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Korg Prophecy

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The Prophecy Solo Synthesizer was released in 1995 as part of the new era of digital synths from Korg. It had DSP synthesis first seen in the Wavedrum released the year earlier as well as borrowed physical modeling technology from Yamaha.

The Prophecy is a monophonic synthesizer featuring analog modeling, physical modeling, Variable Phase Modeling ie. FM synthesis. The acronym used in naming Korg's analog DSP is M.O.S.S. Multi Oscillator Synthesis System. Because of a deal with Yamaha, they had to call their FM synthesis VPM Variable Phase Modeling.

In addition to all the types of sound it made. The Prophecy also featured a ribbon controller on top of a third wheel controller nick named "The Log" by some. It also had standard pitch and mod wheels and 5 assignable multi function knobs also for editing the instrument. It had a 37 key keyboard and a matrix of multicolored lights for different functions and editing.

Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: Karplus–Strong, Phase Distorion, Physical modelling, Subtractive, Virtual Analog
Oscillators: 2
Waveforms: ROM, Sub Oscillator, White Noise
ROM Size: 512K
Evelope Paramerters: Initional Level, Rate 1, Level 1, Rate 2, Level 2, Rate 3, Level 3, Rate 4, Level 4, Slope, Triggered, Time
Filters: 2
Types: 12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), Band Pass, Band Reject, High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance, Serial, Parallel
LFO: 4
LFO Notes::
26 shapes with variable phase offset.
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono
Patches RAM: 128
Storage: Internal, RAM Cartridge
Editing: MIDI
1 with 5 preset patterns, adjustable velocity and gate length and 3 directions: up, down and random.
7 DSP Model Effects including distortion, wah, EQ, chorus, flanger, delay and reverb
Case: Keyboard
Keyboard: 37 keys, Non-weighted, Plastic
Controls: Aftertouch, Breath, Knobs, Mod - Wheel, Mod - Wheel 2, Modulation 1/4" Jacks, Pedal - Patch Change, Pitch -Wheel, Mod - Ribbon, Pedal - Sustain, Tempo Knob, Velocity, Pedal - Volume
Display Type: LCD, LED, Backlit
Display Count H: 40
Display Count V: 2
Dimensions (WxDxH): 740 width x 286 depth x 100 height mm
Weight: 5kg
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Stereo Main, Stereo Headphone
Audio Output Count: 4
Power: 10w
Year Released: 1995
Year Discontinued: 1999
Used By
808 State, Radiohead, Daft Punk, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Dubstar, Jon Johnson, Orbital, Ozric Tentacles, The Prodigy, Jean-Michel Jarre, Joe Zawinul, Pet Shop Boys, The Crystal Method, Rick Wakeman, System 7, Pitchshifter
Design Notes:

The Korg Prophecy is considered one of the earliest (mid-nineties) "virtual analog" (a.k.a. VA) synthesizers, although its synthesis capabilities went beyond many of its VA contemporaries.

Along with the Korg Z1, this little synth is a direct ancestor of the ill-fated OASYS project.[1] It was a small 3-octave monosynth, a pioneer of the late 1990s "return-to-analog" trend. Offering assignable knobs, a "log controller" (a mix-up of a modulation wheel and ribbon controller assembled like a "sausage") and many other control sources, it invited players to tweak and shape the sound both easily and quickly. Deep editing, however, wasn't as straightforward, because the sound engine contained no less than 13 DSP-modeled oscillator types, each one offering a large number of parameters to adjust. Some of the most used DSP models were the analog model (based on the classic osc+filter+amp scheme, although with many powerful enhancements), the VPM model (some sort of FM synthesis which cleverly avoided Yamaha's FM patent) and the "physical modeling" algorithms. The latter deserves special mention. In the mid to late 1990s, it was believed that digital "physical modeling", which recreated the sound of acoustic instruments (brass, strings, woodwinds, etc.) using DSP algorithms instead of samples, would eventually replace sample-based synthesis of those instruments, because of its unprecedented realism and expressiveness. As time passed, physical modeling seemed to lose its appeal to both manufacturers (because of the cost of investigation and implementation) and final users, who complained about the realism of the models and limited polyphony. Also, more complex playing techniques were required to play the models in a convincing way. Nevertheless, the Prophecy's low cost and broad implementation of sound generation techniques earned it a significant place in synthesizer history.

Technically, the Prophecy offered one-note monophony, several effects (including distortion, wave shaping, delay/reverb and chorus/flanger), and 128 memory locations for user sound programs. No disk drive or sequencer was included, but its integrated arpeggiator was a source of "instant gratification", as some magazines put it. Standard MIDI features and a pair of audio outputs were also offered.

Korg made a major breakthrough at the time, offering a low cost expansion card for Trinity users, which incorporated the whole sound engine of the Prophecy into the already powerful workstation. Gone was the arpeggiator and some minor features, but the editing was much improved through the Trinity's big touchscreen, and the workstation's effects processing was a huge improvement over the Prophecy's basic set.

A direct descendant of the Prophecy is the much vaunted Korg Z1 (1998) which is the equivalent of a 12-note polyphonic Prophecy with enhanced models, more physical control, 61-note keyboard, bigger screen, 6-part multitimbrality, more presets and two powerful programmable twin arpeggiators.

Today Korg Prophecy's wide range and potential for high quality sounds together with excellent performance features ensure its continuing popularity with musicians and synthesizer enthusiasts alike.
Manuals & Documents

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] i.korg.com
MSRP List Price: $1,799 - convert
Retail Street Price: $1,199 - convert
Used Price: $150 - $400 - convert

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