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Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

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Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby Blott » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:44 am

There doesn't appear to be too many reviews of the REV2 online, so I thought I'd share my initial thoughts. I can't stress the 'initial' bit too much (I've literally had it a day).

I already own a Prophet 12 which I absolutely love (superb synth), but I've always wanted to add an analogue DSI to my setup and when they announced the Rev2 it seemed like the perfect choice.

I've only had a few quality hours on it, but these are my first impressions...

The Pros...

1: It sounds great, really beefy and full as you'd expect from DSI!

2: It's got a very nice synth action keyboard. It's similar to the Prophet 12 action, but a little heavier and definitely requires a more deliberate press to activate aftertouch than my Prophet 12 does which is a good thing - very nice to play.

3: Build Quality: This was a big one for me as I'd read on the web where people had complained about the knobs and encoders being flimsy on the Rev2 - so much so that I'd reconciled myself to it and had planned to use the Rev2 only in my studio.
It really is a very nicely put together, quality synth and I'm pleased to say it feels just as robust as my beloved Prophet 12.
I'd be happy to use it live.

4:The Effects: These really do transform the Rev2 and they are well implemented and very easy to apply in a musical way. Really elevates the synth and I'd love to have these effects on my Prophet 12 too. A great addition.

5: 16 Voices: Brilliant and means you can do nice, big, thick pads and not have to worry about note stealing

6: The Price: Just over £1400 for an 8 note poly analogue synth is very good value, especially as you can increase to 16 voices later via an expansion board if you wish.
Look around online and you can pick them up a bit cheaper too.
Mine is the 16 voice version but was less than £1900 - brilliant for a 16 voice analogue synth IMO.
If you think an 8 Voice System 8 or an 8 voice Peak module are £1299, £1439 looks a great price for a 8 voice analogue synth with a 5 octave keyboard with aftertouch.

Overall, it's just a VERY good synth! :)

The Cons...

1: The display: Now maybe I'm just spoilt by the excellent display on the Prophet 12, but it's too small on the Rev2 IMO and can be a bit frustrating to use because it's trying to display a lot of information in a small space, like the bank number and program number, which leads me to point 2...

2: No Bank select or Program Buttons: This means the display has to show this info instead which uses up valuable space on an already small screen. There is enough space between the 'Sequencer' section and the 'effects' section to have put the same layout of display and buttons as is found on the Prophet 12, it's a real shame they chose not to do so.

3: No numeric keypad: This means all patch selections have to be made via an encoder knob which isn't the most natural way, especially if it's patch 63 or something.

4: No Inc, Dec buttons: I can accept the omitting of a numerical keypad to keep down costs, but they should have at least offered the Inc, Dec buttons to allow you to quickly flick back and forth through patches.

5: The Program Encoder placement: Now I know this may sound like i'm being pedantic, but in the few hours I've owned the Rev2 I have twice created a patch from a basic program only to have it instantly erased before being stored when my finger accidentally catches the 'program' encoder which is right next to the write button - grrrrrr!!!!
That was VERY annoying. >:(

6: Glide button & Rate/Time encoder: Again being pedantic, but I would have much preferred these to be lower and placed where the Unison & Hold buttons are, as you are much more likely to have to activate Glide on the fly than you are Unison and hold.

So there you go, they are my initial thoughts.:)

Despite the cons I mention if you are reading this and thinking of buying one please do.

These little niggles aside I really do think it's a brilliant sounding synth and I'm delighted with my purchase and I'm sure you will be too.

If you're deciding between this and the Prophet 12, it's difficult as they are 2 very different synths really, but I'd say the Prophet 12 edges it because of the extra flexibility given by 4 oscillators, the better display and UI, the ribbon strips and the extra high pass filter.

Ideally you'd just get both! :)
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Re: Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby porthoss78 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:41 pm

Thanks for taking the time to do that Blott, I'm definitely interested in the 8 voice version to add to my setup.

DSI recently posted a photo on Twitter that seems to show a REV2 desktop module, I might wait to grab one of those instead, as space is limited for me nowadays!

https://twitter.com/dsiSequential/statu ... 9691267073

Thanks
J
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Re: Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby Blott » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:49 pm

porthoss78 wrote:Thanks for taking the time to do that Blott, I'm definitely interested in the 8 voice version to add to my setup.

