Category Archives: Pro 3

Sequential Pro 3 or Pro 2?

Two of the best mono/paraphonic synths made

When Sequential released the Pro 3, I had to reexamine the Pro 2, a synthesizer that caused me to reexamine what I looked for in all other synths. Ultimately, I decided the Pro 3 and Pro 2 stand tall together. The Pro 3 does not make the Pro 2 obsolete. The Pro 3 and Pro 2 do share many common design characteristics, but overall they are unique synthesizers.

The Pro 3 is not a bigger and better souped up Pro 2. They both have elements that are improvements over the other. This comparison looks at some of the differences. Be sure to look at the individual Pro 3 and Pro 2 pages for more details about each synth.

Form factor

The Pro 3 comes in 2 form factors, the Pro 3 SE with its ala Moog hinge, traditional woods and printed panel design that matches the Sequential Prophet X, and the Pro 3 STD with no hinge, no wood and a film panel design. Other than these differences, both Pro 3 models are exactly the same. Both Pro 3s have 37 keys and 1 latchable position-sensitive touch slider.

The Pro 2 has no hinge, but does have traditional woods and printed panel design. The Pro 2 has 44 keys and 2 latchable position-sensitive and pressure-sensitive touch sliders.

Oscillators

The oscillators are the biggest difference between the Pro 3 and Pro 2. Both synths are mono/paraphonic.

The Pro 3 has 3 oscillators, 2 analog and one digital wavetable. 3 voices max.

The Pro 2 has 4 digital oscillators and a sub oscillator. 4 voices max.

Filters

The Pro 3 has 3 filters that you can operate in solo fashion (1: Based on Prophet-6, 2: Classic Ladder, 3: Based on OB-6).

The Pro 2 has 2 filters that can operate solo or both in serial, parallel or split oscillators mode (1: Based on Prophet-5, 2: State variable based on Oberheim SEM).

Sequencer

One of the things that make the Pro 3 or Pro 2 synthesizers shine is the sequencer. Bluntly, both sequencers are killer. The Pro 3 sequencer does have more functionality though.

The Pro 3 has 16 tracks x 16 steps x 4 phrases (or linked for 16 tracks x 64 steps). In paraphonic mode 3 voices.

The Pro 2 has 16 tracks x 16 steps or 8 tracks x 32 steps. In paraphonic mode 4 voices.

Envelopes

The Pro 3 has 4 envelopes.

The Pro 2 has 5 envelopes.

LFOs

The Pro 3 has 4 LFOs.

The Pro 3 has 3 LFOs, however its wavetable oscillator can be the 4th LFO.

Modulation

The Pro 3 has a 32 slot modulation matrix with over 46 mod sources and over 171 mod destinations.

The Pro 2 has a 16 slot modulation matrix with over 50 mod sources and over 140 mod destinations.

Effects

The Pro 3 has 2 digital effects from a selection of: Stereo delay, BBD delay, chorus, flanger, phaser, ring mod, vintage rotating speaker, distortion, high-pass filter, super plate reverb.
The Pro 3 also has tuned feedback with grunge and programmable analog distortion.

The Pro 2 has: 4 delays, tuned feedback and programmable analog distortion.

Memory

The Pro 3 has 512 user and 512 factory preset slots.

The Pro 2 has 396 user and 396 factory preset slots.

Summary

The above are the basic differences. Again, I urge you to be sure to look at the individual Pro 3 and Pro 2 pages for more details about each synth.

Features and technical abilities are nice and important to know about to be an informed consumer. The workflow on both these synths is similar and you are likely to have common operational experiences with either the Pro 3 or the Pro 2. Ultimately the sound is the most important thing and that cannot be conveyed in specifications.

The Pro 3 and Pro 2 each have their own characteristic and unique sound. Both are capable of complex sounds from very clean to very dirty, I would say the Pro 3 is grittier and more raw than the Pro 2, especially when you factor in the wavetable possibilities.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the space and resources to choose both, together the Pro 3 and Pro 2 release their greatest potential.

“Combining a Sequential Pro 2 and Pro 3 creates a monster synth system… 7 oscillators, 5 filters, 7 envelopes, 32 lanes of note, parameter and CV sequencing, 8 assignable CV Ins, 8 assignable CV Outs, and I’m not even going to try to count the modulation possibilities.”
-Chris Stack

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Useful Links

My Gear related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Sequential Pro 3
Updated periodically – Sequential Prophet X & XL
Updated periodically – Waldorf Quantum Keyboard
Updated periodically – Gibson SG Standard Electric Guitar
Updated periodically – Martin HD28E Acoustic Electric Guitar

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Wavetable Editing Tools

noise55d.wav wavetable in the Pro 3 version of WaveEdit

Utilities to create & edit wavetables

Free Software

WaveEdit – $0.00
This makes a bank of 64 waveforms with a wave length of 256. Open-source wavetable editor. Highly recommended, I use this for Quantum and Iridium wavetables.

