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In-depth Feature:  Native Instruments Prophet 5 VST synth
Mark Tinley writes:
  • Test System Used .

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    The software comes on a copy protected CD, which looks like my kids have been at it. There are two heavy indents on the data surface of the CD which look like the marks a fitter would make with a centre punch before drilling a hole into metal. I never understand why software engineers go to such ridiculous lengths to protect these things. The people who intend to buy it will buy it, the people who won't buy it have already downloaded the pirate copy from the Internet weeks before its release. How do I know this ? Because I contemplated downloading it myself while I was waiting for the review copy to arrive. While I appreciate that the problem exists that if no-one buys it, there won't be money for development in the future, I still can't see why software houses can't present a better method of licensing, though I have to say I haven't got the answer, but I would like to see something in place for students, younger users and the unemployed, so that they can assess and develop their skills with this kind of software.

    If you're a Cubase user, the software installs in minutes and it's that simple. If you're a LOGIC user, it gets a little more complicated in that you need to set the install directory to make sure the software ends up in your E-Magic VST plug ins folder, and not the Cubase one. I really hope E-Magic sort this one out soon. Like many other programs that use VST technology LOGIC could let you choose the location of your plug ins, rather than making you duplicate the existing Cubase folder if you want the same set in both applications.

    In Use
    After installation the Prophet V is available in the VST Instruments drop down menu in Cubase, or from one of the Audio Instrument channels in LOGIC. Latency is decided by the host application, in other words how your sequencer is set up to use the drivers on your sound card. Using the latest ASIO drivers on my Hammerfall RME card, I managed to get 6ms latency without major hiccups on my machine using Cubase. To all intents and purposes, I could just as easily been using a hardware synthesiser with the MIDI delay caused by an in-line software editor. I would argue that the early MIDI retrofits on models like the Prophet V probably have worse latency than I am experiencing here. What is really cool however, is that the sequencer will compensate for the latency on playback. With sample accurate resolution, this synthesiser has better timing resolution than any MIDI device on the planet.

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