With the SoundForce SFC-5 V2 you have boutique hardware MIDI control over Prophet-5 VST Instruments with many upgrades over the first version.
SoundForce has been developing hardware MIDI controllers for specific virtual synthesizers to offer hands-on creativity. Current controllers cover the U-He Repro-1, the TAL-U-NO-LX, a more general Minimoog controller and of course the Prophet-5. With the new version of the SFC-5 we get a sheet metal case, wobble-free metal shaft pots and rather nice walnut side panels.
The front panel is laid out to reflect the hardware Prophet-5 which is also mirrored by virtual instruments such as the U-He Repro-5 and Arturia Prophet V. And the idea is that you can enter into the hardware experience of having a real Prophet-5 synthesizer. There’s no doubt in my mind that working with hardware knobs and buttons offers a different approach to sound design and creating patches than working in software with a mouse. Although the sound is absolutely the same in this case – we are working with a virtual instrument – a hardware interface generates more accidental journeys and unintended discoveries. The SFC-5 brings that to the table.
A software app sets up the SFC-5 so that it maps automatically to your chosen Prophet-5 emulation. There are even a handful of “User” knobs that you can map to additional controls or effects.
You can, of course, do exactly the same with generic MIDI controllers but I’d suggest that it doesn’t really give you the same focused experience. The other question that always comes up with these boutique controllers is whether it’s not better to simply buy a cheap synthesizer. I think that’s more relevant to their SFC-1 Repro-1 controller as the Behringer Pro-1 hardware synth is of a similar price. But we’ve yet to see a hardware Prophet-5 remake and so the SFC-5 and a VSTi is the closest you’re going to get and the improvements with the V2 are superb.
The SFC-5 V2 costs €299 and are available now.