DSI recently posted a photo on Twitter that seems to show a REV2 desktop module, I might wait to grab one of those instead, as space is limited for me nowadays!

https://twitter.com/dsiSequential/statu ... 9691267073

Thanks
J

You're welcome. :)

Yes the desktop version is definitely coming Dave Smith himself mentions it in an interview, says it will be in October time.

http://www.synth-expert.com/news-blog/2017/8/20/dave-smith-part-1-of-3-dave-talks-about-the-prophet-rev2
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Re: Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby Blott » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:08 am

Actually I'm experiencing a few issues with my Rev2 and it may have to be returned. :(

Issue: 1. If I select a Basic Program and then select the Pulse wave as an oscillator, it doesn't sound like a Pulse at all.
It sounds really nasal, almost like a pulse would sound if shape Mod was applied.
To get the Pulse to sound like a Pulse, you have to turn the shape mod to 50% - which shouldn't be a requirement from a basic patch.
It is probably just a wrong default in the OS that could be fixed with an update, but my other issues are a little more disconcerting.

Issue 2: If I select a triangle wave for an oscillator, random notes in the bottom octave of the keyboard will intermittently play a sawtooth instead.

Issue 3: This is the big one...If I create a Basic Program and select the Pulse wave for an oscillator, Notes played at the lower octaves of the synth are intermittently dropped and don't sound at all!!!!
Obviously that's not good! :(

I have tried recalibrating the oscillators and filters using selection 26 in the globals menu, but to no avail - the issues still occur.

Hope this is a firmware issue rather than a fault, because I'd hate to have the hassle of returning it.

A short video showing the issues can be viewed below...
https://youtu.be/1dZM2hYa2qI
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Re: Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby baward » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:43 pm

Hmm, a bit worrying. I've never had any dealings with DSI or Mr Smith, but I understand they're/he's very responsive to contacts.
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Re: Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby Blott » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:20 pm

UPDATE

It turns out my REV2 was indeed faulty.

With the help of the excellent support team at Dave Smith we eventually diagnosed it as a faulty voice chip on the main motherboard.

So I my retailer www.sxpro.co.uk were equally excellent and sent me a brand new replacement REV2 and collected the faulty one at the same time - great service all round. :)

I'm pleased to report the replacement unit seems fine and dandy and only differed from my previous REV2 serial number by one digit, which was kind of cool.

Anyway, all's well that ends well and I'm a very happy bunny now - it's a great sounding synth! :)
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Re: Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:40 pm

Blott wrote:UPDATE

It turns out my REV2 was indeed faulty.

Anyway, all's well that ends well and I'm a very happy bunny now - it's a great sounding synth! :)


Hi Blott!

Excellent! Glad you're all happy & sorted, and bravo to DSI's technical team and your retailer for getting things sorted for you relatively quickly - that is most reassuring in this day and age 8-)

Thankfully my own DSI Prophet 12 has worked perfectly from day one :angel:


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Re: Dave Smith Rev2 Synth - initial thoughts

Postby kieransi » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:41 pm

I just wanted to say, I own one of these synths as well and I think it's a fantastic instrument and agree with the assessment here. I have tried the other DSI Prophet instruments and in comparing them, I think that the specific pros of this one are definitely its build quality/keyboard feel, its price (which was why I chose this one specifically), and its completeness (built-in effects and ability to both create awesome vintage sounds and do modern dubsteppy things).
What I particularly like about this instrument are the modulation options available with 4 frequency-controllable LFOs and the sound options available with all the built-in effects.
It feels very sturdy and complete, and works great for packing up and bringing to gigs.
I don't particularly like the location of everything, as mentioned here, and the pitch bend/mod wheels being up above the keys takes some getting used to.
Not mentioned here is my annoyance of that the factory presets, which cannot be overwritten, are actually quite good but are not sorted well. Having to remember specific patches isn't as fun for me as it could be if, say, I was playing jazz and had all the electric piano and organ-like sounds near each other. Not much of a problem since I usually end up filling all the banks of programmable memory in my synths with my own patches anyway, but it is something that I feel could be easily fixed.
But yeah, all in all, this is an awesome synth that I don't think anyone would regret buying.
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