What I’ve noticed in listening to many Prophet Rev2 demonstrations is just what should be expected – that Rev2 patches are likely to use the onboard effects as important elements in the programs. This obviously wasn’t possible with the Prophet ’08.
I normally design a sound with a bit of reverb, but basically dry. More substantial amounts of effects may be added later to enhance the sound, but the effects are seldom absolutely needed. This is the case even when I’m using the Poly Evolver Keyboard, which has onboard delay that can naturally be used to create a chorus effect as well. But most importantly, the effects are only enhancements. The programs themselves must be strong enough to stand on their own, unenhanced.
This was a major issue of debate when the Behringer Deepmind 12 first appeared. A common complaint was that its sounds seemed always to be effects-saturated. Hence, you couldn’t get a sense of the instrument’s quality, which became a legitimate cause of suspicion.
The Rev2 has a superb quality of sound, so that there’s no need to hide it under a thick deceptive blanket of effects. It is, after all, a Prophet ’08-plus. Still, onboard effects do have their…effect…on programming. They can tempt a synthesist to stop short of perfecting a patch, to quit early the tedious work of designing a patch to its end, with all of its subtle nuances, since everything sounds fabulous when awash in reverb, delay, and stereo chorus. Even a broken kazoo would sound rich and sonorous with the right amount of effects! But when a synthesist leans too heavily on such enhancements, then his or her finished sounds can amount to effects themselves. And that – most importantly – tends to lead to something less than fine musical compositions, and more likely to monotonous synthesizer demonstrations.
The Prophet ’08, in its relative simplicity, didn’t naturally allow for this sort of tangential programming, but encouraged a good discipline in sound design: namely, first complete and perfect the sound, and only then, add some effects to enhance it. Perhaps this is one reason there are so many musical demonstrations of the Prophet ’08 online, and that it has seldom been used as a caustic noise gadget.
There’s beauty in simplicity.