Dave Smith synthesizers are highly regarded in the keyboard world and for good reason, they’re fantastic. I was excited to try out the Dave Smith Instruments Sequential Prophet X when it came out and I hope you like what I have to say about it.
The Sequential Prophet X synthesizer has included samples through actual analog filters. This is brand new for Dave Smith Instruments and for most companies in general. A lot of companies use their samples through digital filters. The advantage of doing this is it is supposed to give musicians a warmer more intimate sound.
My overall opinion is that it is exactly what I had hoped for. The only thing is that it is expensive. This is something that we have to deal with as musicians trying to find quality synths.
Dave Smith Instruments was started in 2002 in California and he was the lead designer on the ever-popular Prophet 5. The Prophet 8 was created in 2007 and this keyboard really hit the mainstream. After the Prophet 8 there were a few more products and then came the Prophet 12.
The Prophet 12 is a 12 voice hybrid synthesizer that is extremely powerful and popular. This is personally one of the favorites I have ever played on.
Dave Smith Instruments Sequential Prophet X Review
The Sequential Prophet X does what Dave Smith has been doing best and that’s combining analog synthesis with digital processing. Where this veers off is in the sense that it has a lot more acoustic sounds and capabilities at its disposal.
Some people are comparing this to an upgrade of the Nord Stage and Nord Wave because of the sounds. Something that is unique in this is that it is the first DSI that has 5 octaves.
Analog & Digital Synthesizer
The stereo filters are analog and the oscillators are digital. Now, this is where the keyboard world is split. Some people really prefer everything analog and other musicians believe that digital oscillators are more powerful. I played the Prophet 12 on tour for three years and only got compliments about how warm and wide sounding the Prophet was.
You can view my favorite synthesizers for live performance here.
This is a keyboard that sounds unique and people want immediately after hearing. I have become a big fan of the MIDI controller recently, but as far as hardware synths, I always will be a fan of the Dave Smith Prophet series. Some musicians prefer a hardware synthesizer to a MIDI controller because they feel they sound warmer.
Are you looking to rock out, but you need to also keep it down? Check out my favorite headphones in this article I put together.
Here is a video breakdown of the Dave Smith Sequential Prophet X.
Advanced Sampling System
The video above shows some incredibly interesting things you can do with the sampling system. I believe this is what sets this up to offer more than the Prophet 12.
You can manipulate patches via loop manipulation. This synthesizer has 150 GB of factory samples and to me, this is just outrageous. The number of sounds that you can get out of this are pretty close to endless.
I highly recommend checking out the Korg Minilogue XD if you’re digging this synth so far.
You can use high pass and low pass filters on the samples as well to shape the sound where you want to get it. I’ve always liked the customization with DSI, but have found certain things on the Prophet 12 to be confusing.
This isn’t a fault on DSI, more so that ever hardware synth has a learning curve and sometimes figuring out exactly what is causing the sound to do what it is doing can be tricky. However, that is also part of the joy in working with a hardware synthesizer.
Wave Shape Modulation
Wave shape modulation is when you change the harmonic content of a waveform over time. This doesn’t change the pitch, just the shape of the waveform. You are able to do this in real-time with this and I really love this feature.
Let’s look at some of the specs below.
Key Features Of The Sequential Prophet X
- Type: Polyphonic digital synth
- Sound Engine Types: Sample plus synthesis
- Keys: 61 semi-weighted keys that are velocity-sensitive with aftertouch
- Control Features: Mod-wheel and pitch-bend
- Polyphony: 8 stereo, 16 mono
- Pre-sets: 528
- Oscillators: 2 digital oscillators per voice
- Effects: Phaser, Delay, Flanger, Distortion, Reverb, Chorus, Modulation
- Filters: 2 analog low pass filters and one high pass filter
- LFO: 4 LFO per voice
- MIDI: MIDI in/out
- USB: Yes, A/B
- Power: Standard IEC cable
- Storage: 50 GB internal
- Arp: Yes
- Sampling: Sample playback
- Headphone port: Yes
My Experience With Dave Smith Instruments
I have owned the Dave Smith Prophet 12 now for about 3 years and I have been touring with it. I have pretty much nothing but good things to say about them as a company. It is quality products all around and pretty durable for touring as well. You know with Dave Smith that you’re going to be getting a product that will last and stand the test of time.
Bands That Are Using Dave Smith Instruments
The first name that comes to mind is Twenty One Pilots and Tyler Joseph’s keyboard setup. On their newest album Trench, they were featuring A Dave Smith keyboard pretty heavily in their arpeggiators. Another band that comes to mind is Vinyl Theatre. Vinyl Theatre is a synth-pop band that has spoken many times about DSI.
Young The Giant is a really established indie rock band and they are another band that has spoken very highly about DSI. The reason why bands like their keyboards so much is because there’s just so much you can do. You will find yourself learning new ways to create sounds years later with a Dave Smith product.
With the keyboard world being so MIDI heavy, it is nice to see some really nice hardware synthesizers coming out. The synth is competing with the MIDI world right now and I believe that this competition is good. I hope to see the Dave Smith Sequential Prophet X become a popular product because it definitely deserves to be.
The more a MIDI controller can do, the more a hardware product is going to have to try and do to compete in the same market.
We hope you found this review interesting and helpful. If you liked the read and are excited or have any questions, leave them below and we will be sure to get back to you.