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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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.

80 Visitor comments
January 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm
I would stay away from the Rev 1s and 2s unless you have lots of money to do repair work or can do it your self. The rev. 1s cannot be MIDI if that maters to you. Most pro repair guys will tell you this. I had a rev 2 and it was always on the blink. I picked up a rev 3 and no problems. I loved my rev 2 but just could not keep up with the repair bills. Good luck.
Kid Kasio
December 18, 2010 @ 7:53 am
I just bought a Pro 5 rev.2 ITS AWESOME!! heres a vid of me playing it
Will Puckett
September 17, 2010 @ 9:44 am
I recently parted wih my Rev2 ... I had retro-fitted it with a Kenton MIDI kit. Absolutely wonderful machine even with all of it's quirks. These SSM parts are near impossible to find anymore. Market Values on Rev 2's are way up currently 3K+
My next project is to restore a Rev1/2 proto machine I aquired years ago - Serial#0183 (does not officially exist). If I can locate the SSM2020's I'll need the machine will live.

And yes, ALL CAPs and op-amps and most Cmos on the old P5's really should be replaced. It will give you many more years of service.
August 6, 2010 @ 3:12 am
I had early Rev 2. It is totally reliable. It was just sensitive to bad power. You need to replace the capacitors. If you consider its a 30 year old device - it´s really reliable. No PC probably work in 30y. SSM chips by David Rossum make it really unique: Filters are awesome, sound phat, spacy, agrresive as you like. The oscs are fantastic - they sound bright in the highs but still phat in the lows. I think both do not have to hide that much behind the Mini (but you have 5 voices). It sounds even a little more vintage than the great Jup 8 (which I also owned) - closer to the Mini. However there is no mono mode, no arpeggiator, the pitchbend does not bend back, you can´t store the mod wheel - which is a drawback,no keyboard split, on Rev 2 no midi (rf exists), sounds store in RAM only (some have a tape interface, can be rfed). But(!) the VA "clones" don´t even sound like 1% of the original!! So if you want the true vintage power and can live with the drawbacks- this 1 is 4 you.
August 3, 2010 @ 9:27 pm
i have the rev3. i just brought it 2 months ago. now i see why people will spend money for these things. unbelievable tone. now i see the difference between analog and virtual analog. I do have to hit the tune button a lot but I don't care. it only takes a couple seconds anyway. Tone is everything. when i first got it i had a few issues with it. some keys didn't seem to work right and some notes were louder then others. i called the guy to see what was wrong. He laughed for a second and said "its analog and has to warm up 20 to 30 minutes before use". i thought to myself BS. sure enough after it warms up everything was fine. i was going to use it 4 studio only but this sequential circuits prophet 5 has managed to make it to my live shows. i tell you it's a lot of pride having this bad boy on stage. 5 stars
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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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