Synth Site: SCI: T8 synth: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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Greg a professional user from Canada writes:
I've always found the Prophet 5 vs. the Prophet T8 debate a little weird.... it's kind of like asking which is better, an organ or a piano? The keyboard interface is completely different, so of course how it interacts with the sound is different as well. Ditto for playing technique(s).

The 2 Prophets are very different in what they are designed to do. I have owned both a Rev. 3 Prophet 5 and T8. Both use the same oscillators. The earlier revisions of the Prophet 5 used a different chip set - apparently replaced for reasons of increased stability. Legend has it that the earlier chipsets were somehow better sounding, and while I have played a Rev 2 Prophet 5, I've never had the opportunity to do an A/B comparison. History does support the fact that the Rev. 3 Prophet 5 is a more reliable synth however.

The T8's big advancement was of course the keyboard (still impressive after all these years), and that's one of the main reasons I still use it. Is the sound exactly like the Prophet 5?... no, and how could it be with ability to layer voices, and the velocity and pressure modulation? That being said, it definitely has the "Prophet sound".

I can believe that someone used to conventional synth action (and at the time of its release, that would mean no velocity, no pressure) might find it takes considerable practise to fully take advantage of the keyboard's capabilities and potential. Integrating polyphonic pressure and release velocity is tricky business at first. The ADR mode for the Envelopes is a really nice feature. Unison/Chord Track is handy as well. Anyone with a T8 would be wise to obtain the final firmware upgrade (Rev 3.8 I believe)from Wine Country Productions. It offers MIDI operation in OMNI & POLY Modes, 16 MIDI channel assignments, send & receive program select data, pitch/mod wheels, sustain/hold alternate release commands by footswitch, and current program & sequencer data dumps via MIDI from a control panel command.

For someone considering a T8, I'd enthusiastically recommend it for the sound and the highly useful keyboard. Be warned, it is big and heavy. I use mine exclusively in my studio.

The only service issue I've had was a broken spring. Not bad considering that I've used it since it was released in '83.

Bottom line - another great Sequential synth!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Dec-13-2001 at 10:37
Manth a part-time user from USA writes:
I have owned a T8 for over 6 years now. I am very familiar with it and the other synths that Sequential has made. People here seem to want to compare the T8 to the other Sequentials...if so then I have to say that the T8 is by far the best analog synth that they have made.

The T8 does share the CEM 3340s that are found on the Prophet 600...so it is similar to a 600 in that respect. But those chips are the exact same oscillators on all Pro Ones, Rev. 3 Prophet 5 and all double manual Prophet 10s. Unless your idea of punch from a Prophet involves unstable, untunable SSM chips found on the early 5's that always break, there is no difference in oscillators amongst the early Sequentials.

The big difference between the Prophet T8/600 and the 5/10 is the 5 and 10 use analog chips for their envelopes, the T8 and 600s envelopes are digitally generated by the microprocessor. It is often pointed out that these digital envelopes are slower than the ones on the 5 and 10 and that is very true with regards to the 600. But the T8 has a much more powerful processor. Not only does this prevent it from having audibly quantized knobs like the 600 does, it provides much faster envelopes. I brought a friend's 600 over and set the envelopes on it and the T8 to instantly open and close. I recorded these and viewed them in a wave editing program. The T8s envelope was twice as fast as the 600. I wasn't able to do this with a 5 or 10 but i have heard both in person, i do not find them to be any punchier than the T8 at all. The Prophet T8 is a Deluxe Prophet 5.

The thing that makes the T8 far superior to the 5 and 10 is it's touch sensitivity. The keyboard is wooden and weighted, but the way the notes change from modulation from the pressure and velocity controls offers facilities not imaginable on the 5 and 10. Pressure can positively or negatively affect the pitch of either or both oscillators, the filter cutoff frequency, LFO rate, LFO speed, Pulse Width and the amplifier. Velocity can positively or negatively affect the amplifier or filter cutoff frequency and it can also be used to speed through the attack and decay stages of the envelopes quicker for faster downward keystrokes. The T8 also responds to upward velocity, this can be used to lengthen the release stages for legato playing. All of this can be programmed into a midi sequencer for precise control of the sound. This is where the T8 outperforms the Prophet 5, because this can all be programmed so precisely into a sequencer it offers sound capabilities on an analog synth not previously available until the Alesis Andromeda was released. This is what keeps the T8 from being outdated.

