What’s better than revisiting your past, retrieving some of its magic, giving it new life, and then falling in love with it all over again? Here, let us tell you. Dave Smith, the founder of the synthesizer company Sequential, announced on his 70th birthday that he would be reissuing his legendary Prophet 5 and Prophet 10 analogue synthesizers as desktop modules this February.
The modules will pack the same power and authentic vintage sound and front-panel controls as the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 keyboards, but of course, will literally be packed in a smaller form for portability and space-conscious studios as desktop synths.
In 1978, the Prophet-5 was the first fully programmable polyphonic synthesizer and the first musical instrument with an embedded microprocessor. In 1981, Sequential released a 10-voice, double-keyboard version, the Prophet-10, and the rest is history. The synthesizer went on to be used by artists like Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Patrick Cowley and Too Short. Actually, you could say the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 changed the world.
“The Prophet-5 was one of the most exciting instruments to appear in an equally exciting time for music and technology," said the 70-year-old engineer. "It’s gratifying to rediscover that its sound and aesthetics are just as appealing now as they were then.”
Then in 2020, Sequential introduced new versions of the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 Rev 4 which have been emulated in software synthesizers and analogue hardware.
“Our introduction of the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 Rev 4 keyboards has been hugely successful. At the same time, a lot of people have been asking us for an easy way to fit them into a smaller studio space or into a touring rig,” the original Prophet-5 designer remarks. “It was an easy decision to create a desktop module to fill that need. The great thing is, we managed to fit the same big, ballsy sound of the full Prophet-5 into a desktop model. It sounds every bit as awesome.”
To make it sound “every bit as awesome”, a vintage knob was created for dialling in different levels of instability present in the originals like velocity sensitivity and aftertouch (we all love some unpredictable and old-school randomness). The classic sound of Prophet-5 that resulted from the Poly Mod feature is also faithfully presented in the new module, which routes the filter envelope and second oscillator to a variety of destinations including filter cutoff frequency, oscillator A frequency, and oscillator A pulse width. Other modern enhancements include USB and MIDI connections plus CV and Gate.
As for as appearances go, they are near identical to the keyboard versions with a wood finish, giving it an authentic analogue loveliness.
Sequential will release both desktop synths in February 2021. The Prophet-5 desktop module is $2,499 and The Prophet-10 desktop module is $3,299. You can browse the full specs here.