Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

The Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 Analogue Synthesizer

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rdomain
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Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by rdomain » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:51 pm

Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK? Going by what I've read it appears so plus some more. One difference is the MEK has 2 analog oscillators as opposed to all digital but the Pro 2 has many features to balk at that and I'm guessing there's probably not much difference in it anyway.

I'm a big modular synth user so the CV features are also attractive. Should I sell my MEK to get the Pro 2? It does look like a very worthy successor plus I do have the Evolver rack which I'll definitely keep for studio purposes. Having said that I don't REALLY want to sell my MEK. I sold the desktop this year though. Yes I'm an Evolver fan. hehe.

Anyone directly compared the two? I did read somewhere that the architecture is different but both synths are so powerful, I'm guessing I can probably get all my Evolver sounds plus more on the Pro 2?? elmquist also said on another thread that
"What is missing though are analog oscillators, user defined wave shapes, wave sequencing and filter section stereo signal path."


Any info greatly appreciated 8)
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Fuseball
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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by Fuseball » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:04 am

I'm asking myself the same question. It's early days still with the Pro 2. So far they sound quite different to each other. Admittedly I have more to lose if I sell the MEK as its my only Evolver. Whether the Pro 2 replaces it as my go-to mono synth remains to be seen. I thought the Prophet 12 would make my '08 redundant but it didn't turn out that way.

All I would advise is that you don't sell the MEK until you can use the Pro 2 alongside it, and then decide.
Prophet'08 PE #3591 | Tetr4 #2088 | MEK PE #1180 | Jupiter 6 | Juno 60 | Moog Sub Phatty | MS-20 mini | random digital stuff

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by elmquist » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:19 pm

Fuseball wrote:All I would advise is that you don't sell the MEK until you can use the Pro 2 alongside it, and then decide.
That would be my advice as well. They are quite similar and yet quite different. Also Gearmas is soon so I would be careful before spending money on gear that one is not 100% sure about. So one better save up to make a more informed decision after Gearmas.

blewis
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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by blewis » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:23 am

Some of my thoughts. I've had this question kicking around in my head for months. I have the Evolver MEK, Desktop, and most recently got a PER. I also have the luxury of having the Pro2. The Evolver Desktop will up for sale soon when I re-configure the live rig.

Some random thoughts. Word of warning - I am a preset tweaker. I have 400+ patches on each synth to compare between, but I am not a synth master.

TL;DR: Having both, it's really hard to decide if you needs to go over the other one. Truth be told, the MEK/PER is setup as "Studio B" at home and I don't think it's going anywhere. If it was known that there would be a Pro2 module and you could chain some Pro2s together in the future, it might sway me to go all in. But it's going to take some time. With the overall keybed length, control surface, sequencer, great tone, paraphony, the Pro2 is what I'm choosing to be the main keyboard of my live setup.


MEK vs Desktop - I hate programming on the desktop. I sold one 10 years ago, and when I got the MEK, I was so much happier. So, if you like the MEK, don't necessarily think that getting a desktop in the future will satisfy you. I use the desktop just in my live rig because of space problems - but everything in programmed on the MEK and transferred to the desktop.

Tone:
- Pro2: seems more "hi-fi" to me. Some of the lows are lower, the highs higher. It clearly can do more across the spectrum.
- Pro2: When the Pro2 is doing low bass, it has a certain girth to it that I don't hear in the Evolver. The Pro2 can also do some nice hollow sounding deep bass.
- Pro2: If there's aliasing, it doesn't stick out.
- MEK: The audio range sounds a bit more narrow than Pro2
- MEK: The gnarly sound of this synth seems to stem from all it's analog and digital components working together. It has an identifiable "something" - the way the signal path easily distorts.
- MEK: hearing the aliasing is part of the tone. It's got its own character because of that.

Sequencer:
Pro2: hands down. I have no clue what I'm doing with the MEK sequencer.

Delays:
Pro2: BBD simulation is nice
MEK: The way the delay feeds back full volume into the signal path is different than the Pro2. There are a number of Karplus-Strong patches on Evolver that are amazing sounding to me, but that doesn't even seem possible on the Pro2.

Distortion:
Pro2: analog on the output, couple of digital places to boost - OSC character section and the output of Filter1. Sounds pretty darn good to me.
MEK: Dont' ever turn up the distortion past 5. :-)

Keybed:
MEK: stiff. Aftertouch takes some effort to trigger. I like the feel better.
Pro2: a bit more flimsy. I have one that "sticks" if you haven't played it in a while. Not really noticeable until someone mentions it. Not a big deal. Aftertouch seems way easier to trigger - which I don't prefer.
- I dont' have enough skill as a player to tell you about velocity.
- After playing on 3.5 octaves, 3 octaves fells "small".

