Category Archives: Prophet X

Sequential Prophet X or Waldorf Quantum?

Which high-end polyphonic synth would you choose?

Often I have heard users in the Sequential Prophet X/XL or the Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer Facebook groups ask the question “Which is better, the Sequential Prophet X/XL or the Waldorf Quantum?”

FYI throughout this document most references to the 61 key Prophet X model or PX also apply to the 76 key Prophet XL model, with the exceptions of dimensions, weight and number of keys.

That question is one I seriously asked myself at the very end of 2018, intending to buy only one of them. Within a few months, I came to the conclusion I had to have both of them, which financially was impossible for me to do in 2019, so I bought one in 2019 and the other in 2020. Deciding which one to buy first was rough. In the end I decided to get the Quantum 1st and the Prophet X 2nd. With hindsight I can say they are equally desirable synths.

It is interesting that for this caliber of synthesizer, even in the less biased general synthesizer groups, these two synths are by far the two most commonly compared high-end hybrid polyphonic synthesizers. You also will very frequently see people that own both and with good reasons. Though equally desirable, they are vastly unique and different machines.

The question “Which is better?” is impossible to answer, both synths are a sound designers dream. Your needs may dictate one or the other or both though.

Do you need a synthesizer for studio or live performances?

From a physical perspective, the Quantum is big and heavy, the Prophet X a little smaller and lighter, however still substantial. Though not exactly to scale, the header image of the two synths above, is a very good guide of the sizes of each synth. The Quantum is 39.2 pounds and the Prophet X is 24 pounds (Prophet XL is 33.2 pounds).

In my opinion, the Quantum is more of a studio synth than a gigging or performance synth. Most of all, even OS 2.0 isn’t fully at performance stability yet. OS 2.0 is a huge improvement, wonderful, a joy, rather amazing, but it is still capable of an occasional loud digital pop/bang. A very minor nuisance in a studio synth but unacceptable for a gigging or performance synth. I’m not a live performance musician, so I’m happy and satisfied with the Quantum as a studio synth. If you are a live performance musician, you might find this colors your view.

The Prophet X is studio and stage ready in my opinion. I admit great bias towards DSI/Sequential products and I think most will agree Dave Smith puts out reasonably polished product on day one. The PX is already on firmware v2.2.0. You will also see the Prophet X to be a popular choice for performing bands. I’ve never had a loud digital pop/bang or a system crash while playing the PX, this is important for live performance in my estimation.

The interfaces and workflows

The interfaces and workflows are the most obvious differences between these two synths.

The Prophet X has knobs/buttons for nearly everything, supplemented by Sequential’s time tested 4 knob, 4 button main screen with 2 more screens for samples and effects. For a musician with other Sequential gear, the similarity of operation is a real bonus. If you have a Pro 2, Pro 3, P12, or Rev2, you’re going to feel at home right away.

The Quantum also has knobs/buttons for nearly everything, supplemented by a much larger color touch screen with 7 knobs and 12 buttons, further extended by onscreen controls. There is little doubt as well, that full visuals on some waveforms, LFOs, filter frequencies, and envelopes, etc. is a serious upgrade. Being able to use your finger to alter waveforms, LFOs, filter frequencies, and envelopes, etc. as well as draw notes in the sequencer is way cool. All these functions and the other extensive complexities, of course comes at a financial cost as well as a firmware maturity time cost.

Polyphony

Both synths market themselves as 8 voice polyphonic bi-timbral stereo synthesizers. You can have 2 layers or split the keyboard in 2. These layers or splits also cut the voices in half.

The Prophet X also has a 16 voice monophonic and a 32 voice paraphonic mode, which makes it exceptionally well suited for acoustic instruments like pianos that benefit greatly from a lot of voices. The beautiful analog filter can be bypassed for already well filtered sample instruments for 16 voice stereo, which really makes the PX pianos etc. shine like no other. In the other direction, there are also unison modes to thicken/detune monosynth sounds or produce one key chords.

The Quantum is 8 voices tops and also has unison modes for thick monosynths, but it also can use 8 ‘kernels’ per polyphonic voice for each of the 3 ‘real’ oscillators or a mixture with wavetables and samples etc., it can get crazy – believe me.

