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SCI Prophet-T8 - the most underrated synthesizer in the world?
Old 17th February 2018
  #1
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Firechild's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
SCI Prophet-T8 - the most underrated synthesizer in the world?

Reading the T8 specs it should be one of THE best synthesizers in the world but seeing a lot of comments about it being a "Prophet 600 with a better keybed" I have been a bit sceptical to it but some day sooner or later I have to try it out so the one day came and I took the plunge...
After reading some more details regarding the inside there are very important differences compared to the Prophet 600, for example an additional 16bit Z8002 CPU for handling the software envelopes and LFO´s. Making them faster and smoother.
The P600 has one single 8bit Z80 for everything.
The T8 has also Dual and split mode and THE best keybed in the world. With velocity and polyphonic aftertouch you will easily be in Yamaha CS-80 territory and beyond within seconds. Polyphonic aftertouch is supported over MIDI as well despite some rumours it is not. The T8 is using MPE for poly AT. Sending each voice on a different MIDI channel so if you want to hook up a T8 to a modern MPE device like the Deckard´s Dream just make sure you send on MIDI channels 2-9 as CH1 is dedicated for global controllers as pitchbend in the modern MPE standard.

Here is a track using 100% T8 sounds. The first half of the song is not even multitracked but a beautiful brass kind of sound in DUAL mode. Same sound in both layers for a stereo effect Hope you like it
One of the most organic and expressive synthesizer ever built I would say.

Last edited by Firechild; 17th February 2018 at 01:35 PM..
Old 17th February 2018
  #2
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sounds great... but T8 prices do not reflect that it is underrated.

I’m starting to think the Prophet 600 Gligli is the most underrated synth.

I just picked one up for $1200. It also adds velocity, and a pitch LFO, exp/lin envelopes, extra gain in the mixers, wider LFO range etc. I’m programming it with an iPad app.

I wish poly aftertouch had become as ubiquitous as velocity.
Old 17th February 2018
  #3
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Funny thing about synthesizers, why are all the best ones made in the past.. ?

shouldn't they be getting better and better..?
Old 17th February 2018
  #4
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
B8 on the way folks...
Old 17th February 2018
  #5
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Not sure its underrated,
underrepresented absolutely.
Sales of these monster keybed synths were very low, anyone buying them then were using them live, or for a few studios.. the home enthisiast was non existant at that price level then..

So it was road crew and/or bust......bust your back or the road crew would bust your synth..
Old 17th February 2018
  #6
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manalishi's Avatar
Saw one for sale in Tokyo, but it wasn't playable. And the thought of trying to ship that monster back to England scared me sensible. Unfortunately. :-/

How about a hands-on summary of what in the T8 is significantly more useful against the P5?
Old 17th February 2018
  #7
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Arglebargle's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The T8 was Joe Zawinul's synth of choice for many years. Lots of his later shows featured it with a Korg Prophecy on top, and another stand with an M1 and a red keyboard (Waldorf? Nord?). Fiddled with one at Switched On, and it felt and sounded great. Even as a drummer, I could tell.
Old 17th February 2018 | Show parent
  #8
RDP
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Sounds great... but T8 prices do not reflect that it is underrated.

I’m starting to think the Prophet 600 Gligli is the most underrated synth.

I just picked one up for $1200. It also adds velocity, and a pitch LFO, exp/lin envelopes, extra gain in the mixers, wider LFO range etc. I’m programming it with an iPad app.

I wish poly aftertouch had become as ubiquitous as velocity.
Which APP are you using? I use a Peavey 1600x to expand the new controls.


RDP
Old 18th February 2018 | Show parent
  #9
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDP View Post
Which APP are you using? I use a Peavey 1600x to expand the new controls.


RDP
Midi Designer. It’s really nice.
Old 18th February 2018 | Show parent
  #10
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Sounds great... but T8 prices do not reflect that it is underrated.

I’m starting to think the Prophet 600 Gligli is the most underrated synth.

I just picked one up for $1200. It also adds velocity, and a pitch LFO, exp/lin envelopes, extra gain in the mixers, wider LFO range etc. I’m programming it with an iPad app.