Filters:
Pro2: spoiled. They are great. can't pan them. Resonant HPF.
MEK: "Meh EK". You can pan and split them, but splitting them just a bit seems to be the only thing that sounds good to me.
- I have not filtered stuff through both filter sets, but it's obvious to me you have two very different flavors with the Pro2 and only one, albeit stereo, flavor with the MEK for that task.

OSCs:
Pro2: I like that you can interpolate between complex waves
MEK: I like the VS waveforms. I like how the digital OSC alias. It's got a gnarly, low-fi vibe.
Subjective: Having recently played the MEK/PER combo, I "feel" like I can hear analog more in the MEK. (shoulder shrug).

Overall, going through the patch library, there are definitely some Pro2 patches where I hear the Evolver character.

One patch that I like on the MEK called, Countdown, or Counting, I've tried to re-create on the Pro2. It involves injecting noise into the delay line and having a sequence run all 4 other OSCs. Well, the noise on the Pro2 isn't separate, you have to burn an OSC. The delay feedback doesn't work the same, so I can't quite get the delay to excite the same way. That's one example of something that maybe I can't do on the Pro2, or I'll have to find another way.

Poly:
Pro2: paraphonic. The paraphonic can be weak and sometimes that's good. The bass root notes of the chords suffer the most as they have no ummph when split to just 1 OSC and maybe the sub.
MEK: mono, but can be fully poly with add ons. Paired up with a PER for 5 voices, the paraphonic nature of the Pro2 sounds… less awesome. :-)

Price:
Pro2: Let's say $1750 if you shop around.
MEK + PER on Ebay: $1900.

Patch Loading:
Pro2: The Cue/Patch Load capability of the Sequence buttons looks pretty cool to me for quickly switching between related patches. Pretty important for a mono-timbral synth. Unfortunately, there is a documented bug for OS1.1.0 where this is working correctly yet.

For $150 more, you get a 5 voice poly, but it's 10yrs old. The MEK/PER sounds amazing. Unison2 sounds amazing. To give you a metric, the Prophet08 doesn't interest me (remember, I'm a patch tweaker), but those same two DCOs, and even with 3 fewer voices, and some delay sound totally killer to me.

Bugs:
Pro2: Pro2 has some minor bugs. I've listed my finding in this forum. They've been corroborated by DSI.
MEK: Has some MIDI bugs I've read. I've not run into them yet personally.

CV:
MEK has two pedal inputs that I believe can accept CV
Pro2: 4 in 4 out CV. I plan to use one or two of the CVs for more modulation of my Moog Minitaur - since it only has a simple triangle LFO.
- I'm not a modular nerd.

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by rdomain » Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:42 am

Thanks for the info everyone. Appreciated. Especially blewis. Nice comparison work! It appeared the forum was down before I went out today so I didn't get to check any of the posts. Cut a long story short, I came home with a Pro 2. Initial impressions after a few hours of tweaking is very impressive.

I haven't sold my MEK/PER either yet. I'm not sure if I will after hearing it. Already I can hear a difference. And there's no Hack knob :twisted: The Pro 2 appears more professional in it's attitude where as the Evolver is a wild one ready to fly off the handle which I do quite enjoy. It's very easy to go from a lush analog string pad to industrial noise on the Evolvers. I like this. The Pro 2 does sound beautiful though. More refined in it's sound and the filters are fantastic.

I'll post back in a few days after I've spent more time on the Pro 2 but at this stage, I'm keeping both and finding some other gear to sell. 8)
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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by blewis » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:48 pm

Looking forward to your impressions...

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by idealflaw » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:12 pm

it replaced mine in 12 hours. Everything i love about the evolver MEK, it does and does it better. and its polyphonic. (i won't get drawn into the para/poly debate given the way this thing works).

also, it doesn't get out of control instantly like the evolver did so it's friendlier for those of us who aren't Jexus...

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by elmquist » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:51 pm

Razmo wrote::twisted: ... a bit like women... can't live with 'em, can't live without :mrgreen:
The difference is that Evolver sounds are much more likely to be played in front of a large audience!

. o O ( :mrgreen: )

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by alfredalfred » Mon May 09, 2016 5:27 am

True Stereo configuration, and thus dual filters split between left/right. This gives the Evolvers a truly remarkable stereo field, something the Pro 2's hardware limits it to never being able to accomplish?????

