The Prophet 5 is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after analogue synths of all time, combining an intuitive interface with an overwhelmingly warm sound.
Dave Smith and John Bowen built the first Prophet 5 in 1977 which couldn’t be a more perfect time for it in the musical landscape. There weren’t many polyphonic synthesizers around back then, and the Prophet was the first to provide patch memory.
The first Prophets (Rev 1) were rather unstable and used E-mu analogue chips which gave them a slightly different character to the Rev 3’s CEM chips.
In addition to this, the 2nd revision allowed you to back up and recall patch banks via cassette tape which was another forward-thinking innovation.
The best Prophet-5 plugins
Many of the more recent Prophet recreations in both hardware and software format provide the means to shift between the characteristics of the different revisions of the original.
Let’s take a look at some of the best Prophet-5 plugins available today for recreating the iconic sound.
Softube Model 80 Five Voice
The Model 80 Five Voice is a recent development from respected analogue modeling software developer, Softube. You get a precisely modeled version of the Prophet for your DAW with the 40 original presets and several additional features.
These include velocity and aftertouch modulation, voice pan spread, and quantized filter cutoff frequency. What’s more, the modular version is included with 5 Model 80 modules for the Softube Modular plugin.
Softube Model 80 Five Voice
Arturia Prophet-5 V
The Prophet-5 V is part of Arturia’s extensive V Collection 9 virtual instrument bundle. Meticulously modeled on the Rev 2, the plugin goes beyond being a vintage recreation with more modulation and effects options.
With the Modulation, Keyboard, and Effects views, you can get the most expressive results from each sound you work with and additions like voice dispersion make it possible to capture the intricacies of the Prophet’s voicing.
Arturia V Collection 9 Download
It’s been around a while, but Repro is still an excellent option for a Prophet-5 recreation and it also includes a plug-in version of the monophonic Pro-One. The Repro-5 provides 8-voice polyphony and a library with over 900 presets.
In addition, you get a 4-mode polyphonic distortion, tape simulation, delay/chorus, EQ/resonator, reverb, and a dynamic processor which makes the Repro a versatile synth for creating both vintage and more modern sounds.
u-he Repro Download
Native Instruments Super 8
Support for the esteemed Pro-53 plug-in was discontinued a few years back, but the Super 8 offers an alternative within Native Instruments Komplete with its filter section modeled on the Prophet 5.
Super 8 gives you an impressive collection of over 550 presets, and all the controls are familiar enough to quickly create authentic analogue-style sounds. What’s more, the mod matrix and routing provide some interesting creative options.
Native Instruments Komplete 14 Standard Download
- It’s also worth mentioning that Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 is capable of producing incredibly authentic Prophet 5 sounds with its high-quality sampling and synthesis engines.
The Prophet-5 in modern music
There is a tenancy to immediately associate analogue polysynths with lush pad sounds, and the Prophet certainly excels in the area as we can hear on In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins or Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead.
Even when filtered, the oscillators cut gently through the mix, and this sound has become timeless and transcends genres as it does on I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) by Hall & Oates.
Recreating the Prophet
We’ve looked at the tools and some real-world examples, but let’s cover some tips to help you create authentic sounds within your DAW:
- The Prophet is known for its warbly, wonky character so be sure to experiment with the analog drift or character feature if your plugin has one
- Creating authentic vintage-style synth sounds requires vintage effects, like chorus, delay, and reverb (check out this post about 1980s reverbs for suggestions)
- Explore the synthesis parameters and modulation options and go beyond the preset library
- Although analogue synths like the Prophet have precise envelopes, avoid being too linear with your approach by using detune and glide
More about the Prophet 5:
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- Softube Model 80: Softube
- Arturia Prophet-V: Arturia
- U-he Repro: U-he
- Native Instruments Super 8: Native Instruments
- 00-model-80-five-voice-synthesizer-promo-image-1920x1080_plugin_boutique: Plugin Boutique
- pb: Plugin Boutique