P12 sound design tricks thread

The Dave Smith Instruments Prophet-12 Analogue Synthesizer

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by Pym » Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:27 pm

Underrated: Using the same sound on both layers in full unison and doing something slightly different on one


Pan spread wide on one layer, not on the other, gives a very spacious and huge sound
Feedback/distortion on one layer

Etc, etc
Chris Hector
Dave Smith Instruments

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by silvain » Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:39 am

Hey hey,
here's one for FM-based electric pianos and bell-like sounds. The FM doesn't go as far as in the DX7, so the really sharp and high frequency rich timbres can't be done with pure linear FM. To achieve the really metalic aspects try this:
OSC1 -> linear FM
[map FM to env3 or env4 for the bright attack]
Map the same env to AM of OSC1
In combination lin FM and AM produce the bright timbres reminiscent of the old FM synths. As far as I found out, this only works well for greater ratios between carrier and modulator. It may do so too for smaller ratios, but don't rely on it.

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by BobTheDog » Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:31 pm

Hi Silvain,

You can "double up" the depth of FM by also using the Mod matrix, helps to get nearer those DX7 tones. As far as my limited understanding goes the depth by default on the P12 is around half of the DX7.

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by RobbaSvenna » Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:47 pm

Bob ze Dog,

this might be a stupid question - but how should one go about when attempting to "double up" the FM...? :oops:

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by BobTheDog » Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:36 pm

Say you have OSM 2 FM going to OSC 1 in the oscillator section, if you want a greater depth of FM you can also add a Mod Slot with OSC 2 -> Osc 1 Freq.

So for example lets say you have Env 3 Controlling the depth of FM modulation from OSC 2 to OSC 1 (dest = OSC 1 FM) and you are not getting enough depth you could also set up the following mod slots:

Mod 5 : Osc 2 -> Osc 1 Freq, Level = 0;
Mod 6 : Env 3 -> Mod 5 amount, level = 127

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by RobbaSvenna » Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:42 pm

Thanks a lot! :D

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by minimaltom » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:13 am

I applied what Marc Doty does in this video to analogue up the pro-2 to the pro-12 and its so good I've saved it as Phat init and will use it as an init patch from now on. It really makes a huge difference for those who are dissapointed with the sound of the raw oscillators.


basically he applies very low ammount (about 9?) of extremely slow rate (about 3) lfo to the shape mod of the sawtooth wave which is already shifted out by about 3 to get some variation in the tone. Then, this is brilliant, adds tiny ammount (3-5) of really fast tri lfo (255) to the filter cutoff. Makes the filter sound filthy! he also doubles the oscillators with an almost identical one to make a phat sounding bass sound. And thats it, brilliant starting point for warmer pads, basses or anything na wha'am sayin. 8)

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by silvain » Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:34 am

Fake polyphonic sequencer
Inspired by NAMM and pre-NAMM news, I came to use these two methods to emulate polyphonic sequences:
1. Mono/Poly
* Tune OSC2 to a different note
* Map OSC2 mix to velocity
* In the sequencer use minimum and maximumn velocity to simulate note-on/note-off events for OSC2

2. Polyphonic harmony
* Tune two or more oscillators to different notes
* Map one or more oscillators pitch to velocity, so that the difference between min and max velocity equals a semitone
* In the sequencer use min/max velocity to change between the two possible chords
(for example: OSC1 prime, OSC2 minor third, OSC3 fifth. Map OSC2 pitch to velocity to move up a semitone, now you can switch between major and minor chords

3. Polyrhythms, not exactly a sequencer technique
* Tune the oscillators to different notes or sounds.
* Use the LFOs with sqaure wave shapes to modulate the oscillators' mix level, between on and off
* clock sync the LFOs and set them to different divisions
* The result can be a sort of arpeggio effect, allowing you to play your own chords.

Hope, these can help.

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by sapristico » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:30 pm

Silvain...YOU are the MAN (WOMAN?). Imagination is power!

Simply fantastic as a self remedy compensation to the lack of some points of the design/equipment of the synth.
I guess it would be possible some DSP power used for a kind of Polyphonic sequencer...but, ok, DAW can enough...paying the extra bucks for Sound Tower "solution"...

But in any case, hearing the POV of smart people about creative use of the features, is always stimulanting. Same for the Marc Doty trick...I forgot where I read about it and it was here by minimaltom!! Anxious to retry that this evening!

Keep it alive...although market rules...

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by Chaparral » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:12 pm

This is not really a 'Sound design trick' but this seemed like a good place to share details of my quadraphonic approach. Basically I am using two stereo volume pedals - one for each layer, I use two expression pedals to emphasise parts and positions for each layer (each expression pedal adjusts both layers) and the sliders for more parts (if required) and effects.
For the voice on this video I am using both Osc 2 (muted) and Osc 4 (tines) to modulate Oscs 1 and 3 (mellow) for layer 1 and Osc 2 (muted) and Osc 4 (ohh) to modulate Oscs 1 and 3 (triangle). All in a Linear Fm set up.


