First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

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Non-Digital Tom
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First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by Non-Digital Tom » Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:43 pm

So yesterday I went to visit a guy I know in Brooklyn, NY and we went to Main Drag Music. They had a Prophet 5 (v. 3.2) sitting there for sale, so I tried it out. Now this is the first time I've had my hands on the legendary Prophet, so my expectations were high. I already own a Rhodes Chroma and an OB-Xa, and I've tried a few other analog polys. I also have an SCI Pro One, which I think is great (third one I've owned). You'd think I'd have gotten to check out the P5 by now, but the opportunity never presented itself before (it's not like they have them at Guitar Center or anything).

Anyway, I sat with the thing for a good half hour or so, hit all the patches, tweaked the filter, resonance, envelope, etc... It was certainly nice, but... I don't know. I was just kind of like, "That's it?" How is this possible? Maybe my expectations had been built up too much. I mean, it was cool, but... I guess having the Chroma and OB-Xa as comparisons makes me a little jaded (or spoiled, maybe). It just seemed very tame, a little thin... definitely not a polyphonic Pro One. Could I have missed something? :?

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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by Analogue Crazy » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:06 pm

I tried a rev 3 Prophet-5 a couple of years ago and was very impressed. Yes, it can soun a little tame as it has a smooth a mellow side to many of its sounds. But it can be a mad beast if you mess arond with the osc sync, which is powerful as on the Pro-One, or engage Unison. The Prophet has a gorgeous Unison sound, so powerful i blew the speakers in the store i played it in. Well and truly a beast if you want it to be. I found the Synth to be very versatile.

The Prophet certainly sounds gentle compaired to an OB-Xa, or my Andromeda even.
Not quiet as sharp sounding in my opinion.
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by matia » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:11 pm

Prophet 5's are overrated synths. Boring, sterile, and worshiped on some unrealistic level. A Roland Jupiter 8 or an Andromeda are what a polysynth, in my opinion is about.

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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by Analogue Crazy » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:22 pm

The Prophet-5 is overhyped due to the huge amount of classic recordings it's featured on. It was on loads of late-70's/early 80's recordings and is a true classic polysynth in it's own right. It was also the first major successful stable, programmable and portable Polysynth so is very collectible for historical reasons.

But it does have a unique character and, in my opinion, a beutiful, organic and warm sound.
Im a Prophet-5 admirer and love the Synth. Many will prefer an Oberheim but it's still a wicked Synth.
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by nadafarms » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:46 pm

I totally agree I just sold mine yesterday and got a mint 808 and some cash.

It is pretty limited as far as sounds go really, I actually like the prophet 600's sound more I know that's weird. P5 is fat indeed but there is a harsh sort of metallic sound to the oscillators I really don't like which I also hear on old moogs a sort of metallic ringing I can't really explain, I much prefer the smoother sound of roland, andromeda, ob oscs.

the poly mod section is cool but I only need so much 80's bell sound.

P5 sounds very muddy to me, I wish it had a high or bandpass filter... I think every poly should. I won't miss it at all.
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by nadafarms » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:50 pm

the one thing I really admire about the P5 over other polys, is that each voice really feels like a dedicated monosynth. Whereas most every other ever made has a feeling like the individual voices are never as fat as a monosynth, some exceptions would be the ob 4 voice, jupiter 4 etc.

the individual oscs of the andromeda are pretty weak sounding by themselves I think, you really have to layer mutliple oscs, sub oscs on the andy to get P5 fatness.
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by Analogue Crazy » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:01 am

Good point actually. It only has 5 voices but each note has a certain presence, and the polyphony doesn't seem so limited because of this. I own and love the A6 and can confirm that it's individual voices are not as powerful as the 5 in the Prophet. It's still my Synth of choice though and my only Analogue Synth as it's so increadible sounding.
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by nadafarms » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:09 am

so you ditched the jupiter 4 analogue c.?

jupiter 4 is one of the only polys that has real mono voices.
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by Analogue Crazy » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:14 am

Yes, due to my current needs iv sold my Jupiter-4: to nathanscribe. It was simply not practical for me. I play live and can't take it out due to it's tempremental nature and to be honest, its been gathering dust as im a complete Andromeda convert. And i have a lot of wonderful digital gear, like my DX-11, that i use for so many things these days. I will certainly miss the JP-4 but hey, my setup is wonderful and perfect for my needs without it. It's only 20 minuits away from me anyways, so it's not like ill never see it again.
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by hfinn » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:38 am

I absolutely adore the P5. I went through two of them (sold and reacquired) before I really understood how great and useful they truly are. I can get any sort of sound I want really. And no offense Nada, but the poly mod is way more than bell sounds (part of the reason OSC 2 has an LFO mode, so it doesn't have to be clangy ring mod type sounds). I prefer (personally) the P5 to both the Jupiter 8 and OB-Xa. The only one to me that comes close is the Memorymoog. I'd say my top poly's are: (and don't argue with me, it's my opinion and I realize it's subjective)

1. CS-80
2. Prophet 5
3. Moog Memorymoog Plus
4. Matrix-12
5. Jupiter 8

Just listen to Japan's Tin Drum. There are so many sounds on that from the P5 and most are not the typical sounds you usually hear.
Last edited by hfinn on Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:55 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by clusterchord » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:37 am

hfinn wrote:the poly mod is way more than bell sounds.
you can say that again. its a beautiful and versatile synth. with trademark character. i'd also place it in top four.. w its friends cs, jp8 & obx.. if u don't mind me barging in to this party .. :D
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by lhm1138 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:13 am

If it'd been a Rev 1 or 2 P-5, we wouldn't be having this discussion. :)

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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by nadafarms » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:39 am

Yeah I've never played a rev 2.

Didn't hfinn make some rev2 demos?
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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by JMP » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:44 am

hfinn wrote:I prefer (personally) the P5 to both the Jupiter 8 and OB-Xa.
Interesting Heath, a valued recommendation with your experience. As you may know, been thinking of changing my OBXa for a P5 (almost given up trying to source an affordable T8).
The only one to me that comes close is the Memorymoog. I'd say my top poly's are:

1. CS-80
2. Prophet 5
3. Moog Memorymoog Plus
4. Matrix-12
5. Jupiter 8
Nice list.... but you so need to try a Synthex... ! :)
Just listen to Japan's Tin Drum. There are so many sounds on that from the P5 and most are not the typical sounds you usually hear.


Listening to Japan has been part of my P5 appeal, that plus the many 80's tracks featuring it. Also reckon it's a better looking synth. Just hope the five voices don't spoil it for me... hopefully a goal for 2009.

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Re: First encounter with a Prophet 5... slightly underwhelmed...

Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:46 pm

I played a Prophet 5 Rev 3.3 one time about 5 years ago at Two Lines Music in NY, which now ceases to exist. I really liked the sound of it at the time but this was before I finally owned and played my OB-8. Of course, having 5 voices is a major limitation if you are a chord player (which I am) so looking back now, would I really enjoy having a P5 from a playability perspective? Probably not. I remember liking the bass sounds on it but after playing around with Non-Digital Tom's Pro One I am convinced that that along with the OB-8 or OB-Xa for chords, the two together would make a great combo.

Of course, with an OB-Xa and a Rhodes Chroma (Tom...), I guess why would you need a Prophet 5? I've had this conversation with him before and we pretty much came to the conclusion that unless you want a Prophet 5 for nostalgic reasons / vintage status, what he has currently is more than enough to tickle the need for polyphony.
I like vintage synths....

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