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What’s so great about the Prophet 5?
Old 26th March 2020
  #31
Lives for gear
I agree with the comment above: what's the big deal about beer?! Something similar with the Prophet 5.

Here's some context. I currently own the following polysynths: ppg wave 2.3, jupiter 8, prophet 5 rev 2, oberheim ob-x (4 voice), arp rhodes chroma expander, prophet vs rack, oberheim xpander, korg trident mk1, prophet 600 gligli, and in the past, I used to have a prophet 4 rev 3, Chroma Polaris, obxa, andromeda, dreadbox abyss, polysix, juno 6/60, DSI tetra, DSI mopho x4, and I've spent a few hours with a p6 in headphones in a music store.

If I had to choose one, only one, I'd choose the Prophet 5. It sounds the best. Full stop. The ppg is the most impressive in some ways, but it can't do what analog synths do, and wavetable doesn't work in all circumstances, no matter how no digital synth has any right to be that warm and organic sounding. The Jupiter 8 is the sonic chameleon that covers the most bases, the 12db filter is gorgeous, it has the best interface, and it always damn good, if a bit polite. Trident Mk1 oscillators perhaps sound the most vintage, and its pwm and flange are incredible, but its super limited. Obx also super limited, but not as much as it might seem, and its sound is unique, and it does organic in spades. Chroma is the most flexible while also sounding great, and while people complain about the interface, so long as you have the chart in front of you, it's pretty quick and easy. The 15 filter types on the Xpander are a thing that is completely its own. Prophet VS does this glassy 3d thing that's haunting, and it has that low end grit.

But the Prophet 5 is the sound of synth, and it does this the best, better than any other. The rev 3 is likely the best overall package, as it tends to be a lot more stable. Everytime I look at my rev 2, it gets cranky in some way, something stops working, and there's these additional button presses to activate editing in various segments. If there's a diff to the rev 3 filter I used to have, I can't quite hear it from the bits of demos I recorded of the rev 3. I played a prophet 10 recently, and while I didn't have my p5 near it, I didn't remember it sounding different, but workflow just seemed so much smoother overall.

It's true that five voices is just one less than is often needed. It leads playing changing chords to have a particular sound. And the number of presets is so limited, and this leads to saving templates more than sounds, which is super annoying.

But its the sound. I can't say it blew me away in this 'scales fall from the ears' kinda way. But after having tried a ton of other synths expecting them to have something beyond it, they didn't. Its just right. That's not to say that various synths don't have the edge, even sonically, in various situations. But in terms of sound, nothing beats the p5 in as much circumstances, even the jp8, because the jp8 always sounds a bit polite and happy, while the p5 has a more serious intensity to it that works in more contexts. The rev 3, from what I can tell, is the way to go, I got lucky with the price on my rev 2, but I really don't think there's a huge difference, though I haven't compared them in person.

That said, to dip the toe, get a prophet 600 gligli. These can still be bought for 1.5k, and the $40 gligli mod is so easy anyone can install it. I still can't manage to sell my p600, despite having a p5. Why? It has 85 percent of the sound, sometimes more, depending on the patch. If I try to get the p600 to sound indistinguishable to the p5, I can often get it to mimic it on specific patches, but if I program the p600 on its own, its filter can sound a tiny bit more muffled and nasaly dark than the p5, and the p5 does sound a bit better, though not insanely so, on various sounds.

P600 has 6 over 5 voices. It has 100 programs and midi built in, which really makes a difference. The gligli mod not only fixes p600 issues, but provides so many new features. Negative envelope for filter, new lfo shapes, polyphonic glide, unison detune, arp/sequencer, extra vibrato lfo, lfo level can be set without using mod wheel. These sound like small things, but they really open up more sonic options. You can also send a slow light vibrato to a single oscillator, and this goes a long way to simulating the drifty wonky tuning of the older p5s.

Often I will sketch what I'm doing with the p600, cause it always works and sounds great, and only replace it when I'm recording for good, particularly if the synth is in the spotlight. But often its not necessary. It's possible that my p600 is an odd rev, not sure there are revisions, but the filter on this one is usable throughout its resonance curve, and the prior one I had got screamy halfway through. Perhaps it was adjusted diff, not sure, but even my prior p600 sounded amazing, only had that screaming after halfway up the resonance curve, and even though my p600 is useful above this, much of the time it's set below that, and I love resonance.

