We had a sneak preview of this at the weekend but now Dave Smith Instruments have revealed the full details of the hybrid synth/sampler machine that is the Prophet X.
So it is a hybrid synthesizer with integrated sample library that routes everything through the synthesizer architecture, well, the filters at least. It is very much like the Nord Piano, Kurzweil K2000 or Yamaha Montage. A keyboard that gives the player some great synth playability combined with a massive range of sampled sounds.
It’s a bi-timbral 8 voice stereo, 16 voice mono synthesizer with a sound engine that powers two sample-based instruments and two digital oscillators that find their way through analogue filters.
150GB of library has been provided by eclectic sample library producers 8DIO. Everything from jolly old pianos through to weird and wonderful ambient and cinematic effects. Samples can be manipulated through looping, stretching and modulation. You could see it as Kontakt realised in hardware. There’s 50GB of space for more library and add-on packs are on the way. Do note that it’s not a sampler. There’s no facility to record into the Prophet X. Support for user samples is planned for the end of the year.
It has two digital oscillators, with classic and supersaw waveshapes. There are 4 LFO’s with slew and phase offset, 4 loopable envelope generators and a 16 slot modulation matrix. At the end of the signal chain are new 24 dB/Oct resonant low pass filters based on a vintage design.
A polyphonic step sequencer offers 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step. Different sequences are available for each layer in stacked or split voice mode. There’s also an arpeggiator.
A dual effects engine offers reverb, delay, chorus, phase shift, flanging, rotary, high-pass filter and distortion.
It’s a chunky synth/keyboard that’s a lot more versatile than a regular synthesizer that can easily become a players only keyboard. Great for live use, great for traditional instruments and at $3999 it’s perhaps only for the most discerning.
They call it the evolution of the Prophet and I’m not sure this is a direction that’s going to please everyone. In fact I’ve seen a lot of dismissive discussion in various places online already. It’s designed to fill a specific need and for a certain type of player who wants something perhaps more “authentic” than a Montage – whatever that may mean. I think we get most excited when DSI do something interesting with synthesis. The Prophet X is interesting certainly, but not perhaps exciting.
- Prophet X webpage.