Sequential Prophet-5 vs Prophet-6 – ‘The Definitive Comparison’

In this video, Starsky Carr pits the new Sequential Prophet-5 rev 4 synthesizer against the Prophet-6.

At close to an hour, the video is a deep dive comparison between the two Sequential Prophets. 

Which one is for you? Check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 intro
2:18 overall tone
4:38 oscillators
8:12 voice allocation
12:06 release/hold button
13:44 filters
19:20 deep & devastating
20:37 filter revisions
26:08 envelopes
29:39 kicks
30:41 poly-mod
34:19 LFO
36:30 vintage and slop
42:16 unison detune & chord mode
44:08 quick patch match
45:11 Glide
46:57 some sounds
52:01 final thoughts

13 thoughts on “Sequential Prophet-5 vs Prophet-6 – ‘The Definitive Comparison’

  1. Just curious what would happen if someone had to compare a new prophet 5 against another new prophet 5, or two vintage prophet 5 against each other, without knowing it. Would it also end with sounding similar and not quite the same? I wonder…
    Sometime it may be the look or the name that made us want things.
    In any case they sound a little different but not enough to keep them both, unless for investment or GAS reasons IMHO.

    1. Consumer grade electronic parts have a tolerance value of plus or minus 20%. So yes, comparing 2 of the exact same electronics should sound about 80% or more the same and 20% or less not quite the same.

      1. I’m sorry. What?! THese days, we typically specify 1% resistors in designs. The required precision of capacitors depends on the circuit. While cheap caps in non-critical circuits are often 20%, it’s common to specify 2% or even 1% when required.

        As far as comparison tests go, filter response and even oscillator linearity is often hand-trimmed on the PCB, so if you’re doing an A/B comparison it’s important to check that the units are calibrated similarly.

        1. …there are no trimmers or pre-trimmers on the new sequential stuff – it’s all digitally controlled. The vintage rev 1/2/3 modes just simplifies the autotune to the spec of the old units. For example on the Rev2 mode it only samples C2 to C6 and adds a static CV bias offset for each octave (and extrapolates the bias offset for the bottom octave…it does this on the old P5 because it would have taken an additional 10 seconds to measure those low freq’s and calibrate the lowest octave). It also approximates the behavior of the old P5 filter cutoff calibration by making them slightly different – the old P5’s only had the trimmer no digital control/feedback. In the normal mode (not vintage modes) it applies the an extensive hi-res autotune of oscillators and filters.
          A P5 Rev4 in the normal mode with the Rev3 filter selected is likely to sound very similar to a Prophet 6, and two Prophet 5 Rev4’s in normal mode (not vinatge) are likely to sound very very similar.

        2. Let’s do it right; designs call for small tolerances only ‘when necessary’. Any engineer will do the cost calculation and put the appropriate device in. Nobody uses 20% for everything, or 1% or 5%, or 10%. Precision where it matters, and cost where it counts – like when it will influence the sound.

          Also, accidents happen! Nobodies perfect. Companies quadruply so.

  2. Neither. I have a pair of Tetras and Arturia’s Prophet V/VS, best of 3 worlds. I have a good DAW for heavy lifting like sequencing. I’d be a P-6 buyer if I was in the market, though. The dual effects & hardware poly-mod would win me over.

    1. As someone who’s agonized over editing patches on the tetra (and even on the glitchy $40 soundtower editor program), I’d definitely pay for the upgraded layout (and sound) of the Prophet 6.

    2. Tetras are fantastic; too bad they don’t make them anymore, though the Rev2 is similar minus the (wonderful) multi-timbral capability of the Tetra…

  3. 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.”

  4. I keep hearing the P5 keypresses have more “bite” and sound is more “instant” in this video…the P6 attack envelope sounds like it is not at Zero 0 ? or maybe that indeed is the difference between the synths….this just makes chords sound Chunky on the p5 and “pleasant” on the P6….I would say its analog vs digital envelopes but now the P5 rev 4 is digital envelopes too he said? so I don’t get it..

  5. While being a fan of the (VST) Prophet 5 sound since back in the days of the NI Prophet 52 (or rather back in the days of the Talking Heads!!), I was convinced that I would buy a Prophet 6 as soon as I find an appropriate one on ebay.
    Then the current Prophet 5 was released, and reading all articles, I still thought that I would go for the Prophet 6, due to its versatility.
    And now I watch this (brilliant – thanks Starsky!) video, and I am not so sure anymore.
    The P5 does somehow sound more attractive. (Or is it just the volume in the end?!?)

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