In my opinion, p600 beats any new analog hands down, though I haven't played some of the newest ones like Kijimi or MFB Synth pro, which sound pretty great. Mine's been quite reliable. Hope this helps. Best!
Old 26th March 2020
  #32
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WozNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Syc View Post

Whats so great about a Prophet 5?
My opinion is, if you have to ask, why are you willing to drop 5K on it?
Old 26th March 2020
  #33
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xanax's Avatar
I think it's a valid question. I've never heard a P5 in real life, and no youtube demo has got me really thinking OMG i need this synth/sound in my life.. yet we all know it is revered as the holy grail of poly synths alongside the Jupiter-8, CS-80 & OB-XA/OB-8 etc. And it's actually the most affordable of the lot. I've gone back & forth numerous times on wether to pull the trigger on one but now that the Prophet-6 / OB-6 have been out, my GAS goes towards those. I know.. they're missing that elusive vintage mojo, but synth techs are also getting rare and that personally stresses me out (to the point i might just sell all my vintage gear). Then again the physical beauty of the originals and classic sound 'straight out the box' can't be denied. $5K by the way seems rather low, is that really accurate street price in the US? they are more around 6-7K euros here in europe for a serviced unit.
Old 26th March 2020
  #34
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Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
What's so great about beer?
It's great for rinsing your hair!
Old 27th March 2020
  #35
Gear Nut
 
darkDNA's Avatar
 

Yes it’s worth it IMO. I have a few vintage analog polysynths including a P5 r3 and it really is a great synth. As has been said already in this thread it does EVERYTHING well in terms of bass, lead, fx, soundscapes etc. Evokes a wonderful emotion and has almost every feature you would want from a vintage analog poly (one extra voice would be nice). The envelopes are great and it always just works, it’s a pleasure every time I fire it up. If that isn’t enough, you say it’s your dream synth... you only live once, buy one for 5k while you still can.

D.
Old 27th March 2020
  #36
Personally speaking vintage synths don't worth their price tag compared to actual value (same goes to some modern synths like P-6). The Prophet 5 though is a great synth, one of the most unreliable of them all but sound wise it's out of this world and I dig the look. I think of a musical instrument as a tool and I wouldn't buy a new instrument unless it's a bargain.

say I had given 5k to spend on new equipment, I'd only buy new stuff.. but if I was limited to vintage equipment I'd definitely go for a Hammond, or a Wurlitzer or some electro mechanical keyboard that's harder to copy with VST (no physical Leslie = no half of the sound). AFAIK P-5 emulations are amazing...
Old 27th March 2020
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle View Post
and in the past, I used to have a prophet 4 rev 3, Chroma Polaris, obxa, andromeda, dreadbox abyss, polysix, juno 6/60, DSI tetra, DSI mopho x4, and I've spent a few hours with a p6 in headphones in a music store.
Amazing collection. You kept the big legends but do you regret any of those synths you let go?

I never owned a P5 but it's usually been considered the best all-rounder. Back in the day the oberheims were favored by rock bands, Roland was big with synth pop, the Prophet was all over.
Old 27th March 2020
  #38
Lives for snowflakes
 
12ax7's Avatar
 

Somehow, the Prophet-5 just seems to "play well" with other instruments:
Old 27th March 2020
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
Somehow, the Prophet-5 just seems to "play well" with other instruments
Right.
Old 28th March 2020
  #40
Gear Addict
 

the thing about a p5 is that when you finally play one you'll know what you were missing all along. and go "ahhhhhhh" and get goosebumps when you hit just that sweet magical place over and over again.

like a real strat through a good amp.

or a good beer on a summer day.

if you can't hear a difference in demos, listen harder. it's not subtle.

