Sequential Circuits Prophet VS Vector Synthesizer from the year 1986. - 8 Voices - 4 Oscillators per voice - 96 preset waveforms + 32 user waveforms - analog 24 dB/oct lowpass Curtis CEM3389 VCF - analog VCA CEM 3360 - Arpeggiator
In [this transcribed interview](http://music.hyperreal.org/artists/brian_eno/interviews/sos90b.html) from the October 1990 issue of *Sound On Sound* magazine, Eno is asked if he has a lot of instruments in his studio. In addition to the Yamaha DX7, he answers, "I’ve got two others as well — I’ve got a Prophet VS and an M1."more
The 1994 studio was equipped with a 56-input Amek Mozart console with Rupert Neve modules, two Studer A800 Mk3 multitrack machines, Mac-based Pro Tools and a host of outboard gear, in addition to Akai S1100 and Kurzweil K2000 samplers; Prophet VS, Digidesign Turbosynth, ARP Odyssey, Oberheim Expander, Oberheim OBMx, Roland MKS80 and Minimoog synthesizers; Doepfer and Oberheim sequencers; a Mellotron MKIV polyphonic tape replay keyboard; a Roland R70 drum machine; and assorted Jackson and Gibson guitars.more
"Q. I noticed that during your solo albums you moved through the gamut of classic 80s keyboards including the PPG Wave, Yamaha GS-1 and Roland D-50. What are your fave synths from the 80s? I loved the GS-1. It was big and high quality but I don’t think I used it a lot on my solo albums. I think it was originally made for the small church market in America so that they could get the sounds they needed without buying a huge church organ. I had a deal with Yamaha who stuck with us over the years and when the GS-1 came out I ended up going to Hamburg and sitting with a Yamaha programmer who created some great string sounds for me. I loved playing that instrument and I could play the vibrato with my feet. I’d stand up and rock back back to keep the sustain going and do the vibrato with my foot. I used the PPG a lot. I got into the Rack Mounted DX-7, the TX-816. I’d got into MIDI in the early days in my own studio for the first couple of solo albums, Transportation and Stand Up and Walk and linking all these things up to get new sounds. I had a Prophet T8, the Prophet Sampler, the Roland D-50. it was like Keyboard City. The Prophet VS was used a lot. I really liked the joystick and the way you could morph between sounds."more
Interesting to think that this auspicious beast from 1986 was Sequential's first digital synth, but the penultimate one to bear the "Prophet" moniker before the company folded a year later. However, without it (and some of Sequential's residual boffins), the popular Korg Wavestation would not have turned out the way it did. Initially something of a test-bed for a range of ideas - including digital wavetables, the capacity to arbitrarily crossfade between selected waves across 4 oscillators, envelopes that went beyond the standard ADSR steps and which featured loopable stages - they all ended up in the Prophet VS. There are 96 waves available in RAM and a further 32 that are user programmable. Essentially what this meant was that you could set up any combination of the RAM waves in the 4 oscillators (each with their own volume) and save that as a new single waveform - a neat way of expanding the sonic palette. It was possible to import sample data into the RAM, but that was (is) a little complicated. Mixes between the 4 oscillators could be programmed using a dedicated Envelope and LFO allowing for some great, animated, and unpredictable patches, and this was a significant part of the VS's charm. The vector joystick also allowed realtime control over the oscillator mix which would override whatever was programmed in the patch setting. This was all routable through an analogue (Curtis chip) resonant filter, and on top of that was a modulation matrix allowing a ton of flexible routings. It's often overlooked, but the onboard arpeggiator was worth spending time with as it was damn near a sequencer, you can program your own steps and store them as part of a patch. And with the keyboard featuring a programmable split point, it was possible to set up some cool, sequencer-like patterns on one half of the keyboard whilst playing solos or pads on the other half. A slightly more quirky feature (initially a programming accident which Dave Smith insisted that the designers keep) is the random patch generator achieved by pressing the Enter button and patch button no.2. You're then treated to some serious, sonic psychedelia - rarely possible to play a tune with, but an ear-opening demo of what the VS can do. And you'll never hear the same one twice! (unless you save it). All in all, I think it's a shame the Prophet VS didn't fare a little better in it's time. Whilst it's spirit was certainly revived in the Korg Wavestation and the Yamaha SY22, I for one am very happy to have the original blueprint in my collection. It's one very powerful and versatile synth.