Comments for:

Sonic LAB: Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard
  29-Jun-10
21 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Benedict Johnson    Said...

If there was an iteration of the DSI Prophet engine I would buy, it would be the full 08 keyboard version.

However, something I've never understood about the Prophet 08.. I've never tried one myself but I've watched every online demo I can find - I just don't think it sounds as good as the Native Instruments PRO-53 plug-in *boo hiss*. I've been enjoying PRO-53 for years now and the prospect of being able to play it's preset "Super Sync Lead" on a hardware synth seemed too good to be true - and was.

29-Jun-10 04:32 AM


dorremifasol    Said...

Excellent review, Nick.

I'm hearing a lot of clicks in the right channel, just from the beginning of the video. I thought it was my Fireface, but the clicks happen always at the same places. Perhaps you should check your equipment! Regards

29-Jun-10 05:54 AM


Nick B    Said...

Hmm, thats something wierd we get with our (expensive grr!) flash encoding. Try the MP4 that wont have them, but I will look into it.

29-Jun-10 06:00 AM


Marc JX8P    Said...

Great review and a great little synth - although I do agree that it should perhaps have been polyphonic (or at least have a cheap internal expansion option for extra voices).

29-Jun-10 12:32 PM


SteveFromBerlin    Said...

Nick, great review!!!

Maybe I missed it, but how good do the pots feel, especially the rotary ones? The feel of the rotarys on the Mopho is pretty bad and you'll get jumps sometimes, while the ones on the Tetra are a bitter - at least in my experience.

29-Jun-10 01:37 PM


Antony Fewster    Said...

I found the lack of a sub oscillator on the prophet to leave the bass somewhat thin, which is where the mopho and tetra excel. The external input is also a nice feature.

Same voice architecture but the sub really makes it for me.

29-Jun-10 10:16 PM


CG    Said...

The prophet does lack sub oscillators but you can stack two whole voices, this reduces the polyphony to 4 but you can create some amazing thick bass sounds by tuning the oscillators of the second voice down a few octaves and your not limited to square wave either, plus activating unison gives massive monophonic bass sounds.

30-Jun-10 10:57 AM


Alex Juno    Said...

I just had a play on one at DV today, i agree a couple of the patches really wanted to be played polyphonically (there was a cs80-like brass patch which would sound brilliant poly!) however i am still considering getting this one for several reasons. I already have a couple of polysynths including a DW8000 and a Juno (Duh) which can't really be beaten for brass and string synthy stuff, also if i really needed a polyphonic patch i could sample it into my workstation. i have lots of plugins, a couple yamaha DX synths and even some of the Kawai Additive stuff, what i really feel i'm missing, is a killer monosynth, and this certainly was that.

with just a few knob turns i was getting some killer bass sounds, some insanely noisy glitchy distorted sounds, some crazy percussion and it also does vintage/retro leads really well, including a brilliant sync lead and some of the best pwm stuff i've ever heard.most importantly it sounds analogue, feels analogue, but doesn't have the tuning instability problems and has 3 banks of 128 patches!plus i reckon itd cause quite a stir on stage.

this one's going on my wishlist for xmas.

30-Jun-10 11:00 AM


Juicy Audio Productions    Said...

Nick's review, as usual, was fair and spot on, so little niggles like audio crackle due to codec compression are neither here nor there for me.

However, having at one point - i kid you not- owned 3 different dave smith synths in my studio (i never did use them all at once), i always thought the original evolver was an amazing concept, and that this was a bit of a quick throwaway. I had the mopho desktop, which was a fantastic bang for the buck, but at 500 pounds or thereabouts for the keyboard version...

It's a bit much, considering that it REALLY DOES need another voice or two, cause of the patch design; a lot of the presets are direct ports from the prophet 8 and tetra.

Nick has again hit a good nail in its potential market, but how many synth designers design bits of gear with bass players in mind?..other than moog and the taurus, of course :-)

I can remember emailing dave smith and asking him wether the tetra would end up in a similar keyboard enclosure to the one theyve used here, to which he said no. Given that this may have been on the cards, that's understandable. But i keep thinking this is a half bake, when a KEYBOARDED tera, with its 4 part multi timbrality, would have been the real contender. Perhaps the price point would have brought it too close to the prophet 08, which is only bi-timbral.

So, in a mixture of design evolution, and production cost-to-profit realisation, we have this, which in my opinion- humble or otherwise- is a "...mmm maybe", when it could have been "ill put my name down for one now!"

Right..back to the studio.

regards

Shekhar

30-Jun-10 07:15 PM


AnalogueBoy    Said...

Nick I have to dissagree with your comparison to the Prophet 08 module choice over the Mopho+Tetra combo

I would take the Mopho kb+Tetra over the Prophet 08 any day,

5 voice multitimbrality 5 separate outputs sub oscillators feedback circuit

with the 08 you get limited outputs, only 2 note multitimbral, and if you use one voice as a mono voice for a bass line etc then you only get to access 4 more notes not 7

01-Jul-10 04:20 AM


GNeuman    Said...

Hi Nick

Wonderful review, as ever!

For me, I hear nothing new here...I think what could be a killer analogue mono-synth is if one was brought out that matched the sonic agressivity of a Seq Ccts. Pro-1..Now that would be something!

What do you think?

