The Prophet 5 was guaranteed to be a success the day Sequential Circuits released it simply because it gave keyboard players what they had been wanting for years - polyphony and sound storage. For the first time, keyboard players could play chords (albeit small ones!) and no longer were they frantically reprogramming sounds live in between songs.

That it sounded marvellous was an added bonus!

Each of the Prophet 5's voices was a monophonic synth in its own right with two oscillators, a lowpass filter, amplifier and envelope generators. Oscillator 1 offered sawtooth and variable width square/pulse whilst Oscillator 2 offered the same but with the addition of a triangle wave. The oscillators could be synced and cross-modulated and Oscillator 2 could be switched to act as an LFO. The oscillators passed through a mixer (with a noise source) to a 24dB/octave filter shaped by an ADSR envelope. The filtered signal was then passed through a final VCA, again shaped by a second ADSR envelope. A single LFO serviced all five voices for filter sweeps and pulse width modulation, etc..

At the heart of the Prophet 5's flexibility, however, was the PolyMod section that allowed sophisticated modulation routing to be achieved with just a handful of controls and switches. Unlike any other synth at the time, the Prophet 5 also featured a Unison mode which put it into a monophonic mode putting all ten oscillators on a single key for a truly fat sound.