There is a lot in each of those 12 voices. And while you might assume this is just a 12-voice variation of the Prophet, Dave Smith Instruments say they've built a new voice architecture from scratch. Images from DSI; click to upgrade to biggie size.

There is a lot in each of those 12 voices. And while you might assume this is just a 12-voice variation of the Prophet, Dave Smith Instruments say they’ve built a new voice architecture from scratch. Images from DSI; click to upgrade to biggie size.

Dave Smith has reason to celebrate this year. He’s been creating synths for 35 years. The MIDI protocol he helped create turned 30. And now, amidst a wave of new analog monosynths, he’s got a monster keyboard with – gasp – polyphony, and lots of it. Dave sent CDM some pics of his baby earlier this week. The Prophet 12 looks like a real titan, with 12-voice polyphony (of course) and what Dave says is an all-new design.

That’s the surprise: whereas previous Dave Smith models have tended to build on the voice architecture of previous outings, Dave says that the team started “from scratch” on the Prophet 12. (Okay, I’m guessing not entirely from scratch – but it is a new design.)

Each voice has four oscillators each, configurable to both “classic and complex” wave shapes. There’s a sub-oscillator on each voice. There are resonant analog low- and high-pass filters and analog amplitude on each voice. (The rest of the architecture is digital.)

Then we get to the “character” section, and there are a range of options for dirtying up and transforming sounds, including things called “Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air.”


  • Tuned feedback path
  • Four-tap stereo delay – also per voice
  • Arpeggiator, LFO, and delay, each with sync.
  • Modulation section.
  • Bi-timbral operation.
  • Internal clock and external MIDI clock. (Hey, what’s this MIDI thing I keep hearing about?)

Look closer.

Look closer.

Also interesting: taking a page from the Tempest (and collaborator Roger Linn’s fascination for such things in hardware design), you get two touch strips in addition to the conventional pitch and mod wheels. The strips are sensitive to both position and pressure.

All in all, it looks like a massive twelve-pack (twelve-wheeler?) of American synth … uh, girth. There’s so much there that I hope we get Dave’s team to walk us through more of the details, here on Create Analog M– uh, well, there’s digital circuitry in analog synths.

You would expect this wouldn’t come so cheap; projection pricing is US$2999. That’s a lot of synth power per dollar, though. Due in Q2.

Just sell everything, then hold down your ten fingers and two of your toes on some monster patch.


I love Dave in the video – there really is something different about letting an engineer show the instrument.

Oh, and keep watching, as you do eventually get to some crazier sounds. (Love that freaky, ghostly one toward the end.)

  • itchy

    got to give it up for dave smith he is always making stuff that people really want. I don’t know if im the biggest fan of the “sound” as it always sounds a little digital more than analog to me. but none the less big props to dave smith.

  • eXode

    I was a bit disappointed with the Mopho X4 keyboard. This certainly makes up for it! :)

  • markLouis

    Is that a bottle of vodka and a shot glass in the background?

  • Steve Kirn

    I obviously know little about current synth technology, but this sounds like a lot of instrument for the money (and not vice versa!)

    • J Roecker

      I agree 100%. This board will fit in nicely in my studio.

  • tempest was fail.


  • Jason Duerr

    who has the time to program so many oscillators?

    • Aaron

      you’re doing it wrong

    • J Roecker

      you cant program 4 osc + add in a sub osc as needed? I guess you could use the presets……

  • tempest was fail.

    my ipad synths sound just as good.have fun suckers.

    • Aaron


    • J Roecker

      iPad sounds like crap. Sorry. At least get a REAL computer if you want to play with synth software.

  • KHH

    …Prophet 12, Sub Phatty, KingKORG??? 8)

  • Scratchy

    @Tempest Was Fail – if there is one thing you can know for sure is that you are a moron.
    Thankfully SOMEONE is making Analog Polys!

  • Kathy Baon

    The title of this story is misleading; this is a digital synth with some analog features, not an analog synth.

    • Aaron

      it’s an analogue (component) synth with digital oscillators.

  • first last

    that thing sounds fantastic.

  • Michael Luoise

    get the facts right, the oscs. are all digital. huge letdown….

  • Nan Creationss

    so only 3k… isn’t dave smith aware that everybody else is making cheaper, really affordable analog synths?! I guess I will have to decide either to get this, or a Korg Mini MS20, a moog subphatty, minibrute, mininova, and some other cheap wonderful pulggins and stuff … I don’t think it’s a big brainer, is it?

    • J Roecker

      $3k is a really good price for this board. I has 12 notes of polyphony….. and analog filter and vca…… The boards you list are all mono besides the mininova (horrible sounding board by the way) and are nowhere near as programable as the P12. Have to spend money to get real gear……

  • Egyptian Kitty

    digital oscs. No way. Sorry, Dave. I was seriously thinking about it but no go for the digi oscs, my ears just cannot stand them. I dont care if they it has “Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air” and if it will cook me dinner and wash my socks for me, I just cannot and will not ever buy a digital synth ever again. The Virus and Nord G2 were enough for me. They sit on a shelf collecting dust.