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by rdomain » Mon May 09, 2016 7:01 am

Just realised I never checked back in here. I've still got both synths and the Pro 2 is great BUT if I had to pick, I'd choose my MEK (and PER). I just love the sound more and the way you can shape the sounds so quickly. It can go from mellow to chaos with all points in between. I'm a sound designer that prefers creating sounds which are on the edge of going out of control, even delicate sounds. The occasional clicks on warm pad type sounds would be my only gripe. The Pro 2 does sound amazing but for me it's lacking character and I haven't even really delved into the sequencer much or used the CV outs much either which seems to be a bit of a waste. I prefer to work entirely in the modular realm when I'm using my modular and I've got smaller external sequencers if I do need them. The paraphonic mode is awesome though. It'd be great if the MEK had this but fortunately for me, I have the PER which makes it a true 5 voices.

So basically I'll never sell my MEK but I would contemplate selling my Pro 2. Not because it's bad, almost because it sounds too good! haha. Maybe it's the accuracy of the DCOs? and you can program in a more older analog vibe but i'd prefer not to have to do that. In the end, my personal preference is for synths that have a unique character and the MEK wins that area. For overall quality of build and features, the Pro 2 wins.

I hope this helps in some way?!!
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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by nielsd » Mon May 09, 2016 11:06 am

I have and use "both" (but mono evolver).

For me they are two very different machines - even if some typical "DSI principles" are behind both.

I like the flexibility of the Evolver while the Pro2 is much more accurate in respect to many other sounds. From my impression, the digital part (A/D etc.) of the evolver is of less quality as the evolver "should" have (even if that is part of his own "vintage tone") - so the "taming" of the evolver (dynamic / frequency spectrum) is sometimes an "art in itself"...

I would buy a rack evolver (or even MEK) even with physical defects or even further single evolvers for chaining, if i get a nice offer sometimes anywhere (i shot my first evolver for around 250 Euros used) - but i assume that they will not get cheaper anymore...

The CV and additional MIDI outs plus the sequencer of the Pro2 are very useful to me - i want to avoid that big current (and time-consuming and expensive) modular hype - but i like to to go and experiment onto the "edge" of what is possible with synthesis which seems possible only with modular for many guys out there. The Pro2 (with latest firmware) together with my Moog sub37 and Shruti 1 (self build 8bit synth) and even with my Tempest the CV outs plus the MIDI outs - with and without the Pro2 sequencer lanes - it makes much fun to dive into experimental "interaction" between that machines (even on DAW etc.). After soldering some fitting cables this is easy. Even if i would have some special filter or oscillator at hand - the pro 2 allows to "integrate" them in many ways.

The Evolver is more like an "animal" while the pro2 is more "engineering art" - i'm very happy to have both.

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by xelian » Sat May 28, 2016 7:09 am

NO

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by heckadecimal » Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:53 pm

Nope.

I bought my second Evolver desktop after missing it for years. Not much else has stereo filtering like that, and panning them is a good ol' time. The analog oscs are cool and all, but the digital are quite different and have their own thing going on with that 12 bit grit, FM, and user waves.

I've since bought the Pro2 and it's probably my favorite synth of all time. I haven't used the Evolver hardly at all, but I don't feel like it will ever be replaced. I'll come back to it and I'll still love it.

And of course the oscillators and the filters are very different from the Pro 2's, even if the Pro 2 filters are far superior for my tastes, they're just different flavor so not replaced. The biggest similarity to me is the amount of modulation, they're both very much modular in practice for self contained kits.

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by vcs3 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:43 pm

Great thread!
I as ready to buy a Pro-2 to complement my PolyEvolver, now I don't think it will be a good idea.

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Re: Can the Pro 2 easily replace the Evolver MEK?

Post by rdomain » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:20 pm

heckadecimal wrote:Nope.

I bought my second Evolver desktop after missing it for years. Not much else has stereo filtering like that, and panning them is a good ol' time. The analog oscs are cool and all, but the digital are quite different and have their own thing going on with that 12 bit grit, FM, and user waves.

I've since bought the Pro2 and it's probably my favorite synth of all time. I haven't used the Evolver hardly at all, but I don't feel like it will ever be replaced. I'll come back to it and I'll still love it.

And of course the oscillators and the filters are very different from the Pro 2's, even if the Pro 2 filters are far superior for my tastes, they're just different flavor so not replaced. The biggest similarity to me is the amount of modulation, they're both very much modular in practice for self contained kits.

Agreed.


And where the fuck are the moderators? This spam has been here for yonks.
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