WaveEdit Pro 3 fork – $0.00
This makes a bank of 16 waveforms with a wave length of 1024. While this Jeremy Bernstein fork was tweaked to match Sequential Pro 3 wavetable specs, this is totally useful for Quantum and Iridium wavetables as well. There is nothing proprietary, get both WaveEdit versions. See ‘Assets’ for downloads.

  • See Pro 3 Yehuda Wavetables and Pro 3 Wavetables & Utilities.

WavePad – $0.00
This is free with nags, still there are some useful features in this program. The split feature is nice for breaking up wavetables into individual waveforms.

Audio-Term I – $0.00
Wavetable editor/creator. I needed to run this as administrator to get mouse input to work. This is an old school interface, it is supposed to be very useful. Anyhoo, this is it. Extensive YouTube Tutorials.
Download version 2.27 Audio-Term.zip or Audio-Term.zip

Audio Joiner – $0.00
Can use this tool to roll your own by merging single waveforms of a Quantum friendly sample length e.g. a bunch of 1,204 sample length single-cycle waveforms. Can merge up to 200 samples into a single file/wavetable.

Waldorf Blofeld Wavetable Creator – $0.00
Wavetable creator from scratch, sin, triangle, square, saw, freehand waveforms, import wave, export midi.

Serum: Advanced Wavetable Synthesizer – $189.00
Wavetable editor built right in, you can create your own wavetables in a variety of ways.

Icarus: High-end Synthesizer-Workstation – $169.00
Claims “the most powerful wavetable-editor available on the market”.

Phase Plant: Modular Synthesis Engine – $169.00
Wavetable editor built in. You can use it to edit any wavetable, or to create wavetables from scratch. The wavetable editor also has a powerful tool for converting any sample to a wavetable.

Hardware

Waldorf Quantum Keyboard / Iridium Desktop / Iridium Keyboard synthesizers
Have sample to wavetable conversion utility built into OS.
Oscillator > Timbre > Tools > Analyze Audio

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series

Waldorf related pages
Updated periodically – Waldorf Quantum Keyboard
Updated periodically – Waldorf Iridium Keyboard
Updated periodically – Quantum Iridium Patches
Updated periodically – Quantum Iridium Wavetables & Utilities
Updated periodically – Wavetable Editing Tools
Updated periodically – Groove Synthesis 3rd Wave or Waldorf Quantum/Iridium?
Updated periodically – Sequential Prophet X or Waldorf Quantum?

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Sequential Pro 3

Clearly the Sequential Pro 3 is the #1 monophonic paraphonic synth on the market today

Sequential Pro 3 $1999.00 Standard Edition – $2199.00 Special Edition

I can’t speak for the market, but an informed synthesist knows there is nothing quite like a Sequential Pro 2; it clobbers every other keyboard class monophonic/paraphonic synth made. A Pro 3 would have to be an amazing machine to take its place. It is a very high bar to reach that has been set by the Pro 2. The Pro 3 reaches that bar.

First of all, both Pro 3 models look great, especially the SE with its ala Moog hinge, traditional woods and printed panel design that matches the Sequential Prophet X. The Pro 3 includes both analog and digital wavetable oscillators. The sequencer is killer. The 4 knob/4 button screen interface is a familiar joy.

I’m sure the high end paraphonic synthesizer market is a tough place to play, but after the initial sparkles wore off, I saw a few major changes in the Pro 3 compared to the Pro 2. It is very important to approach the Pro 3 as a whole new synth. It is not a souped up Pro 2.

The Pro 3 has 37 keys exactly like the Moog Subsequent 37. This is the critical competitor comparison here in my opinion. Sequential/Dave Smith Instruments synths have always been Moog killers. In fact, when I decided to buy the Pro 3, it was mainly to replace my Subsequent 37. I loved the Moog, but I’m an even bigger fan of the Sequential screen/knob workflow (and let’s face it, the Subsequent 37’s screen capabilities at best are extremely dated), and now with Pro 3’s analog and digital wavetable oscillators, the Moog would have been even further isolated in my gear, so I sold it.