Analog vs. digital sound

Though true, it would be an oversimplification to say that if you lean towards warm analog sound, get the Prophet X, and if you lean towards cool digital sound get the Quantum. Both machines can go deeply into each others territory, but still they each have their own dominant character, stick with the oversimplification is my advice.

The Prophet X’s lead in analog-type sounds is going to be especially true when outfitted with the proper add-on sample sets. You might think this is an odd statement considering the PX oscillators are digital, but the PX sound when outfitted with the proper add-on sample sets is as analog as analog gets.

There are going to be a number of times when the Prophet X’s sound is going to override the Quantum’s feature set and visa versa. Ultimately however, the unique flavor of each synthesizer beckons you to have both of them.

Filters

The analog Prophet X stereo low pass filters are a new design based on the Prophet 5 filters. There is little doubt that Sequential analog filters are impressive. There are also digital stereo high pass filters in the effects section.

The Quantum filters are yet another area where you will see options, options and more options. It has 2 analog (mono with a stereo reconstruction mode) low pass filters with some unique settings, links and controls between them. The digital stereo filters are to die for in my opinion. All of these are visually represented as well.

Oscillators

The Prophet X has 4 dedicated oscillators: 2 traditional oscillators for standard Waveforms and 2 instrument oscillators for Samples.

  1. Traditional oscillator
  2. Traditional oscillator
  3. Instrument oscillator
  4. Instrument oscillator

The Quantum has 3 multipurpose oscillators that can run 1 of the 5 oscillator types: Wavetable, traditional Waveform, Particle Generator, Resonator and Kernel.

  1. Multipurpose oscillator
  2. Multipurpose oscillator
  3. Multipurpose oscillator

Wavetables

The Prophet X does not have wavetables except in a roundabout way with wavetable Samples.

Wavetables are the 2nd type of Quantum oscillator detailed here and the most dominant one. Like the other types, there can be up to 3 wavetable oscillators on the Quantum.

The Quantum has the most extensive wavetable capabilities available in the market and wavetables are an important part of its design. FYI this site has a growing wavetable section, accessible from the main menu bar. The Quantum’s wavetable import functions are a bit cumbersome and less than streamlined in my opinion.

The traditional oscillators

In most cases the Quantum is going to out feature the Prophet X. To me this is really an expression of its more digital nature. The traditional oscillators are no exception. However, you hear synthesis with ears, not math. You play a synth with hands not code. Decide on the whole experience is my advice.

The Prophet X has up to 2 dedicated traditional oscillators, the Quantum has up to 3 traditional oscillators. Each traditional oscillator on the Quantum can be composed of up to 8 kernels for a total of 24 kernels that can be tuned, detuned, or panned for example. Are you going to go all the way with that? I hope not, but it is an example of the extent of digital programming on the Quantum.

The Prophet X oscillators are much like the Prophet 12 or Pro 2, and have sine, sawtooth, pulse, and super sawtooth waveforms (it should be noted there is a quite a selection of noise as well as extensive sampled traditional oscillator possibilities in the samples section). The Quantum has sawtooth, sine, triangle, square, pink noise, and white noise.

Both synths can tune, fine tune, detune, morph, and sync. It all works out very similarly except of course, for the characteristic sound of each.

Samples and other oscillators

As a general rule, Sequential is a bit more selective of the functionality they put in their synths and for Waldorf the sky is the limit. I think the more you enjoy tinkering with technology, the more you’ll enjoy the Quantum.

Both synths come with samples, and the ability to import, map one or many to the keyboard, edit to some degree and play. Beyond that statement there is little similarity.

As mentioned before, the Prophet X has 2 traditional oscillators and 2 dedicated instrument samples oscillators for a total of 4, and the Quantum has up to 3 multi-purpose oscillators that can use samples as well as the rest of the types.

The Prophet X comes with a higher quality, more extensive and easier to access sample library than the Quantum. Yes, there is some fluff and redundancy, but also some amazing deep samples, especially the acoustic instruments. Paid and open source add on sample packs and external programs for deeper level editing, preparing and importing the samples are also available. Total on-synth file storage is 200GB. The PX wins hands down on storage and in the end, with a properly curated collection of 200GB of samples, the PX has the edge on samples.

