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In-depth Feature:  SonicLAB: Just for Prophet. The '08 Polysynth Pt1
It's the second coming, should we rejoice?
William H writes: .

Page 1   of 1

No flash plug

    MP4 10:0 mins
Sons of the P
Dave Smith, some say the father of the Curtis chipped analog synth family has been breeding again. The latest offspring take the old family name of the Prophet – and most certainly not in vain. The Prophet ‘08 keyboard is an 8-voice subtractive polysynth, genetically linked to the classic Prophet 5 and cross bred with Evolver technology that has been present in many of DSI instruments of late.

We sent one to our arch synthesist William H, producer of our excellent Inside Synthesis series to give the little feller a work out.

In part one of his review we're given a look at what makes the P08 do what it does.

The Prophet '08 Keyboard is available now at around Two Grand US$
Recently announced, the Prophet ‘08 Synthesizer Module – an identical desktop version (also rackable): $1500.

All hail the Prophet

  • 5-octave keyboard with semi-weighted action, velocity, and aftertouch.
  • Spring-loaded pitch wheel and assignable mod wheel
  • 256 fully editable Programs (2 banks of 128) with 2 Layers (2 separate sounds) in each Program.
  • 16 x 4 gated step sequencer
  • Arpeggiator
  • 2 digitally controlled analog oscillators (DCOs) per voice with selectable sawtooth, triangle, saw/triangle mix, and pulse waves (with pulse-width modulation), and hard sync.
  • White noise generator
  • 1 Analog Curtis low-pass filter per voice, selectable 2- and 4-pole operation (self-resonating in 4-pole mode).
  • 3 Envelope Generators: filter, VCA, and assignable (four-stage ADSR + delay); Envelope 3 can loop.
  • 4 LFOs
  • Glide (portamento): separate rates per oscillator.
  • Analog VCAs
  • Ins and Outs

  • MIDI In, Out, Thru, and Poly Chain
  • Main stereo audio output: 1/4" unbalanced
  • Output B stereo audio output: 1/4" unbalanced
  • Sustain pedal input: accepts normally on or normally off momentary footswitch.
  • Pedal/CV input: responds to expression pedals or control voltages ranging from 0 to 5 VDC (protected against higher or negative voltages).
  • Headphone output: 1/4" stereo phone jack.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Inside Synthesis

  • Page 1   of 1

    marc    Said...

    I certainly hope later parts have something useful in the review. From the looks of Part 1 you may need about 25 parts to get to something that is not written on the outside of the box.

    I have the prophet 08 Module and I am reviewing it here: - I have posts from members I am creating new reviews out of all based on the problems on the unit.

    Fun - but buggy.

    I insist that people in all realms be more honest about gear because people like me get screwed when you (as a reviewer) don't get honest and do your work.

    14-Apr-08 10:43 AM

    Nick B    Said...

    Great resource marc, I like the format. Everyone has a different approach to reviews and this is Williams first one for us.

    14-Apr-08 10:54 AM

    Inside Synthesis    Said...

    Thanks for the comments Marc, but I don't think the outside of the box provides historical context, audio examples, and sound comparisons with other synthesizers. That would be a pretty awesome box! :)

    I tried to keep the first part primarily objective, while the second will be more subjective, going into positive and negatives.

    One of the great things about having many people review items is that each one provides different viewpoints - and it's quite likely that the things that I like/dislike won't exactly match the same subjective remarks in your subanalog review.

    14-Apr-08 12:26 PM

    Mark    Said...

    I bought the Prophet 08 two weeks after release. Not a big fan of the loose nobs or noisy Headphone jack but the sounds and menu system is great.

    I Personally loved the review you just did. The delivery of your review in terms of content, animations and graphics. Very complete and well done. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to part 2!

    14-Apr-08 07:48 PM

    z    Said...

    Good work! I'm happy that, along with audio examples, you did a sound comparison with the Oberheim - one of my favorite synths.

    When it comes down to purchasing a new synth I care about two things. The sound, of course, is number one. Number two is a bit more mercurial. It is whether or not it is "possible" for me to find MY sound underneath all the presets.

    It sounds like Part two of this review will help me answer part two of that question. Looking forward to Part two.

    14-Apr-08 09:27 PM

    Peter Kadar    Said...

    I enjoyed this review. I appreciate how he compared the prophet 08 next to the OBX for some added perspective. I'll be looking forward to the next part of the review. Perhaps, when he addresses some of the downsides of the Prophet in part two, he will touch on some of the same things Marc is talking about.

    For what it's worth, I have the keyboard version and it is great. I am planning on getting the module, so I will certainly be checking out more online reviews as they become available.

    For what it's worth,

    15-Apr-08 12:54 AM

    Peter Kadar    Said...

