I can’t speak for the market, but an informed synthesist knows there is nothing quite like a Sequential Pro 2; it clobbers every other keyboard class monophonic/paraphonic synth made. A Pro 3 would have to be an amazing machine to take its place. It is a very high bar to reach over that has been set by the Pro 2.
First of all, both Pro 3 models look great, especially the SE with its ala Moog hinge and the traditional woods. The Pro 3 includes both analog and digital oscillators with wavetables. The sequencer is killer. The 4 knob/4 button screen interface is a familiar joy.
I’m sure the high end paraphonic synthesizer market is a tough place to play, but after the initial sparkles wore off, I am seeing a few major changes here. I think it is very important to approach the Pro 3 as a whole new synth. It is not a souped up Pro 2.
The Pro 3 has 37 keys instead of 44. It is in line with the Moog Subsequent 37. This is the critical comparison here I think. Sequential/Dave Smith Instruments synths have always been Moog killers. In fact, when I decided to put the Pro 3 on my 2020 buy list, it was mainly to replace my Subsequent 37. I love the Moog, but I’m an even bigger fan of the Sequential screen/knob workflow, and now with analog oscillators, the Moog would be even further isolated in my gear, so I’m selling it.
With all 3 oscillators, the Pro 3 has 3 paraphonic voices instead of the Pro 2’s 4 voices. To be clear though, you can only do 2 of those voices with the exact same oscillators (analog). I think many will really like the analog oscillators. You could stick to some of the classic wave shapes on all 3 oscillators (analog and digital) to get fairly similar paraphonic voices. Some might consider 3 voices with 2 distinct types of oscillators to be somewhat unusual, however in my opinion, the unusual would be very desirable and exactly what you want.
My Pro 2 use is lead, bass, percussion, heavily sequenced or modulated sounds. It is not my go to poly. I have 2 flagship polyphonics; I am not looking for the Pro 3 to do chords or pads. Paraphonic is the most I need and most of the time mono. Dave Smith did his homework here, the market yearned for analog oscillators and the price is still in a range it doesn’t have to compete with high-end polys.
The 3rd digital oscillator does look interesting, with 32 digital wavetables of 16 waves each with wave morphing, plus classic wave shapes (sine, triangle, saw, variable-width pulse) and super saw and can function as an LFO for complex wavetable-based modulation. Obviously, the Pro 3 is no Waldorf Quantum, but I’m 100% certain that is not Sequential’s intention. Dave Smith says they are considering adding the capability for user supplied wavetables or Sequential supplied wavetables in a future firmware update.
There are 3 filters on the Pro 3, an upgrade from 2. However, you can only use them one at a time. There is no serial, parallel, or split oscillator routing. Dave Smith says it would get messy routing 3 filters, and most of the time routing a low-pass through a low pass wouldn’t make sense.
There is 1 latchable position-sensitive touch slider instead of 2, without pressure-sensitivity. There are 3 LFOs instead of 4, and to be exact, the wavetable is really your 4th LFO, and its abilities would be a real upgrade to the LFO palette.
The Pro 3 improves on the Pro 2 capabilities to function as your control center synth. In addition to MIDI in, MIDI out 1, MIDI thru and MIDI out 2, it has 4 CV inputs, 4 CV outputs and a gate output. The 16 track 64 step sequencer outputs to CV and all other modulation destinations. All the extensive modulation sources output to CV as well.
The Pro 3 looks like a real contender, I expect it to outsell the Pro 2. I know many of us dreamed of what now could be a Pro 4, with twice the goodies (personally, I would have liked 2 analogs and 4 digitals, others might want 4 analogs and 2 digitals); either of those would have really extended the paraphonic stratosphere, but the Pro 3 is definitely a Moog Subsequent killer. I think in actual use, it will pair well with a Prophet X or Quantum, just like the Pro 2 already does.
If you are fortunate enough to have a Sequential Pro 2, keep it!
