Deconstructing the Prophet ’08

For my major SAE project, one of the musicians I’ll be recording will be using a Dave Smith Prophet ’08 synthesizer. To help me understand the parameters of this instrument and the possibilities of sound design (and because I have a large interest in hardware synthezizers), I thought I’d deconstruct it.


(Prophet ’08 – image from

First and foremost, the parameters on this synthesiser are similar to the basic synth. It has two oscillators, and amp envelope, a filter envelope, LFOs, a modulation envelope and an arpeggiator. In addition, it has the sync oscillator as well as a transpose feature, a pitch bend wheel and a modulation wheel. What separates it from basic synthesisers is the use of a digital control panel which allows users to accurately see what parameters are being changed and by how much.

The waveform can be chosen through using the digital control panel and there is also a pulse width knob as well. The filter envelope can also use four poles, resulting in complex filtered sounds.

The synthesiser uses 8 voices of polyphony, and the detune parameter is useful for making sounds like the supersaw and also making wide sounds. The pitches of the oscillators are controlled by the “osc freq”parameter. Finally, the envelopes have a delay parameter, which basically is the amount of time before the envelope is triggered.

Looking at this synth from a glance has given me a better idea and I can even help the musician using it with his sound design. Until then I cannot wait to record it in my major project.


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