To exploit all the Quantum’s complex sample capabilities, you will need to invest a great deal of time and likely money to surpass the PX sample library. The file system and sample import functions are a bit cumbersome and less than streamlined in my opinion. On-synth file storage is very limited at 4GB, but you can ease that pain somewhat with a large SD card and in OS 2.0 there are also USB drive capabilities. In the OS 3.0 beta the merge of the flash memory and SD/USB is more extensive, but it is still nowhere near as instant, user friendly and seamless as the Prophet X.

The Quantum’s 3rd oscillator type, the particle generator is generally a sample manipulation machine on steroids. It has normal and granular sample playback.

The Quantum’s 4th oscillator type, the resonator oscillator uses an exciter signal, like a sine wave to produce ringing type sounds as well as samples.

The Quantum’s 5th oscillator type, the kernel oscillator was introduced in OS 2.0, and in its most basic implementation is FM-like, but goes far beyond FM, an oscillator construction kit of sorts which uses 6 operators or kernels, each of which can be sines, other waveforms, or factory wavetables.

Hold vs. Chord and Latch Buttons

Ha! OK, this is my personal pet peeve. The Prophet X has a hold button that does mostly what you might expect. The arpeggiator has a relatch function which lets go of the voice to start anew with new keys, but the hold button alone does not let go of voices until it runs out of voices and they drop. I really dislike this and really hope Sequential changes this in a future firmware update.

The Quantum has a latch button which essentially operates the same as the PX hold button. It also has a chord button which does let go of the voices with new keys. Much better, much more useful. Sequential take note.

Sequencers and CV in/outs

Once you’ve seen Sequential Pro 2 or Sequential Pro 3 sequencers, all other sequencers are meh… Perhaps there is some financial or marketing thing I just don’t get, but why polys don’t get better sequencers is beyond me. Still, the Prophet X and Quantum sequencers do have some charms. Both arpeggiators are the usual stuff.

The Prophet X sequencer is a pretty simple affair but it does have 64 steps and 6 note polyphony. I often use the Prophet X to sequence the Quantum polyphonically.

The Quantum sequencer is 32 steps and monophonic. The touch screen and full visual nature do add some real usefulness though. Being able to see the whole sequence and adjust notes with a knob or your finger, even draw sequences with your finger is amazing.

For CV in/outs, neither synth has any. Sorry.

Every synth collection needs a Sequential Pro 2 or Sequential Pro 3 in my opinion. Then you’ll have the control center functionality, great sequencer, and CV in/outs.

LFOs, envelopes, and mod matrix

Prophet X – 4 LFOs, 4 envelopes, 16 slot mod matrix with 28 sources and 88 destinations.

Quantum – 6 LFOs, 6 envelopes, komplex modulator, 40 slot mod matrix with 43 sources and 158 destinations.

Effects

The Prophet X can use 2 effects per layer/stack at a time.

  • Stereo Delay
  • BBD Delay
  • Chorus
  • Flanger
  • Phaser
  • HP Filter
  • Distortion
  • Rotating Speaker
  • Spring Reverb
  • Room Reverb
  • Hall Reverb
  • Super Plate Reverb

The Quantum can use 5 effects per layer/stack at a time.

  • Delay
  • Chorus
  • Flanger
  • Phaser
  • EQ
  • Drive
  • Compressor
  • Reverb

Summary

If the sheer number of features, options and configurations is the sole determinant, Quantum wins. You have to decide if you will actually use these features, options and configurations. What is your preference, a digital sound environment or the more analog-like and acoustic sound environment of the Prophet X? You have to decide if you’ll be the one hunting down or buying wavetables and samples, and installing them on the Quantum or if the package and more selective nature of the PX is better for you.

I will say a few things about the Prophet X. There is something about it I cannot even quantify over features and specifications. It makes me a better keyboard player. It is the synth I practice on and rough out ideas on as well as most often, part of the final production. I am wild crazy about my other synths, but the Prophet X is the synth that is in the most accessible position on purpose and next to my computer that I tinker with the most. The Prophet X just warms my heart.

I think it’s safe to say Prophet Xs are more popular with touring musicians and Quantums are more popular with studio and hobbyist musicians. This is a generalization of course. Both synths are popular with all types of producers.

For me, having both really fills out my synthesizer polyphonic palette, especially with a Pro 3 in the mix. Others may lean so heavily analog that having a Moog One would be an even better choice for them. Good Luck.

