Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snappy Enough for Ya?

In order to answer in sound a question that’s been asked on a Prophet forum, that is, how fast and tight can the Prophet 08 be, I made some beats using the on-board sequencer.

A word about the Prophet 08 sequencer, first...
It is a gated sequencer, meaning that you have to press a key to play the sequence (or send a MIDI note), and it’s also a 16 steps sequencer : you have to program the sequence step by step, old school way… you can’t just record a pattern by playing the keyboard.

To access the sequencer mode, press Edit sequencer, then assign the sequencer to a destination, using the Mod Dest knob. For basic melody programming, what you want to do is assign to OscAllFreq. By now, the 16 knobs that were controlling filter and envelope are reassigned to step programming. Turn each knob up to the note you want to program, and so on… If you want a step to be silent, turn the knob to the right until “Rest” shows on screen. If you want to use less than 16 steps, turn to “Reset” on the knob just after the number of steps you need (9th knob if you want an 8 step sequence).

Now, one important note : always remember that the Prophet 08 has two different layers, meaning two different sounds that you can stack up or play in split mode. Layer A and layer B are independent… when you press the Edit Layer B button, all knobs are reassigned to the B patch parameters. Whatever settings you use for layer B have no effect on layer A.

The same is true with the sequencer. You may program a melody on the layer A sequencer, and program a different melody on the layer B, or program a bass line on the A and a drum beat on the B… You can also program a sequence on one layer and no sequence on the other (for example, to produce a pad with a background melody).

Note also that the BPM and Clock Divide values for A and B are independent as well. If you change the tempo for the sequence in layer A, you have to change it as well in layer B, unless you’re after a polyrhythmic effect.

One last word : the sequence is part of the overall patch. You can’t program a sequence on a patch, then play it with a different patch, and to my knowledge, you can’t copy a sequence from a patch to another. The Prophet 08 is not a workstation! The gated sequencer wasn’t conceived to build complete songs, but to program grooves, complex and evolving pads, etc...

There’s a lot more that could be said, because the sequencer benefits from the extended modulation possibilities of the Prophet 08, but that’s the basic idea.
That said, the following sequences are singles patches, without effects or overdubbing.It sounds snappy enough to me!


Anonymous said...

Well done! I just don't get it why so many question the P08's ability to produce great bass and leads. For 2k new there is nothing out there to compare to this. Maybe ppl. are just too used to added digital fx built into analogue poly synths these days. I am glad Dave left these fx out.

khoral said...

Thank you...
I agree... I have nothing against synths which use effects as an integral part of their audio chain, like the Junos, but on the other hand, some musicians seem to have a hard time considering a polyphonic synth that isn't a workstation