I could into technicals, but...like I said, first listen harder.

there's a reason it's been loved and adored across every genre you can think of for decades.

a question like this is, sorry to say it, a very stupid one. like "what's so great about an api 2500?!" or "what's so great about a Stratocaster?!!" or "Why do people love SSL channels?!"

it belies a serious lack of knowledge about and experience with the topic at hand, and a kind of deliberate superficiality proudly flaunted as superiority.
Old 28th March 2020
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonrider View Post
the thing about a p5 is that when you finally play one you'll know what you were missing all along. and go "ahhhhhhh" and get goosebumps when you hit just that sweet magical place over and over again.

a question like this is, sorry to say it, a very stupid one. like "what's so great about an api 2500?!" or "what's so great about a Stratocaster?!!" or "Why do people love SSL channels?!"

it belies a serious lack of knowledge about and experience with the topic at hand, and a kind of deliberate superficiality proudly flaunted as superiority.
I'm glad you're into the P5 so much. I am too, utterly. But considering how excited the OP is about the prospect of owning one, and asking, over the course of this thread for others to share their enthusiasm for and experiences of the Prophet, I think it's possible you've misinterpreted the tone of his question. He's one of us, I promise!
Old 28th March 2020
  #42
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
I think 5K AUS $ is a fair price for a synth of it's calibre and history, it's absolutely gorgeous to look at and could be the foundation for a hundreds of tracks, add a couple of mono's like an SH101 and Mini Moog and you've got yourself some of the most powerful synth action on the planet.
Old 28th March 2020
  #43
Gear Nut
 

If you do pick one up, I also recommend a rev3 over a rev2 based on me having restored/owning both. The Rev2 does sound better and has a cool factor to it being more rare, but the cost of upkeep is much higher.

The SSM chips in the rev2 are extremely expensive and hard to come by. They also don't seem as robust as the CEM chips found in the rev3. Also, the AS repo CEM chips seem to do a pretty good job if you don't want to fork out for OG chips.

The OS is also much more refined/better in the Rev3.

Only get a Rev1/2 if you know how to fix it yourself. Not too many techs like them.
Old 28th March 2020
  #44
Gear Nut
 
Mr. Syc's Avatar
 

Ya, I figure a rev 3 either with factory midi or I can either look at mod options or perhaps wait for a modded one to pop up. Seems a little safer and utilitarian. I got a monopoly, poly6 and 1oh1 all midi’d Up, pretty clutch
I definitely hear it haha, oh yes, I hear it
Just had my first setback today though. I’ve been wanting a drumtraks for a while but the prices have been higher then I’m willing to pay. When a new one pops up on reverb I still throw them my low offer just on the off hand someone bites, doesn’t hurt right? Well, guy took my offer, so I got that coming with the money I started saving. I’m weak.. but now I’ve got more focus, im gonna make it happen!
Old 28th March 2020
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Syc View Post
Ya, I figure a rev 3 either with factory midi or I can either look at mod options or perhaps wait for a modded one to pop up. Seems a little safer and utilitarian. I got a monopoly, poly6 and 1oh1 all midi’d Up, pretty clutch
I definitely hear it haha, oh yes, I hear it
Just had my first setback today though. I’ve been wanting a drumtraks for a while but the prices have been higher then I’m willing to pay. When a new one pops up on reverb I still throw them my low offer just on the off hand someone bites, doesn’t hurt right? Well, guy took my offer, so I got that coming with the money I started saving. I’m weak.. but now I’ve got more focus, im gonna make it happen!
Ha! Out of the frying pan. I bought a Drumtraks only a few months back. We all understand the curse.

Re: P5 - most I see on Reverb etc have been MIDI'd, seems more common to find those than not. The one I've got here is MIDI'd and that makes the world of difference. Besides clanking like a plastic cat, and looking like the mouth of an English dentist, there are a few rough keys in the keyboard that don't like to be hassled.
Old 28th March 2020
  #46
Lives for gear
Clacky keys means it just needs new bushings.
That’s an easy fix and well worth it.
Keys will be straight and feel good.

I’m a SCI nut.

P5 , P1 , VS , 2002 , 440, DrumTraks, Tom and ProFX

The P5 is a lovely machine that never disappoints me.
My Rev 3.3 has never let me down fault wise (and I’ve taken to countless jams and gigs)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumblepig View Post
Ha! Out of the frying pan. I bought a Drumtraks only a few months back. We all understand the curse.

