Toronto, Ontario, Canada
i am minisystem. i like analogue hardware. i like vinyl records.
i have an album, madingley, is out on noise factory records
also, my first vinyl release is a track on a compilation on unrecognized
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analogue keyboards, modular synths and drum machines. some new, most vintage. i\\\\\\\'ve finally been converted to ableton live for production.
Electronic Music discussion: My very good experience with Dave Smith
Written June 13 2009 , Tags: service, dave smith, prophet 08, repair
I have a Dave Smith Prophet '08. I bought it a couple of years ago, shortly after it came out. I thought the presets were kind of cheesy, fiddled with it for a bit, kind of hated the rotary encoder interface and never really got back into making music and left it to collect dust along with everything else in my studio.
I landed a commission to do some remixing, so I trudged back down into the studio and started making music again (blog about that to follow some day soon...). After 3 years of being mostly out of commission, not everything in the studio was all wired in, so I wound up using the Prophet '08 quite a bit. The presets and interface were still irritating, but it is a good sounding synth and I was very happy with what I got out of it. I used MIDI CC envelopes and was very impressed with the imperceptible zippering.
In the middle of this remix project, with less than a month before the deadline, voices 3 & 4 stopped working. It took me a few days to figure out what was going on, because I assumed the problem arose from some complicated preset patch setting that had polluted my new patch with a split or some other weird voice allocation that I never use. A quick search revealed that it is a problem that has been reported before, so I emailed Dave Smith Instruments to ask them what I should do.
Within a day Tracy from DSI emailed me back and offered to send a new voice board free of charge and asked me to return the faulty board. Five days later, the board arrives at my house in Toronto with no customs or duty or COD or any other hassles. In about 20 minutes I had the new voice board installed and everything was working again. A+++++++++++++++++++++ for DSI service.
Being really busy with remixing and getting ready for a show and selling our house and planning a trip to San Francisco to visit my brother-in-law, I never got around to shipping the dead voice board back to DSI. They're in California, so I packed the board and planned to ship it while in San Francisco. Turns out the address they wanted to ship it to was only a few miles from where we were staying so I dropped it off with Chris, a DSI engineer and music maker, on our way to Golden Gate Park.
I bitched a bit to Chris about the rotary encoder interface and he pointed out that enough old synth nerds had done enough bitching about it that DSI has released a 'Potentiometer Edition' of the Prophet '08. Not surprisingly, it has finite pots in place of the endless and troublesome rotary encoders and knobs with big white lines to indicate roughly where the parameter is set. There is an upgrade kit, which I ordered promptly. It arrived at my bro-in-law's place on Friday. They even threw in, at no charge, a ribbon connector cable that I had slightly damaged during my repair.
Double A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ for DSI.
why selling the house?
you didn't move/buy that one your in not too long ago?
DSI and Moog service/support are both top notch. Thank goodness for these small companies that still take pride in their product and care about their customers. I played a P08 a couple of days ago, and after sharing your observation of presets d'frohmage, my second thought was that the oscillators needed to not be so finely tuned. Half the joy, to me, of playing poly-analogs is making sure the tolerances of each voice are marginally, but decidedly out of whack. It seems like a powerful synth, and I might actually be interested in it if I weren't lusting after the re-issued Oberheim SEM's coming out soon. link
indeed, DSI costomer service is great. the knobs on my desktop evolver fit a bit loosely on the shafts of the rotary encoders. i figured this out after having lost one at a show. i emailed them to ask how much a replacment knob would be and they emailed back asking if my address was still the same (yes, i registered mine) and they sent me four replacement knobs. nice guys and gals for sure.
and that new SEM under $1000? holy fuck, how can i not get one?
jdg said: "why selling the house?
you didn't move/buy that one your in not too long ago?"
we bought/moved in to our place about 3 years ago. 1 bedroom house with my studio in the basement was comfortable for two, but since we moved in i've accumulated 5 bicycles (all stored inside) and a baby. baby and bicycles take up too much room, so we're selling to get something bigger. sold, in fact. when we return from san francisco we'll be homeless!
plus, new SEM? holy crap. i've wanted on of those for ages. seems like it might be a bit like the x0xb0x with an endless waiting list...
oh thats right, i forgot about teh baby.
i usually eat children.. so i just need a large stove
i've never heard of a company being this on the ball w/ EM gear. This is great. It makes me actually think about buying a DSI synth in the future.
The world needs more great small analogue synth companies like DSI.
I just got a prophet 08 module and am loving it so far. I know what you mean about cheeze, but with a good dose of personalizing its sounds so good (no effects). I always have to turn the filters down to be more to my liking. I thought FM and RM were out of the question because its a curtis chip synth but I found where if you modulate the osc freqs or pan with a fast lfo there you are in kling klang land. I always always turn the slop all the way up and use a little bit of lfo for random tuning on one of the oscillators.
I lust not for an analog poly anymore. I also have the evolver which I ended up turning off 3/4ths of the shit to tame it down to my liking.
Well, enough gushing, I am in the honeymoon period
My experience with DSI is great as well. The buttons on my desktop Evolver were acting up, I emailed them, I think it was Chris who got back to me fast, told me how to fix them, and if I needed to send the unit back, they could fix it for me, for about $25 bucks!! That was pretty cool in my opinion, considering my Evolver is 3 years old. Needless, the quick fix worked and I didn't have to send it in after all. This has to be my favorite synth and synth company of all time.
oh yeah. chris gave me a little tube of deoxit to fix my finicky encoders.
i want them to make more synths so i can reward them for their good behavior. perhaps a reissue of the pro one...
when i got my poly evolver rack 3 years ago, i had trouble configuring my MIDI controller with the software editor. so i e-mailed DSI for help and got a prompt response - from Dave Smith himself. I almost shat my pants with glee.
DSI is the shit ! for a modern synth company they are small- mod routings are deep as fuck.
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