$29,00 (USD) OR €26,00 (Euro) to this paypal address: [wcologarb
writing "rev2 patches" + your email in the title / note.
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(please do not use PLN currency:) I will send the
soundpack after I get notified about your payment
(max 24 hours).
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here's full explanation).
How many patches?:
You will receive all the sounds from my Youtube & Soundcloud demos plus extra sounds. This is one full bank of 128 patches (or "programs" if you want to use
Sequential's terminology). In reality you will get even more
sounds, because some of the programs come as layers / splits, which means that
there are two sounds in a program (or "two sounds in a sound" so to speak).
You can rearrange and use them independently, which means you will have 175 sounds
to play with. Of course all the drums & sequences are also stored as patch data,
so you will have those too, and you can adjust them or bypass the sequencer and play the sounds
What genre / style?:
There is no one style. It's a wide
variety of sounds that are meant to inspire and make you look at the synth in a
different light. Some patches are bread & butter, some offbeat; they're the
result of me trying to find the limits of the instrument. The patches are
ready-to-use in music or can serve as starting points; you can find the textures
or the dynamics that you like and tweak them to suit your exact taste or purpose.
I tried not to include patches that would overlap with any other soundsets out
there, so 90% of my patches should be original-sounding to you.
What format / import method?:
My patches come under the name "WCOG" in a soundbank saved as a sysex file
exported directly from my Rev-2. You will have the option to choose the
destination bank (you will be able to load my presets into bank U1, U2, U3
Any external processing?:
I did not use
any external FX in the demo;
all the delays, reverbs and
other effects are part of the REV-2 engine
& mod matrix.
I recorded my demo straight through an audio
My REV-2 is the 8-voice
version (and I think it's enough 90% of the time;)
Notes on grades lower than 3/3:
[modern]: a lot of tools to go
in the "modern" direction, but the tone stays "brassy"
[vintage]: nice, but there are better choices (Prophet-6, OB-6, Take-5 or Korg
[engine]: impressive, but missing some final touches like real highpass filter
[timbre plasticity]: often too tight / stiff, not enough tools to bend the sound out of
[versatility]: above average, but somewhat limited filter section & waveshaping
[ui & ease of use]: top-notch, but you may find the wobbly knobs or small
SHORT HISTORY OF PROPHETS:
It's 1978 and Sequential produces a new synth called the "Prophet-5". It's a
breakthrough for the company as well as music - the instrument proves to be
universally loved and used in all genres.
It's 2002. After getting back to business Sequential produces one of the
coolest and most creative new synths on the market, the
Evolver. It's an
extremely cool synth, however, people don't love hybrids that much and
it's becoming more and more clear that they'd rather revive /
re-live the good old past.
So in 2008 Sequential releases the Prophet 08. It's a wink-wink to all the nerds: it's a
Prophet. But this is a new Prophet, an improved or evolved Prophet,
because this is what we - the society - seem to believe in: progress & change.
Even though the more observant of us feel that there's just something wrong with
this cult: everything needs to change yet be numbingly the same. Take
cars for example. Each year the companies change the design. Lookee here: this element was
square before, so now we made it spherical. But by some weird force all
cars look the same: in 2021 it's the fucking "lunar buggy" look (e.g.
Hyundai Kona, Nissan Juke, Citroen Cactus to name a few).
2015 comes and Dave Smith announces the Prophet-6, which is described as "a
spiritual successor to the Prophet-5". OK, now we're talking. We're all getting
closer to the gist of things and the true nature of our desires. Not only is it
a Prophet, but a Prophet-Six. In other words, it's a Prophet-5, but just one
level better, one bit different. It's basically the same synth folks, we've only
changed a couple of small things, but other than that, you can really look at it
as the Prophet Five.
Anno Domini 2020 - finally the mirros crack and the smoke dissolves. The
horseplay makes full circle. We can all say it loud and clear: to hell with the
marketing bullshit. To hell with the religion of progress and change for
change's sake. Stop the charade. If
it works, don't change it. 42 years after
the initial release the company makes the exact same instrument, the real
Prophet-5 this time, and everybody gets engulfed in a wave of joy-induced hysteria, a
frenzy of pure happiness.
