Prophet ’08 Versus Odyssey

It had been quite a while since I last played my Prophet ’08 Keyboard/Module pair.  Due to a dearth of keyboards, which I hope to be resolved in the coming months, I’ve had to sacrifice the DSI duo in order to control my other duo – the two Odysseys.  Today I thought I’d rearrange the mess of wires and play again the P’08s.  Yikes, what a contrast!  I was struck by the differences between the two instruments.  The same patches sounded quite distinct from each other.  The most noticeable quality is how much brighter the Odyssey is than the Prophet.  I most often use the Rev 1 filter. When you open it all the way, or even most of the way, it sparkles like glitter; to say it’s bright is an understatement.  But the same patches on the Prophet ’08 were amazingly duller, although I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I was actually impressed at how lovely the P’08 sounded – how rich and warm – more so than I had recognized in the past.  The Odyssey actually sounds thinner, although after a few minutes of playing, that thinness is no longer noticeable.

The sum of it all is this: contrary to all I’ve read and heard, and contrary to my own ten years of experience, I would conclude that the Prophet ’08 is ultimately a dark instrument, even when its 2-pole or 4-pole filter is open all the way, resonance or not.  I realize it’s known for having a bristly character, but that doesn’t require that it be exceedingly bright.

By comparison, the Odyssey – which does not have a bristly tone – soars into the upper frequencies and dazzles the ears with its brilliance.  But this is not at all to criticize the P’08.  I actually think more of it now and wish the Rev2 final OS update was finally available!

I must admit that I bought the ARPs partly because I was weary of waiting for the Rev 2 to reach its final polished state before ordering one, and because the last of the Odysseys were quickly disappearing.  Now one can only pick and choose from the units that are still remaining, whereas I definitely wanted a pair of the black and orange version. I have no regrets about buying them, though, because they nicely contrast with the P’08, and I love the immediacy and directness of the programming.  But still, the Prophet ’08 struck me once again as an all-round fabulous instrument for the whole gamut of music synthesis – from gigantic polyphony to mellifluous melodies. And I’m anxious to return to having the perfect number of keyboards – three – which is precisely what my musical ideas require.