Another feature on the T8 not found on most of the early prophets is the ability to split and layer sounds. This means you can have massive 4 oscillator per voice-4 voice polyphony. A Prophet 10 can do this and give you one more voice in the process...but personally I don't think that one more voice is worth sacrificing touch sensitivity for.

The T8 has an impressive midi spec as well. It transmits and responds to individual voice pressure on 8 channels in mono mode. This makes it an excellent keyboard controller for those seemingly common modern synths that respond to polyphonic aftertouch via midi but have only a mono sensing keyboard.

To be fair, there is one thing that the Prophet 5 can do that the T8 cannot. The 5's LFO can be routed to either pulse width of oscillator A or B or both. The T8's LFO only routes to both. But like the envelopes, the T8's LFO is digitally generated. The LFO here has a range of .005 to 40 Hz. That's a range far outside any of the early prophets capabilities. There are actually 2 LFOs in the T8, one for the left side and one for the right side. Oscillator B can also act as an LFO or as a tracking LFO. The tracking on the filter has a knob as well, not a switch for off/half/full. There is also a noise source, the famous Prophet poly-mod section, a crystal A-440 tuning reference, stereo outs with a pan knob, a scratchpad sequencer, chord tracking and ball-busting 16 oscillator unison mode. Unison mode can consist of 2 seperate patches for some real nightmarish sounds.

My only gripes about the T8 are few and trivial. It would be nice to have the LFO sync to midi clock...and it would also be nice if the LFO were routable to the amplifier. Also the springs on the hammer assemblies that give the keys their weighted action seem to break after a while. I had to replace a few on my synth when i bought it. I'll have to locate a spring maker soon as i only have 3 spares left. The noise source cannot be applied as a modulator which kind of sucks. Lastly, the knobs cannot transmit or respond to midi but this is asking a bit much of any vintage synth.

A few other T8-only abilities, it can use a sustain pedal to trigger a 2nd release time. Also there is an ADR switch that disables the sustain part of the envelope, this is very useful for creating piano-like envelopes which this synth seems to be made for. Great for those really punchy sounds that a Prophet 5 can't make!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Sep-21-2001 at 17:46
AnalogBastard a professional user from USA writes:
The T-8 is a great sounding synth and the keyboard is wonderful. I owned several prophets several P-5's a 10 and a T-8. I didn't find the T-8 sound more punchy than the P-5 probably a bit less so. None the less it was a excellent instrument that never gave me any problems, (wish I still had it) unlike the P-5 which has needed some help over the years but sounds to good to ever let go.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-May-18-2001 at 22:27
EX T8 Owner a professional user from England writes:
Now there is someone who doesn`t know what he`s talking about!

"The P600 and the T8 are NOT the same and do NOT sound the same. They are NOT even in the same class of synthesizers!!!!! (DCO vs VCO) ""

they are based on exactly the same curtis chipset both with 3340 VCOs, SCI never madde a DCO synth, even the Max and sixtrak are VCO. The non-VCO machines were wavetable or samplers.

Also Jamie is right about them sounding similar, the soiftware Envelopes are far faster on the T8 because it has more CPU power to drive them. I agree with everything you say about the keyboard action, it`s wonderful and makes a superb controller (if you get one that works properly that is). Otherwise Jamie is far closer to the mark than you are, this thing is NOT a Prophet-5 or 10 in character or punch

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-May-18-2001 at 12:59
ANDY a hobbyist user from ENGLAND writes:
I bought my T-8 last year via 'vintagesynth.com' for a pretty good price, but it did have quite a few faults (psu, cpu pcb & voice card problems to name but 3), i've finally got it all going with spares from WineCountry sequential (good but expensive) and some hard-to-source CEM synth chips via synthtech.

The keyboard is the nicest, most expressive i've ever played, it's now replaced my master keyboard! The aftertouch with its associated modulation routing is good too, the T-8 has some really nice sounds to its name, and considering that its around 18years old, it's still a great keyboard!.

It makes me wonder what the people who slag it off really do want in a 'vintage' instrument (i also wonder how many of them have actually seen a T-8, let alone owned one.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Apr-30-2001 at 15:24
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