Digital-analog hybrids: We’ve heard lots of hybrid promises before, but the Prophet V literally combines one of the best-ever digital synths with a classic analog synth. Hybrid mode unlocks new capabilities by integrating the two, and it’s what sets Arturia’s Prophet apart.


Before wrapping up, a quick word is in order about the bound-to-be controversial copy protection. Arturia has switched from a challenge/response system of authorization to a USB dongle. While the dongle makes it much easier to run the software on multiple computers, the fact that Arturia requires it just to try out the software will surely alienate and restrict potential users. Furthermore, these things inevitably cause trouble for legitimate users. I was unable to move the authorization key supplied by Arturia into an existing Syncrosoft dongle, nor was I able to move my other keys into the Arturia dongle, so now I’m stuck having to use up two precious USB slots. Even worse, at times the dongle loses its connection with the software, necessitating its relaunch. How about it, CDM readers? Are dongles a necessary evil or just plain evil?

This is far from the first attempt to model the Prophet 5. Creamware, Native Instruments, and even one of the original Prophet 5 sound designers have all built Prophet 5 emulations, but the Prophet V is arguably the best, especially given the fact that you also get the Prophet VS and the fantastic hybrid mode. Like WayOutWare’s TimewARP 2600, Prophet V belongs to a new generation of virtual instruments that take full advantage of today’s processing prowess to deliver a sound that even the most synth obsessed would be hard-pressed to tell from the originals. While I remain a fan of analog hardware, this is one soft synth that will definitely be finding its way onto my own tracks.

Compatibility: Mac, Windows
Plug-in Modes: Standalone, VST, AU, DXi, RTAS
Approx. Street Price: US$200; US$130 academic

Technology journalist Lee Sherman has written about music and mobile technology for Electronic Musician, Keyboard, Macworld, Mobile, and Virtual Instruments.

  • 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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    $20 per copy. My email is。