    It appears something got copied incorrectly in my last comment. Weird.... but no biggie.

    15-Apr-08 12:57 AM

    Sven from Spain    Said...

    I wouldn´t dare to put the efforts of this machine down,but still I get that creepy feeling that we haven´t moved on a lot since Vangelis,Human League or J.M.Jarre. I hope pt.2is a bit more promising. The review on itself is very good though,so thanks for that.

    15-Apr-08 04:23 AM

    alexis dimitriades    Said...

    clearly presented , articulate & concise review which was definitely useful to me . Looking forward to part 2 !

    15-Apr-08 09:42 AM

    DZ    Said...

    Good review, finally! More these please, of other synths, too.

    16-Apr-08 12:59 PM

    Marc JX8P    Said...

    I really liked this review, very entertaining and some wonderful sounds. I liked how you compared sounds between the synths. Looking forward to part two!

    17-Apr-08 12:44 PM

    Louis Faro    Said...

    Great review, William H. makes sense as usual.

    18-Apr-08 11:05 AM

    CountFeedback    Said...

    William H RULES!

    18-Apr-08 07:48 PM

    radicand    Said...

    This was a great intro to the Prophet 08. I cracked up the moment you hit the first note on the prophet during the first obxa comparison. This is probably the hottest and most important new synth to come out in several years, and this review is a great follow-up to the awesome Inside Synthesis episodes. I can't wait to see more in detail about the '08!

    24-Apr-08 12:00 PM

    sam    Said...

    These are absolutely elegant and very informative synth reviews and tutorials. Incredibly well thought. More please, MORE!!

    24-Apr-08 01:50 PM

    TiUser    Said...

    I am looking forward to seeing the next part(s) of the video(s) ;)

    27-Apr-08 03:37 PM

    wowowo    Said...

    22-May-08 09:16 PM

    Schpreezurp    Said...

    Hello, I am someone who has recently purchased a Moog Voyager (I love my moog and know it is a quality product). I have a question. This Prophet 08, at 2000 dollars compared to the Minimoog Voyagers at over 2500 dollars, seems like a no brainer in terms of value for the $ - (in favor of the Prophet). I am kind of kicking myslef. Please, without hyperbole and gaffaws, will someone simply explain to me why the Moog is better, or gently tell me that the Prophet is way better, but due to name, the Moog will always be more expensive. I am blown away by this Prophet 08 demo. Thanks.

    31-Jul-08 02:44 PM

    shekhar dhain    Said...

    Schpreezurp , since im held up by a glitch in my system somewhere, i can empathise with youre strange plight cause i also own a voyager AND a mohpo.

    in terms of the prophet o8 (which i have sued and did enjoy robustly) and the voyager, they are VERY DIFFERENT beasts soundwise. Perhaps my perspective is skewed from owning and using a lot of analog gear over the last 15 years, but there are mainly TWO things that differentiate synths from each other (other than most of the obvious , liek voices available, multi-timbrality, arps and seqeuncers, etc) :-

    * the filter

    * the mod rotuings and busses

    the moog has one of the most powerful - and patented- 24db lpf's in the business. the vpyager actyually has TWO in series and also an option to use lpf and hpf in series, along with switchable poles - its there in the menus- along with the SPACING control, which is KEY to some of the really super smooth and esoteric patches on the machine. The prophet 08, on the other hand has a curtis filter and i believe VCA as well, which has a very different sound, which can be variously described as "american/brassy/oberheim-esque" and so on.

    Now the mod routings available on the voyager are VERY comprehensive and IMHO more useable , even with the pot-mapping (especially after v3.4 software), than the prophet 08, which is sheer overkill and ironically even with all those knobs, arent so immediate to grasp. Im assuming here that you have a basic grasp of the tenets of subtractive synthesis and FM, of course.

    Having said that the prophet, with its bitimbrality CAN blow the voyager away in some areas, such as economy and studio multi-purpose useability. But for "that" sound, only a mogo will do, and again in my opinion, the little phatty just doesnt cut the mustard the same way. Some may argue that with moog, you are just payign a premium for the provenance and heritage of the name, but there is something else there- a je ne sais quois- that is FELT perhaps when you spend time with the instruments.

    To conclude, both instruments are superb workhorses, and both have their strengths and weaknesses, some of which are only discovered after spending time with them (build quality, o/s quirks, midi glitches et al). Perhaps if you could borrow or buy a pro 08 or even a mopho ( if you were in my town, id happily lend you mine), you'd be able to hear, and feel the difference yourself.

    Hope all my rhetoric helps.


    20-Oct-08 08:11 AM

    shekhar dhain    Said...

    Apolgies in the above post for the typos and your youre confusion...i did this the other day too.

    more haste less speed..or something. ;-)

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    03-Jul-09 10:08 PM

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