Solaris vs Prophet-12

Discuss John Bowen Synths - Solaris
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serena-5
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:22 pm

Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by serena-5 »

Hello all...
Being a addict of QUALITY gear, I could not resist selling some stuff off to purchase the new DCI Prophet-12....so now, I am in the very fortunate position of owning both a Solaris and a Prophet-12. II thought I would post some immediate thoughts on how they compare...
BUILD QUALITY.....Both the Solaris and the P-12 are built extremely well; on par with the gold standard Moog Voyager. Quality costs, and here is a definite justification for it. Solid pots on both...beautiful spring-action keyboards...beautiful hardwood siding. Build quality is job one on both of these. Maybe a slight edge would go to the Prophet here...it has an internal power supply, rather than the Solaris external power supply ...no wall warts here.
ERGONOMICS....both of these are DEEP synthesizers, and will keep you going for years. And both show a lot of educated and experienced thought went into allowing you to manipulate your sound without getting a PhD in Sound/Synth Design (is there such a thing ??). Beautiful display screen on the Prophet-12, and great controls...easy to create/design your own sounds. BUT...the Solaris multiple screens win the prize here. Being able to see all the different parameters AT ONCE makes it so much easier to get where you want to go quickly.
SOUND.....Ah, here is where my bias lies. I, growing up with the Mini-Moog,Prophet-5, and Oberheim OBX-a, definitely lean towards the sound of an analog synth. So, although the digital sounds have their place, it's the fat sound of analog filters and oscillators that excites me. Both the Solaris and Prophet-12 have digital oscillators, but the Prophet has Curtis filter chips (just like my some of my favorite analog beasts)....so...you would think that the Prophet would have a decisive edge here. WRONG...the Solaris clearly is the winner here....it's digital filters sound so warm and analog smooth. The Minimoog digital oscillator and filter emulations especially are platinum on the Solaris. Odd that the Solaris can sounds more like the P-5 than the P-12 does. Please understand that the P-12 is a beautiful machine that makes beautiful sounds, and has effects such as a digital delay built in (maybe Solaris OS updates will have this ?? Please ??).
I must say that the sound quality of both of these instruments is stellar in all other ways !!
SO...that is my very brief comparison on two of the best synths in existence, IMHO. Hopefully, players lucky enough to get ahold of either one of these beasts will create more sounds for both !!
marzzz
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by marzzz »

I owned an original PolyEvolver Keyboard and PolyEvolver Rack (total 8 voices) and it was a wonderful synth- even the analog sounds were very good. When the Prophet 08 was announced, I sold my PEK/PER and got an early one. It wasn't bad, per se, but I felt that with the Curtis chips the overall filter sound was thin and buzzy. I regretted selling the PEK/PER and eventually sold the Prophet. By this time I had put a deposit down on the Solaris, so I didn't re acquire a PEK/PER.

This past January, I had the opportunity to directly compare the Prophet 12 to the Solaris- they were in adjacent booths. If I had been blown away by the P12, I could have cancelled my Solaris order and bought one. The P12 is a great synth with amazing engineering, no doubt, but I still felt its underlying tone was very similar to the Prophet 08. The Solaris is just much more my cup of JAVa; every day I play it I am just more and more pleased with it!

The only thing I would otherwise consider is the Schmidt Polyanalog; and if I could afford it I would be able to afford both....
Last edited by marzzz on Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
serena-5
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:22 pm

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by serena-5 »

...so far, I am unable to get a warm, thick sound out of it (like I can with my Solaris). When you have a nice sawtooth or square wave on it, and add another to it with a little retuning, it doesn't (so far) develop into a bigger, fatter sound (try that with the Solaris, using the Moog filters and a square wave oscillator...Wow !!). It has many cool features, but bottom line: I want to be able to do fat and warm (even before the more digital sounds). Since it is so new, I am hoping that skilled programmers will jump all over it, and do what I so far am unable to do. The stock sounds leave me a little disappointed, but I know that that is not unusual. The Solaris didn't come with many sounds, but they were really good...and served as a springboard for modding sounds to taste !! The PEK was really cool, but then you combined analog and digital, it was 4-voice. The P-'08 was ok, but didn't have the girth that I was looking for. We'll see how I can tweak the filters to "steroid-up" the sound. I'm actually tweaking it up next to my Solaris...maybe it's obesity will rub off !!!
John Bowen
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by John Bowen »

I'd like to comment here for the Solaris - the Boost in the VCA section will help you approach a more 'analog' sound. A setting around 80 or so at minimum will give you some of the saturation typical of analog circuits that use an OTA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operationa ... _amplifier), which the Boost algorithm is modeling.
Wavemaster
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 8:37 am

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by Wavemaster »

Hi folks,

in general I aggree with the first post.

The solaris sounds really quite a bit more differentiated than the prophet 12. The amount of parameters allows to create a wider range of timbres. On the negative side the solaris needs in spite of the six displays some editor to keep control and overview.

The fixed presets of the prophet 12 in the actual edition are boring in quality. Sorry, the solaris doesn´t contain great stuff as well, incl. presets of rw ...

Btw - it is the first time for dsi to finally use an internal power supply - congratulations.


Cheers
marzzz
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by marzzz »

It would be nice if the Solaris also had an internal power supply, but I understand why it was designed that way, and the actual power supply is pretty tiny.
serena-5
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:22 pm

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by serena-5 »

John...would it be difficult to put an internal power supply on the Solaris without compromising anything but weight ??
John Bowen
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Posts: 1907
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Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by John Bowen »

We are discussing the options....
marzzz
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by marzzz »

Would the options include a retrofit for units already out in the field?
serena-5
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:22 pm

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by serena-5 »

...I would definitely be up for that retrofit as well....
John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1907
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Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by John Bowen »

I will look into that possibility.
M-Prod
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:19 am

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by M-Prod »

Check this:
http://translate.googleusercontent.com/ ... jn6vPJGgSg

He also compares both... And although The Translation is poor, I understand he values the Solaris and is very critical about the prophet 12.
wsequeira
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:34 pm

Re: Solaris vs Prophet-12

Post by wsequeira »

While I don't have a Prophet 12 I do have a PEK and find the Solaris more capable of producing "sophisticated" timbres than all the DSI models I've demo'ed. There is a certain "rawness" inherent in the DSI synth sound that can only be polished with post-effects - not so with the Solaris. For a long time I've really wanted to like the Prophets or the Tetra, but haven't gotten there yet.
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