SEQUENTIAL CIRCUITS PRO ONE
This versatile cut from the Prophet-5 lays it down low
Use in music
Vince Clarke was the most famous proponent of the Pro One. Clarke jumped ship from Depeche Mode during the same year that the Pro One was released. As it happens, this is also the synth upon which he built his next band’s hit – the blockbuster ballad Only You by Yazoo. Virtually every sound on the hit single – including the bass sound and kick drum – was made using the Pro One.
Chromeo’s Hot Mess and Don’t Turn the Lights On both use the Pro One for bass sounds. The Pro One was the main synth on Skinny Puppy’s Remission EP. It’s also been used by Hardfloor, Überzone, Mouse On Mars and The Prodigy.
How it works
Sequential Circuits made their mark with the programmable, polyphonic Prophet-5, first released in 1978. That costly classic came in at a whopping £2845, but that didn’t slow sales in the least. Those wishing for an entry level option would wait a full three years for the monophonic Pro One, which packed a single voice worth of Prophet into a 37-key package.
As with its bigger brother, the Pro One offered dual oscillators and a 24dB resonant lowpass filter. This last bit was based on the much-loved Curtis filter chip, as found in later revisions of the P-5. The oscillators themselves sounded expansive and expensive, with deep lows and clear, cutting highs. More impressive were the modulation options, providing loads of potential sources and destinations. Both VCA and filter were provided, with full ADSR envelope generators – perfect for crafting bass patches.
Those bass patches could then be driven with the onboard sequencer, into which the proud owner could step-enter up to 40 notes. An arpeggiator provided additional sequential duties.
Get the sound
The Pro One is one of the few vintage instruments to be directly cloned by analogue alchemists u-he, whose Repro-1 is a note-for-note copy with an astonishingly authentic sound. If you can’t swing the $99, you can get a taste from their free RePro-Alpha, a cutdown proofof-concept that preceded the commercial version. Spectrasonics Trilian features plenty of sampled Pro One waveforms.