I wish poly aftertouch had become as ubiquitous as velocity.
Yeah, I wouldn't call the T8 underrated at all. The P600 Gligli is for sure. It's been a sleeper for a while, but the Gligli added features really elevate it.
Old 18th February 2018 | Show parent
  #11
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthstrategy View Post
Not sure its underrated,
underrepresented absolutely.
Sales of these monster keybed synths were very low, anyone buying them then were using them live, or for a few studios.. the home enthisiast was non existant at that price level then..

So it was road crew and/or bust......bust your back or the road crew would bust your synth..
There's a guy on reverb that's been trying to sell his for a while, but the shipping alone is over $3000
Old 18th February 2018
  #12
RDP
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I could walk out today and buy from a local store a used T-8, but the condition does not match the asking price in my opinion. If you want to throw your cash at it be my guest:

Quote:
Sequential Circuits/prophet-T8【中古】【Vintage】



フル タッチセンス ピアノ アクションのスーパー シンセ

RDP
Old 18th February 2018 | Show parent
  #13
RDP
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Midi Designer. It’s really nice.
Thanks, my midi designer was a freemium version, not about to buy outright the new version just yet, but will try to track down the template to preview. Thanks again.

RDP
Old 18th February 2018
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Always wanted one, but i was told that the filter design was rather tweezy in relation to other SCIs of the era. but it's hearsay
Old 18th February 2018
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
I had a Saturday job at The London Rock Shop in the UK back around 1983 and got to play / demo everything that was coming out. As I remember the SCI Sixtrak and Roland JX3p had just come out - first time I had seen synths with MIDI sockets - and the Prophet 5 / Jupiter 8 were kings even back then though way out of my price range, even at the trade price. The DX7 was the new kid - genuinely the first time you gig with a half decent piano / rhodes sound without taking the real thing.

Anyway - I digress - the T8 to me was the greatest synth in the shop. Beautiful touch-sensitive weighted keys with aftertouch and the prophet sound, built like a tank, the thing was in another league. The DX7 stole its thunder with genuinely new sounds (even though the mysteries of fm synthesis made it effectively a preset machine for most mere mortals).

I have never got to own a T8, but it remains my dream machine even today.

The other one I lusted after - though we never got one to sell - was the prophet 10. We never got a fairlight in either.
Old 12th May 2018 | Show parent
  #16
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWiggly View Post
I had a Saturday job at The London Rock Shop in the UK back around 1983 and got to play / demo everything that was coming out. As I remember the SCI Sixtrak and Roland JX3p had just come out - first time I had seen synths with MIDI sockets - and the Prophet 5 / Jupiter 8 were kings even back then though way out of my price range, even at the trade price. The DX7 was the new kid - genuinely the first time you gig with a half decent piano / rhodes sound without taking the real thing.

Anyway - I digress - the T8 to me was the greatest synth in the shop. Beautiful touch-sensitive weighted keys with aftertouch and the prophet sound, built like a tank, the thing was in another league. The DX7 stole its thunder with genuinely new sounds (even though the mysteries of fm synthesis made it effectively a preset machine for most mere mortals).

I have never got to own a T8, but it remains my dream machine even today.

The other one I lusted after - though we never got one to sell - was the prophet 10. We never got a fairlight in either.
Prophet 10 was said to be unreliable.
I have a T8 still. The keyboard IS great. There are a lot of touch-related modulation capabilities, including using release velocity to control release times. The polyphonic aftertouch is great, and it does transmit out as Channel aftertouch (except in 8-channel Mono mode, where you can deal with that in your DAW...)
I sold my Prophet 5 and kept the T8. Why? Virtual P5's for one thing. The unique and classy quality of the T8 build for another. Its keyboard feel. Real wood. Real hammers. I am playing it more in recent months than I have in years. But I wouldn't pay $12k for one.
Old 14th May 2018 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
Funny thing about synthesizers, why are all the best ones made in the past.. ?

shouldn't they be getting better and better..?