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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Prophet X Patches & Samples

Without doubt, samples bring out the full potential of the Sequential Prophet X/XL synthesizer

Here’s a video to fire up your imagination on Prophet X/XL samples by Han Luis Cera. Han is the synth player with Mutant-Thoughts, and a Sequential featured artist. You can download the files referenced in the video at the link on the video or here: Lockdown Experiment.syx / Lckdn Kitchen Lckdn Kitchen.zip

The following patches and sample sets are all Sequential Prophet X/XL specific. If you know of any other Sequential Prophet X/XL specific patches or samples sets, please do let me know. I would like this page to be all inclusive, thanks!

3rd party patches & sample sets

Hypnotic Pads from CO5MA – $14.99
32 complex, expressive & hypnotic patches

X-Plorations Vol 1 from GEOSynths – $49.00
This whole bank of 128 patches includes a large amount of samples from 14 analog synths

The 9000 Foot Piano from Pianobook – $0.00
Samples from a Yamaha baby grand piano

Luigi’s Samples from Modulatable Synthesis – $0.00
Miscellaneous samples collection – 2GB
Email: modulatable.synthesis@gmail.com

Merlin Samples from Modulatable Synthesis – $0.00
Modal Electronics 002 samples – 3.4GB
Email: modulatable.synthesis@gmail.com

Replicants Samples and Patches from Modulatable Synthesis – $0.00
Deckard’s Dream MK1 CS80 type samples & 32 presets – 16.5GB
Email: modulatable.synthesis@gmail.com

Moog One Samples and Patches from Modulatable Synthesis – $68.00
Email: modulatable.synthesis@gmail.com

BlueWave from Goldbaby – $49.00
Samples of the PPG Wave 2.2

VCO Pack from ThinkerSnacks – $0.00
Behringer Neutron, Sequential OB-6, Dreadbox Erebus, & Moog Voyager Samples

BC X Boutique Synthesizer Sample Pack from tjontheroad – $24.99
Samples of the Black Corporation Xerxes synthesizer

BIG Bass Sample Pack from tjontheroad – $24.99
Samples of hardware and software synthesizer bass sounds

MatrixBrute (MxB) Multi OSC Samples Pack from tjontheroad – $0.00
Samples of the Arturia MatrixBrute

SH-01A Samples Pack from tjontheroad – $0.00
Samples of the Roland Boutique SH-01A

Factory sample sets

Add on 1 The Last Prophet 5 from 8DIO – $88.00
Add on 2 CP70 Electric Grand Piano from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 3 Arp 2600 from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 4 Oberheim OB-X from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 5 Sequential CIrcuits T8 from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 6 Jupiter 4 from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 7 Moog Prodigy from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 8 Minimoog Model D from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 9 Juno 60 from 8DIO – $48.00
Add on 10 1971 Estonia Grand from 8DIO – $38.00
Add on 11 1985 Yamaha Grand from 8DIO – $38.00

For PX samples software and sound editors be sure to visit the Prophet X Utilities page.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

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Prophet X Utilities

Sequential Prophet X/XL Utilities

Sample utilities

Sequential Prophet X/XL Mapping Utility from 8DIO – $0.00

PXToolkit from ThinkerSnacks – $0.00

PX-Renumber from ThinkerSnacks – $0.00

SampleRobot 6.5 Pro – $295.00

External utilities

Prophet X Sound Editor from Soundtower – $79.00

Prophet X PlugSE from Soundtower – $79.00

Be sure to visit the Prophet X Patches & Samples page for more.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

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.

Prophet X Brick Fix

Your Prophet X is a several thousand dollar brick, useless.

Sequential Prophet X Brick Fix Tutorial

Rarely, but occasionally installing a new OS on the Sequential Prophet X will ‘brick’ the synthesizer. In other words it will freeze or crash, and will not reboot to a usable state. In this state nothing is functional and you cannot even reload the OS.

Do not despair however. Fortunately, you can boot the PX in bootloader mode and install a SysEx version of the OS, reboot and then reinstall the newest OS.

Important: The PX must be connected to your computer via the MIDI DIN IN port with standard MIDI cables and an Interface. You cannot use USB.

