Dave Smith Instruments Prophet '08

Prophet '08, Analog Synth from Dave Smith Instruments.

ménélassou 12/11/2007

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet '08 : ménélassou's user review


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First Contact unpacking: the machine is not very heavy (still 11 kg), fine and compact (the width is just over that of her 5 octave keyboard). Original aesthetics with strong reference to the lineage of Prophet analog, I find it quite successfully (opinion not shared by those around me!). Facade matte black, finely chrome pots, illuminated display in red, full of red LED, it's retro, it's hot! And also the inevitable wooden sides, trendy ...

The Prophet '08 is an 8 voice analog synth with 51 pots without end, a classic for the master volume, 27 buttons, mostly bright.

Analog of COD to VCA, through the VCF, of course! So no D / A. The synthesizer is based on the use of CI Curtis. Digital circuits are used to their exploitation, LFO, the sequencer, the arpeggiator, the memories and MIDI.
8 voices: each voice has 2 DCO, a white noise generator, a low-pass VCF 12 or 24 dB / octave, a VCA, ADSR envelope generators 3 + time (1 attributed to the VCF, a VCA and 1 assignable to that can be completed), 4 LFOs, 4 modulators.
Programs: 2 banks of 128 programs. Each has two sub-programs A and B.
Assignment of the vote (8 leds visualization):
· Mode 8 voice poly (monotimbral) subroutine choice A or B
· Mode stack (monotimbral): superposition of two sounds of the subprogrammes, 4 voice polyphony
· Mode split (bitimbral): 2 keypad zones, a sub-program, 4 voice polyphony zone
· Modes unison: 1 vote (2 tilt), 8 votes (16 tilt!) With 3 levels of detuning
Arpeggiator: up, down, assignable
Sequencer: 16 steps of analog, 4 tracks, adjustable number of steps per track, activated by pressure and keeping notes
· Module COD / White Noise: waveforms triangle, sawtooth, triangle mixed-sawtooth, rectangle with width adjustment from 0 to 99%, PWM, set the mix of COD 2, glide speed for each DCO; hard synchro
VCA · Module: output volume, pan
· LFO: tempo-sync (or its divisions or multiple) and Note, configurable routing
· Module (almost everything can be modulated) source, destination and intensity adjustable, five sources of additional modules: mod wheel, velocity, aftertouch, "breath control", expression pedal
• 2 stereo audio outputs (4 jacks) and main output B (sub-program B)
• 1 stereo headphone
· MIDI in, out, thru; DIN plug "Poly Chain" to connect multiple cascading P8
• 1 expression pedal jack / input CV
• 1 Jack Sustain
· Connection alim. external (13.5 VDC)


First, the keyboard announced as having a semi-weighted keys, it is rather light! Pleasant though. In my opinion, DSI would have done better to offer a more pro keyboard in its SE rather than frills and bright signature of Mr. Dave Smith (whom I respect very much, for that matter).

The overall organization is very clear orders, served by a very well thought out display. In particular, the LCD automatically displays the corresponding parameter in knob that is activated. The top line reminds constantly setting start and press "compare" is used to switch at any time to the original program.
In a traditional organization to one with analog subtractive synthesis, this is not to say simplistic and huge modulation routing capabilities, their management by the four lines of the sequencer, the multiple clock settings for the LFO, the arpeggiator and sequencer bring him versatility. And it's a little trap, the standing invitation to all grind, while exploring the other side is her expressiveness in the game

The positioning of the two wheels can be confusing. I find it very appropriate to the contrary: an invitation to position the left hand near the pots. There are many, is to use them and not get lost in the display pages and other digital keyboards!

The endless pots are not serrated and are sometimes a little improvement, especially for fine adjustments (must be thorough and sometimes it skips several values). Nothing too serious but it will not hope to find a program on the fly during a live performance. However, using the switch "layer B" mode poly 8 voice switches instantly from one subroutine to another, very practical live.

The pan setting returns to adjust the width of distribution of voices in the stereo. This explains the presence of stereo audio outputs so that there is no chorus or delay or any other instrument on board. Why two pairs? To separate out the sounds of the subprogrammes A and B.

The MIDI implementation is extensive. The machine is causing and the operation of most commands will generate a MIDI message.

In conclusion, it is a very nice synth for simple and convenient to use both programming Thurs His many parameters that promise a lot of time to experiment and I do not get bored anytime soon!
Other than that, I would have seen a pro version (rather than SE) with a semi-weighted keyboard really knobs and encoders-notched style from those of the evolver desktop users ... for the bouncing around from scene to scene. For the home studio, it suits me perfectly.


It exudes a general feeling of warmth and beautiful musicality. It is accompanied by a good definition of envelopes that can be very fast, providing a good momentum. The engine is punchy!

The steering is very precise filters. I can not discern differences in sound color from one note to another assignment when the voice is dynamic.
-Mode 24 dB / octave, push the resonance leads to self-oscillation and adjustment halfway monitoring allows the keyboard to "play the filter" with the right notes throughout the entire keyboard. In addition, this setting strongly influences the behavior of the VCF, especially the impression of "definition" of the filter. A reproach mode 24 dB / octave, the resonance control is not enough progressive.
-Mode 12 dB / octave, I am beautiful even if the filter, then adjust the resonance is no longer very effective. Perhaps the nostalgia of old analog synths ...

The accuracy that can be found also in terms of COD can be manhandled by a drift adjustment (5 levels of "slope") to introduce a dose of instability, characteristic of some of his ancestors.

The Prophet '08 is both out of the deep bass, big, fat, flapping, beautiful tablecloths, sounds of "brass" from soft to flashy, percussive sounds and delicate hammered, leads to hell ... and always with a beautiful musicality. In addition, he inherited in part from the next "crazy" and experimental range Evolver ...


With its philosophy based on a button = 1 (except in programming mode the sequencer), the Prophet '08 is nice and easy to use. The enormous potential routing modulations also make a craft far from boring even if does not reach the degree of "tweaking" of the Evolver. It's a real musical instrument "all terrain", a cross between the old analog Prophet and Evolver. Its sound and expressiveness gives him a good character said. Its position among the polyphonic analog is very interesting in view of its price (not the SE version I would describe as unnecessary) and I quickly snapped from its announcement and listening to the first few demos (thank you in passing to Doct).

A publisher / library for Mac and PC is available at www.davesmithinstruments.com (for $ 50, anyway!). It could be useful for immediate visualization of the routing and modulation sequencer tracks 4.

Regarding the extension "poly chain," I can not imagine a stack of Prophet '08 to expand the polyphony but I would not mind the arrival of an expander version. That said, for my current use, I do not feel the need for an extension to 16 votes or more.

My main criticism is that the pots, encoders me look pretty "cheap", I read the same criticism about Polyevolver in a forum. One might regret the absence of FM and ring modulation of COD 2 but it does not seem necessary on this instrument. For cons, I would have enjoyed the presence of a high-pass filter (and why not a filterbank!) And a ribbon controller ...

It's been a while since I wanted to buy a poly synth and now it appears, not too expensive, not bulky, a good pedigree and modern electronics. I appreciate it and for 2 ½ months and if I did not order one I would run!