My Pro 3 use is generally lead, bass, percussion, heavily sequenced or modulated sounds. It is not my go to poly. I have 2 flagship polyphonics; I am not looking for the Pro 3 to do chords or pads, though it can do that very well. Paraphonic is the most I need and most of the time mono. Dave Smith did his homework here, the market yearned for analog and wavetable oscillators and the price is still in a range it doesn’t have to compete with high-end polys.

With all 3 oscillators, the Pro 3 has 3 paraphonic voices instead of the Moog Subsequent 37’s 2 paraphonic voices. To be clear though, you can only do 2 of those voices with the exact same oscillators (analog). I think many people will really like the Pro 3’s analog oscillators. They sound amazing. You can stick to the classic wave shapes (triangle, saw and pulse, all with wave shaping) common to all 3 oscillators (analog and digital) to get fairly similar paraphonic voices. A 2 oscillator duo mode is also in firmware 1.1 and newer.

Some might consider 3 voices with 2 distinct types of oscillators to be somewhat unusual, however I think the unusual would be very desirable and exactly what you want. Mixing it up even further with all 3 oscillators set to different waveforms, shaping and modulation is the peak use of the paraphonic mode in my opinion.

The 3rd digital oscillator is quite interesting, with 64 digital wavetable slots with 16 waves in each slot with wave morphing; can function as an LFO for complex wavetable-based modulation. Wavetable slots 1-32 are factory supplied wavetables. Wavetable slots 33-64 are for user supplied wavetables as of the 1.1 firmware update. There is also a Sequential wavetable generator site to make an unlimited selection of wavetables for those user supplied slots.

Obviously, the Pro 3 is no Waldorf Quantum, but I’m 100% certain that is not Sequential’s intention nor are the price points remotely comparable.

There are 3 filters on the Pro 3. You can use them one at a time. There is no serial, parallel, or split oscillator routing. Dave Smith says it would get messy routing 3 filters, and most of the time routing a low-pass through a low pass wouldn’t make sense. Personally, I would have liked to have split oscillator routing through two different filters, but this is minor.

There is 1 latchable position-sensitive touch slider, without pressure-sensitivity. There are 3 LFOs, and to be exact, the wavetable oscillator can be your 4th LFO, and its abilities are a real upgrade to the LFO palette.

The Pro 3 improves on the Pro 2 capabilities to function as your control center synth. In addition to MIDI in, MIDI out 1, MIDI thru and MIDI out 2, it has 4 CV inputs, 4 CV outputs and a gate output. The 16 track 64 step sequencer outputs to CV and all other modulation destinations. All the extensive modulation sources output to CV as well.

The Pro 3 is a real contender, I expect it to outsell the Pro 2. The Pro 3 is definitely a Moog Subsequent killer. You will find many people that have owned both, and almost every one of them prefer the Pro 3 over the Moog. A small minority still hold on to the legend of Moog bass, and perhaps it’s subjective but I think they are meshuganah. The Pro 3’s bass will peel the posters off your walls, if you let it.

In actual use, the Pro 3 pairs well with a Prophet X or Quantum, just like the Pro 2 already does.

If you are fortunate enough to have a Sequential Pro 2, keep it! The Pro 3 not only reaches the bar the Pro 2 sets, but complements it in amazing ways.

“Combining a Sequential Pro 2 and Pro 3 creates a monster synth system… 7 oscillators, 5 filters, 7 envelopes, 32 lanes of note, parameter and CV sequencing, 8 assignable CV Ins, 8 assignable CV Outs, and I’m not even going to try to count the modulation possibilities.” -Chris Stack

I know I’m not the only one that thinks the Pro 3 really whets the appetite for a Sequential Pro Poly8. One can only hope. Sequential Pro 2/3 features are like nothing else.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.sequential.com

Product support, downloads
https://www.sequential.com/support

Strongly recommended that you download the newest OS, unless you hate bug fixes, stability and new features.

Facebook user groups

Sequential Pro 3 Synth
https://www.facebook.com/groups/762398134270622
Sequential/DSI Pro 2/3 Users Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/719776201445367

Forums

Sequential Forums
https://forum.sequential.com

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Sequential Pro 3 YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Follow on Mastodon – @Yehuda@Mvskoke.social

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – @Yehuda@Mvskoke.social.

