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Curtis-chipped DSI synths: Mopho x4, Tetra, Prophet Rev2 . . . Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 2nd September 2018
  #1
Curtis-chipped DSI synths: Mopho x4, Tetra, Prophet Rev2 . . .

"I love the smell of Curtis chips in the morning . . . "

I found a B-stock Sequential Prophet 6 keyboard for the same price as a new DSI 16-voice Rev2 keyboard, so I jumped on it and returned my Rev2 (over which I already was building up a lot of cognitive dissonance). But I do still also want to have an available Curtis-chipped synth for its biting fizzy filter to contrast with the P6's bubbliciously characterful SSM-ish filter.

I'm not crazy about the Rev2's core sound, so I don't want to spend the cash on a whole 'nother Rev2 keyboard or module (though, I actually bought my B-stock 16-voice Rev2 keyboard for less than the price of a new 16-voice module). I just want at least one Curtis-chipped synth back in my arsenal to use mostly as a monosynth and one-trick-pony (i.e., for Tom Sawyer-style sweeps), so having "only" four voices in something like the Mopho x4 is fine.

To me, the Rev2's filter is the king of fizz (which I like), and its more recent implementation of the Curtis chip is noticeably smoother/fizzier than that of the Prophet '08's (to me, a good thing). So, unfortunately, I expect the Mopho x4's fizz to be more similar to the P08 than the newer Rev2. For anyone who's owned/played both the Mopho x4 and Rev2:

1. Does the Mopho x4 in fact have more sonic ability over the Rev2 due to its per-oscillator subs and feedback circuit?
2. The Mopho x4, Tetra, and Rev2 all have similar-sounding Curtis chips, but the Rev2's more recent design is definitely the "fizziest." How do the Mopho and Tetra filters' sonic character compare? Same? Is the Mopho x4's filter more like an '08's, and less like a Rev2's?
Old 2nd September 2018
  #2
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goldphinga's Avatar
 

Having owned a Prophet 08 for many years and reviewed the Tetr4, Mopho x4, Rev2 16 and owning a Prophet 6, I can say without doubt that the Rev2 is the most musical sounding of the recent Curtis DSI synths. A Rev2 and P6 together is a very versatile combo for sure. Personally speaking I don’t think anything less than a Rev2 would satisfy next to the P6 but I know that’s a considerable outlay. Perhaps get a Rev2 desktop? Btw I’m not knocking the older DSI synths at all, I just feel that the Rev2 is the ultimate Curtis machine when you consider its feature set.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #3
PES
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I don’t know the answer to your question, but consider an Evolver for even more contrast and versatility. You’d then have perhaps the broadest spectrum of recent DSI/SEQ.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #4
Thanks for the replies! This Reddit thread seemed to answer most of my questions here. So I just pulled the trigger on a B-stock Mopho x4 for $750. The fact that it's a small-ish keyboard with aftertouch that I can also tote to work in my Moog gig bag pretty much sealed the deal.

In the end, the Mopho x4 was pretty much the cheapest way to get a Curtis-filtered synth into my line-up and neatly rounds-out my analog filter array:

• SSM-inspired Prophet 6.
• Curtis-chipped Mopho x4.
• Ladder/SEM-inspired Studio Electronics SE-1.
• Ladder-filtered Moog Slim Phatty.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #5
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So basically after your whole Rev 2 saga of want it want it not and returning it twice, you now want something that sounds like a rev 2?
The cycle of GAS continues.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
In the end, the Mopho x4 was pretty much the cheapest way to get a Curtis-filtered synth into my line-up...
Well, technically a used desktop Evolver would have been the cheapest way ($400-450). Though technically you'd only get one voice vs four, you could sequence the four oscs individually with the onboard sequencer. But really there's no wrong answer here.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #7
any Mopho, Tetra or P8 are basically the same (ext signal in and sub-oscillators vary but there's no real difference internally), while the Rev2 is a steroided version of those earlier releases. P6/OB6 generally sound better imo, but as you said the fizz of the P8/Rev2 series is unique and has its own appeal.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #8
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Yeah, I don't understand why you bought it. It's basically a lesser Rev2 with half the voices (which you already returned twice!!!!). Eight voice Rev 2's I've seen online more than once for $999 b-stock, and so you saved $250 for a keyboard without the the "2" upgrades and half the voices. Regardless of your opinion of the synth, it seems like a pretty bad deal (and you'll probably return it because it's basically the same core sound). It's not cool to keep buying and returning synths just because of bad decisions/impulse though, so I hope you keep it anyway.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by donato View Post
Yeah, I don't understand why you bought it . . .
Mainly for its per-osc subs and feedback circuit, both of which the Rev2 lacks. Also, its smaller form-factor will fit on the same desk next to my Prophet 6. Don't like non-rackable modules. Never saw a B-stock 8-voice Rev2 keyboard for that price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donato View Post
It's not cool to keep buying and returning synths just because of bad decisions/impulse though . . .
Says who? Many of these synths aren't available to audition in person, so online sellers offer liberal return policies to make up for that.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by lysander View Post
So basically after your whole Rev 2 saga of want it want it not and returning it twice, you now want something that sounds like a rev 2?
Yeah, so. What do you care?
Old 2nd September 2018
  #11
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lysander View Post
So basically after your whole Rev 2 saga of want it want it not and returning it twice, you now want something that sounds like a rev 2?
The cycle of GAS continues.
Studio460: A Cautionary Tale of why one should never buy more than in a 3 month period.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #12
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I'm still not sure why the OP can't get a smooth sound out of a P8? I've programmed as many buttery smooth patches out of both my P8 and P12 as I have raucous and obnoxious ones ....

Last edited by Sharp11; 2nd September 2018 at 05:25 PM..
Old 2nd September 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
Mainly for its per-osc subs and feedback circuit, both of which the Rev2 lacks. Also, its smaller form-factor will fit on the same desk next to my Prophet 6. Don't like non-rackable modules. Never saw a B-stock 8-voice Rev2 keyboard for that price.


Says who? Many of these synths aren't available to audition in person, so online sellers offer liberal return policies to make up for that.
Did you ever play with audio rate mod on the Rev 2? That can get you a lot of harshness you probably want from the feedback. But you can dial it in to be very musical. It's more metallic than screechy, which was my impression of feed back on the MoPho.

And the Rev 2 doesn't have a sub? That's news to me. Oh well, the 460 saga continues...
Old 2nd September 2018
  #14
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CathodeRay's Avatar
Had the Mofo X4 for about a week , just didn't gel with it or its sound, the Rev2 is far more versatile & musical but then again i'm in a small camp that actually prefers the Rev2 to the P6.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #15
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Waiting patiently for the dismissal and return of the Mopho then rebuying the Rev2.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cogsy View Post
Did you ever play with audio rate mod on the Rev 2? That can get you a lot of harshness you probably want from the feedback. But you can dial it in to be very musical. It's more metallic than screechy, which was my impression of feed back on the MoPho.

And the Rev 2 doesn't have a sub? That's news to me. Oh well, the 460 saga continues...
We’ll slap my ass and call me mother, it does! Interesting. I didn’t realize they’d added that to the Prophet 08 in the REV2 models.

No feedback though, and depending on your tastes, that’s important. It is to me, at least. You can really make that sucker howl with feedback. I’m happy with my Tetras, but a MoPho X4-Tetra combo would be a great way to get an 8 voice modern DSI Curtis chip synth with a good UI. What I will do is add a Behringer mixer-effects processor to my Tetras to replace the cheap Rolls mixer I’m using now.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #17
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mvrh's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lysander View Post
So basically after your whole Rev 2 saga of want it want it not and returning it twice, you now want something that sounds like a rev 2?
The cycle of GAS continues.
He'll probably buy one again in the next few months...
Old 2nd September 2018
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cogsy View Post
And the Rev 2 doesn't have a sub? That's news to me. Oh well, the 460 saga continues...
Never said the Rev2 didn't have a sub. The Rev2 has one sub. The Mopho x4 has one sub per oscillator (i.e., two subs).
Old 2nd September 2018
  #19
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Current REV2 and previous Tetra owner here.

The Tetra could be a great complement to the Prophet 6 considering it's small physical size (if you are fine with editing from an editor). The two sub octave generators and programmable feedback gives it that little extra oomph, esp for resonant sounds. The REV2 sub octave is also gentler than the Tetra's, if memory serves me right.

