Review: U-He Repro 5: Polyphonic Prophet

This virtual recreation of the classic Prophet 5 is new from accomplished Berlin-based developer U-He. Noah Pred road tested the Repro 5: Polyphonic Prophet.  

When it comes to delivering convincing virtual emulations of classic analog synthesizers, few developers could be considered quite as qualified as Berlin’s beloved U-He. With their Repro-1 instrument seamlessly impersonating the Prophet 1 monosynth, it was only a matter of time before they followed it up with a virtual replication of the polyphonic Prophet 5 – one of the most justifiably lusted-after synths of its era.

Repro-5’s main panel with effects in view below.

Repro-5’s main panel with effects in view below.

Painstakingly modeled from original components, U-He’s faithful reproduction builds on the legacy of its inspiration while pulling it into the future with enhancements and refinements only available in the digital realm. 

Signal Path

The first of two oscillators can be combined from Saw and Pulse with adjustable width and hard Sync, while the second can be generated from combinable Saw, Triangle, and adjustable Pulse, with optional keyboard tracking and Lo Freq mode for use as a secondary LFO. Along with a dedicated white Noise oscillator, these can be attenuated via the three-knob Mixer section.

A sumptuous 4-pole low-pass filter with dedicated ADSR envelope boasts lush self-oscillation at high resonance settings, managing to emit an impressively satisfying squeal without veering into screeching cacophony. Thick Unison, adjustable Glide, and Voice Detune combine with the Amp envelope settings to round out Repro-5’s core parameters.

An early implementation of Frequency Modulation unique to the Prophet line, the Voice Mod section allows adjustable assignment of the Filter Envelope and Oscillator B frequency to Oscillator A’s Frequency, Pulse Width, and Filter Cutoff, allowing for unusual dynamic tones that continue to change from note to note.

Meanwhile, the Wheel Mod settings allow the Modulation wheel to send an adjustable combination of LFO and Pink Noise amounts to control Frequency and Pulse Width amount of either Oscillator, or both simultaneously, along with the Filter cutoff, allowing for a range of heightened expressivity and industrial percussive intensity. The host-syncable LFO combines with the dual-destination Modulation Matrix to provide a degree of control unavailable in the original hardware. 

Also unavailable in the original Prophet were the impressive effects included with Repro-5: in-line polyphonic multimode distortion for added character, followed by re-routable tape emulation, vintage delay and chorus, EQ with resonator mode, simple yet expansive reverb, and a sonic conditioner for dynamics and output refinement. Normally effects built into virtual instruments aren’t particularly special, but these are unique, powerful, and great sounding enough to add real value to an already alluring synth. 

Tweak It

Under the hood with Repro-5’s Tweak mode.

Under the hood with Repro-5’s Tweak mode.

Providing further access to previously untouchable settings, Repro-5’s Tweak mode literally lifts the hood of the instrument, providing access to alternate circuit models and other core settings. 

LFOs can be toggled to DC control or Bi-Polar, ramps on the LFO and Oscillator B can be inverted, and the Wheel Mod noise input can be toggled from the default pink noise option to sample and hold. Note Priority, Voice Reallocation settings, and per-Voice Panning can all be adjusted here, along with a number of included and importable Microtuning modes for those interested in more experimental scales. 

Both the Filter and Amp envelopes can be set to the default Analog along with Ideal, High Sustain, One Shot, or one of two Piano modes for a range of ADSR timing responses, while the Filter itself can be toggled to Crispy, Rounded, Driven, or Poly models. Ideal, P1, P5, P5 Old, and Bottom oscillator models can be selected for the core oscillators – though the Bottom option, which enhances the Triangle waveform, is only available for Oscillator B.

A thorough Directory and optional Tag navigation Preset management system help quickly find appropriate patches from the stunning and lovingly programmed 950 that come included. Along with a dedicated MIDI learn mode, Multicore processing and High Quality modes can be toggled up top for high resolution rendering when needed.

Though it may not include the powerful sequencer built into with Repro 1, Repro 5 is only available in a bundle combined with the award-winning Repro 1 – so you get the best of both worlds. Anyone looking for a combination of the Prophet’s analog sound with possibilities only afforded in the digital domain should give this lovingly-crafted synth a serious go.

Price: $99 until January 1 / $149 thereafter

Pros: Great sound, powerful effects, looks great, easy to use.

Cons: Can be CPU intensive with HQ mode engaged.


Learn more about synthesis in the Ask.Audio Academy here.  

Noah Pred is a Canadian techno and house producer, DJ and Certified Ableton Trainer living in Berlin, Germany - where he runs his label, Thoughtless Music. His Juno-nominated full-length album Third Culture, is out now: - and you can check out his new project with... Read More


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