The Sequential Prophet VS Synthesizer

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This video demo, by Marko Ettlich, explores the capabilities of the Sequential CIrcuits Prophet VS synthesizer. The Prophet VS is a vintage keyboard synthesizer from 1987 that uses ‘Vector Synthesis’.

About the Prophet VS, Sound On Sound wrote:

The Prophet VS really sounds like no other synthesizer of its time — and, I would venture, none since. Capable of emulating a Prophet 5, an Oberheim, a PPG or a Jupiter 8, the VS can also create sounds that are unmistakably DX7-like, and still others that are completely unique to it. Some sounds caused such a sensation when the Prophet VS was first heard that they have become a part of synthesis folklore. Patch 69, ‘Filmusic’, is one such sound, a haunting combination of strings and pads that swirl from left to right and back, as the oscillators seem to vie for attention.

In the VS, Sequential practically single-handedly pioneered the use of stereo and multi-dimensional sound positioning for keyboard players, giving them a totally new way of expressing themselves. One indication of the popularity of the VS method and sounds is the sheer number of film soundtracks that were composed almost entirely using the Prophet VS. These often haunting, flowing textures are unmistakable, and they’re still used to this day. Nine out of ten movie sound designers will own a Prophet VS — and treasure it.

If you’ve used the Prophet VS, let us know what you think of it!

Key Features:

  • 8 voice polyphonic
  • 96 preset waveforms
  • 32 user waveforms
  • Two LFOs
  • 61 key velocity + aftertouch sensitive keyboard
  • 100 patch memory

Resources:


11 thoughts on “The Sequential Prophet VS Synthesizer

  1. Wikipedia summarizes “vector synthesis” like this:

    Vector synthesis provides movement in a sound by providing dynamic cross-fading between (usually) four sound sources. The four sound sources are conceptually arranged as the extreme points of X and Y axes, and typically labelled A, B, C and D. A given mix of the four sound sources can be represented by a single point in this ‘vector plane’. Movement of the point provides sonic interest and is the power of this technique. Mixing is frequently done using a joystick, although the point can be controlled using envelope generators or LFOs.

    The Wikipedia page says the Korg Kronos and Arturia Origin continue to implement this method of synthesis.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  2. The Korg wavestation was designed by the same team and had all of the VS samples too.

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      • I have the VS and the WS and both synths sounds absolute different. the VS sound is much more raw and organic. the VS is one of my TOP5 synths ever.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  3. I remember playing Vangelis’s VS, circa 1987(?) Amazing sounds came out of that thing.

    Oh, later I made VS Wavewrangler software for editing and FFT analysis/resynthesis. Still have my VS rack — love it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  4. They do sound quite amazing. The Wavestation sounds great too, but its a different filter setup. A poor mans Prophet its not, but they both have their fun. Awesome video!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  5. “One indication of the popularity of the VS method and sounds is the sheer number of film soundtracks that were composed almost entirely using the Prophet VS. ”

    Such as? Genuinely curious. my late high school and college years were in the early to mid eighties. I saw a lot of movies. This does touch upon some dormant aural memories but would like to know specific movie soundtracks and the composers who used the VS .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  6. As a follow up…that chord progression he plays from the 32 second mark to 39 seconds really took me back. I listened to that progression several times before I opened another tab in Youtube and typed in RUSH MIDDLETOWN DREAMS from their Power Windows album and …….

    listen to the VS riff again and now at the 1:12 mark on this clip…..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJzPaxP75gA

    Yeah…bliss !!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  7. Great instrument! The fact that Sequential went bankrupt the next year indicates that synth idiots in the 1980s had either no taste or no money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  8. One of the last great synths before Yamaha, Roland and Korg started churning out bland rubbish for the next decade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

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