Checking out the Prophet 5 – Demo
One of the first fully programmable polyphonic analog synths, the Prophet 5 is the most classic synthesizer of the eighties! It is capable of a delightful analog sound unique to Sequential’s Prophet series in which the P5 was King! Five voice polyphony – two oscillators per voice and a white noise generator. The analog filters, envelope and LFO all sound great and are extremely flexible. The P5 had patch memory storage as well, which scanned and memorized every knob setting for storing and recalling your sounds – a desperately needed feature at the time!
The P5 lacked MIDI (a feature that came later on the P5 spin-off, the Prophet 600). But it is still loved even today for its great string sounds, analog effects, and punchy analog basses. Unfortunately the P5 is not immune to the dark side of vintage synths – it has its fair share of analog synth problems such as unstable tuning, it’s difficult to repair, lacks MIDI, etc.
There are basically three versions of the Prophet 5:
Rev 1 P5s are pretty unreliable, if you find one; they’re also quite rare. These were all hand-assembled in the ‘garage stage’ of the company.
Rev 2 uses SSM chips, and has some differences in its control logic capabilities from the final version. It can’t be retrofitted for MIDI, but is considered by most to be the better-sounding of the two ‘common’ P5s.
Rev 3 is the final version, and subsequent Rev 3.1, Rev 3.2 and Rev 3.3 each are capable of taking a MIDI retrofit. They’re also capable of microtonal tuning. The audio quality of the Rev 3 is different, however, as it uses Curtis chips instead of Rev 2’s SSMs; many people think the Rev 3 units sound ‘thinner’. The Rev 3, however, is considered the most reliable of all of the different versions and they had 120 memory patches.