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