With so many recreations of classic synthesizers available in software these days, it’s easy to be skeptical about the need for yet another one. But this time Arturia weren’t content to leave well enough alone. Prophet V marries the Prophet 5 with the Prophet VS and adds an innovative hybrid mode that is truly the best of the analog and digital worlds.

Virtual synthesis, indeed: Arturia’s soft synth emulation even looks like an analog synth. Squint at your screen and you might believe you have physical gear in your studio. Can it deliver enough analog/digital sound creation goodness to merit installing yet another soft synth? CDM’s resident analog aficionado and synth reviewer Lee Sherman investigates.

Prophet Among Synths: The History

As synths go, there is just one instrument that approaches the reverence accorded the Minimoog and that’s the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, the earliest polyphonic analog synth. The father of the Prophet 5, Dave Smith, delivered another advance with the arrival of the Prophet VS, a digital synth that introduced vector synthesis — a means of producing evolving sounds by cross-fading between different waveforms.

Both Prophets had a characteristic and powerful sound. That sound that defined the hits of the 80s, at least until the Yamaha DX7 and its accompanying FM synthesis came along.

Arturia is well-known amongst synthesists for its recreations of the Minimoog, Moog Modular, Yamaha CS80, and the ARP 2600. Now it has applied the magic found in its true analog emulation (TAE) engine to the Prophets.

Next: Hands-on with Prophet 5

  • I own most of the Arturia virtuals (Minimoog, Moog Modular & CS80V), but that darned dongle is a deal-killer for me (esepecially since I've heard of compatibility problems with Syncrosoft). I have had constant problems with the one that came with my Korg Legacy collection (I didn't know it had a dongle when I ordered it, otherwise I would have skipped the Korg too).

    My Native Instruments Prophet V may not be as good as Arturia's, but at least I don't have to carry a USB hub around with my laptop to use it.

    Thanks Arturia (AKA Yamaha) & Korg for doing your best to throw monkey wrenches at the portable musician;-(

  • inasilentway

    Boo dongles! I wanted to try out the Prophet V via the demo, as Moog Modular V's demo is what really sold me on it. But you can't even demo it without having the copyright protection dongle! Dongles are terrible and end up punishing paying customers the most.

  • Jim B

    If you already have the Korg Legacy, then you can just install the Prophet license onto the Korg dongle. I understand why dongles need to exist, and I'm willing to tolerate them – I prefer them infinitely to the old "key disk" methods of protection – finding that dang CD at the most inopportune moments…

    I certainly wouldn't rule out a good instrument because of the dongle, any more than I'd rule out a hardware synth because it had a wall-wart PSU rather than an internal.

    But as the Dongle-istas from KVR have proven, it's certainly an emotional issue, and one people seem to bring up to no freaking END.

  • tunepoet

    The dongle thing ruined it for me too.

    I have never purchased a Stienberg product cause i could never demo any of them. Same symptom, different disease. Now, I don't have anything against the dongle premise, but only if they are cross compatible so you only need to own 1. I just had to purchase my first iLok for Waves, and I really do not feel like purchasing another.

    Almost every software purchase I have made came as a result of the emmediate emotional buzz produced by the demo. Sorry Arturia. No demo, no buzz, no buy.



  • b from the d

    i see this as sort of a now in situation for Arturia. either they use a dongle protection system and lose out on potential buyers because they can't try out the demo without getting that silly usb key from iLok (oh how i hate the letter "i" in front of words and product). if they don't use the dongle protection then they risk more people cracking and stealing their software.

    still, Cubase SX requres a dongle and i have heard of cracked copies out there, so maybe the dongle doesn't keep people from cracking and stealing their software. i dunno.

    but the fact that i can't try the demo without paying $40 first is definitely keeping me from giving this VSTi a serious look.

  • Tom

    Because Software companies won't get together on a standard, the customer suffers. I am seeing this trend with virtual instruments now along with CD burning/downloading software. I am almost out of ports on my laptop. I hope that I can put all of the copyright protection on one key as mentioned but I have yet to try this solution. Where is the standards manual?

  • Ruby

    Arturia are being far too negative by choosing to use dongles, could also be considered unprofessional, they're losing many customers.

    I'm a moderator on a large keyboard forum and on a recent poll 100 keyboard players gave a big thumbs down for arturia, only one had tested this new softsynth, others had already lost interest.

    Could it be greed or negativity that made arturia turn to dongles?

    For the record, from a business point of view arturia maybe should not concern themselves with cracked copies. Makes more sense to have musicians making and sharing music with arturia software rather than just a few with a dongle.

    Just think, someone makes music with a demo or a crack and another musician likes the sounds and goes onto purchase the full program, not everyone uses cracks but lots of us hate dongles and PACE.

    Funny thing is, the cracked version of the latest arturia synths are already available with crack to get around the dongle, but why bother? posting this is about all i'm prepared to do and i'm the one who got some of the software makers to stop using noise bursts in their demos. C'mon arturia, stop being so negative, get a demo for all out.

  • rhythmrhymer

    Damned right I'd buy it, if it does what a couple of people told me it 'might', but no one seems to really know… After seemingly endless searching for a monster mellotron palette, I've heard, "have you heard the Prophet V? I hear it's pretty good…" Where are the virtual Mellotrons? Are they here? Arturia! Do like Ruby says. Even the guy at Long & McQuade doesn't know, because there's no demo!!!

  • Lee Sherman

    The Prophet V doesn't do Mellotron sounds. For that, check out the GForce M-Tron (and make sure to pick up the additional sound libraries.

  • There is a simple solution which dongle manufacturers should adopt: allow the dongle to function as a usb port in its own right (i remember there was a nes game which used to do thjis… micromachines i think…) that way you could have the dongle, but not lose a usb port.

  • jadecreature

    Re to dongle or not to dongle-I hate dongles-another firm piggy backing-releasing fear-no usb ports left-Give me the challenge response system it is really no bother and much more personal- I like many others don't like hassle and dongles are hassle-are you going to knock them getting around the back while patching in bad light!-the hassles are endless really-I didn't purchase waves goods for that reason.

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