“Combining a Sequential Pro 2 and Pro 3 creates a monster synth system… 7 oscillators, 5 filters, 7 envelopes, 32 lanes of note, parameter and CV sequencing, 8 assignable CV Ins, 8 assignable CV Outs, and I’m not even going to try to count the modulation possibilities.” -Chris Stack
This page is a living document, subject to update and expansion. Last edited – 2/28/2020 If you have any content you think should be added, or would like to help author gear pages/posts, please leave a comment here or on our Facebook group.
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A Three-Generation Legacy
The Sequential Pro 1 and Pro 2 mono synths achieved nearly legendary status in their time. So it was only natural that we build on their strengths with an even more worthy successor. Enter the Pro 3, Sequential’s 2-VCO + wavetable mono/paraphonic synth – a new benchmark for raw sonic power and unrivalled versatility.
The Power of 3
The Pro 3 boasts three oscillators, three vintage filters, three LFOs, four loopable envelopes, a massive 32-slot mod matrix, and an 16 x 16 x 4 sequencer. Throw in dual digital effects and four control voltage ins and outs, and you’ve got a hugely powerful instrument that’s as exciting to program as it is to play.
A Next-Generation Classic
The Pro 3 is a hybrid of solid, old-school analog synthesis paired with versatile digital technology. Its two voltage controlled oscillators provide warmth and presence while its third wavetable oscillator provides digital edge and grit. With 32 tables of 16 waves each and wave morphing, tonal possibilities are immense. Tuned feedback with grunge, and analog distortion deliver industrial-grade nastiness on demand.
Three Filters Based on Vintage Designs
At the heart of the Pro 3’s ballsy sound are its vintage-style filters. Filter 1 is a 4-pole lowpass design based on the Prophet-6 filter. Filter 2 is a classic transistor ladder filter with optional resonance compensation to preserve its low-end punch. Filter 3 is a classic 2-pole, state-variable design based on the OB-6 filter that can be continuously varied between lowpass, notch, and high-pass operation, with an optional band-pass mode. An additional Drive control provides still more punch when you really want to get down and dirty.
Possibly the Pro 3’s most powerful performance tool is its sequencer. With 16 tracks, 16 steps, and 4 phrases, it features both real-time and step input, ratcheting, variable gate and sequence lengths, multiple playback modes, and paraphonic operation. It also syncs to MIDI clock and external audio input, and inputs/outputs control voltages. In addition to notes, sequence tracks can control any parameter in the 132-destination modulation matrix.
Plays Well with Modulars
The Pro 3’s flexible architecture opens the door to not only processing external audio, but also to interfacing with modular synths through its 4 rear-panel control voltage inputs/outputs and a dedicated gate output. Control voltages can be assigned and routed from within the modulation matrix and can run at audio rates for extreme modulation effects. Some of the many parameters that can be sent to the CV outputs include oscillators, LFOs, envelopes, and sequencer tracks, allowing the Pro 3 to become the central hub of a modular or multisynth setup.
Effects, Envelopes, LFOs, an Arpeggiator, and Extreme Modulation
The Pro 3’s Effects section provides delays, reverbs, time-domain effects such as chorus/phasing/flanging and more. There are four loopable five-stage envelope generators, three syncable LFOs with slew and phase offset, a full-featured arpeggiator, and a 32-slot modulation matrix with dozens of modulation sources and over a hundred destinations.
Monophonic and Paraphonic Operation
The Pro 3 was designed to be a super-powerful monosynth, but it is also a versatile 3-voice paraphonic synth. This makes playing 3-note chords not only possible, but with creative use of effects and some per-oscillator modulation, mind-blowingly expressive. Put all of this sonic power in a three-octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch, add backlit pitch and mod wheels and a location-sensitive touch slider, and you’ve got one of the most inspiring synths ever made.
