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Need some advice regarding my Prophet 5 rev 2 Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 12th September 2007
Lives for gear
sleepwalker's Avatar

Need some advice regarding my Prophet 5 rev 2

Ahh.. the joys of vintage analog.

My prophet 5 stopped working a while back. Turns out it was a bad voice board. The voice board was repaired/replaced by wine country and it's back in the studio working as it did before, with one exception: It's now terribly out of tune. It's basically useless in Poly mode. Octaves don't match, a fifth ends up being a third plus change. This was extremely disappointing to me because my Pro5 was perfectly in tune before the voice board went bad. I've heard this is a problem with rev2's, but it was never a problem for me previously. I'm now at a crossroads with this machine.

1. Get it tuned at the local shop(they're the ones who mailed the voice board to Wine Country). They won't charge me for opening/closing the synth(because this should have been done when it was open), but the tuning procedure could still cost $200-400 or so.

2. Sell it :(

3. Send it to Wine Country for a full restore. The patch memory isn't working properly, so it would be cool to get this fixed. Plus, they could do the tuning and maybe replace old working chips and the battery if it makes sense to do so. This option would probably be costly, plus I'd have to mail a synth. I hate mailing synths and guitars.


I understand that only I can know the real value of this synth to me, but hopefully someone with more experience than myself can help me know what I'm getting into if I keep/restore it. I identify with the sound of this synth more so than any other in my collection, but I also have limited time and resources to devote to maintaining this one piece.


I'm leaning towards tuning it, but the other two options are certainly possible.

If I retune it, does anyone know how long I can expect the unit to stay in tune? Before the voice went bad, the tuning was good. It might not have been perfect, but if anything, the tuning was sonorous. It was playable and beautiful. Now it's unusable. I really don't mind paying to tune it if I can expect a usable synth for at least a year or two. Less than that and I'll probably opt to sell it.

Selling it is the least interesting and most practical option. It would probably go for around $1500 right now, maybe more maybe less. The Prophet 08 would be a reasonable consolation prize, but I'll bet a million dollars it won't connect the way this does.

Complete Overhaul: Well.. There's only about 1000 of these in existence and it likely won't tank in value unless the parts are literally impossible to get. Still, a complete overhaul will probably cost a lot of money and I'm already into this for $1400. Sometimes you just have to let go. Hmm...

Anyway, thanks for letting me ponder in public.
Old 12th September 2007
Lives for gear
Jazzpunk's Avatar

Try the '08 for yourself before writing it off. Could turn out you fall in love with it and have a brand new analog board minus the headaches.

If it turns out the Pro 5 is the only board for you than, by all means, get it fixed. Spending the cash will sting a little but you really can't put a price tag on inspiration.
Old 12th September 2007
Lives for gear
sleepwalker's Avatar

Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
Try the '08 for yourself before writing it off. Could turn out you fall in love with it and have a brand new analog board minus the headaches.

If it turns out the Pro 5 is the only board for you than, by all means, get it fixed. Spending the cash will sting a little but you really can't put a price tag on inspiration.
Good call, I haven't heard the 08. It's certainly intriguing. The Poly Evolver didn't do anything for me in the very limited time I spent with it at GC. The featureset of the 08 looks pretty darn perfect.
Old 12th September 2007
A definite conundrum, I have considered selling my Prophet 600 in fear that it will go down in flames on day. A friend of mine bought a Prophet 5 and sold it after discovering the problems associated with it. A definite plague carried by all Prophet 5's that I have ever come across has been the tuning problem. If you get it tuned, I wouldn't expect it to stay in tune for very long. My buddy's Oberheim needs adjusting every two weeks, he opens it up and does it himself. The perks of owning an old synth I am sure. I am sure WineCountry direct can give you the best correct information on all Prophet 5 problems.

If you are willing to pay the costs, if it's worth having your Prophet, mailing a synth is not that bad if you properly secure it. I would recommend going to your local music store and handing some $$ under the table to a clerk for a good synth box with the proper foam fittings and sending it to WineCountry. In this day and age, I think we are lucky to have WineCountry available to us at all.

My experience: Don't let an old piece of equipment hold you down for too long. There is too much competition out there. My Nordlead2 re-creates all the original Prophet-5 presets on a bank that comes in its standard memory bank. My Voyager sounds every bit like an original Moog. The Alesis Andromeda hosts some wild features like 16 part multi-timbral capability. EBay is a vintage synth shopper's dream come true. And of course, the Dave Smith Prophet 8 will be available soon.
Old 12th September 2007
Lives for gear
pulse_divider's Avatar

If I had a P5 I wanted fixed, I'd send it to Greg Montalbano in Oakland. He knows P5s inside and out. And his rates are very reasonable, unlike Wine Country.
Old 12th September 2007
Gear Maniac

is suggesting tuning yourself a horrible idea? i've luckily never had to crack my P5, but i think i've tuned every other synth i own. the learning curve sucks, but....

A) its cheap,

B) if you have to do it again, you know how. you know how bad it sucks to pay 700-800 dollars for a rebuild/resto on a synth for it to come back and start going out of tune in 3 weeks? it blows. know how to tune it yourself.
Old 12th September 2007
Lives for gear
Greg_KPX's Avatar

I concur with tuning it yourself. It's a lot cheaper in the long run and a good skill to have, and its a piece of piss once you learn how to tune your synth.

It would suck having to send it somewhere to get it tuned each time it drifts apart.
Old 12th September 2007
Lives for gear
analogbass's Avatar

Wine Country's been disappointing; over the years 2 different Prophets arrived from them with problems that they should've caught before sending. Now, they did take responsibility for the problems i have to give them credit for that but they should've done better in the first place.

Based on what you've said, you got it back from them or the tech with a problem that wasn't there before. They and/or tech should take responsibility for it, get it and make it right; i'm surprised you haven't brought this up with them.

As far as the "all vintage stuff's out of tune it's a normal thing" that's not true at all. As you've confirmed in not having this problem initially.

Aside from this, i'd say you should decide whether it's worth 200 to you to keep it. No way is the new Prophet going to sound the same-good maybe, but not the same, no.

As far as doing a full restore at higher costs, no. If you want to hold onto a Prophet 5 sell this on ebay for good money and get another, one that's free of problems. I did that.
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