MATRIXSYNTH: Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Rev 2 SN 1091 w/ KENTON MIDI & Dust Cover

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Rev 2 SN 1091 w/ KENTON MIDI & Dust Cover

via this auction


As an owner of both a rev2 and two rev3s, let me just say:

1) They are most definitely different, more noticeable at certain settings..any prophet 5 is an outstanding synthesizer - no one would dispute that..
but some are more outstanding than others - it's not mojo, I spent a long time with my two synths together in my studio.

Ok, so the above still may sound subjective.

But here's something any professional will confirm:

2) There's a myth you'll see all over the internet stating that rev 2s are inherently unreliable, or that rev 3 is more stable, especially the last rev 3.3. That the rev 2 has inherent design flaws that will always make a rev 3 a more reliable choice.

This is nonsense. There were serious design flaws in every version of Prophet 5, without a thorough professional overhaul/modification every single one of them is unreliable, especially now that they are 40 years old.

I sold my rev 3 to a spares shop because it broke down 3 times in 6 months.
Properly overhauled and serviced, a rev 2 is easily as stable and reliable as any prophet 5 ever made.

Knowing this, I gave mine to Greg Montalbano, a man known in professional circles as one of (if not the number one) tech specializing in Sequential Circuits Prophets since the 1980s. Before I received my synth he rebuilt it for me, I told him to spare no expense as I wanted the best rev2 that could be built.


I can't recall everything he did, but below is a list of the most important service work performed on this instrument:

1)completely rebuilt the Power supply and installed the improved voltage rail design (this is a MUST for any prophet 5, bad power supply design /overheating is the number one killer)

2) replaced all aging caps and other components that are well past their sell by date

3) Transfer the Operating system to 2716 EPROMS - this is important to avoid software crashes / lock ups / other undesirable weird behavior and eliminates the need for -5v and +12v supplies (see 1 above)

4) Replace RAM patch memory - the rev2 uses eight 6508 RAM IC's for it's 40 patch memory. These are prone to failure and increasingly hard to find, therefore an new board was installed to replace the unreliable 6508s with two 6514s.

(THIS MEANS NO PRESET LOSS/ PRESET GARBAGE on power up - important!)

(following are parts prone to failure as he told me from his 30+ years as a tech - so I said replace them all)

4) replaced 60 pin interboard cable

5) Improved heatsinking of voltage regulators (again a measure to prevent overheating)

6) Precise tuning, scaling and calibration of all oscillators and filters - if this sounds like turning a few trimpots and checking with a tuner, it ain't!! It needs to be done properly or it can drive you insane.

7) Kenton MIDI installation - all functions tested and working perfectly

8) New keyboard bushings and set up. It has a +really+ good feel, the keys are nice and responsive, comfy to the touch and most importantly - quiet!
All old synths that use the prophet 5 keyboard mechanism suffer from a problem where the rubber under the keys volcanizes, hardens/crumbles - meaning they still play but they are as loud as an old typewriter, really unpleasant.
This one is as good as new.

9) Detachable (IEC) power cord - a regular 3 prong cable has been installed, all original prophets (like most 70s gear) had fixed power cords which were both inconvenient and unsafe by modern standards.


A prophet 5 rev2 in about as good a condition as you will ever come across.
Outside - Photos are the best I could do with my iphone, I'm really not a pro sorry. Obviously it’s in my studio as you can see and I didn’t want to unplug it and put it out in the garden to impress with an Art Deco slideshow.

But please don’t be mistaken, what look like tiny blemishes on the black top panel are actually dust.

There is some fading of the white lettering on the top panel, but this is obvious from the photos. I'm not sure it's important myself - it's as old as me and in better shape.

2) All knobs, buttons/switches are +flawless+ no noise, lag or instability/jump etc. It's perfect.

3) Tuning and scaling is +perfect+(!) obviously you follow the warm up procedure, after 15mins warm up and an autotune it will stay perfectly in tune, all oscillators across a 5 octave range tracking perfectly - thats no mean feat for any prophet. (Actually I sometimes don't even bother to auto tune it if I want a loose tuning in a song for background part!) It still detunes via the front panel of course, only you can control how much or how little.

4) The wood is absolutely beautiful, very few scratches or dings at all - looks like exactly what it is, a 40 year old synth that’s been really cared for.

Comes with a nice soft cover/dust cover from Stardust covers in Portugal.
Also comes with the original Sequential Circuits sustain pedal.
Ships in a heavy duty road case (not pictured) this synth will survive an international journey. Never ship a prophet without a flight case !"

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