Two analog, voltage-controlled oscillators
One DSP-based digital oscillator
Analog oscillators produce three classic wave shapes: (triangle, saw, pulse) with variable shape modulation/pulse width on each
Digital oscillator produce 32 digital wavetables of 16 waves each with wave morphing, plus classic wave shapes (sine, triangle, saw, variable-width pulse) and super saw
Digital oscillator 3 can function as an LFO for complex wavetable-based modulation
White noise generator
Hard sync, per-oscillator Glide, Oscillator Slop
3-VOICE PARAPHONIC PLAYABILITY
3-voice paraphonic mode with individually-gated envelopes per oscillator
Three classic filter types
Filter 1 is a 4-pole, 24 dB per-octave, Prophet-6™ low-pass filter
Filter 2 is a classic, 4-pole, 24 dB per-octave, transistor ladder filter with optional resonance compensation
Filter 3 is a 2-pole, 12 db per-octave, OB-6™ state-variable filter. It can be continuously varied between low-pass, notch, and high-pass operation, with an optional band-pass mode.
Three syncable LFOs with phase offset and slew per LFO
Five waveshapes: triangle, saw, reverse saw, square, and S&H
Four ADSR envelopes with delay (Filter, VCA, and two Auxiliary envelopes)
Envelopes freely assignable to multiple modulation destinations
All envelopes can repeat/loop
Dual digital effects
Stereo delay, BBD delay, chorus, flanger, phaser, ring mod, vintage rotating speaker, distortion, high-pass filter, super plate reverb
FEEDBACK AND DISTORTION
Tuned feedback with Grunge for extra-aggressive tonal destruction
Programmable analog distortion
32-SLOT MODULATION MATRIX
32 slot modulation matrix with over 46 mod sources and over 171 mod destinations
Modulation assignment buttons enable quick and easy modulation routing
Mod Matrix runs at audio rates
4 CONTROL VOLTAGE INS & OUTS AND GATE OUT
Four control voltage (CV) inputs and outputs for interfacing with modular synths and other CV-compatible devices
Parameters that can be sent to CV outputs include oscillators, LFOs, envelopes, sequencer tracks and any other source within the modulation matrix. Runs at audio rates.
Gate Out for triggering external CV-compatible devices. Any CV in can be used as a gate input.
Advanced sequencer with three modes: normal, gated, and trigger
16 tracks and 4 linkable 16-step phrases
Per-step ratcheting, duration, and velocity
Multiple playback modes: forward, reverse, forward/reverse, random
Supports real-time/step input, rests, and variable-length sequences
Syncs to MIDI clock and external audio and CV input
Sequences freely assignable to any modulation destination
Sophisticated arpeggiator with up, down, up+down, random, assign modes
Syncs to MIDI clock and external audio and CV inputs
Runs concurrent with Sequencer for arpeggiated patterns with parameter automation
Over 60 knobs and 70 buttons enable deep, comprehensive editing with minimal menu diving
Backlit pitch and mod wheels are easily visible in low-light situations and have a smooth, precise response.
Independently adjustable upper and lower pitch wheel range
Position-sensitive latchable touch slider for enhanced interactivity and control
Full-sized, three-octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
512 user and 512 factory programs
Playlist mode for generating easily accessible set lists of your favorite programs
1 MIDI In, 1 MIDI Out, and 1 MIDI Thru/Out 2 port
USB port for bidirectional MIDI communication
4 CV inputs (4 x 1/8″ jack) with -10v to +10v voltage range
4 CV outputs (4 x 1/8″ jack) with -10v to +10v voltage range
1 Gate Out (1/8″ jack)
1 Sustain/footswitch input
1 Expression pedal input
1 External audio input (1/4″ phone jack)
Main stereo output (2 x 1/4″ phone jack)
Headphone out (stereo 1/4″ phone jack)
1 universal IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
Operates worldwide on voltages between 100-240v, 50-60Hz, 30 watts maximum power consumption
Premium, 3-octave, semi-weighted Fatar keyboard
26.5″ L x 13″ W x 3.5″ H (67.3 cm x 33 cm x 8.9 cm)
Weight: 16 lbs (7.25 kg)