I am working on 50 Fm voices at the moment and none of them have received their final polish (subtle filter and delay) but I hope the video shows a good range of timbre for just one voice.

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by M07 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:13 pm

Whut? Aaanywhooo:

Hi folks, I’ve had a prophet 12 for half a year now, and I wanted to share my findings and experieces with it: (warning & disclaimer- i do go on a bit:) )

First off, the initial sound of a vanilla saw/square wave is not that impressive. Of course the slop & drive functions can remedy this quite a bit, but no digital osc can sound as characterfull as an old analog beastie.

So, were gonna have to use brains instead of brawn here

First off, here’s what I do to improve the overall sonic character:

1. Very simple, drop the filter frequency to somewhere between 112 and 146.

2. I have eq dips with narrow bandwith at 1150kh and a smaller one at 22300kh (the aliasing spike) Allthough i can only hear them when pushing both gain levels compression and output level beyond necessity, it still makes the sound more pleasant and reduces the perception of a ‘digital sheen’.

2. An instance of u-he satin on the input channel, doing a slight bit of warming and also reducing a britlleness in the top end

3. i like to use a Wow filter vst plugin occasionally to limit the upper range of the spectrum even more so i can use an expression pedal on the filter without overshooting the pleasant sounding range. Also handy beacause it removes the top end aliasing and has an extra drive option. might go for a hardware alternative in the future, but 4 quality hardware filters aren't cheap)

4. Finally i have a Strymon Bigsky Reverb unit, truly a match made in heaven with any poly pad synth. (I know this one is cheating, but it’s soooo guud)

Now the prophet 12 isn't all sweetspot like a pro6 or Ob6, but it has a lot of other distinct & unique advantages:

It is truly a synth for people who play it as an instrument:

12note polyphony and bitimbrality allows for complex chord structures even with longer release times

the large modulation matrix allows you to set up modulation routings that make it extremely expressive aftertouch to modulate almost any parameter you wish
expression pedal, modwheel and sliders to further create life
i often have these interact, eg when i move a slider, it modulates a parameter but also changes the behaviour of the aftertouch or pedal to complement the changes in sound.

all this allows for very flexible dynamic expressive living sounds or instruments to be created

Here’s some techniques i like to use:

make a sound patch, copy it to the b part, perhaps drop it an octave, change waves, rates detunings, panning and settings slightly and then stack them

you can set the vca attack or env attack (even with delay) extremely high/slow on the B patch, causing long notes and chords to 'bloom' or grow as the second layer fades in)

slow delay envelopes increasing parameter values, especially slop and parameter spread are a sure way to make it sound more alive offcourse

another one is copy a patch to the B part , changing all waveformes of the A patch to sine or triangle -something with little upper harmonics- and setting a low filter frequency on B, (maybe also change settings of various parameters a tiny bit) Now sweep those filters with an expression pedal and you've got a massive opening pad sound.

aftertouch routed to slop, drive, filter or lfo frequencies, resonance etc with very small amounts (less than 12 or sometimes even just 1) uses the only real 'analog’ and living factor in the equation, your hands, to create life and true randomness. when you play a note even the most skilled player will never push every note exactly as hard every time, thus creating natural variations. once your playing gets more skilled, you can use this a s a subtle expression method as well offcourse

One thing I like to do is set up slow envelopes to push modulation amounts beyond sonic/musical ‘pleasantness’ over long time periodes, so a long note or chord has a lot of tension by the end of it’s duration

For example :
set up a patch with quite a bit of slop (ranges 3-11)
add a slow fade in envelope that increases the slop even more, to the point that long chords start to detune slightly more than is wanted or musical
!Now route the aftertouch to the slop by a negative amount, so that when you’re playing, and you hear the detuning slop becoming to great, you can restrain & counteract it by pressing harder into the keys, allowing you to harmonically accent the moments you want. This gives a result of constantly being on the edge of a slight dissonance, very characterfull and alive

Routing aftertouch to shift the pulsewidth value is also a way of creating more timbral expressiveness without doing it as blatantly overt as modulating filter frequency

The strong point of this synth is the modulation possibilities. Having a lot of interaction, sliders affecting different parameters and also the ranges of other mod slots can create very complex sounds and textural variations to be generated on the fly.

With the feedback and FM possibilities, which I often have setup that they only become active when moving modwheel and one or two sliders you can create unique sounds that are so otherworldly apocalyptic while feeling like a classical orchestra or brass section.
Sound design-movie score wise this thing is pure bliss

I hope this is usefull and inspiring to some of you

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Re: P12 sound design tricks thread

Post by silvain » Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:09 pm

Hey hey M07, it's so good to read a "real" post here. and my, you have gone at your P12. :) Your tips about evolving disonance sound very interesting and useful for more cinematic sounds. I may give that a go and hear where it leads me.
Best wishes, Ffanci

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