2020 needs some good news… and Dave Smith has been working hard to bring it to you!
Sequential announces the return of the Prophet~5!
Decades after the last P5 Rev 3s shipped, the new Rev 4 features the same fundamental features with improvements to modulation and MIDI implementation. Rev 4 also has a “Vintage” control that modifies the response to simulate characteristics of different generations from Rev 1 to Rev 4.
Programming a Rev 4 is the same as a vintage Prophet~5, so this voicing project was fairly straightforward. The modulation routings are limited, so programming relies on application of poly-mod, envelopes, oscillator detuning, waveshape selection, etc. Even with the limitations, the Rev 4 Poly Mod is vastly improved from a Rev 3 which makes it easy to start with FM tones as the basis of subtractive synthesis sounds.
I have a Rev 3.3, and other than having the issue with bushings and stuck keys, it’s stable and still sounds great. It’s currently at Sequential with other vintage Rev 1s, Rev 2s, and Rev 3s that have been analyzed to develop the “Vintage” control feature.
The burning question is “Does it sound like the original?”
My answer is “kinda.”
There are always going to be slight differences in tonality between analog instruments. It’s just part of the nature of electronic components and time, so any comparison between the Rev 4 and older Prophet~5s is generalized. So yes, it generally sounds like my Rev 3. Thick bass patches and rich pads sound like a classic Prophet~5, but as I mentioned before, Poly Mod opens up the instrument to a wider palette of timbres.
It’s not exactly the same though. The Rev4 has a lower noise floor, and you don’t hear the transformer humming inside the unit. And the modern key bed doesn’t click when you play.