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!

Check Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Prices on eBay

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

79 Visitor comments
tim Burton
April 5, 2010 @ 1:52 am
Well, Prophet 5 is god among analogue classic synths.
Only 5 voice, but what a sound.
Before rev. 3.3 very unreliable machine, but 3.3 is good one.
It's better to pay slightly more and buy one after servicing and good check.
Totally worth to have.
ed
March 25, 2010 @ 9:10 pm
More Tech Tips:
Intermittent Memory Problems and Loss of Patch Memory problems were most often caused by two things, bad Lithium back up batteries, (check the voltage) and cold solder joints on the pots of panel boards one and two. They would get stacked in performance, dropped, sat out, pressed on, etc. and the original quality solder joint fractures, and creates the problems of wacky intermittent gremlins. Check all solder joints on these boards.

Any other problems, email me - mr.boojangles@live.com

ED
ed
March 25, 2010 @ 9:05 pm
Technical tips:
Check power supplies for ripple. The prophet 5 series were bad with defective electrolytic capacitors, both main filter capacitors, and also buss capacitors(small). These caused catastrophic failures of power supply regulators +-/15v 5v, and the CMOS devices on the buss, often multiple devices, due to excessive power supply ripple. Leaky sample and hold capacitors, and buss capacitors created weird sampling and address buss problems with DAC conversions. Remember, the Prophet 5 is a computer controlled, analog synthesizer, two different systems, requiring different power supplies.
ed
March 25, 2010 @ 8:56 pm
Rev 3 machines had Curtis Music Electronics chips throughout, the PCB's are clean, and have the company employees signatures etched on the PCB's I believe. Rev 2 had SSM chips and Tibetan Sanskrit that said, " Om mani padme hum" Hail the Jewel in the Lotus - The idea being that every Prophet 5 would become a Tibetan Prayer flag, blowing in the wind of change the mantra of the Buddha, the enlightened one. Thanks to Chet Woods, Dave Smith, and our Sequential Circuits family. I opened up a Prophet 5, belonging to Tom Petty's band in Los Angeles, to fix a cold solder joint and there was my wife's name, written in sharpie on the PCB. Sequential Circuits was the greatest company in the world to work for and those were literally golden years, for synthesizers, techs, assemblers, computer geeks and music in general. Long live the 80's, Sequential Circuits / Oberheim legacies!

ED
McFullon
March 18, 2010 @ 11:47 pm
It wasn´t till the price-drop in 1984 ($1,900!) that I was either willing/able to buy a Prophet 5. Until that point, I had stuck to the cheaper import machines like the JP-6 or JX-3P.
Mind you, I only used my Prophet for studio work...there was no time to let it warm-up for gigs!
Soundwise the Prophet was great!...Using the cross mod, it was more than able to produce DX-7 tine type sounds & more...plus all the faves that the Prophet was/is famous for.

A true classic...and also looks good in the living room! (All that wood!)
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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

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