Native Instruments Pro-53 is back and playable in an open-source Cmajor port in your browser

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The long-discontinued Native Instruments Pro-53, a Prophet-5 emulation, is back and playable in an open-source Cmajor port in your browser.

There are countless audio plugins that you can buy or download for free. However, they don’t stay forever, and the time comes for a new version or the official discontinuation. Many plugins have already experienced the latter. The software graveyards are full of awesome code, including the Linplug synths (Spectral…), FXpansion Geist/Tremor, NI Absynth/Pro-53, and more.

Discontinuation does not have to be the end. A perfect example is the Surge Synthesizer, initially developed and marked by Vember Audio. Instead of discontinuing it, the developer decided in 2018 to make it open-source. The result is a massive community contribution over the last 6 years, raising the synth to new horizons. And a plugin that has been dead for a long time returns today.

Native Instruments Pro-53 Cmajor

Native Instruments Pro-53 Cmajor 

No joke, the Pro-53, Native Instruments’ long-discontinued Sequential Prophet-5 emulation, is back thanks to the creators (Jules Storer, Cesare Ferrari) of the audio programming language Cmajor.

Side note: they founded Sound Stacks, which are part of Soundwide, the ex-supergroup of NI, iZotope, Plugin Alliance, and Brainworx. The new name of the Supergroup is Native Instruments. However, the creators also founded Cmajor Software Dev, independent of the NI group.

This is a relatively new C-family language designed specifically for writing DSP signal processing code. It has recently become open-source and is available under a dual GPLv3/Commercial licensing scheme.

Their website shows some examples of what is possible with Cmajor so far. One of them is a new port of the classic Native Instruments Pro-53 Synthesizer, initially released in 2002. They released it as an open-source web-audio application called Pro-54 that can be played from your browser. 

Original Code

According to the developers, it’s based on a never-released internal C++ port of the original synth, including all the 500+ patches of the original plugin. The code is open-source, and they haven’t done any modernizing to it:

We haven’t attempted to do anything clever in terms of modularising the code into Cmajor graph/processors, and have left most of the original structure, even including a 1000-line main() function!

They also say the GUI was recreated in HTML/javascript using mostly salvaged low-res bitmaps for that authentically vintage feel. 

The Audio Programmer YouTube channel had the developers in their videocast. Linked below. Interestingly, the chat asked if its possible to compile a VST, AU, or AUv3 (iOS) version of the Pro-54. The developers said yes.

I find the statement exciting. So it may be that we get the Pro-53 back in our DAWs, even an iOS after four years of its discontinuation. May 31, 2020, was the last day you could register the plugin. It is not clear from the information whether an agreement has been reached with Native Instruments here. 

I’m excited to see how the project continues. Certain is that we can now play the Pro-53, eh Pro-54 in our browser again. And possibly soon as a plugin. It would be a great nostalgic news. 

More information here: Cmajor / GitHub

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  1. Please give us a walkthrough of the open source audio scene, help us discover the current state and the hottest projects, that would be very interesting content, thanks!

  2. Neat project. I still have a license for the pro-53.

    I wish more companies would follow in the footsteps of Vember Audio. I understand not being able to release 3rd party licensed code but usually the community can make up for it.

  3. Building it as a plugin does indeed work, I got a chance to try it today and managed to get a CLAP version working as my first attempt to use CMajor.

  4. I am truely overwhelmed by this. When Pro-53 was abandoned I was so angry and disappointed. It was my main soft synth. Taking this away from me was even more bitter than dropping their KORE controller they so desperately had urged me to get…. Native Instruments lost their contact to musicians. But getting Pro-53 back sounds really good….

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