Bootloader OS: PX_Main_-2.2.0.syx

  1. Boot the Prophet X into bootloader mode: Hold SAMPLE STRETCH while powering on the instrument. The screen will display a message indicating that bootloader mode is active.
  2. Next, transmit the SysEX update file to the synth via the synth’s MIDI DIN IN port. Once the transmission has been started, you will see the Prophet X’s screen update to indicate the file’s reception.
  3. Once the update is complete, restart the synth. The synth should boot up normally thereafter.
  4. At this point, it is important to reattempt the OS update using the .bin file through the thumb drive. This will confirm that both the DSP and Main OS versions are up to date.​
  5. Note: Sometimes on the 1st attempt, this update does not fully install. Probably due to flaky data conditions that caused the brick, the SysEx transfer could partially transfer and/or you may see snowy, flashing or blank screens upon final boot. Do not be alarmed, if this is the case, repeat 1-4.

The above instructions assume you know how to send SysEx files with MIDI-OX (Windows) or SysExLibrarian (MacOS). If you need SysEx instructions, see this page: Prophet X SysEx File Transfers.

So far, we have seen 100% success with this fix, but if it doesn’t work for you, contact Sequential’s excellent support department.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Follow on Mastodon – @Yehuda@Mvskoke.social

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Prophet X SysEx File Transfers

Sequential instructions:

LOADING PROGRAMS FROM WINDOWS USING MIDI-OX

Before starting, close all other audio or MIDI or DAW software, and disconnect all other MIDI devices. If necessary, download and install MIDI-OX.

http://www.midiox.com

TO PREPARE THE PROPHET X TO RECEIVE SYSTEM EXCLUSIVE MESSAGES:
  1. Connect your synthesizer to a computer using a USB cable (or MIDI cable, if you are using a dedicated MIDI interface).
  2. Press the Global button on your Prophet X.
  3. Use Soft Knob 1 to select “MIDI Sysex Cable” then use the Soft Knob 3 to choose either USB or MIDI, depending on which port you are using to connect to your computer.

If using USB, the Prophet X is a Class Compliant USB device. That means it does not require any additional drivers to be installed to communicate with your computer. It will appear in MIDI-OX and other MIDI applications as a MIDI port named “Prophet X” (Under Windows XP, it will appear as “USB Audio Device.”)

If using a MIDI interface, connect the computer’s MIDI out to the Prophet X’s MIDI in. Depending on the type of interface, you may also need a MIDI cable.

To load the programs:

  1. Run MIDI-OX.
  2. From the Options menu, choose “MIDI Devices.”
  3. In the lower left quadrant of the window, select the MIDI port to which the instrument is connected. If connected via USB, choose “Prophet X” (or “USB Audio Device” under Windows XP). If connected via MIDI, choose the MIDI interface. The selected MIDI port appears in the Port Mappings window.
  4. Click OK to close the dialog and save the settings.
  5. From the View menu, choose “SysEx.”
  6. From the SysEx menu, choose “Configure.”
  7. Set the Low Level Output Buffers “Num” and “Size” to 4096.
  8. Under Output Timing, make sure that “Auto-adjust Buffer Delays if necessary” is NOT enabled.
  9. Click OK to close the dialog and save the settings.
  10. From the Command Window menu, choose “Load File.” Browse to and open the Prophet X programs file.
  11. From the Command Window menu, choose “Send SysEx.” They will replace any existing programs in those memory locations on the synth.

LOADING PROGRAMS FROM A MAC USING SYSEX LIBRARIAN

Before starting, close all other audio or MIDI or DAW software, and disconnect all other MIDI devices. If necessary, download and install SysEx Librarian.

https://www.snoize.com/sysexlibrarian

TO PREPARE THE PROPHET X TO RECEIVE SYSTEM EXCLUSIVE MESSAGES:
  1. Connect your synthesizer to a computer using a USB cable (or MIDI cable, if you are using a dedicated MIDI interface).
  2. Press the Global button on your X.
  3. Use Soft Knob 1 to select “MIDI Sysex Cable” then use the Soft Knob 3 to choose either USB or MIDI, depending on which port you are using to connect to your computer.

