Category Archives: Sequential DSI Synths

Sequential DSI Pro 2 gets all new wood ends + front strip

A great support experience and better than new wood

One day I was being lazy, and I leaned my bicycle up against my synths and wouldn’t you know it, somehow I scratched the front strip of my beloved Sequential DSI Pro 2 synthesizer. Yeah, I know it was a fairly insignificant scratch but it just bugged me, so I decided to order replacement parts from Sequential. I ordered the end pieces too, just to be sure the wood stain/finish all matched since I was already going full on OCD, ha! I’m glad I did too, because the replacements looked a lot better than the originals. Darker and a little more sheen to them. Anyhoo, it was a great support experience from Mark Kono at Sequential Support. $75 total including freight for the left+right end pieces and the front strip (including Pro 2 badge) and now, better than new.

The wood ends are a snap to replace, but the front strip is a tad more complicated – fortunately Mark gave me instructions, which follows these images of my parts replacement.

Note: This would be essentially the same procedure to replace the keybed.

Sequential instructions:

You’ll need to remove the keybed as there are screws holding the front wood strip from the bottom of the keyboard as well as from the inside (you’ll see them under the lip of the front once the keybed is removed).

Removing and/or replacing the keybed on the Pro 2 is a relatively simple process involving nothing more than a screwdriver. Here are instructions for replacing the keybed:

To start, unplug all power/audio/MIDI/USB cables.

  1. Unscrew the two screws in each of the wooden sides.
  2. Once the wooden sides are removed, 3 additional screws on the left and 2 additional screws on the right side will be revealed. Remove these as well.
  3. Next, lay down some padding like a towel or a pillow and flip the Pro 2 over. Remove the 2 black screws to the right of the left front rubber foot. They are smaller than the other black screws, they have no flanges, and will be slightly lower than the foot, not directly inline.
  4. Flip the Pro 2 back over and with it facing you place your hands on the sides, on top half of the metalwork, and lift up and away from you. The lid will hinge open and stay open resting on the attached lanyard. You will be looking at the main board in the tray above the keybed.
  5. Remove the 2-wire aftertouch connector from the main board, it is located in the lower left corner. Pull straight up on the connector, DO NOT pull the wires themselves.
  6. Remove the keybed’s ribbon connector, it is located in the lower right of the main board. There are locking tabs holding the ribbon cable in but they are easily opened by prying the tabs away from each other in a horizontal motion with your thumbs or fingers; the cable will just pop out. Only medium force is required.
    • When reinstalling the ribbon with the tabs open, just push the connector straight down and the tabs will close behind it. Push the tabs together to make sure the cable is firmly seated.
  7. With the two connectors detached, close the lid and flip the unit over, face down, and rest the keys on a soft surface.
  8. Remove the 10 screws holding the keybed in from the bottom of the Pro 2. The screws are aligned in 2 horizontal rows of 5 black screws each, located just above the lower rubber feet. The keybed is now detached. Hold the keybed in place and flip the unit back over. The keybed can now be removed.
  9. Reassemble the Pro 2 in the reverse order.

IMPORTANT: The keybed standoffs are plastic. To avoid over-tightening and stripping standoffs when installing the keybed, DO NOT use an electric or powered screwdriver.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

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Sequential DSI Pro 2 officially discontinued

Widely known as one of the best mono/para synths, the Pro 2 may have been underappreciated in the market but its fans know it will be a very hard act to follow

After I first reported the rumor of the Pro 2’s demise 6 days ago in the Uptown Oscillators Facebook Group, after 5 years on the market, Sequential announced today, Friday, May 17, 2019 that the Pro 2 is officially discontinued. Could there be a Pro 3 in the works? Or a similarly priced poly with all the Pro 2’s functionality and even more voices? Sequential said at NAMM 2019 to keep your eyes open this summer. Hopefully there is a worthy successor, it would be extremely disappointing if one of those options didn’t replace the Pro 2, which is unique and unmatched by competition. And a Rev2 isn’t gonna do it, no offense to Rev2s, it’s just a different critter… We’ll see… For now if you have a Pro 2, keep it. If you don’t, get one. They can only become more valuable as supply becomes constrained.

