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4 4 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Very versatile, very affordable.

14th May 2018

Korg PROPHECY by BassX

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4

The Korg Prophecy, launched in 1995 with a whole bunch of features and the MOSS technology. Unfortunately now, in 2018, it is not very popular due to the menu diving which is needed to program your own sounds. And as with most synths : don't judge the Prophecy on it's presets.

I had one in 1996 and back then i found it just too hard to program so eventually i sold it. But many years later, my experience with synths had evolved since 1996, mainly thanks to owning and programming a Korg Z1 for many years. The Prophecy can be had for about $250 right now, which is pretty cheap for what you get. (the Z1 also is still very affordable)
Firstly, the Prophecy has multiple modelling oscillator types (saw, pulse, comb, VPM, mod, brass, reed, pluck, sub, noise) and also combinations of those, which can be tweaked for many very interesting sounds. Besides that, it has many ways to alter the basic oscillator wave, like PWM and a waveshaper function which can alter the waveforms a lot further than only saw or pulse. Then there is a mixer to blend all those oscillators.

Next to that it has 2 multimode filters (LPF, HPF, BPF, notch) with resonance like most modern synths. What is nice is that the resonance will not give nasty loud digital distortion when fully turned up. The filter can be routed serial or parallel and modulated with any of the 4 LFO's or 4 envelopes, and the parameters can be assigned to one of the realtime controls, which gives you a whole lot of flexibilty.

It has 4 separate envelopes and 4 separate LFO's (the LFO's have 29 different waveforms to choose from) which can be routed to 255(!) destinations. Because of that, the flexibility is pretty awesome for a VA synth, even nowadays.
The effects processor may seem limited compared to modern day synths, but it still is a welcome feature. It features effects like reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, wah wah and distortion, which all can be modulated with the LFO's or envelopes. It does have an arpeggiator but no sequencer, which is a small limitation. At first glance, it will be pretty daunting to program it, but random tweaking parameters can also be a lot of fun and can get you some nice sounds. Apart from velocity, aftertouch, the pitchwheel, modwheel and the ribbonwheel, you can also assign the 5 knobs under the screen to any of the 255 available parameters, for realtime control. (Obviously I mostly assign them to the 2 filter's cutoff and resonance.)

The downside of the Korg Prophecy is that it does take menu diving and button pushing to program it, which is why they are very cheap second hand nowadays because people mostly want 1 knob per function. And with the current amount of affordable new synths with knobs, the choice is overwhelming.
But if you have the patience and you do dive in, there is a wealth of sounds waiting to get out of the Korg Prophecy which reaches far beyond subtractive synthesis and is a great addition to any setup at an affordable price.

Here are some sound examples :

Korg prophecy

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