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Dave Smith Sequential Prophet X Synthesizer

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Product Description

'Musicians have been asking for samples through real analog filters for a long time,' says Dave Smith, and as we take a look at the newly-announced Sequential Prophet X it's worth discussing first and foremost how it fulfills that request.

Smith and Sequential have experience with 'samples through real analog filters' going all the way back to the mid to late 80s, with the original Sequential Circuits releasing a series of sample-based products in its twilight years including Prophet 2000/2002/3000 synths and the Studio 440 groovebox, all of which are still revered for their 'characterful' sound in spite of their era-appropriate paucity of sample memory.

Some of the character ascribed to these synths may be due to their 12-bit sampling engines (16-bit on the Prophet 3000) and analog VCAs, but much of it is likely due to their analog filters, which were resonant on the 2000, 2002 and 3000. Browsing comment threads about these classics reveals an abundance of 'I'll never part with it' sentiments with many specifically praising the analog filters.

While the vintage Prophet samplers under discussion used Sequential-/DSI-standard Curtis IC filters, for Prophet X Smith and co. have made an interesting choice with the Sound Semiconductor 'Fatkeys' SSI-2044 resonant low pass filter. While DSI's other recent forays outside of Curtis designs have been the discrete designs found on Pro 2, Sequential Prophet 6 and OB-6, SSI-2044 is an IC and is a newly-available update of Dave Rossum's revered Solid State Micro SSM2044 design with improvements by the original designer.

SSM2044 can be found in an impressive list of vintage synths and samplers, from well-known classics like E-mu SP-12, SP 1200 and Emulator-I, Korg Mono/Poly, Polysix and Trident, PPG Wave 2.2/2.3 and even Simmons Drums SDS5 to more obscure entries like Octave Plateau Voyetra Eight, Crumar Bit 01 and Bit 99, Kawai K3 and Siel Opera 6 and Kiwi.

SSI-2044 just became available last year, likely around when initial designs for Sequential Prophet X were being drawn up, and thus to our knowledge hasn't been used in any other mass-produced modern instruments, but given its progenitor's legacy it seems likely that Prophet X will have no shortage of the coveted, filter-derived character found in the vintage SCI samplers as well as the products that used SSM2044.

For factory-installed sample content as well as optional add-on packs, DSI has partnered with 8Dio, purveyors of highly-regarded sample libraries used by an impressive list of well-known artists and composers and in an equally impressive list of movies, shows and games. 8Dio describes itself as the inventor of 'deep-sampling,' though it's a little hard to get a handle on whether that's strictly a marketing term or refers to a specific technical specification or process.

Either way, Sequential Prophet X seems to have been designed from the ground up with support for 'deep-sampling,' with two multi-sampled stereo instruments per voice, and needless to say it won't suffer from its forebears' limitations on sample memory or sample storage. Prophet X comes with 150GB of 16-bit 48kHz samples from 8Dio with an additional 50GB of user memory that can be filled by purchasing additional libraries. Support for loading of user samples is planned for later this year.

Warranty Information

2 years

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