Re: P5 - most I see on Reverb etc have been MIDI'd, seems more common to find those than not. The one I've got here is MIDI'd and that makes the world of difference. Besides clanking like a plastic cat, and looking like the mouth of an English dentist, there are a few rough keys in the keyboard that don't like to be hassled.
Old 28th March 2020
  #47
Gear Maniac
 
Stolle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt View Post
Right.
Thanks for posting that. I had half forgotten about them. That is the sound of my childhood. So good!
Old 28th March 2020
  #48
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
It has foam.
I could emulate some "foam" for you but you'd probably say it wasn't the "same"..!
Old 28th March 2020
  #49
Lives for snowflakes
 
12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noddyspuncture View Post
I could emulate some "foam" for you but you'd probably say it wasn't the "same"..!
There's an app for that.
Old 28th March 2020
  #50
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cramseur's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonrider View Post
the thing about a p5 is that when you finally play one you'll know what you were missing all along. and go "ahhhhhhh" and get goosebumps when you hit just that sweet magical place over and over again.
That is how I felt when I got the Minimoog Reissue. "Ahhhh - Finally, that's it!!"
Old 28th March 2020
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Futureman84 View Post
Clacky keys means it just needs new bushings.
That’s an easy fix and well worth it.
Keys will be straight and feel good.

I’m a SCI nut.

P5 , P1 , VS , 2002 , 440, DrumTraks, Tom and ProFX

The P5 is a lovely machine that never disappoints me.
My Rev 3.3 has never let me down fault wise (and I’ve taken to countless jams and gigs)
The day this thread was first posted coincided with me taking the P5 off the "to be repaired" shelf. We've been planning to take the 5 in to Greg M in Oakland for a while, to get various this and thats fixed. Considering the age of the synth and how much I've used it in the last five years, it's holding up quite well. Anyway, the trip to the repair shop has always been tricky to coordinate, as I'm in Berlin half the time. I rushed back to California last week to be with my gf, but obviously, for the C-19 foreseeable, we'll not be able to make the Oakland run. The Prophet still works fine for recording, it's just a bit touchy here and there.

Bit of trivia - the P5 we have belonged to Terry Riley and was one of the two he used on his "Song For The Ten Voices of the Two Prophets" album. I've not met Terry, but was planning to see him in Berlin, as he was booked to play two nights before I was originally going to fly home.

I didn't realize I'd become an SCI/SC nut either, but this is my second P5. I'm also on my second Pro One and have a Prophet 6, an Evolver and now the Drumtraks. It's those damn fonts, right?
Old 28th March 2020
  #52
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Westlaker's Avatar
@ Grumblepig : do you have thoughts on the rev 2 vs. rev 3 question?

Mine's a rev 3, and I really am perfectly happy with it, but I used to own a Polysix and that SSM filter was just gorgeous. I can only imagine how glorious an SSM Prophet would be.

Do people think the Prophet 6 captures some of that rev 2 vibe?
Old 28th March 2020
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westlaker View Post
@ Grumblepig : do you have thoughts on the rev 2 vs. rev 3 question?

Mine's a rev 3, and I really am perfectly happy with it, but I used to own a Polysix and that SSM filter was just gorgeous. I can only imagine how glorious an SSM Prophet would be.

Do people think the Prophet 6 captures some of that rev 2 vibe?
My first P5 was a rev 2, but honestly, I have no way to compare it with the rev 3 sitting next to me. I was 20 when I got that first Prophet and I recorded it mainly to 4-track cassette. All I knew was that it sounded like a Prophet 5, cos it was! I did bring it to my first proper studio session (Future Tape Op publisher John Botch brought me out of my basement studio and into his!), but again, the circumstances of the recording were a big part of how everything sounded. Fostex 8-track, 1/4" tape, and probably lots of Aural Exciter on everything!

I still have the same PolySix as I did back then, by the way. The two complimented each other, but I'm as oblivious to which filter chip is which as I've ever been.

Maybe this will be of interest, but I'll share a couple relevant tracks. One, "Rain Rain," is from my teenage basement days, recorded on 4-track and featuring P5 (rev 2), PolySix (for the choir sound) and Pro One on bass.

The other track is a contemporary thing, and had been all Prophet 6 until last week. I've started augmenting it with the P5, which brought a bit of toughness the track didn't have before. (There's a single string note from the Behringer VC430, but otherwise all Prophets...) Weirdly, the subject of this second song is about trying to get from Berlin back to my girlfriend, but was written before C-19 put me on a sudden flight home...
Old 28th March 2020
  #54
Gear Nut
 
Mr. Syc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futureman84 View Post
I’m a SCI nut.