If using USB, the Prophet X is a Class Compliant USB device. That means it does not require any additional drivers to be installed to communicate with your computer. It will appear in SysEx Librarian, the Mac’s Audio MIDI Utility, and other MIDI applications as a MIDI port named “Prophet X.”

If using a MIDI interface, connect the computer’s MIDI out to the Prophet X’s MIDI in. Depending on the type of interface, you may also need a MIDI cable.

TO LOAD THE PROGRAMS:
  1. Run SysEx Librarian.
  2. Choose your MIDI interface from the “Destination” menu.
  3. Click Add/+ to add the file to the file list or simply drag and drop the file on the open SysEx Librarian window. The file name appears in the file list and should be highlighted.
  4. Click Play. They will replace any existing programs in those memory locations on the synth.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

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.

SampleRobot Pro

SampleRobot is truly game changing software for Sequential Prophet X/XL and Waldorf Quantum/Iridium synthesizers

SampleRobot Pro $254.00

SampleRobot Pro is autosampling software that among other things, exports to Sequential Prophet X/XL and Waldorf Quantum/Iridium formats. While there are less expensive versions, Pro is the one that contains these features and the one you want.

SampleRobot Pro is definitely on my buy schedule. I had intended to get it by now, but then the Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra was released, ha!

SampleRobot 6 Pro contains the following products:  

  • SampleRobot 6 Pro Installer for Mac OS X (10.12+).
  • SampleRobot 6 Pro Installer for Windows 10 / 8 / 7.
  • WaveRobot 6 Loop and Transient Editor.
  • More than 1000 MB of premium samples in Soundfont 2 file format.
  • SampleRobot can be activated on 2 different computers (use one at a time).

SampleRobot does run without issue on Rosetta, they are working on a native M1 port.

Adding content – check back!

Thanks!
-Yehuda

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.

Sequential Prophet X & XL

Synth and sample engines polyphonic

Sequential Prophet X & XL $3499.00 / $3899.00

October 21, 2021 Update: The Prophet XL appears to be discontinued. It is no longer on Sequential’s price list or Sweetwater’s site. Rumor has it the Prophet X may be discontinued soon as well. In my mind, the Prophet X/XL will go down as perhaps the #1 Sequential marketing screw-up, since clearly the synth itself is its best ever made to date.

In my opinion, the Sequential Prophet X & XL are the best polyphonic synthesizers that Sequential has ever made to date. See my comments expanding on this statement in the summary section below.

I received my Sequential Prophet X on January 31, 2020. Fast, painless, and a discounted price from Sweetwater. I was set to get it in 2019, then Dave Smith said a new synth “hopefully will be out in September-ish” [2019, video minute 14:40] with no other details. I wanted to see what this new synth would be, before making another Sequential investment. September turned out to be too optimistic, and at the mid-January 2020 NAMM show, the Sequential Pro 3 was announced, so I went ahead and purchased the Prophet X. I am so glad I did, it has become my favorite synthesizer.

Essentially the X and the XL are identical machines, except the XL is larger, and has a 76 key weighted keyboard. The X has a 61 key semi-weighted keyboard. As a Sequential Pro 2 owner at that time, I was very comfortable with the features and controls on this synth from the get go. Dave Smith’s feature set and design are near perfect in my opinion.

With essentially 4 oscillators (2 digital oscillators and 2 sample instruments), the PXs have 8 voice-mode stereo, 16 voice-mode mono, and 32 voice-mode paraphonic with a single oscillator and sample instrument. Halve those in stacked or split modes. Be sure to install the v2.1.0.0.0 or newer OS to get the full voice functionality. The newest OS released is v2.2.0.0.0 at this writing.

The Prophet X low-pass filter is yet another beautiful Sequential filter, but it is important to note that you can bypass it on sampled instruments that may already be well filtered. Doing this will give you 16 stereo voices which are extremely useful for instruments like pianos. Pianos are probably the last things on many synth purchasers minds, but everyone walks away enamored of the Prophet X pianos… Just warning you, ha!

The digital oscillators are like the Prophet 12 or Pro 2, and have sine, sawtooth, pulse, and supersaw waves. Very good, but the more you understand the sample instruments, the less you will use them. The real stars of this show are the sample instruments.

