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 IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬™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 WayOutWareÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬™s TimewARP 2600, Prophet V belongs to a new generation of virtual instruments that take full advantage of todayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬™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.