Short Synth History Lesson: The Sequential Prophet-5

Sequential Prophet 5 synthesizer


The Sequential Prophet-5 is a 5-voice analog polyphonic synthesizer first introduced in 1978 by Sequential Circuits[14]. It was one of the earliest synthesizers to have full programmability of sounds and quickly gained popularity among musicians and producers due to its unique sound and innovative design[14]. The Prophet-5 has seen several revisions over the years, with the most recent being the Prophet-5 Rev4, which was released alongside a 10-voice companion, the Prophet-10[13].


The Prophet-5 was designed by Dave Smith, the founder of Sequential Circuits[14]. Dave Smith’s vision for the instrument was to create a polyphonic synthesizer that was both powerful and musical[15]. The original Prophet-5 was a groundbreaking instrument, and its design has influenced the development of many other synthesizers over the years[14].

Impact and Popularity

The Prophet-5 has been used by numerous artists and producers across various genres, including Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and Tony Banks[14]. Its unique sound and innovative design have made it a sought-after instrument among musicians and producers[14]. The Prophet-5’s impact on the music industry can still be felt today, as its legacy continues to inspire the development of new synthesizers and instruments[13].

Technical Specifications and Features

The Sequential Prophet-5 features a 5-voice analog polyphonic synthesizer with a full, five-octave, semi-weighted Fatar keyboard[15]. It has two CEM 3340 VCOs per voice, with simultaneously selectable waveforms for oscillators A and B[6]. The Prophet-5 also includes a Poly-Mod (Polyphonic Modulation) section that allows all five voices to have separate modulation paths[5]. Other features include:

– Velocity sensitivity and aftertouch[1]
– USB, MIDI, Gate, and CV ins/outs[15]
– A Vintage knob for setting various Prophet-5 models[1]
– Pitch and modulation wheel[1]

Recent Models

In 2020, Sequential reintroduced the Prophet-5 with the release of the Prophet-5 Rev4, which embodies all three revisions of the legendary synth[13]. This new version offers improvements in stability and reliability while maintaining the classic sound and design of the original Prophet-5[1]. Sequential also released a 10-voice version called the Prophet-10, realizing Dave Smith’s original vision for the instrument[13].


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