Hands-on with Prophet 5

Let’s start by saying that if you’ve ever used the originals, you’ll feel immediately at home with these recreations, which model the panel layouts and feature set nearly exactly. Like the original, the Prophet 5 is a straightforward subtractive synth with two analog oscillators, a white noise module, a low-pass resonant filter, two ADSR envelopes, and a single LFO. The Poly Mod section is the source of much of the original’s power, allowing you to apply frequency modulation to oscillator A and the filter.

The Prophet VS includes 96 digitally sampled waveform types, four digital oscillators, one multi-mode filter (LP, HP, BP, Notch), a pair of LFOs, three 5-point envelopes and a mod matrix (which can also be used with the Prophet 5 in hybrid mode). Arturia has generously included the factory presets from both synths, and if you happen to have any original presets laying around, you can load them into the software via System Exclusive (SysEx).

Two, two, two synths in one: The Prophet 5 not only includes an emulation of the original Prophet, but the VS digital synth, as well.

While all of the classic sounds are easily obtained, these synths are far from relics. The bowel-moving basses, brassy pads, realistic organs and searing unison sawtooth leads are perfect for modern electronic styles and even hard rock, while the Prophet VS is capable of producing complex morphing digital timbres that are ideal for ambient music and film soundtracks. The analog emulation is extremely convincing and the overall sonic oomph of the originals is present in spades.

Hybrid mode allows you to combine the oscillators, filters, and envelopes of the two synths as of you were dealing with a single instrument. You can easily activate or deactivate individual oscillators or filters. The filters can be connected in series or in parallel. The mod matrix even lets you apply modulation sources found on the Prophet VS, such as velocity or aftertouch, to the Prophet 5.

Other improvements over the originals include graphical editing of the VS envelopes. You just click and drag them into place with the mouse, an intuitive exercise that proves that computers are indeed better at some aspects of classical synthesis.

Next: Conclusions

  • 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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