Growing up in a small Northern California town where most bands played Reggae, Country, or College Rock was challenging for synth player and electronic musician James Terris. His very first synth was a Sequential Circuits Six-Trak sequenced from a Commodore 64, which he used to hone his skills as a composer, synthesist, and sound designer. In 1994 an unexpected turn of events led him to join and help develop the successful tribute act, Super Diamond. While not exactly a foreseen career, it proved to be an enjoyable and lucrative project that tours nationally to this day. James has kept his love of electronic music alive through musical side projects, working as a sound designer, and by occasionally supporting classic 80’s artists such as Howard Jones, Curt Smith (Tears For Fears), Dave Wakeling, Naked Eyes, and more. He has contributed sounds for many of DSI’s products, including the Pro 2.
His most recent collaboration is with San Francisco-based artists, Emanate on the MIOLI Music label. The debut track, “Let it Ride,” features a variety of Pro 2 sounds produced almost entirely by a single, complex patch. “I set up the Pro 2 patch to be incredibly versatile, utilizing its extensive modulation matrix. I treated it the same way I would if I were using macros in Ableton Live. One slider or wheel can drastically morph several parameters of the sound. That, combined with the Pro 2’s four delays and paraphonc mode, give the effect of several patches or synths playing at once — and all that can be achieved and recreated live! It’s such a deep and versatile instrument.”
We chatted with James about how he’s using the Pro 2.
James, what made you choose the Pro 2?
“I’ve beta tested and programmed sounds for many of DSI’s synths and though, unfortunately, I can’t keep everything, I instantly fell in love with the Pro 2 for many reasons — size and bang for buck were the top two. There are so many features packed into this small synth, but its panel layout doesn’t feel cramped. Another big sell for me was its control voltage options. I have a lot of vintage analog gear and having a cool, modern sequencer to interface with all of that is great.”
How are you using it?
“Surprisingly, my favorite use is the paraphonic mode, either playing chords or triggering it via the sequencer or arpeggiator. I found that tuning each oscillator to a different pitch and waveform yields interesting results.”
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“Again, I love the paraphonic mode. I don’t have anything else that does that except for my Solina.”
What does it give you that other synths might not?
“Integration with my analog modular gear and a great modulation matrix, which gives it the ability to completely alter sounds with the touch of a slider or wheel. Also, the Pro 2 can sound very digital and in the next breath, convincingly vintage analog.”
Any interesting Pro 2 tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“I love tuning the oscillators to a chord and choosing different waveforms. In paraphonic mode this creates a cool stepping-through-the-oscillators effect, much like a wavetable synth.”
Check out James Terris’ website here.
MORE ABOUT THE PRO 2
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