Sequential Circuits Prophet 5

Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Image

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.

Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Image

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.

Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Image

The legendary Prophet 10 is essentially two Prophet 5 circuits stacked together for 10 fat voices of analog girth! The P5 has been used by Kraftwerk, Duran Duran, No Doubt, Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Gary Numan, Thomas Dolby, New Order, Prodigy, INXS, The Cars, Phil Collins, Richard Barbieri, Hall & Oates, Jean-Michel Jarre, Sneaker Pimps, Steely Dan, Kitaro, Level 42, Pink Floyd, the Eurythmics, Pet Shop Boys, Vangelis, George Duke, filmmaker/composer John Carpenter and many more.

Pro-Five Image From Native Instruments comes the amazing new Pro-Five and Pro-52 VST Plug-In software emulators of the Prophet 5. Read more about it!

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80 Visitor comments
February 23, 2009 @ 4:15 am
and who can forget the Fixx rupert greenall (rev 2) , one thing leaqds to another,
red skies , the reason the rev 3.2 midispec was basic to note on ,off ,program change was because they only had 5 bytes left in rom to do the midispec (ask john bowen)
February 23, 2009 @ 3:47 am
thomas dolby never used a P5 , he used JP8 , JP4, micromoog ,ppg
some of the best P5 users for timbre were Devo, dave Ball of soft cell
and of course Yellow magic orchestra (had six of them)anything from
thompson twins and tangerine dream. Wally badarou (pop muzik from M or anything grace jones )also was a key p5 player
the p5 still is the most unique sounding poly along with the cs80
no synth can rival its moody tone (maybe the memorymoog can) or
its ability to make ethnic type acoustic sounds, snarling sync or
beatiful moody strings (like for instance on betty davis eyes or draw of the cards of kim carnes) it can take any genre ,pop , rock, ambient
punk ,industrial , extremely versatile in the hands of a skilled programmer
January 20, 2009 @ 6:03 pm
Patrick Cowley in Megatron Man, Mind Warp, etc...
January 13, 2009 @ 10:40 am
Daryl Hall & John Oates - I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
The Police - wrapped around your finger
above are the good examples about songs got prophetized.
they are almost a soul and dub. but p5 made them minimize and into a deep another style.
i don't know why ppl using p5 always did like that, compared to "jump"(van hallen) using a polymoog.
January 12, 2009 @ 6:24 pm
I find the P5 very useful for punk. A few 2nd British invasion groups of the 80's and new wave groups have used this and are on many "one of my favourites" songs. A lot of these groups moved to the Jupiter maybe because it was in the studio and sounded better in my opinion.
This is the sound of the 1980's band named after a popular German city. The bass, strings and S/H effect are great. Sounds are Neon type electronica. Sort of glow and buzz all nite.
I love this American no how machine and is better dressed than the Jupiter. I love wood on keyboards. Although the early Juno sounds great, had wood and polyphony, the P5 was more pro sounding and more versatile and cuts like an extremely fine razor. This is one of the finest American made instruments made. I have seen new version models on sale by the way in 2008.
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 5 Voices
  • Oscillators - 2 OSC. per voice
    square / pulse / tri / saw
  • LFO - modulates pulse width or pitch
  • Filter - 24db Lowpass filter with resonance
  • VCA - ADSR
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Memory - 40 to 120 patches
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1978-84
  • Resources & Credits
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    Additional information provided by DAC Crowell.

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