MATRIXSYNTH: Sequential Re-Introduces the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 Synthesizers

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Sequential Re-Introduces the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 Synthesizers

"The new Prophet-5 is Dave Smith's return to the analog poly synth that changed the world. It embodies all three revisions of the legendary synth — Rev1, Rev2, Rev3 — and now, the Rev4. History never sounded better.

Soundtrack exclusively by Prophet-5. Yes, even the drums."

Both models will be available in October. The Prophet-5 has a US MAP of $3,499. The Prophet-10 has a US MAP of $4,299. Note there is an additional video demo by INHALT further below.

And the press release (pics below):

"Sequential Reintroduces the Prophet®-5, the Synth that Revolutionized an Industry

San Francisco, CA—Oct 1, 2020—After months of clandestine development, Sequential today announced the reintroduction of its most famous and beloved instrument: the Prophet-5. Timed to coincide with founder Dave Smith’s 70th year, the instrument revisits a landmark era in American analog synthesizer design and marks an authentic and authoritative return to roots for the legendary pioneer of electronic instruments.

“It’s not often that you get to revisit your past, retrieve some of its magic, and give it new life,” said Dave Smith. “The Prophet-5 was one of the most exciting instruments to appear in an equally exciting time for music and technology. It’s gratifying to rediscover that its sound and aesthetics are just as appealing now as they were then.”

Faithful to the original, the new Prophet-5 features five voices with two multi-waveform analog oscillators, resonant analog low-pass filters and amplifiers, and a filter and amplifier envelope per voice. Modulation is provided by a multi-waveshape LFO and Poly Mod, a ground-breaking modulation scheme for its time that allowed the filter envelope and oscillator B to be routed to a variety of destinations including filter cutoff frequency, oscillator A frequency, and oscillator A pulse width.

The new Prophet-5 features original, genuine Curtis VCOs and filters as used in the Prophet-5 Rev3, as well as the Dave Rossum-designed SSI 2140 filter, the modern counterpart of the original SSM 2040 Rossum designed in the Prophet-5 Rev1 and Rev2. “We made the new Prophet-5 the best of all Prophets by embodying all three revisions of the original. We did this by adding a Rev switch to the front panel, so you can choose your preferred filter.”

Smith continued, “We also researched what made the original P-5 sound the way it did — organic and alive — and found that a lot of that desirable character was due to fluctuations and differences in the response times and frequencies of the individual oscillators, filters, and envelopes from voice to voice. So we also added a Vintage knob that loosens all of them up like they were in the old days. You can dial in progressively more vintage character as you go from a very stable “4,” as in Prophet-5 Rev4, all the way to “1,” as in Prophet-5 Rev1, which was the most temperamental of all Prophet-5s. We’ve even included the original factory sound set for the full vintage experience.”

Other modern enhancements include velocity sensitivity and aftertouch to increase expressiveness, as well as MIDI and USB connectivity. Control voltage and gate ins/outs are also present for connecting modular synths and other gear. The new Prophet-5 is housed in a collector-worthy, premium-quality, steel and hand-oiled sustainable black walnut heartwood body, with a full, five-octave, semi-weighted Fatar keybed.

Sequential is simultaneously offering the Prophet-10, a ten-voice version of the synthesizer with the same sound engine and collector-worthy design. “I originally designed the first Prophet in both five-voice and ten-voice versions. But the five-voice model was the one that achieved mass production. We thought it would be fun and fitting to reintroduce the ten-voice as well, to make the circle complete.” Sequential Circuits’ later product, the dual-manual, bi-timbral Prophet-10, was a different instrument in both concept and execution.

Both models will be available in October. The Prophet-5 has a US MAP of $3,499. The Prophet-10 has a US MAP of $4,299."

Sequential Prophet 5 Rev4 INHALT Sound Design of Factory Patches Demo

"There are few synthesizers that spark deep emotions and reverence. The Prophet 5 is one of them. Its history is marked by both the counter and the dominant cultural works; wether listening to the independent outings of New Musik and Skinny Puppy, the art of Japan and Sakamoto, the disco of Cowely, the soundtracks of Carpenter or the pop of McCartney and Madonna, it collectively becomes clear that the Prophet 5 is the great enabler of the modern musical expression. If the Model D is the left hand the Prophet 5 is the right. And rightly so, as its genius and genuineness transitioned the 5 from "tool of novelty" firmly into the place of an exuberant enabler of the creative expression. From decade to decade, its design and purity allowed it to slot into a music production unweathered and unbiased by whatever style is in vogue. Yet, it's always fashionable and it always sits right where it's supposed to. Put simply, it's a workhorse that inspires. Whatever the revision. And now, that story, that lineage continues with the Rev 4.

It's with absolute honor, gratitude, and exhilaration that I accepted the offer to work on the factory patches for Sequential's latest chapter in the story of the Prophet 5. Sound designing alongside the superb voicing team has been a wonderful collaboration with a company I consider family and my way to give thanks for the career that the Prophet 5 has helped me build. Unlike other projects I've done in the past, part of my testing of the Rev 4 included putting it through an actual studio music production. I'm currently in the middle of producing two LP's (the artists Some Ember and Patriarchy) and the Rev 4 got used heavily on both. The main question I sought to answer: "does it handle the same as a vintage unit". What became abundantly clear: the Rev 4 isn't like a Prophet 5, isn't inspired by a Prophet 5, ins't referencing a Prophet 5; it is a Prophet 5. Through and through in every sense of the very defining characteristics of the 5. It's a Prophet 5. Period. And in many regards it's better. Why?

Rapid fire MIDI, Fatar keybed, both genuine SSM (SSI) filters and VCAs, genuine Curtis filters and oscillators, a perfectly tuned LFO and envelopes, the ability to actually save LFO amount settings, velocity, aftertouch, the same voice allocation as the original ... and zero repairs needed with no sacrifice to the soul of what makes the 5 the 5. It looks the same with minor additions that can be completely ignored if you choose. You can play it like the original and you can expect it to do exactly what the original does. Or you can take advantage of all of the modern facilities. I also made a set of patches that were the same sounds on both a vintage 5 and the Rev 4 and quickly cycling playing the same passage on the 2 instruments, for all in the room, it was impossible to tell what's what and who's who.

The amount of care, attention to detail, and workmanship that has gone into the Rev 4 is remarkable and I am honored to have been a part of the team putting it through the paces. Sequential is a special company. It's marked by integrity, friendship, care, and carries on a tradition of producing musical instruments from that platform. The Rev 4 is a Prophet 5 and ONLY Sequential can make that.

Please note, the Rev 4 in the video is a prototype unit and I recorded this with a beta firmware. As such, while the synth was largely done there are some changes both to the panel and to the OS that are in the final shipping version (obviously). The Prophet 5 was recorded straight into Pro Tools HD and no post processing or fx were added. What you're hearing is the raw Rev 4."

All the press pics:


  1. Well done. Let me buy you and your team a Margarita.

  2. Prophet 5 always sounded like a calliope on an AM radio.

  3. Who is the sound designer being quoted in the second part of this post?
    Guessing it's John Bowen? But don't see a name anywhere?



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