REV-2: FIRST APPROACH
Back in the day (2010) I had the
Prophet 600. I played it together with my other
vintage synths like the Polysix, the
Juno-60, or the
Kawai SX-240. The
a nice sparkling vibe to it, but at the end of the day I
was convinced it
was the worst sounding synth of that bunch. It had a certain tightness / stiffness or
harshness of its tone, or what I call the uncooperative tone.
In 2020 I met a jazz musician / composer.
He said he had a Moog One for sale. I said I'd rather have his Prophet-6, but he
said he used it on a daily basis
and he could not imagine his studio without a prophet. I said that maybe I could arrange a
Prophet REV-2 for him. Again, the response was negative; in his words the REV-2 sounded like crap compared
to the Prophet-6.
This year, when I had a chat with
my friend, he advised me to never buy the REV-2, as it was "the same crap as
the Prophet 08, only in a new box". I thought "dang, is it really
that crappy?" I had to see for myself. Now you're probably asking yourself:
were they right in saying the REV-2 was "crap"?
Yes and no. When I took my freshly-acquired REV-2
out of the box and started to tweak it, I wanted to throw it out of the
window and get my P-600 back. I thought: damn, they were right! This is so frustrating. Why
does the REV-2 sound like a Waldorf? What has been lost? What kind of stupid
microprocessor has been used in place of some other microprocessor? What piece
of modern technology has gnawed at and eaten away the ancient soul? This
so-called Prophet is a masquerader!
The Prophet 600 had its numerous downsides, but at least it had some kind of motion in its sound, some
instability, some amount of magic. REV-2, in comparison, seemed as flat as a Kansas
plain. There was something strange going on with the dynamics of the REV-2 sound
(or rather there was not much going on). I had the impression the sound was trapped behind a glass wall
and it was impossible to bend it in any direction. I often felt like I was missing a knob that would give me the final touch. A
real highpass filter? A curver of the envelopes? A flattener of the waveshapes,
an amp tamer? I had no idea. I wanted to kill this characteristic,
move around it & move closer to the softer sound of my P-600, but there was just no satisfactory tool to do that. This
resulted in a
feeling of extreme frustration. It's the kind of feeling I also had with my 1984 - 1988 DCO
synths: the JX-8p, the
the analogs that are too stable).
REV-2: SECOND APPROACH
Then, after a couple of days, I
started to like the sound, or at least some part of it, and I'm not sure why.
Was it because I managed to find some sweet spots and the initial timbre changed?
Or was I just getting accustomed to the unique tonal quality of the newcomer?
I'm not sure.
I think I started to look at this
synth from different perspectives. At first the REV-2 became to me a bit like an acoustic
instrument - say, a harpsichord. Clunky and coarse, but
having its appeal &
charm in some scope. Very cool in the basic or "unsynthy" areas of sound design:
organs, flutes and other basic / classic tones. I'm not saying it can do
perfect emulations of trumpets or cellos and I'm not saying it's the best synth
for those kind of patches - Korg Prologue seems to be better suited for this
purpose. I rather mean that the inherent timbre
or "fizzy" in a way that is attracive, especially when you use just
one oscillator out of the three (2 + sub) available to get a more delicate sound.
Then I continued my explorations and
the collection of sounds widened and
at one point I noticed that half of my soundbank turned out to
consist of relatively (or "structurally") simple patches, and I asked myself - hey man, why are you
making those unsophisticated sounds?
It turns out that this rawness of the tone,
this depth of the triangle wave, this spaciousness of the unison, this squelch of the Curtis
filter are things of tangible value - they all have some magic in them. That's
when I realized that I feel inspired in many different areas: 60's blues, 70's funk, 80's
synthpop, 90's techno, 00's
progressive house, 10's Drive'y synthwave or 20's industrial.
There's no point enumerating all those genres as I'm sure the Prophet sound will find its niche
in any circumstances. Even in a no-production circumstances - jamming for
fun is enough to bring joy, and to me it became a form of relaxation / recreation.
