Prophet-5/Prophet-10 REV4 vs Prophet-6 Blind Comparison

The latest loopop video is a blind sound comparison of the Sequential Prophet-5/Prophet-10 against the Prophet-6. The video is a collaboration with Julian Pollack/J3PO.

When Sequential released the Prophet-6, it included new versions of the original Prophet-5 patches, created by the original sound designer, John Bowen. “I was happy to find that I was able to accurately recreate the bulk of my presets,” he noted at the time.

While there’s a great deal of overlap between the machines, the Prophet-5/10 is a new version of a classic design, which is reflected in the synth’s capabilities and spacious layout, while the Prophet-6 is an updated design, which packs a lot more features into a smaller format.

Check out the video and share your thoughts on how the sound of the two synths compare in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
0:45 Specs
2:20 Tests start
2:35 Saw #1
3:05 Saw #2
3:30 Square #1
3:50 Square #2
4:15 Filter
5:20 Rev 3 vs 1/2
6:15 Resonant sweep
7:05 Vintage break
7:30 Triangle
8:00 PWM
8:30 Brass
9:00 Filter envelope
9:55 String
10:30 Outro

14 thoughts on “Prophet-5/Prophet-10 REV4 vs Prophet-6 Blind Comparison

    1. in most settings, id submit that no it wont matter too much. The audible result under a microscope is not as important as how it makes the player feel and execute IMO. I feel this way about many synths. IMO my sub37 is a toothy beast that is great for many modern settings compared to my velvet Voyager. The P10 is pleasing in its simplicity and gives back tangible vibe in the room ro me, while my P6 asks me to get wilder. I own both, i love both! Im oversimplifying, but you cant go wrong with either for sure.

  1. Unless you’re running a synthesizer museum or technical facility, it doesn’t matter if there are differences between instruments. As a musician, you’re simply interested in making sounds that inspire and fit within a track. And, yes, we’ll probably throw on reverb, delay and significant EQ along with compression.

  2. A Prophet-5 was my first poly, but I do scratch my head a bit over the reissue. The price is very fair in 2020 dollars, but it seems like a step backwards for nostalgia’s sake. If you really want it for its purity, okay, but a P-6 leaves it hanging for range of abilities. I’ve met three people who seriously married just one poly like a Prophet and tricked it out with Space Echos and the like, preferring not to do a Wakeman thing. It was amusing to see it set up in the den like a family piano. I see part of the run going to players like that.

  3. I think there should have been some high resonance slow filter sweep type sounds to better tell the difference? I did appreciate J3PO’s video, and they did sound much closer than I expected.

  4. Beginning at 4:14 in this clip from a few years ago, while talking about the Prophet 6, Dave Smith himself says that, “Compared to a Prophet 5, it goes well beyond it, but because of the way the circuits are designed, it really has the same heart and soul that the original Prophet 5 did.”

    Dave Smith then talks about John Bowen creating the same 40 sound presets for the Prophet 6 that he did for the original Prophet 5, and then they compared the 40 sounds on the Prophet 6 to his Prophet 5. Dave Smith says, “We were amazed how close they were…” and that they were, “…mostly indistinguishable.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ybT4refThw

  5. If you don’t care about a more organic sound (for lack of a better word) and are using the modern autotunes on the two machines – the P6 gives you better features and flexibility. The Rev1/2/3 autotunes are an extremely important part of the P5 Rev4. The old polysynths have archaic autotunes. From the OB-X and OB-Xa single point frequency only to the P5 Rev1/2 with 5 measurement points with fixed bias values to the Chroma with scaled DAC reference to the JP-8 with octave measurement points and calculated bias for each key…. these are all poor by varying degrees by today’s standards. Some like the imperfect results of the vintage polys and that’s a big reason one would purchase the Rev4.

  6. hmmm…the Prophet 6 is not a “knockoff” or “ripoff” of the Prophet 5 then? or are those terms only reserved in headings especially for Behringer products?

    1. “The Prophet 6 is not a “knockoff” or “ripoff” of the Prophet 5 then?”

      By definition, a knockoff is “an unauthorized, cheap copy of something” (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/knockoff). That’s why the term is not used when a company makes variations of their own products.

      “are those terms only reserved in headings especially for Behringer products?”

      No – the term ‘knockoff’ is reserved for when a product is “an unauthorized, cheap copy of something.” When a product fits that definition, we’ll use the term appropriately.

      If you question our use of the term ‘knockoff’ for a product, ask yourself: Is the product a copy? Was the original product designed by another company? Is the copy designed to be cheaper than the original?

      If the answers are ‘Yes’, ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’, the product is accurately referred to as a ‘knockoff’.

      1. In fairness, nearly *every* modern design (whether it’s a copy or not) is cheaper than original instruments from the 1970s and 1980s, simply because automated manufacturing and dramatically less expensive parts have significantly reduced the cost of manufacture.

        1. Cheaper can mean cost, but it can also mean build. Both the Korg and the Behringer Odyssey’s were cheaper builds than the original, but most of the Behringer stuff is “unauthorized,” which is the other factor for the term “knockoff.” Korg was actually allowed to use the Arp name in that instance.

        2. You’re missing the point. A new synth can be designed to be cheap to manufacture or not.

          The volca’s are cheap to manufacture, because they’re small and made of cheap materials. Same with Behringer’s knockoffs. The Prophet-5 isn’t, because it’s big and uses high-quality parts.

          It would be easy for Sequential to redesign the Prophet-5 to be cheap: make it small, build it out of plastic, use cheap parts, use a keyboard with fewer notes, etc. Sequential’s not going to do that, though, because making it cheap would damage their reputation.

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