The sample instruments are incredible, plus you can add 50GB of user-imported or 3rd-party samples. I would recommend that you view Tim Shoebridge’s video The Sequential Prophet X Sample Library for an honest listen to the PX sample library. I agree with him generally, some of it is amazing, and some is filler… However this can be subjective. For instance, I love the variety of noise and racket sounds, which can also make some great mod sources, but not everyone does or doesn’t understand yet how useful to sound design these odd tidbits can be.

I can’t think of a synth that comes with a more extensive sample library, but it would be nice if there were a librarian app that could manage a larger set of Sequential/8DIO samples. As it is now, yes there are 150GB of factory Sequential/8DIO samples, but you can’t delete any or substitute other add-on Sequential/8DIO samples in that factory space, you can only add to the 50GB user/add-on area. I understand Sequential can’t delete what some people perceive as filler, as it could be incorporated into user patches, but they could allow people to make their own choices and keep unused samples off-synth in an external librarian program and continue to expand the stock sample library as well as add the 8DIO optional cost sample packs to the 150GB area. Just a thought, such is life. If what we have now is all we get and it probably is, I’ll take it anyway, ha!

The X/XL has a polyphonic sequencer with 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step, with unique sequences for each layer if working in stacked or split voice mode.

Finally, this synth has an incredible effects section, 2 effects per layer, with multiple reverbs, 2 delays (standard and BBD), chorus, phase shifter, flanger, ring mod, vintage rotating speaker, high-pass filter, and distortion.

Summary

Like I said at the beginning of this page, the Sequential Prophet X/XL is the best polyphonic synthesizer that Sequential has ever made to date. It would appear to be the unloved child of Sequential line though. 8DIO the supplier for the onboard samples has never fully delivered on the promise to continue developing sample sets and sample utilities for the Prophet X/XL.

I can only guess that perhaps Sequential’s degrading over time relationship with 8DIO prevented Sequential from putting the necessary pieces in place to properly market the Prophet X/XL and fuel greater sales. I believe that adding a lower cost desktop version along with proper demonstration & real sound design tutorial videos for specifically the sample instruments would have completely changed things.

The good news is that bad news doesn’t matter. Here’s the real skinny. The sample instruments are to die for, and the real power in them comes alive with your own custom curated sample sets added to the stock sample sets. The Prophet X/XL comes with quite a bit of incredible sample sets, but you do need more. The full potential of this powerful and amazing sounding synth comes with sample sets that you add or create, and not with just 8DIO sample sets. The 8DIO sample utility is junk, don’t waste your time with it. Use PXToolkit or even better use SampleRobot 6.5 Pro to create sample sets.

I will say a few more things about the Prophet X. There is something about it I cannot even quantify over features, specifications and the brilliant sample instruments. It makes me a better keyboard player. It is the synth I practice on and rough out ideas on as well as most often, part of the final production. I am wild crazy about my other synths, but the Prophet X is the synth that is in the prime spot, front and center. The Prophet X just warms my heart.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.sequential.com/product/prophet-x
https://www.sequential.com/product/prophet-xl

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

Download the newest OS
https://www.sequential.com/updating-prophet-x-os

MIDI System Exclusive (SysEx) messages utilities to update
http://www.midiox.com (Windows)
https://www.snoize.com/SysExLibrarian (MacOS)

See these pages, for complete lists with links of all known factory and 3rd party patches, sample packs, and utilities
Prophet X Patches & Samples
Prophet X Utilities

Facebook user groups

Sequential Prophet X / XL
https://www.facebook.com/groups/SequentialProphetXXL

Forums

Sequential Prophet X Forum
Gearspace.com Prophet X Forum

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Sequential Prophet X YouTube Playlist

Yehuda Rothschild Prophet X Patches YouTube Playlist

Yehuda Rothschild Prophet X Music YouTube Playlist

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.

