Arturia Prophet V Review and Walkthrough

First off, let me congratulate Arturia on doing something that even Apple can’t do. Resize their plugins correctly! Some users are on a 13″ Macbook while others are on a 27″ iMac. Most developers seem to design their plugins for the 13″ Macbook so anyone with a large screen has eye strain, requiring you to get within inches of the monitor to read the plugin … for shame! (Apple really has no excuse since they control this whole ecosystem, but UAD is a well known offender, with the LA-3A being probably the worst example.)

The Prophet V was released in 1978. It featured 5 voices, each with 2 Oscillators, a white noise generator, and a low pass Voltage Controlled Filter. The filter was modified using the (what we would now call “standard”) ADSR envelope. Oscillator B could be used as a modulation source for Oscillator A. Additionally, the Mod wheel could be used to modulate the LFO and pink noise generator that was applied to all 5 voices.

Arturia Prophet 5
Arturia Prophet 5

Aside from resizing, the graphics look nice in general and all their synths sound great. It’s more economical to get their entire suite, but for now we’ll just focus on one of their more popular keyboard emulations, the Prophet 5. For those that don’t know, this was a star of the 80s, used by hitmakers such as Hall and Oates, Journey, The Cars and Phil Collins. And while it’s useful for making classic rock and pop, it’s also a king for ambient music and film scoring.

Prophet 5 “Opening Pad” preset
“Digital Nerves” preset

It even does a nice House kick. This is the “909 Like” preset.

909 kick

This is one of the most famous patches used by The Cars.

Bank 3 Patch 2 _ Sync II

The “Ambient Pad” with a little bit of pitch detune can give you a nice Chillwave/Synthwave sound. And while you’re at it, use the Prohpet V for the bass as well. Here’s the “Bass Bass” preset

“Ambient Pad” and “Bass Bass” presets for a Washed Out type sound

As an added bonus, they include a version of the Prophet VS, which came out in 1986. The innovative thing that the VS brought about was vector synthesis. You could use a joystick to transition between four wavetable oscillators. Additionally, the 4 point ADSR filter was replaced with a 5 point envelope.

Prophet VS
Prophet VS

Both Oscillators on the Arturia Prophet V allow you to adjust the frequency in semitones, up to two octaves. Oscillator A supports Sawtooth and Square waves. The PW knob allows you to set the pulse width on the square wave, and the SYNC button allows you to synchronize OSC A and OSC B. OSC in addition to Sawtooth and Square, supports a Triangle wave, and allows you to fine tune within a semitone. The LoFreq button allows you to use OSC B as an LFO for OSC A. The keyboard button attaches the keyboard (which you probably won’t need in your DAW.)

The mixer lets you mix the volumes of OSC A, OSC B and White Noise.

Oscillator and Mixer section
Oscillator and Mixer section

Look! Early Dubstep by automating the Freq knob 😉

Early Dubstep

After setting your Oscillators, you’ll want to visit the Filter section. The low pass filter is a pretty steep 24db filter. The CUTOFF knob sets the frequency, between 10 Hz and 25kHz, that this filter starts at. It will cut out all frequencies above this. The RESO knob sets the resonance of the frequency, as there will be a slight boost right before the cut

ENV AMT sets the amount of modulation by the filter envelope. KBD sets the keyboard following (probably not needed for your DAW.)

The standard ADSR (Attack,Decay,Sustain,Relase) envelope is used to edit the cutoff frequency above. The LFO and Osc B can also modulate this.

Filter Section
Filter Section

Arturia Prophet V has the volume knob in the lower right controls the overall volume of the Prophet V, and is sometimes referred to as the amplifier.