Specifications

3 OSCILLATORS
  • Two analog, voltage-controlled oscillators
  • One DSP-based digital oscillator
  • Analog oscillators produce three classic wave shapes: (triangle, saw, pulse) with variable shape modulation/pulse width on each
  • Digital oscillator produce 64 digital wavetables of 16 waves each with wave morphing, plus classic wave shapes (sine, triangle, saw, variable-width pulse) and super saw
  • Digital oscillator 3 can function as an LFO for complex wavetable-based modulation
  • White noise generator
  • Hard sync, per-oscillator Glide, Oscillator Slop
3-VOICE PARAPHONIC PLAYABILITY
  • 3-voice paraphonic mode with individually-gated envelopes per oscillator
3 FILTERS
  • Three classic filter types
  • Filter 1 is a 4-pole, 24 dB per-octave, Prophet-6™ low-pass filter
  • Filter 2 is a classic, 4-pole, 24 dB per-octave, transistor ladder filter with optional resonance compensation
  • Filter 3 is a 2-pole, 12 db per-octave, OB-6™ state-variable filter. It can be continuously varied between low-pass, notch, and high-pass operation, with an optional band-pass mode.
3 LFOS
  • Three syncable LFOs with phase offset and slew per LFO
  • Five waveshapes: triangle, saw, reverse saw, square, and S&H
4 ENVELOPES
  • Four ADSR envelopes with delay (Filter, VCA, and two Auxiliary envelopes)
  • Envelopes freely assignable to multiple modulation destinations
  • All envelopes can repeat/loop
DIGITAL EFFECTS
  • Dual digital effects
  • Stereo delay, BBD delay, chorus, flanger, phaser, ring mod, vintage rotating speaker, distortion, high-pass filter, super plate reverb
FEEDBACK AND DISTORTION
  • Tuned feedback with Grunge for extra-aggressive tonal destruction
  • Programmable analog distortion
32-SLOT MODULATION MATRIX
  • 32 slot modulation matrix with over 46 mod sources and over 171 mod destinations
  • Modulation assignment buttons enable quick and easy modulation routing
  • Mod Matrix runs at audio rates
4 CONTROL VOLTAGE INS & OUTS AND GATE OUT
  • Four control voltage (CV) inputs and outputs for interfacing with modular synths and other CV-compatible devices
  • Parameters that can be sent to CV outputs include oscillators, LFOs, envelopes, sequencer tracks and any other source within the modulation matrix. Runs at audio rates.
  • Gate Out for triggering external CV-compatible devices. Any CV in can be used as a gate input.
16-TRACK SEQUENCER
  • Advanced sequencer with three modes: normal, gated, and trigger
  • 16 tracks and 4 linkable 16-step phrases
  • Per-step ratcheting, duration, and velocity
  • Multiple playback modes: forward, reverse, forward/reverse, random
  • Supports real-time/step input, rests, and variable-length sequences
  • Syncs to MIDI clock and external audio and CV input
  • Sequences freely assignable to any modulation destination
ARPEGGIATOR
  • Sophisticated arpeggiator with up, down, up+down, random, assign modes
  • Syncs to MIDI clock and external audio and CV inputs
  • Re-latching arpeggiation
  • Runs concurrent with Sequencer for arpeggiated patterns with parameter automation
CONTROLS
  • Over 60 knobs and 70 buttons enable deep, comprehensive editing with minimal menu diving
  • Backlit pitch and mod wheels are easily visible in low-light situations and have a smooth, precise response.
  • Independently adjustable upper and lower pitch wheel range
  • Position-sensitive latchable touch slider for enhanced interactivity and control
  • Full-sized, three-octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
MEMORY
  • 512 user and 512 factory programs
  • Playlist mode for generating easily accessible set lists of your favorite programs
IN/OUT
  • 1 MIDI In, 1 MIDI Out, and 1 MIDI Thru/Out 2 port
  • USB port for bidirectional MIDI communication
  • 4 CV inputs (4 x 1/8″ jack) with -10v to +10v voltage range
  • 4 CV outputs (4 x 1/8″ jack) with -10v to +10v voltage range
  • 1 Gate Out  (1/8″ jack)
  • 1 Sustain/footswitch input
  • 1 Expression pedal input
  • 1 External audio input  (1/4″ phone jack)
  • Main stereo output (2 x 1/4″ phone jack)
  • Headphone out (stereo 1/4″ phone jack)
POWER
  • 1 universal IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
  • Operates worldwide on voltages between 100-240v, 50-60Hz, 30 watts maximum power consumption
PHYSICAL SPECS
  • Premium, 3-octave, semi-weighted Fatar keyboard
  • 26.5″ L x 13″ W x 3.5″ H (67.3 cm x 33 cm x 8.9 cm)
  • Weight: 16 lbs (7.25 kg)