Prophet X/XL Specifications

SAMPLE PLAYBACK
  • 2 multi-sampled stereo instruments per voice with editable sample start, sample end, loop size, and loop center, loop on/off, sample reverse, sample stretch, bit-rate reduction, and sample rate reduction
  • Forward and forward/reverse loop modes
  • 150 GB of factory-installed 16-bit, 48 kHz sampled instruments created by 8Dio
  • 50 GB of additional storage for user-imported samples or 3rd-party sound libraries
  • High-pass and low-pass filter per instrument
  • Instrument 1 and instrument 2 delay as mod destinations
OSCILLATORS
  • 2 digital oscillators per voice with selectable sine, sawtooth, pulse, and supersaw waves. You can vary the shape of any of the waveshapes.
  • Glide (portamento): separate rates per oscillator; (samples can glide in Sample Stretch mode)
  • Hard sync
FILTERS
  • 2 x analog 4-pole resonant low-pass filter per voice
  • Digital high-pass filter in Effects section
ENVELOPES
  • 4 loopable, five-stage (ADSR plus delay) envelope generators: Filter, VCA, and two assignable
SEQUENCER
  • Polyphonic step sequencer with up to 64 steps (6 notes per step), and ties and rests.
  • MIDI note output
  • Sequences can be copied between Layer A and Layer B
AMPLIFIER ENVELOPE
  • Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount
LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATORS
  • 4 LFO’s with key sync, phase offset, and slewing per LFO
  • Five wave shapes: triangle, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, and random (sample and hold)
MODULATION
  • 16-slot modulation matrix
  • 28 sources
  • 92 destinations
  • 11 additional dedicated sources: mod wheel, pressure, velocity, breath controller, footswitch, LFO 1, LFO 2, LFO 3, LFO 4, Env 3, Env 4
ARPEGGIATOR
  • Fully-featured arpeggiator with up, down, up+down, random, assign modes
  • Selectable note value: 16th note, 8th note triplet, 8th note, dotted 8th note, quarter note
  • One, two, or three octave range
  • Re-latching arpeggiation
  • Note repeat
  • Beat sync
  • MIDI note output
ALTERNATIVE TUNINGS
  • 64 preset alternative tunings
  • Additional alternative tunings can be imported via SysEx
DIGITAL EFFECTS
  • 2 digital effects on each layer
  • Stereo delay, BBD delay, chorus, flanger, phaser, ring mod, vintage rotating speaker, distortion, high-pass filter, spring reverb, room reverb, hall reverb, super plate reverb
CLOCK
  • Master clock with tap tempo
  • BPM control and display
  • MIDI clock sync
PERFORMANCE CONTROLS
  • Prophet X: Full-sized, semi-weighted, 61-key 5-octave keyboard with velocity and channel (mono) aftertouch
  • Prophet XL: Full-sized, semi-weighted, 76-key, Fatar TP/8 keyboard with velocity and channel (mono) aftertouch
  • Backlit pitch and mod wheels
  • Spring-loaded pitch wheel with selectable range per program (1 to 12 semitones up and down)
  • Transpose controls for an 8-octave range
  • Hold switch latches held notes on
  • Polyphonic glide (portamento)
  • Unison (monophonic) mode with configurable voice count
PATCH MEMORY
  • 512 Factory Programs (4 banks of 128), 512 Optional Programs, and 512 fully editable User Programs with 2 layers (2 separate sounds) in each Program
IN/OUT
  • MIDI In, Out, Thru
  • USB MIDI
  • Sample import jack for USB Stick
  • Main stereo audio output: 2 x 1/4″ phone (TS, unbalanced)
  • Output B stereo audio output: 2 x 1/4″ phone (TS, unbalanced)
  • Pedal/CV: responds to expression pedals or control voltages ranging from 0 to 5 VDC (protected against higher or negative voltages.
  • Volume: responds to expression pedals or control voltages ranging from 0 to 5 VDC (protected against higher or negative voltages.
  • Sustain pedal input: accepts normally on or normally off momentary footswitch.
  • Sequencer: accepts normally on or normally off momentary footswitch to trigger sequencer playback.
  • Headphone output: 1/4″ stereo phone jack.
POWER
  • IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
  • Operates worldwide on voltages between 100 and 240 volts at 50 to 60 Hz
  • Power consumption: 25 watts maximum
Prophet X PHYSICAL SPECS
  • Dimensions: 38.44″ L x 13.53″ W x 4.13″ H (97.6 cm L x 34.3 cm W x 10.9 cm H)
  • Weight: 24 lbs
Prophet XL PHYSICAL SPECS
  • Dimensions: 46.8″ L x 15.5″ W x 4.1″ H (118.7 cm L x 39.4 cm W x 10.4 cm H)
  • Weight: 33.2 lbs (15 kg)