P5 , P1 , VS , 2002 , 440, DrumTraks, Tom and ProFX
Curious which (drumtraks vs. Tom) you prefer? I couldn’t find as much user info as I would have liked but I opted for the Drumtraks for the shuffle
Old 28th March 2020
  #55
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Westlaker's Avatar
Thanks for sharing, Grumblepig. Great vibe on those tracks.
Old 28th March 2020
  #56
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futureman84 View Post
Clacky keys means it just needs new bushings.
That’s an easy fix and well worth it.
Keys will be straight and feel good.

I’m a SCI nut.

P5 , P1 , VS , 2002 , 440, DrumTraks, Tom and ProFX

The P5 is a lovely machine that never disappoints me.
My Rev 3.3 has never let me down fault wise (and I’ve taken to countless jams and gigs)
This ^^ my Pro One and P5 keybeds have both been rebushed and work really well - the Pro One is nothing to write home about, but it doesn't clack or double trigger and is perfectly good for daily use.
Old 28th March 2020
  #57
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xanax's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westlaker View Post
Do people think the Prophet 6 captures some of that rev 2 vibe?
I dunno... but Sakamoto seems to think so:



Jamiroquai's synth player makes it fit pretty nicely alongside OB-XA:

Old 28th March 2020
  #58
Lives for snowflakes
 
12ax7's Avatar
 

The Prophet-5 was a remarkable synth for overdubs.

The Prophet-10 did NOT sound the same.
Old 28th March 2020
  #59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Futureman84 View Post
Clacky keys means it just needs new bushings.
That’s an easy fix and well worth it.
Keys will be straight and feel good.

I’m a SCI nut.

P5 , P1 , VS , 2002 , 440, DrumTraks, Tom and ProFX

The P5 is a lovely machine that never disappoints me.
My Rev 3.3 has never let me down fault wise (and I’ve taken to countless jams and gigs)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumblepig View Post
I didn't realize I'd become an SCI/SC nut either, but this is my second P5. I'm also on my second Pro One and have a Prophet 6, an Evolver and now the Drumtraks. It's those damn fonts, right?

fellow vintage Sequential fan here.

have Prophet VS-rack hybrid, 2002+ sampler, and my old Prophet 5 rev2 is finally coming back from service next week from Germany (god willing with all the c19 chaos that DHL still works). had complete overhaul done by Stefan Huebner, including new optimized psu, and Kenton midi kit installed.

during my career i recorded with Rev3 several times, so i am pretty familiar with its sound, including sessions with Rev3 and P600 just last summer. and this fall i played both Rev3 and Rev2 one next to each other at a friend's studio (Roginator).

i wont go into micro detail, but suffice to say filters do work different, rev3 is edgier and resonance woody and drier, and well.. its a Curtis. SSM is silkier, and has wider bandwidth. its resonance is more liquid but really goes overboard with self oscillation.

oscillator "vintage jitter" is much more apparent on rev2, as if it has chorus built in only better. when you full open a saw wave, buzz is different btwn them. nicer on rev2, more agrro on rev3. typical 3340 sound, just in one of its more organic incarnations (only machine that sounds as good with 3340 is OBXa imo).

open sounds on rev3 encapsulate synth pop era pretty well, with all the brassy and sparkly presence range. its dark pads are carpenter-ish, menacing, sad, postpunk. rev2 pads are more late seventies, very organic. bass is bigger on rev3, but rounder on rev2. actually dont know how to define rev2 sound, it is very special and there aren't any other machines that sound like it so its hard. like the rev3, its not end all be all, but lets say there are many things it does just magnificently.

it will suffice to say, while they both sound like a "Prophet 5", difference in their character and texture is substantial and interesting enough to me, for different applications, that i have tried to get a hold of rev3 as well, for last cpl of years. wasn't too succesful in this plan, and price hikes made me practically give up on it, but we'll see..

Last edited by clusterchord; 2 weeks ago at 11:48 AM..
Old 28th March 2020
  #60
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Syc View Post
Curious which (drumtraks vs. Tom) you prefer? I couldn’t find as much user info as I would have liked but I opted for the Drumtraks for the shuffle
The Drumtraks is a duller / woolier machine sonically.
More inline with a LinnDrum / DMX but programmable pitch and volume.

The TOM is brash and more aggressive .. only 4 voices can be played at a time.

Both great machines but the DT is the more pro feeling one.. think 909 vs 707

I like them both but the DT has made it to more tracks so it wins.

Did this track a decade ago.. DT on sole drum duties.

Think the bell sound might even be SCI SixTrak

https://youtu.be/Y3jL7TjMsg8
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