Patch modes vs. live mode - when the controls don't show the current value

The problem is as old as the invention of patch storage: once you load a patch into the active synth parameters you run into a conflict with the panel controls. These become detached from the patch. Different solutions have been found over the years. 

  • Jupiter 4: the brute force approach means that if you store a patch you can never change it again. Yes, really! When a patch is selected, the panel controls have no effect whatsoever. I am sure there is more than one person who was close to a heart attack thinking that their Jupiter 4 was totally broken when first experiencing this...
  • One parameter select: with the entry of the DX7 the single parameter editing UI concept became popular where you select parameter to see its value in a display and then use a universal dial or slider to change it. A nuisance, of course, but solving a lot of problems for synth designers, one of many being that the values can always be updated from memory without conflict...
  • Endless dials: a more modern approach makes the control settings adjustable. "Endless dials" can always be made to point to the current active value. Smart, but it needs user feedback to show the current value (for example using an LED ring), and it makes the UI more expensive...
The Prophet 600 has the same challenge: it has a Live mode in which the sound corresponds to the current panel settings and Patch mode with parameters from patch memory, but unlike the Jupiter 4 you can change the patch using the panel (phew!). The clearly laid out panel controls are a real benefit of the Prophet 600 compared to "parameter select" UI but "endless dials" were total science fiction in 1982. 

The new firmware for the Prophet 600 now comes with a "pick-me-up" solution: you change a control in Patch mode but it will only have an effect once "picked up", that is, you need to move it close to the current active parameter value and then it locks on the value and continues to change the value. You get a visual indication as well:

With this you can avoid discontinuous parameter changes and you could even "dial in" the panel into a patch to work from there. This is already implemented in the beta version and tested. Let me know what you think!


  1. Brilliant idea, makes it way easier to modify and understand a saved patch


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