Because hindsight is 20/20, it makes it easier to see the dumbing down and stripping out of desirable features.
Old 14th May 2018 | Show parent
  #18
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daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by felis View Post
Because hindsight is 20/20, it makes it easier to see the dumbing down and stripping out of desirable features.
"Desirable" varies with the user; I wouldn't necessarily call it a dumbing-down. Most of the T8 features (minus keyboard split, poly aftertouch) can be accomplished with a Prophet-600 Gligli unit, which makes the T8 a very expensive controller.
Old 14th May 2018
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Also, things don't begin to get 'good' until 20 years down the line. When I bought my Nord Lead 2 in 1997 (one of the few synths I actually bought new) there was a lot of flak about virtual analogs being cold and not the real thing, but come 2017 and people started talking about the AN-1x in glorious terms, the Alesis Ion is praised for its sound, the Nord Lead is a classic etc. So synths are getting better all the time ... it just takes 20 years to get there ...

One thing though is that if anyone brought out a synth today with a T8 style keyboard, it would be very expensive, and you'd have to have a synth architecture to match to motivate the cost, not just a typical "Two VCOs - VCF - VCA with two envelopes and an LFO". So you'd end up with a complex, non-intuitive machine that doesn't have the same 'play me and twiddle me' character as the T8.
Old 14th May 2018
  #20
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FabGear's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'd hesitate to call the T8 the best Synth ever. It's main claim is having the best Keyboard ever put on a Synth. Purely as a Synth the Rhodes Chroma goes much deeper and also has a nice Keyboard. There are so many others which are better as Synths. Even with the acclaimed Poly-Mod the T8 lacks basic functions like VCA Modulation and Sample and Hold/Random LFO. The Pitchbend only has a non-adjustable range of about a third when many other Synths are adjustable at least to an octave or less than a third. The T8 has software Envelopes which some users find less desirable than the hardware variety. Aside from these points the T8 sounds very good and is capable of a wide range of tones which should meet the basic PolySynth needs of most users along with being a great MIDI controller.

Putting a weighted Piano-style Keyboard on a Synth is kind of an overkill situation which was instituted in the formative years of Polyphonic Synths when there was a perception that they would become a serious Piano players' alternative instrument which outside of some early experimentation by few Jazz players never really happened. As it turned out Synths are now usually relegated to sequenced background parts and pads for which the actual physical Keyboard is relatively unimportant.
Old 14th May 2018
  #21
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carlheinz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Former T8 owner:

The best part about the T8 is you could stack another keyboard on top since it was flat..... and you could layer 2 programs on one note and pan them stereo.The poly pressure on T-8 seemed to not do as much compared to how it was implemented on a CS-80.A fine keyboard but there are other options soundwise that work better for me in terms of what I want from a synth
Old 15th May 2018
  #22
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_ADSR_'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
My dream synth for sure.

If there was a keyboard that could use a good in-depth demo, this is it.

hint, hint
Old 15th May 2018
  #23
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I agree with @ FabGear that the Chroma (especially if it has the poly aftertouch and CC+ upgrades) is probably one of the best sounding, most expressive, and decidedly underrated polysynths ever. Prices for working Chromas are still within a mere motrals means, especially compared to it's contemporaries like the Prophet-5, Jupiter-8, CS-80, MemoryMoog, and Prophet-T8. The only thing that would draw me away from a Chroma is a PS-3100 (and that thing is a whole other kettle of fish!).

Another perspective: You can buy a Chroma for the $$$ people want for a CS-60 (and in some cases CS-50's too).
Old 15th May 2018
  #24
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I was not very impressed by the Prophet-8T when I had one. Most annoyingly was that the two layers were treaded as single synths and programs could not be exchanged easily. The keyboard was a joy to play but the synth engine with the sluggish software envelopes did not match the keys. If you have velocity sensitive keys you want fast attacks and dynamics. I thought, triggering my Nord Lead was much more fun. BTW, it was almost impossible to use the propriety polyphonic aftertouch with other synths. Other than that, it was fun to have knobs for everything and somehow I feel that the Prophet-12 has quite some cues from the 8T, like the knob for velocity.

I personally hold other synths higher than the 8T, but hey, everyone ticks different.
Old 15th May 2018
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
A T8 with a Matrixbrute sitting on top.

A T8 with a Minimoog model D sitting on top.

Hmmmm, all the synth you'd need would be right there, basses, leads, pads, etc. Then you could also use the T8's keyboard to play a midi piano module as well. Cool options. Expensive options, but cool none-the-less.