Then came the experimental phase
resulting in embarrassment on my part - I realized that throwing this synth out of the window would have
been a big, big mistake. Because once I learned the REV-2 inside out, the
experiments were bringing in a continuous stream of interesting textures that I
just didn't suspect were possible. Back in the day I had an
Electrix Warp Factory
which was a vocoder in its design, but I used it (as the name would suggest) to warp various sounds out of
their original shapes & forms. And I swear to God the REV-2 is the only
synth in which I'm hearing textures reminiscent of the Warp Factory. Well, there's
just no way the squelchy Curtis filter plus all the LFOs, the
loopable aux envelope, the 8-slot-mod-matrix plus delay, reverb, ring modulator
& audiomod (all interconnected) will not produce a variety of interesting sounds.
Put it all into the sequencer and off you go with all things experimental (or "generative"
if you want to use the recently fashionable word).
Now I think I understand why for some people it's
a crappy synth, while for others it's an
inspirational instrument that's been deservedly sitting on the bestseller list for the last 3 years; I
too got myself fooled by this annoying & misleading terminology. Roland diluted the Juno
name when they decided to put it on every new synth they released around
Sequential plays the Prophet name-game like an old, stuck record. REV-2 is not a
recreation of a vintage analog like the P-600 or the P-5. It's not a digital
hybrid "monster" like the P-12. Also, it's not a P-X type of sampler-synth either. Why
the hell are all those synths called Prophets then??? It's almost as if
the company itself was called "Sequential Prophet" and sold synths
called "5", "6", "12", "REV", "X", and so on. Had my REV-2 been
christened something else, like "Noah" or "Moses" for example, it would have
spared me several confusion-infused days.
REV-2: BUILD QUALITY & UI
I have to point out that finding all those sweet
spots and performing all the experiments would not have been possible without
the REV-2's user interface, which really shows respect toward the user, unlike
other synths that seem to have been built to feed the ego or some "clever vision"
of the designer / creator. What I mean by that is the fact that REV-2 treats
you like an adult - you have the freedom (and the responsibility) to create
something meaningful and effective. Other synths and their designers treat you
like a child and give you hard-wired, ready-made solutions, which seem
like a convenience at the beginning, but which prove a hindrance later along
the way. I really appreciate Sequential's approach, the neutral / logical layout and the
multi-directionality of the modulations, value knobs & stuff.
Again, just like in the case of the
there's hardly anything you can blame on the REV-2. Solid chassis, wood panels,
great keybed. But wait, there is one thing - the knobs. They're a bit wobbly. I
thought that my unit was faulty, or used (even though I bought it as brand-new),
but it turns out they make them this way and all REVs have slightly wobbly knobs.
It's not an issue for the player because the wobble is very small, however, it
might be an issue for an unobservant sound designer. When you tweak a knob, or
when you nudge it using the show button / mod matrix assignment association and then you release your finger,
sometimes there's still a micro-wobble going on and your value may change by
itself (ghost editing). Some people may also criticize the small screen, but in
my opinion even though it's relatively small, it is enough. There are so many
knobs and the screen font is so large that it's not a problem. I've seen worse (e.g.
Novation Summit - bad placement, poor font). The only thing
that I dislike on the REV-2 are the wheels. The finger notch / cavity on those
wheels is too shallow and it's quite hard to get a strong grip on these wheels
during a performance.
REV-2: THE DEAL
So the REV-2 is extremely far from being a crappy synth - that's what I've found out for myself. There are not many crappy synths on the market anyway. At worst it may
only be a misunderstood synth. I definitely did not understand it at the
beginning and was pulling my hair out to try to turn it into something that it
wasn't. I think other people may fall into this trap too - if
you take a look around the Internet, it seems that a lot of folks tend to use their REVs in a "vintage" context, and with mixed results.
