Sequential Circuits Prophet VS

The Prophet VS is a synthesizer released in 1986 by Dave Smith’s Sequential Circuits. The Prophet VS introduced Vector Synthesis – two dimensional crossfading between waveforms.

Sequential folded shortly after the VS was introduced, but many of the ideas from the VS lived on in the Korg Wavestation. 

The video above, via Retrosound, demos some typical VS sounds. 


  • 8-voice polyphony
  • Multi-timbral (2 part)
  • 96 preset waveforms + 32 user waveforms
  • Two LFOs, each with own envelope generator
  • Curtis analog (digitally controlled) 4-pole lowpass filter, with dedicated envelope generators
  • 5 stage amp, filter and mix envelopes
  • 61 note keyboarded with velocity & aftertouch
  • 100 patch memory
  • Twin chorus, stereo effects, panning of individual oscillators/individual voices
  • Arpeggiator


8 thoughts on “Sequential Circuits Prophet VS

  1. An absolute classic. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time playing a Prophet VS, I highly recommend it! It has some of the same aspects as the Wavestation, but of course the older technology gives the Prophet a fat retro sound. Yamaha also released a Vector Synth, The VSS-20 I believe, & it had a few unique features unto itself, but ultimately fell short compared to the Wave and the VS.
    If you have a chance to get one of these at a reasonable price (good luck) it’s a great addition to any studio.

  2. That era had a lot of manufacturers exploring the sonic landscape of digital/analog hybrids. The VS really stood out from the pack and carved its own niche among heavyweights as St.B from DEAD PANDA mentioned.

    Nice to hear the PVS again!

  3. That’s right…. The “SY” series! I remember the Yamaha board had it’s
    own sound, a giant knob in the middle and of course a joystick.
    I think the VSS was a small sampling keyboard. Hazy memories.
    You don’t see many SY-22’s around, I don’t see many Wavestations either, which is surprising.

  4. I’d still love to get my hands on a Korg Wavestation.

    What do you think is the best implementation of vector synthesis?

  5. I believe either the Wavestation or the Prophet would be best…
    The Wavestation definitely has a more ‘modern’ sound, very complex
    textures. A “90’s” type of style. The VS is absolutely ‘retro’ sounding, more of the old school style. A VS is also a collectible classic, and will hold it’s value over time. A used VS might break the bank, though. Dave Smith also makes a new VS, but I have not played one. It is styled after the original Prophet.
    Check for used Wavestations, they get them occasionally. You can get a 90 day warranty on it too.

  6. The sound of the Wavestation and the Prophet VS is very different.
    The VS sounded like a mix between a PPG Wave and a Prophet 5. The sound is hard, digital but you can also make awesome Prophet-5 like string sounds.
    I agree with St.B the Wavestation is a typical 90`s synth , with a complex hifi sound.
    Both synths are great.

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