Arturia Prophet V2 Review
The SCI Prophet 5, is, to my taste, without any question, the most lovely analogue polysynth ever made, and guess what? I’m not the only one! The Prophet 5 can be heard in an infinite number of records, from Kraftwerk to Pink Floyd to Depeche Mode, Jean Michel Jarre, to Genesis, and the list continues.
There were three Revisions, the first one, was pretty much unreliable and it’s very rare nowadays, the Rev2 is the most famous, which used an SSM chip for the filter, and Rev3 used Curtis chips.
On the other hand, the Prophet VS, was one of SCI’s latest synths before going out of business and, to my taste, is one of the weirdest (in a good sense) synths ever made, it used wavetables instead of VCOs and of course it can be heard in lots of records, from Vangelis to Vince Clarke to Brian Eno, etc..
Both are rare and expensive synths, but, the guys from Arturia have managed to create an amazing virtual instrument that recreates both and even combine them: the Prophet V2 synth plugin, lets check it out!
By default, when you launch the Prophet V2, it opens the Prophet 5 emulation which is pretty faithful to the original in the looks, architecture and most important, sound.
The sound is generated by two VCOs. Oscillator A can output Sawtooth and/or Pulse with variable PW waves, while Oscillator B adds the ability to output also a Triangle wave, plus can be fine-tuned and also can be used as an LFO without keyboard control. Osc A can be hard-sync’d to Osc B for screaming leads, and in the mixer section, there’s a knob to for noise (white).
The filter is a 24dB resonant low pass which sound as creamy as the original. This is not as an aggressive filter as a Moog Ladder, but it is indeed lovely for a Poly.
We’ve got two ADSR EGs, one for the filter and one for the amp, and a dedicated LFO which can modulate the oscillator’s pitch, PW or the filter using the Mod wheel as controller. LFO can output Triangle, Square or/and Saw and it can be sync’d to clock.
There’s also a Poly Mod section, where you can use the filter env or/and OSC B to modulate the filter or/and VCO’s A pitch and PW.
One nice feature is a knob on the Wheel – Mod section that lets you mix the modulation source between LFO and Noise.
As expected, there’s glide amount control and legato mode, as well as unison mode with a dedicated detune knob for creating really fat leads and basses.
On the other hand, when you press the VS button, it will open the Prophet VS instrument, which has four digital Oscillators, each of them containing127 different waveforms and you can tune them independently.
The original filter was in fact an analog Curtis Low Pass filter digitally controlled, but in this recreation, you can select between LPF, HPF, Band Pass and Band Reject, and yes, it is a resonant filter, and yes it will self oscillate.
There are two EGs, again one for the filter and one for the amp, but, they are actually a pain in the neck, because you’ve got to enter in the edit mode to tweak them. Anyhow, this is a breeze compared to programming a DX7, so, don’t complain!
We have two dedicated LFOs which can output Triangle, Saw, Ramp, Square or Random waveforms.
You are probably wondering about that weird Joystick, right? Well, that’s actually the OSC mixer, which has its own envelope and can, therefore be automated. You can go back and forth from one OSC to another, making the sound really dynamic and interesting, and this dedicated envelope can be set to loop in various ways in the Envelopes Tab in the LCD display.
You will also find in the LCD display a tab for modulation, with a mod matrix featuring almost endless modulation possibilities and and effects tab with Chorus and Delay.
The VS is a very interesting and capable synth by itself, it sounds very digital, even though the filter is analog, and the possibilities are endless, it is very versatile, specially for recreating other famous timbres like the DX7.
If it isn’t awesome enough for you to have the most lovely analog poly and probably the most sought after digital synth in one plugin, you should combine them using the HYBD button, and you will find yourself using them in tandem.
In this HYBD mode, you’ll find in the VS’ LCD screen a tab named audio, and here is where you configure your hybrid synth. You’ve got four oscillators to mix and match between the oscillators in the Pro 5 and the ones in the Pro VS, you can configure which filter will you use and how will you use them if you use both (series or parallel). This is a beast!
Of course, as with all V4 collection synths, we have extras! like Chorus and Delay, up to 32 notes polyphony.
But, the coolest extra is that in the presets section you will find the original factory sound banks for each synth, so, the classic Pro 5 Brass sound is as easy to dial as to press one button!
Probably this is the coolest instrument in Arturia’s V4 Collection. I mean, how awesome is to have two classic synths which sound pretty much the same as the originals in one plugin and if it that was not enough you can create your own synth using the oscillators and filters of both in anyway you like to! Seriously, this is a lot and it’s hard for me to find downsides or excuses for not having this synth in your rig!
More Details/Buying Options: Arturia Prophet V2