You will also come across some "workarounds" to
make the synth more "vintage" or more "dynamic" sounding;
for example by using the gated sequencer to introduce slight
variations. But to tell you the
truth, I'm not a fan of the
Alesis A6 Andromeda type of synths - synths
that are seemingly great but only after you employ nerd tricks to "make
them shine". I personally don't like this kind of horseplay, all the more
so if I'm
paying 2 thousand bucks. And it sound kinda silly saying "this synth is great /
wonderful / spectacular, but to make it really so, here's a secret trick
that you have to employ on every one of your patches". Isn't it easier to
just buy the Take-5?
So if somebody tells you that REV-2
sounds like an old analog if you "just do this trick" - no, it does
not. It's a fantastic sound by itself, but the owners of Prophet-6 and OB-6 do have a point
when they say it's "something noticeably different" or that it's "not
analog sounding". For me personally the REV-2 does deliver some great vintage timbres /
patches, but I'd
say it's only 33% of its potential or appeal and the "vintage-ness" quality of
the sound needs to be understood in a specific way. I'd say it's great for "clean
& stable" vintage tones. The other meaning of "vintage" would be "dirty & wonky",
so if you're after this kind of vintage-ness, you'll have to do a lot of tricks
(not just one) to achieve a really wonky vintage feeling - all the gated sequencers and LFOs get used up
pretty quickly when you start routing them to filter, waveshapes, envelopes and
VCA. Genuine vintage analog synths of the yesteryear have this wonkiness going on by default
because of their physicality, "modern vintage"
synths (OB-6, P-6, Korg Prologue) have the "vintage" knob or different chips.
the OB-6 / Prophet-6 / Take-5 sound is more lucid and "on-the-surface", while the REV-2 sound might
seem too dark or too dense in comparison. It's very "strong" and "deep", but
at the same time there is an aspect of it that "keeps it back". To my ears
the starting REV-2 tone sounds more like a wavetable Waldorf than a 1980's VCO synth and in my view it belongs to neither modern nor vintage category.
I'd say the ratio is 33% vintage analog, 33% digital / wavetable-ish, and 33% somewhere-in-between. I know it might seem absurd because the synth is a classic
sawtooth + square design, but the sum of all its parts turns it into
something else / something more. And all those complex parts need a little bit
more time and attention to dial the good in / dial the the bad away. It is not
enough to push up the "slop" knob, it's just a pitch randomizer. Life's not that
easy;) There is
some learning to be done with some elements of this synth, but if you do learn
it, you'll be getting many more sounds than any OB-6 or P-6 could ever give you.
So instead of asking the question which Prophet is
better, for me the final question is always
about the outcome of the pros and cons of any given synth. Is it fun or not? Does it
sound good and do the sounds inspire you? Are you excited when you sit down in front of it and start tweaking
a new patch from scratch? It it easy? Does it have personality? Does it give you
goosebumps each time you audition your favorite patches? For me, "YES" comes as the only answer to
all these REV-2 questions. The engine
interconnectivity gives you a great amount of freedom of operation. The UI is
fantastic and the workflow is comfortable. The time that you spend with it
brings reward. Just make sure that the impenetrable
depth of the sound and the often-surfacing digital flavor isn't something that will fatigue your
delicate analogue ears too quickly. The REV-2 tone is rich like a fresh juicy peach. But many times it can also sound too "big" or "heavy" (or "brassy
as some people call it) and you will have to sacrifice a couple of minutes to fight it away;)
If you don't want to do that, try the
Korg Prologue instead. It can also sound ugly
or bad, but when it does not, it sounds fantastic.
REV-2: BUGS / QUIRKS
I think I should also mention
some bugs / quirks that might be annoying, for example:
- the engine does not cope well with
sudden audio changes: the envelopes and some extreme modulations / unison are "clicky";
triangle LFO has a specific shape and leans more towards a square-sounding
LFO than sine-wave sounding LFO;
triangle waveshape starts to sound like a square wave when adjusted upwards;
- the sequence cannot be overdubbed
after recording it;
- we can choose the way to
modulate a parameter: either via the LFO amount knob, or via the mod matrix
assignment, but there is a catch; when I modulate a
parameter directly from the LFO, I can hear the maximum effect as a genuine-100%-effect, but when I do the
same connection in the mod matrix, the maximum modulation reaches only 20-30% of the
effect, and I wonder why that is.
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