A couple of days ago, I had the occasion to directly compare both synths. Since there are more soundsets available for the xd than the prologue, I used Sunny Synths prologue panel, which can import minilogue xd paches. Those files can be extracted from the librarian provided by Korg, or extracted from an xd soundbank using loguetools.
The minilogue xd often gets perceived as a synth with a very interesting sound (which I’d like to confirm). Thanks to the direct comparison of both machines, I can confirm that it’s not the filter that makes both synths sound different. Actually, both are very close, and the filters seem to be identical. Many patches I listened to sound identical on both machines. Though not all.
The secret of the xd are minor, but essential changes in its modulation capabilities. The LFO got a 1shot mode, essentially providing a third envelope generator. Additionally, sync and ring modulation are not XOR as on the prologue, but can be used simultaneously. So consider routing a 1shot sawtooth LFO to the pitch of oscillator 2, syncing it to oscillator 1 while enabling ring and cross modulation. This subtle design change provides a lot of interesting transients. However, this only affects a couple of presets which actually make good use of those features. Most presets sound almost identical on either machine, including lead and bass sounds.
What I noticed was that the oscillators sound slightly different. The prologue’s seems to provide less partials while being more uneasy. The latter issue may be beneficial for pad and string sounds.
So which one is the better machine? Well, they’re almost identical. As a keyboardist, I prefer the prologue due to its better keybed. I still wish, though, it borrowed the modulation design and the joystick of the xd.