The only thing that the original Prophet 5 (one of the first
programmable polyphonic synths) and the Prophet VS (the first to
feature digital wavetables) have in common is that both were designed
by synthesis pioneer Dave Smith. But while Dave’s new Mono Evolver
Keys was blowing Herbie Hancock’s mind at NAMM, Arturia was quietly
keeping Dave’s legacy alive in software.
If you can’t afford the Evolver, the Arturia Prophet V is a more than worthy
substitute, combining the warmth of analog with the cool digital
textures of vector synthesis in a single virtual instrument. Purists
needn’t worry. It’s possible to use each emulation separately or
combine them to achieve new sounds. Hybrid mode is where things get
interesting though. The audio matrix allows you to freely mix the
oscillators, filters, and envelopes of both synths. You could, for
example connect the filter from the Prophet 5 to the Prophet VS
filter in series, something that isn’t possible with hardware. In
addition, Arturia has added a powerful mod matrix that allows
velocity, aftertouch, or other modulation sources found on the VS to
be used on the Prophet 5.
We’ve seen both of these vintage classics emulated before (notably
NI’s Pro-53, and General Vibe’s Vector Sector) but rarely this
convincingly. The Pro V may be the best sounding virtual instrument
Arturia has produced yet, with all of the legendary punch of the
The Prophet V comes with 400 presets by top sound designers,
including recreations of the original 40 from the Prophet 5 but like
everything that originally sprang from the mind of Dave Smith, it has
an irresistible tweak factor so it’s unlikely you’ll stick with the
presets for long.
It will be available in February 2006 for US$250.