To be honest, I'm a little sad they didn't go with the Tetra/Mopho voicing on the REV2, but perhaps 16 voices of that might have been too fat! :D
Old 2nd September 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by eXode View Post
The Tetra could be a great complement to the Prophet 6 considering it's small physical size (if you are fine with editing from an editor) . . .
Yes, the Tetra was the other obvious option, but I liked the form factor of the Mopho x4 (and kinda dislike modules). But a Tetra is certainly a future possibility to polychain to the Mopho x4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eXode View Post
The two sub octave generators and programmable feedback gives it that little extra oomph, esp for resonant sounds. The REV2 sub octave is also gentler than the Tetra's, if memory serves me right.
Thanks for the info! Yes, I was impressed with the sound of the second sub on one of the Mopho x4 demos I listened to (part of the reason I chose it over the Rev2).
Old 2nd September 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post

The Rev2 has one sub. The Mopho x4 has one sub per oscillator (i.e., two subs).
Your reasoning is kind of silly because the REV 2 is stackable, meaning you can get 4 oscillators and 2 subs per voice.

The REV 2's SLOP parameter makes it so much better than the Mopho X4. Add in the effects, more polyphony, flexible voicing (stack / split) and more LFOs and your reasoning kind of falls flat.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC View Post
Your reasoning is kind of silly because the REV 2 is stackable, meaning you can get 4 oscillators and 2 subs per voice.
True, but if you read the Reddit replies (or some other forum, can't remember), there are some compromises with that approach. Obviously, the Rev2 has more voices, and if I could've found a like-new 8-voice Rev2 keyboard for $750, I would've gotten that.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post

True, but if you read the Reddit replies (or some other forum, can't remember), there are some compromises with that approach.
I owned all of the Mopho models including the X4 and still own a yellow Mopho keys. I now own the REV 2. I don't need to read opinions on Reddit. There's no contest. REV 2 is the king of the bunch.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC View Post
I owned all of the Mopho models including the X4 and still own a yellow Mopho keys. I now own the REV 2. I don't need to read opinions on Reddit. There's no contest. REV 2 is the king of the bunch.
Okay, you win!
Old 2nd September 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post

Okay, you win!
No need for that. I'm sure you'll just end up buying the REV 2 again. Third time's the charm!
Old 2nd September 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
Never said the Rev2 didn't have a sub. The Rev2 has one sub. The Mopho x4 has one sub per oscillator (i.e., two subs).
My mistake, I misunderstood your post. The Woz probably has a point that there are workarounds on the Rev 2, but it seems like you just aren't that into it. I try to help people if they miss a trick with gear that I know well. My main gripe with the Rev 2 is the sub isn't extreme enough. Maybe the subs are more extreme on the MoPho, since it's derived from a mono, but I can't speak to that. Good luck with your search
Old 2nd September 2018
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cogsy View Post
. . . My main gripe with the Rev 2 is the sub isn't extreme enough. Maybe the subs are more extreme on the MoPho, since it's derived from a mono, but I can't speak to that. Good luck with your search
Thanks. Yes, I've heard/read that claim several times now. Add in the feedback circuit and I think the Mopho x4 may serve me quite well since I plan to use it mainly as a monosynth—the fact that it's a poly (and a chainable one at that) is pure gravy. My favorite sounds from the Rev2 came from its lower-register, and if the Mopho x4 can give me a bit more of that, I'm all for it.

I just think it's a neat little synth with a unique feature set. Perhaps overpriced at its MAP of $999, but at $750, I think it's quite a bargain. It's a complete synth—with a keyboard and aftertouch and full-sized keys.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #28
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Buy a Prologue 16 instead!
Old 3rd September 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabar View Post
Buy a Prologue 16 instead!
Just don't write music in a key that needs an E/F/F#
Old 3rd September 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
We’ll slap my ass and call me mother, it does! Interesting. I didn’t realize they’d added that to the Prophet 08 in the REV2 models.

No feedback though, and depending on your tastes, that’s important. It is to me, at least. You can really make that sucker howl with feedback. I’m happy with my Tetras, but a MoPho X4-Tetra combo would be a great way to get an 8 voice modern DSI Curtis chip synth with a good UI. What I will do is add a Behringer mixer-effects processor to my Tetras to replace the cheap Rolls mixer I’m using now.
My first generation P8 has audio rate as a modulator. It was built in 2008.
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