Sounds from the Prophecy stuffed into the Z1

Electric Guitar (, public domain. Thanks, guys!)

Electric Guitar (, public domain. Thanks, guys!)

The Korg Prophecy was the monophonic predecessor of the Z1. Unfortunately, both instruments are not patch compatible, so you cannot load sounds designed for the Prophecy into the Z1.

However, Pete Kvitek has written a converter, and some Prophecy patches are available on the Z1 Yahoo Group. There are two files, Z1Prophecy0 and Z1Prophecy1. Each one contains two banks of sounds, a total of 512 patches.
The first one contains some incredible cool sounds, and I spent several joyful hours this weekend playing the Z1. To give you a better clue what the Z1 sounds like, here are some snippets I recorded while testing the sounds. That’s not music at all, just a few notes »hacked into the keyboard«.

I really enjoy the Phonic Helix Board 24 Universal. Using jack, I can easily record audio from any of its inputs using qarecord or timemachine. None of the sounds has been postprocessed. It’s the pure signal as received form the Z1 – including the effects. BTW: The names of the recordings do not match the patch names in the Z1, just in case you are looking for them.

I recorded the files using timemachine in wav format at 96kHz. I then used Audacity to cut and normalize the recordings. I would have used sox as well, but I wanted to have some manual control over what happens, and Audacity features a jack output option (using Portaudio, a cross-platform-audio-subsystem).

Let’s start with a set of pad sounds:

Majestic Pad

Percussive Pad

Silk Pad

Soft Pad

Warm Pad

Yammer Pad

The Z1 features a phase modulation oscillator model, similar to the
frequency modulation used by the famous Yamaha DX-7. The name mainly is different due to legal issues. The results, however are very similar.

FM bells

Of course it is capable of producing all of the old style analoguesque sounds you may expect from a multi oscillator model synth. Here are some traditional lead sounds:

I mog den Moog lead

Classical Saw Lead

Here’s the traditional 5th sound:

Lead 5th

And a similar one, with oscillator sync. This means that one of the oscillators gets restarted as soon as the master oscillator reached the end of its phase:

Sync Lead

The plucked string oscillator model can be used to create guitar or harp like sounds. Admittedly, this recording was not played very well. It more sounds like played by a machine than a human player. I apologize:

Plucked Nylon Strings

The plucked string model also is capable for sounds imitating lead guitars. For the keyboarder it’s always hard to compete with the guitarists. If you want to top a sustained guitar sound, you are in need of a lot of manual work. Except you are using the right synth, of course ;-) :

Plucked String Lead

Here’s a sound using the reed model. The physical models of the Z1 are very good in imitating overblown respectively clipping sounds:

Hard Flute

Here’s another example with some clipping tendencies:

Hard lead

This clipping even is possible when using the string model. Here’s a medieval like sound. Note that the first few and some of the last notes sound one octave too high – unintentionally:

Medieval String

And finally, here’s the guitar killer ;-) . The sound came directly from the Z1, with no further processing applied. Admittedly, I used the touch pad controller excessively to make it sound what it sounds like:

Super hard guitar killer lead

That’s it for today. I hope you liked the show. I will surely post more elaborated examples in the future.

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