A long time ago, I went to an analog synthesizer convention that was held somewhere in Indiana. It was one of the best trips I've ever been on because I was able to see, touch, and play analog synths in person that I had only seen photos of on the Internet prior. I had a chance to play with a big modular, Moog Prodigy, TR808, and a T8 for the first time ever!!!

My experience with the T8 was wonderful during the few minutes I played it. It was the first Sequential synth I've ever touched, let alone played. I was definitely surprised by the piano-style weighted keybed. Although I wasn't used to it (because I wasn't a piano player), it was very nice and expressive. The sound was AMAZING!!!! I know some of you with experience with both the P5 and T8 would rate the P5 over the T8 when it comes to the actual sound of the synth itself. All I can say is, if the T8 sounds this good based on my experience, I can only imagine how good the P5 sounds. I'm glad and thankful I was able to have a chance to play a T8. It's definitely one of those rare synths that you don't get to see too often if ever.

By the way, I could definitely appreciate the weighted keybed more today since I've been playing keys in bands over the few recent years. I wouldn't dare gig a T8 though (if I owned one) because of it's size and rarity. It would be exclusively a studio piece only.

Last edited by kvmoore; 15th May 2018 at 02:38 AM..
Old 15th May 2018 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviddever View Post
"Desirable" varies with the user; I wouldn't necessarily call it a dumbing-down. Most of the T8 features (minus keyboard split, poly aftertouch) can be accomplished with a Prophet-600 Gligli unit, which makes the T8 a very expensive controller.
I would be satisfied with a T8 as a controller - without any synth engine at all.
YMMV
Old 15th May 2018 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by raffor View Post
I was not very impressed by the Prophet-8T when I had one. Most annoyingly was that the two layers were treaded as single synths and programs could not be exchanged easily. The keyboard was a joy to play but the synth engine with the sluggish software envelopes did not match the keys. If you have velocity sensitive keys you want fast attacks and dynamics. I thought, triggering my Nord Lead was much more fun. BTW, it was almost impossible to use the propriety polyphonic aftertouch with other synths. Other than that, it was fun to have knobs for everything and somehow I feel that the Prophet-12 has quite some cues from the 8T, like the knob for velocity.

I personally hold other synths higher than the 8T, but hey, everyone ticks different.
Agreed.
Also:
For me it’s a Horrible synth and also buggy . And Just as annoying sounding as the Jupiter 8. I’d rather have a nord or something.
Old 15th May 2018 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by orwell View Post
Agreed.
Also:
For me it’s a Horrible synth and also buggy . And Just as annoying sounding as the Jupiter 8. I’d rather have a nord or something.
Imagine what the GAS for it was like around 1983 though - there was nothing to touch it. Things have progressed a little since then, with a couple of new synths and small improvements in tech coming onto the market... :-)
Old 15th May 2018
  #29
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_ADSR_'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years




I like these demo's. Someday I'll have one.
Old 17th May 2018 | Show parent
  #30
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Firechild's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by felis View Post
I would be satisfied with a T8 as a controller - without any synth engine at all.
YMMV
YES! I use my T8 as my Masterkeyboard in the studio.
The T8 is actually using MPE for its polyphonic aftertouch. It is sending out each voice on a separate channel, 1-8 as default but MPE is using ch 2-9 and ch 1 for global messages.
You have to do the following two steps after powering up to be able to play your MPE compatible synths like the Deckards Dream or softsynths.
1. Put the T8 in MONO mode
Hold RECORD + 6
2. Make it send on channels 2-9
Press LEFT + 2.
Thats it.
Pitchbend will not work correctly but Modulation wheel will. Just use another hardwarecontroller for pitchwheel.
(Pro Tools users beware...Pro Tools can´t handle multichannel MIDI/MPE on one track...very sad, it is like 1985 basic feature....)

I am also able to control synths with normal Polyphonic Aftertouch on the same channel as I am using a script in Reaper to convert the T8 "MPE" MIDI info to standard one channel poly at.
The best Keyboard feeling in the world, a bit lighter than a grand piano but heavier than standard synthkeys.
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