Best regards

Mike

01-Jul-10 05:27 AM


Nick B    Said...

Analogue Boy, thats a fair point I guess. I was coming at it from the point of view of a polyphonic instrument rather than a multitimbral one.

I guess it depends on if mutltitrimbrality is of key importance.

I'm not sure how you would control that from the Mopho Keyboard as its own OS is based on monotimbral setup, most likely you would need the editor involved in there somewhere. An interesting question raised there.q

01-Jul-10 06:39 AM


AnalogueBoy    Said...

Hi Nick, this is the answer I got from DSI a couple of weeks ago, seems like individual voices on the Tetra can be programmed from the Mopho KB: ---------------------- Thank you for your interest in the MoPho Keyboard. Poly chaining is for adding polyphony only. All edits done on the keyboard are transmitted to the Tetra so in essence, the two units combined become one poly-synth and you never have to touch the Tetra.

However, you can use the MoPho Keyboard to edit individual voices on the Tetra in Multi mode simply by changing the MoPho's MIDI channel to match each of the voices on the Tetra. All the controls are mapped, so in that way you do get access to the individual voices on the Tetra. ----------------------

01-Jul-10 09:03 AM


P jack    Said...

off subject but.. 4.35 are those Sonodyne monitors in the back! really want to know how good they are..

01-Jul-10 06:12 PM


Nick B    Said...

P jack, eagle eyes! Yes they are, the SM 100AK, I havent really got around to evaluating them yet.

02-Jul-10 09:35 AM


Nate    Said...

I own this little guy and I absolutely love it. Works great with a Tetra as well, especially in poly chain mode. Using them both together in multi-mode (basically giving you a 5-part mono synth, all controllable from the mopho's front panel) works well, but there's maybe a few bugs that need to be squished (on the Tetra side), AND I'd like to see some workflow enhancements on the mopho to make it a quicker process, instead of having to dive into the Global menu to change midi channel, turn off local control (so you don't ruin your current mopho patch), etc. I'm sure it's something that can be addressed rather simply with an OS update or two.

And you compared their price to a Prophet rack, but in reality, by looking around, you can get both together for a great price.

I actually got both, the mopho keyboard AND the tetra together, for just about the same price I could get a single Little Phatty. Just something to think about.

Great review, Nick!

02-Jul-10 06:13 PM


Nate    Said...

I own this little guy and I absolutely love it. Works great with a Tetra as well, especially in poly chain mode. Using them both together in multi-mode (basically giving you a 5-part mono synth, all controllable from the mopho's front panel) works well, but there's maybe a few bugs that need to be squished (on the Tetra side), AND I'd like to see some workflow enhancements on the mopho to make it a quicker process, instead of having to dive into the Global menu to change midi channel, turn off local control (so you don't ruin your current mopho patch), etc. I'm sure it's something that can be addressed rather simply with an OS update or two.

And you compared their price to a Prophet rack, but in reality, by looking around, you can get both together for a great price.

I actually got both, the mopho keyboard AND the tetra together, for just about the same price I could get a single Little Phatty. Just something to think about.

Great review, Nick!

02-Jul-10 06:13 PM


Nate    Said...

Sorry for the double post above.

Also forgot to add (and I hope this can be addressed somehow with updates), some of the parameters are NRPN only, so when you switch to CC mode or when you use some sort of non-NRPN-capable environment these parameters simply will not transmit. Most typical synthesis parameters will transmit fine, but stuff like the step sequencer, arpeggiator, and LFO's are affected by this.

Just another thing to keep in mind. I was running from Mopho into my MPC 2000XL and then into Tetra, to sort of ease my workflow, and it all went fine, until I realized this. The MPC 2000XL doesn't seem to handle NRPN's well.

02-Jul-10 06:22 PM


Cerebral Infect    Said...

Good Review Nick. I think your comments from the 10th minutes are spot on.

Lots of features, good oscillators and a not bad filter. Feels the urge to be played polyphonic...

Yep your are bang on. Since the since chips are used on the Evolver and the Prophet, I can tell you, the filter is actually really weak for a mono synth. That is probably why you feel the urge to play it polyphonically, i.e. to have more power to your sound. When I sold my Akai MFC42 filter, I did a demo to the buyer using the Evolver raw osciallitor into the filter. I wished so hard that the akai filter would be IN the evolver, that would have been whole different synth.

So in terms of monosynth, knowing the + and the -, would it better to cash a little bit more and get a Little Phatty (albeit with way less features) ?

That being said, I am going to get a Prophet 08 rack in a near future... to be always played polyphonic and to replace my Matrix 1000.

04-Jul-10 03:19 PM


Nick B    Said...

Thanks for the comments folks, Cerebral- I guess that might be the nub of it. The curtis chip was more suited to poly stuff as it never was the cream of the crop as a filter, obviously plenty of people do love the sound of it, but perhaps in a mono, it is rather more exposed.

05-Jul-10 03:37 AM


   Said...

You regret having no polyphonic aftertouch on a monophonic keyboard. Why should it? The previous note may resonate for a while, but the aftertouch of the next note is not going to affect it. Polyphonic aftertouch is wasted on a monophonic synthesizer. QED, they did not include it.

22-Aug-11 07:06 PM


Post a comment 

Leave your comment


Details
NAME
Subscribe to these comments

Enter the text you see above: