Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
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Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by Grumblepig » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:33 pm

Hey all - I've written a few times with Prophet-related posts. I had a rev2 wayyyy back and have been hoping to end up with a Prophet 5 again sometime between now and before I die! We all know it's a gorgeous synth, but part of that for me is that it's a gorgeous instrument. The look, sound and feel merge for me.

That said, I'm curious about the Alesis Andromeda, a synth I admit I've never even seen. I've heard demos on Youtube of course, and have heard/read people praising this creature to heaven, so I'm certainly more than a bit wondering about it.

Anyway, yeah, I kinda do have my heart set on a P5 but I don't have the money for it by any means right now. I saw one going for around €400 last year, and another for $4000, though I couldn't sort out how much shipping and possible import tax or such I'd then spend to have it shipped to Berlin. The last time I saw an Andromeda listed, it turned out to be a hoax, so the figures I have in my head ain't likely right. Blah blah money etc, but please scribble any thoughts you might have about the X vs Y of these two synths. I'm guessing the Alesis would be an amazing synth to own, but I'm guessing I'd still pine for a Prophet! Thanks...

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by walkathon » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:05 am

Grumblepig wrote:I saw one going for around €400 last year
Typo or not? If not, that was a no-brainer.

Otherwise, I've never owned an Prophet (even though it was my first synth love), but knew two folks that owned a total of 3 P5's, and apparently all 3 of them were in the shop a lot, FWIW. That's been enough for me to keep my distance. I do own an Andromeda, and will say it's a deep and fairly intimidating machine if you don't give it enough attention. I'm sure others here can give you a better A/B comparison, best of luck w/ your decision!

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by Grumblepig » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:53 am

walkathon wrote:
Grumblepig wrote:I saw one going for around €400 last year
Typo or not? If not, that was a no-brainer.

Ha! Definite typo!!!


Otherwise, I've never owned an Prophet (even though it was my first synth love), but knew two folks that owned a total of 3 P5's, and apparently all 3 of them were in the shop a lot, FWIW. That's been enough for me to keep my distance. I do own an Andromeda, and will say it's a deep and fairly intimidating machine if you don't give it enough attention. I'm sure others here can give you a better A/B comparison, best of luck w/ your decision!

I've been reading a lot about the Alesis today, and if nothing else, I'm getting that replacement parts are hard to find. If I got a Prophet, I've got a repair guy in Berlin two blocks away, and another further down the road, so I'd be in good hands. And truth is that it's the Prophet I want. I adore the sound, but I'm just in love with the whole instrument - the wood, the layout etc. Beautiful and inspiring. Even if I landed an Andromeda at typo prices, I bet I'd still wish for a P5, only I'd have so much less cash to spend etc. We do suffer for our synth sins, I'd say!

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by corndogssg » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:16 am

then I think you answered your own question......YOU WANT A PROPHET 5 bro :)

in no way am I dissing on the A6, it is one knobby analog beast! but just from reading your post your heart and mind is all about the P5.

Good luck man, hopefully you won't need your repair guy to often.

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:15 pm

Grumblepig wrote: [...] Anyway, yeah, I kinda do have my heart set on a P5 but I don't have the money for it by any means right now. [...]
If you burn your money on an Andromeda, you never will have the funds for a Prophet 5 -- and if a Prophet 5 is what your heart so desires, go for it. What revision are you thinking of? A well-maintained Rev. 3.3 should be relatively robust and stable. I'd stay away from Rev. 2 units.

The Andromeda can do a lot of bread-and-butter analogue sounds, and it can do a lot more than a Prophet 5 in terms of timbral scope but I found it a pig to program -- you really have to dive deep into its engine to make the instrument come alive (in terms of modulation routings). I also felt its looks are not really helpful in terms of ergonomics -- it obviously was designed with *form* in mind rather than *function* but that's only me, I might be wrong.

Both units will be a nightmare when it comes to fixing one but I think the Prophet is money better spent in case something is seriously going wrong...

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by Grumblepig » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:49 am

Thanks guys. Yeah, even as I typed my question up I could see the answer was "P5, only." Funny, having never even encountered the Alesis. But I've certainly read so many sweet things about it etc. I had a rev2 Prophet, but I'm looking for a rev3, most likely. Like I mentioned, there's one excellent repair guy only two blocks from where I live in Berlin and another half a mile down the road. The advantage of living in Synth City!

Anyway, I'll go back to scratching lottery cards now!

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by tomorrowstops » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:11 pm

Yeah, I wouldn't mess with the Andromeda. It would be a super pain to fix when it goes down. Such an awkward time for hardware synths.

Or course, the Prophet 5 can go down, but at least its all normal s**t inside. The two that I had were rock solid though, with the exception of breaking a j-wire now and then.

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:55 am

Biggest issues I've encountered with my Prophet 5 were:

- dead CEM 3340 (they can be expensive, just like any other CEM)
- dead CA3280 (I think, that rare dual opamp)
- keyboard bushings gone bad
- dead Modulation Mix potentiometer, causing total memory disaster when booting
- cold solder joints
- ribbon cables and connectors deteriorating
- tantalum caps in power supply rail shorting

If you are aware of these potential pitfalls, everything should be fine :).

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by corndogssg » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:20 am

I don't know why, but I saw "pitfall" and thought of that old school Atari game that you swing on vines over gators and water and pitt's so yeah, pointless thoughts by corndogssg. :D

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by pflosi » Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:54 pm

Uhm, compare that to the problems I had so far with my Andromeda: zero, apart from me being stupid and drunk enough to burn cigarette marks into it while playing live, and occasionally a little ghost editing that goes away with cleaning the pots.

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:02 pm

pflosi wrote: [...] me being stupid and drunk enough to burn cigarette marks into it [...]
A well-kept secret has hereby been revealed, Klaus Schulze has retired to Switzerland!

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by madtheory » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:02 pm

LOOOOLz!
pflosi wrote:a little ghost editing that goes away with cleaning
That's a design feature. Stop cleaning it. Andromeda is the only synth with built in ghost editing.

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by pflosi » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:11 am

:mrgreen:

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by Re-Member » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:40 pm

Prophet 5 all the way. It's sleek, classy and almost impossible to tweak yourself out of its "sweet spot" due to it's simplicity.

The Andromeda, on the other hand, is like a Hummer by comparison. It's big, bulky, and the late 90's/early 00's design aesthetics make it look like some kind of action figure accessory. Add the fact that there's an abundance of envelopes of LFOs... theoretically you can make more complex sounds, but you'll also be running into just as many rubbish sounds since all these extra features make the "sweet spot" incredibly narrow.

And I'm not the only one who feels this way. Give this review a read. This guy has incredible synth programming skills and also found himself totally frustrated with it: http://syntezatory.net.pl/alesis_a6_andromeda.htm

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Re: Prophet 5 vs Alesis Andromeda

Post by Bitexion » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:24 am

I've had an Andromeda for around 10 years, I'm not an active musician anymore though, I just keep my synths around if I want to noodle about and program sounds for a few hours.

The problem is that it's designers wanted to make EVERY classic synth into one synth, so it almost has too many features. And there's menus within menus to access stuff. The front is covered in knobs and buttons, which is very nice, but you'll still endure some menu diving. It also has some strange features, like an offset parameter on the filters that have to be countered or turned down in alot of the presets, so it seems like the filter cutoff is doing nothing in lots of the patches.
The "init" patch is also quite moronic, it's not just a clean sound with no envelopes, it uses both VCO's and EG's on the filters so you have to dial down lots of settings to get down to basics, so to speak. Or save a "clean" patch in memory like I did.

It's a wonderful synth if you can penetrate the surface.
I respect Jexus and love his videos, but I think he didn't spend enough time to get over the first hurdles of frustration when dealing with this monster.
Reading the full review, it seems like he got caught in the negativity-spiral on various online forums and lost interest in it.
He does say it's TOO DEEP, and I kind of agree. It's an "everything-and-the-kitchen-sink" kind of megasynth that was dreamed up by the designers when they filled a whole room with vintage synths and cherry picked features from each one. Also back in 2001 noone else was making analog polysynths so there's nothing to compare it to really other than the various vintage synths it stole features from.

It took me weeks to get comfy and start program my own sounds. I didn't even begin to get under the surface until I found the actual sound designers hint&tips document online.

Also they made a very strange decision to make all the encoders output something called NRPN signals via MIDI. All knobs output 1-16665, instead of the usual MIDI CC 1-127, so you have ot make a complicated MIDI mapping system to make it work with Cubase and VST synths.

I remember I asked the fellow above my post about how to recreate a certain Prophet-5 sound I heard in a demo tape clip, and he gave me enough pointers that I perfectly recreated the sound on my A6. I even named the patch after him :D

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