save the extra cash and get the keyboard. It’s a complete instrument, and having dedicated knobs is still better – so much better that the backpack compatibility of this still can’t make it compete. But this is the second-best polyphonic analog gear out there right now. And it’s a beautiful second place, well worth the silver medal and a spot on the podium and some tears. So, maybe that’s the news.

MAP: $2,199.00 USD

All images courtesy DSI. Click either to embiggen.

All images courtesy DSI. Click either to embiggen.

Dave Smith Instruments: Prophet 12 Module