I own one of these and I can vouch for the Pro 2. They are fantastic synths.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

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First look at the Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2

This year’s flagship control center synthesizer winner

I got my Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 eight days ago from Sweetwater.com, a process made very efficient and informative by my sales engineer Chris Goldbach.

Dave Smith, in case you are not familiar with him, is the original founder of Sequential Circuits, and designer of the Prophet 5 synthesizer, the world’s first microprocessor-based musical instrument and also the first programmable polyphonic synth. He was also a co-creator of MIDI.

The Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2, introduced in 2014, is a descendant of the Sequential Circuits Pro-One, their first and only monophonic synth, a classic built in 1981. The Pro 2 is DSI’s flagship monophonic synthesizer, and Dave Smith says it is his “most powerful mono synth ever”. I believe him.

The first thing you notice about the made in the USA Pro 2 is, wow, this thing is really built. It is solid. My general perception of DSI is they don’t constantly discontinue models and release new ones. Their products seem to be very advanced at time of release and stay relevant for some time to come. With 4 years so far on the market, the Pro 2 software appears very stable and debugged. Mine came with the newest OS v1.3.0 installed.

I haven’t spent a great deal of time playing this synth yet but I did say to myself on day one, I really like this machine. It completely revamped how I thought a group of synths should be configured and what the pieces should be.

Gear acquisition syndrome, I’m sure it affects all of us. Previous to getting the Pro 2, I could easily envision have 10+ synths working together. Now I’m thinking fewer full scale synths but higher quality ones, and definitely with CV in/outs. Modular, an area I’m very interested in, different issue. That I am sure will be where gear acquisition syndrome finally kills me, but oh well…

A better master clock than the BeatStep Pro or a DAW

First of all having 3 MIDI ports (in, out, out/thru) is a real bonus. The way I use my hardware/software, I do not like to have all of it on constantly. Mostly I use the Pro 2 by itself, in which it is a good thing to be master clock, because if it is not the master and there is no clock signal because that hardware is not turned on, in slave modes the arpeggiator and sequencer do not work.

Currently I have MIDI Out going to hardware like my Roland TR-8 and Korg Minilogue. MIDI Out 2 goes to the BeatStep Pro which is sequencing a DAW (Tracktion or Ableton) with soft synth VST plugins. This seems to work out real well and is very stable.

I’m not an analog purist, however…

Generally I lean to analog, but DSI sold me on hybrid, that is to say it has digital oscillators and an analog signal path. It’s easy to make the Pro 2’s digital oscillators sound analog. To have near instant on status is a joy, and the additional wave-forms that digital oscillators add really rocks in my opinion. I’m going to do a cut & paste from the DSI Specs so you see what I am talking about:

OSCILLATORS

  • Four DSP-based oscillators plus one sine wave sub oscillator
  • Four classic wave shapes (saw, square, triangle, sine) per oscillator
  • Twelve selectable complex shapes per oscillator
  • Thirteen Superwaves
  • Three noise types per oscillator: white, pink, violet
  • Shape modulation/pulse width/superwave detune amount
  • Oscillator cross modulation: frequency modulation (FM) and amplitude modulation (AM)
  • Hard sync, individual Glide, Oscillator Slop

The paraphonic capabilities really are unique, not only allowing 4 oscillator/note polyphony but each oscillator/note has its own envelope, unlike every other monophonic/paraphonic synthesizer I know of, which share one envelope. The dual filters which can be run in series or parallel can also be split, oscillator 1 & 2 on 1 filter, oscillator 3 & 4 on the other.

There are 792 presets, half factory set and non-writable, and the other half user-writable (containing the same programs/sequences, you can modify, replace or delete as you wish).

The sequencer looks like a real gem

I’m going to post more about the sequencer later, but I will say this is an important part of why I decided to make the Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 the control center of my setup. I have never been that impressed with lower cost synths’ sequencers, which is why I added the BeatStep Pro, which while a big jump from many sequencers, still doesn’t super impress me. Well OK I’ll give the BeatStep Pro a medium impress.

Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 sequencer impresses me. We’ll see if I can get it to do what I am thinking… More later when I finish fleshing it out.

The biggest ‘problem’ I have with the Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 is that in researching it I discovered Dave Smith’s Sequential Prophet X. $4k, maybe not this year, ha! But I am seeing the value in it, more later.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

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