Dave Smith confirms that there’s a problem with the new Prophet 5 and Prophet 10 synths: “We screwed up”

Sequential Prophet-5
(Image credit: Sequential)

Dave Smith’s decision to bring back Sequential’s classic Prophet-5 synth has had the electronic music community in raptures, but it turns out that the launch of the first batch of instruments has experienced something of a hiccup.

Some eagle-eared customers who received their new Prophet-5s - and, indeed, Prophet-10s - were quick to notice that something was amiss with the high frequencies, and Dave Smith has now confirmed that there is indeed a problem. This affects serial numbers 1 to 195 on Prophet 5s, and 1 to 159 on Prophet 10s.

"As some users have noticed, there is a drop in high frequencies on the current units in the field. I checked into it yesterday, and I’m highly embarrassed to say that we screwed up,” says Smith on the Sequential forum. “Short story is there are some capacitors that were not meant to be installed, but did in fact get installed, causing the frequency drop.”

The obvious next question is how the units ever made it out of the factory with this flaw in place and, bizarrely, it seems that Smith’s own damaged hearing could be to blame.

We will do whatever is required to make things right.

“This turns out to be due to my ears lacking any high end; too many Yardbirds, Who, Cream etc. concerts in the ‘60s,” says Dave. “I picked up serial #1 on October 1st, and it sounded great to me! Since then, we’ve shipped every unit we’ve made since because we have a huge backlog. And, with everyone working at home due to the pandemic, no one else played a production unit except me.”

Fortunately, Smith says that there’s an easy fix - the two capacitors simply need to be removed. Users can do this themselves if they have access to a soldering iron, though Sequential is also offering to swap the boards or, indeed, entire units if that’s what’s preferred. “We will do whatever is required to make things right,” says Smith.

Obviously, this isn’t an ideal start for the new Prophets, but Smith is clearly mortified by what’s happened, and is doing the right thing by fessing up and fixing the problem.

“I owe everyone a deep apology for this,” he says. “It’s not how we normally work, and I’m really sorry this fell through the cracks. Thank you for your understanding.”

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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