Dave Smith never seizes to amaze anyone over the years with machine after machine built with such quality and care in design. With classic synths on his portfolio like the classic 70's Prophet ( back when Smith worked for his early company "Sequential Circuits" ), and later hits like the "Poly-Evolver", Dave Smith has never wavered in his approach to making user friendly, yet complex synthesizers that not only teach new generations of aficionados, but also inspire professionals looking for quality synthesizers that allow for full control via hands-on knobs.
After releasing the widely popular "Prophet '08" some years back, and a few recent hits since, Dave Smith returns with his new and innovative version of the Prophet called the "Pro 2"; a Monophonic version that also allows for 4-voice Paraphonic mode, driven by 4 DSP Oscillators, yet retaining a true analog signal path beyond. The benefit of DSP driven oscillators is two-fold, in that it provides great tuning stability otherwise not present with vintage analog equipment, and also the expansion of waveforms that go beyond your typical Sine, Square, Triangle, etc; here present in things like "Superwaves". But the list goes on, and so without further ado, let's get into the action!
As mentioned, the signal path is driven by 4 DSP oscillators, that aside from providing you with your four classic wave shapes, 12 "Complex" shapes, and 13 "Superwaves", they also include hard sync, slop, individual glide, as well as different noise color options (White, Pink, Violet), not to mention Cross Modulation between oscillators (FM, AM), and "Character" that allow for tape emulation, bit and sample rate reduction per oscillator, as well as low and high frequency boosting. There is also a Sub-Oscillator, all which are fed into the classic Dave Smith resonant 4-Pole Low-Pass Filter, based on the Prophet 5 synthesizer, followed by a "State-Variable" 2-Pole Filter, based on the Oberheim SEM which allows for the filter to continuously be varied between Low-Pass, High-Pass, Notch, and Bandpass. The filters can be used serial or parallel, and "Oscillator Split" allows for the first and second oscillator to be routed only to filter 1, while 3 and 4 can be routed exclusively to the second filter. Each one of the filters also has a dedicated envelope, allowing for more complex tonal shaping, but in total there are 5 "loopable" envelopes including the always necessary "Amp" envelope.
The sequencer in this beauty might perhaps be its greatest strength, being that it not only offers 2 modes (16 steps/16 tracks, or 32 steps/8 tracks), but like a Modular Sequencer, can be patched between a total of 50+ sources to over 140 destinations including CV; which this synth has plenty of options for, even controlling the step sequencer and arpeggiator with it. And did we mention LFO's? a total of 4 are included, can be routed to the Modulation Matrix of course, and feature slew and phase offset. There is also the mighty (re-latchable) arpeggiator, which includes the usual Up, Down, Up/Down, Random, and also allows for real-time input, and different phrase lengths. Clearly, what we see here are endless possibilities when it comes to sequencing this incredible synth.
Up next we find the effects section, which takes things a bit further by incorporating high-quality modules like Stereo Analog Distortion. The synth also includes 4 Digital Delays, which include High and Low-Pass filtering, one of which is also a "Bucket-Brigade Delay", for analog style effects. Other effects include "Girth" and "Air", which are essentially High and Low end Shelf Equalizers useful for adding body and/or "air" to your sounds. We also find "Hack" and "Decimate", which are bit and sample rate reduction tools capable of adding slight dirt to your signal, or completely obliterating it. "Drive" is a soft saturation tool that adds harmonic content to the sound as well as distortion. All very unique effects not typically found on other synths, allowing for some very interesting tonal shaping.
The synth also offers 396 patches, as well as 396 slots for user input. 49 keys are provided for greater playability, as well as Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, and two touch-sensitive strips for greater control of things like the arpeggiator. The synth also offers "Playlist mode", which allows for the creation of sets of sounds that can be accessed more quickly for live performance. Standard footswitch options are available, as well as bi-directional MIDI communication via USB. The synth is available now through Sweetwater, or your favorite hardware retail outlet. Don't miss on yet another major contribution to the history of synthesizers by one of the pioneers of the industry, Dave Smith.
Written by: Santino Fernandez