November 9, 2005

SCI Prophet 2000

by Chris Randall

If you recall, a couple weeks ago I was pining about my controller keyboard, and after some research/whining/pondering, had decided on an Ensoniq ESQ1 or SQ80 as a viable replacement. I've been searching for one that was both presentable, condition-wise, and attainable (as in "not in Europe".) Not having had a lot of luck in that regard, my eye began wandering, and yesterday I came across a posting on AH for a Prophet 2000.

While it is intrinsically the same thing as an ESQ-1 (eight voices, CEM filters and VCAs with digital VCOs) it does have a couple other things going for it which the ESQ-1 and SQ80 lack. First up, it is a Sequential Circuits product, and thus has Mojo, which Ensoniq most definitely does not. Second, it samples.

I bought it from the same fellow that sold us the Mutron Bi-Phase for cloning purposes, so I already know he's a good packer and reputable person. So we're in good shape all around. It'll be here in a couple days, and I'll give a full Vintage Review. I'm quite familiar with the much rarer Prophet 3000 sampler, but I can't remember ever having used one of these, so I'm a little excited to see what's what.

(On a side note, I'm still looking for a SCI Pro-FX rack, if you know of one.)




Nov.09.2005 @ 1:00 PM
"full vintage" review here:

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Nov.09.2005 @ 1:33 PM
Chris Randall
That review, like most "Retrozone" reviews in SOS, is nearly useless. I don't give a fuck how that guy made his living setting loop points for Stevie Wonder. I want to know how the filters are, and if the VCAs are snappy, and what the onboard waveforms are all about. He doesn't talk about the other aspects of the unit _at all._ The whole article is about looping grand piano samples.

Nobody needs that nowadays. I wish the SOS Retrozone articles dealt with facets of the instruments in question that are pertinent today. SOS is a great magazine otherwise, but I tend to start ranting every time I read a Retrozone article.

(Thanks for the link, though. I didn't even think to look, for reasons stated above.)



Nov.09.2005 @ 2:03 PM
Solipsist Nation
The Prophet 2000 is a mighty, mighty sampler. I used to play one in 1992 or so, and boy, it sounds GREAT. It has super-gritty 12-bit sampling, sure, but it pipes the audio through CEM filter chips on the way out. During a sound check at the Rat, a Boston nightclub, I rattled every piece of glass in the house playing a resonant-filter-swept choir voice.

Internal waveforms are, well, they're there. They aren't amazing, but you can do some pretty minimal synthesizer stuff even without loading any sounds.

The only sampler I've used that sounded nearly as good was the E-Mu Emax, and while the Emax was much more flexible, had more memory, and was easier to program and load waveforms into from a computer, it still didn't sound as good.

Expect the floppy drive to be unreliable at best. Always keep multiple backups of your disks in case the drive eats one of them.


Nov.09.2005 @ 5:58 PM
You know what's impressive about that SOS piece? That the writer was able to give himself a blowjob for so long without his muscles cramping up. And the remarkable way he was able to cram at least one name-drop into every sentence! Kudos!

Nov.10.2005 @ 1:50 PM
The Vintage Synthesizers book reports that Sequential used to do an A/B test where they recorded a CD into the Prophet 2000 and had people pick which they liked better, the CD or the sampler. Almost everyone picked the sampler, which attests to the quality of the filters. Nice find.



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