Synth DB

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Sequential Circuits | Prophet-2000


The Prophet 2000 was a sampler keyboard manufactured by Dave Smith's Sequential Circuits (SCI) and released in 1985. It was the company's first sampler, and, despite its low quality and technical limitations by modern standards, marked a shift toward affordable samplers of better quality than its predecessors. It is also considered to be one of the earliest multitimbral samplers.

Using the technology developed for the 2000, Sequential also produced the Prophet 2002, a rack-mounted version of the 2000, and the Studio 440, a drum machine and sequencer that used a similar sampler at its core. The Prophet 3000, a rack-mounted elaboration upon the 2000 and 2002, was released in limited quantities prior to the collapse of Sequential.

Intended to represent Sequential's first entry into the low-cost digital sampler market, the Prophet 2000 was equipped with 256kB sample memory (expandable to 512kB), and selectable sampling rates of 16, 32, and 42 kHz at 12-bit audio resolution. External storage was available through 3.5" diskettes. The Prophet 2000 featured MIDI (in, out, and thru), 8-voice polyphony, up to 8 layers, and an arpeggiator. Despite their technological limitations, early digital samplers like the Prophet 2000 are noted for their warm audio quality as a result of using analog VCFs and VCAs.

Feedback was presented through a small LED display, which was typical for contemporary machines. The Prophet 2000 introduced features to enhance its looping capabilities, which resulted in easier use and reduction in clicking at the end of a loop. Like Casio CZ synthesizers of the time, the Prophet 2000 was also multitimbral, making it possible for multiple samples to be triggered off its keyboard at one time.

While playing high frequencies, the Prophet 2000 had a tendency to fall out of tune. This flaw was common in many early Sequential products. Engineer Chris Meyer corrected this issue for the Prophet VS, the first digital synthesizer given the green light by Sequential founder Dave Smith.
BrandSequential Circuits
Engine TypeDigital
Voices (max)8
Sampler12-bit at 16khz, 32khz or 42khz
Filter (VCF)8 analog VCF's: 1 per voice
Envelope (VCA)8 analog ADSR's: 1 per voice
Memory256 to 512K (up to 30 seconds) + 3.5" disk storage
Key typeKeys
Produced:1985 - 1985
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.


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