SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA: In 2013, sales of Dave Smith Instruments’ award-winning Prophet ’08 eight-voice analog synthesizer was greater than all previous years, with the exception of its inaugural year.
“The Prophet ’08 has been a remarkably consistent seller for us since 2007,” confirms company founder and renowned designer Dave Smith. “Part of that is due to lack of competition in the analog polysynth market, but it’s also attributable to our general design philosophy. In an age where electronic devices are largely disposable — and that includes some musical instruments, we don’t develop our instruments to be supplanted by ‘next year’s model.’ Though we always strive to improve in some way with each new product, the goal is always excellence. An instrument should be intuitive and inspiring in two, five, ten, or twenty years, and not obsolete. And it should sound great, regardless of age or cost. There shouldn’t be a different standard for electronic instruments than there is for acoustic instruments in that regard.”
As an eight-voice synthesizer keyboard with a 100% analog signal path; four-on-four splits and layers; 16 x 4 gated step sequencer; and a full-size, 61-note, semi-weighted keyboard, the Prophet ’08 marked a turning point for Dave Smith Instruments in more ways than one — not least that its introduction coincided with Smith hiring his first two employees to help move the company and its increasing line of illustrious instruments forward. And anyone with an appreciation of synthesizer history could hardly help but notice that the innovative individual responsible for the pre-eminent Prophet-5, the world’s first programmable polyphonic synthesizer back in 1978, as well as playing a pivotal part as the driving force behind MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), had transported the prestigious Prophet name to the present day.
As a direct descendant of the Prophet-5, the Prophet ’08 keyboard and its 2008-launched space-saving tabletop (and rack-mountable) module counterpart (that can be used as an expander to increase the polyphony of another Prophet ’08 keyboard or module to 16 voices) are both capable of reproducing the still-sought-after sounds of their legendary ancestor. But both boast more modern features like a greatly expanded modulation matrix and additional modulation sources — such as three envelopes and four LFOs per voice — that take them way beyond vintage instruments as equally worthy and unique additions to the Prophet family tree.
Says Smith: “In 1978, I never envisioned people playing my instruments 35 years later. I just wanted to make great synths. But the reality is, if an instrument sounds good and invites interaction with the player, it will continue to inspire creativity and be useful.”
Creativity is surely priceless, yet six years after its inauguration, and showing no signs of slowing down, the Prophet ’08 still represents remarkable value and continues to make musical waves worldwide.
Dave Smith Instruments’ present-day Proph
The Prophet ’08 keyboard and Prophet ’08 module have an MAP of $2,309.00 USD and $1,699.00 USD, respectively, and can both be purchased from any authorized DSI dealer.