The Sequential Prophet 6 – The Digital/Analog Genius!
Sequential owner Dave Smith is little known outside the music industry, yet he is the driving force behind many of the sounds millions of people hear on a day to day basis. As the developer of MIDI technology, he opened a whole new world in audio engineering, making it easier and easier to reach new sonic possibilities and helping accelerate the world of both digital and analogue synthesis. As well as this, he also developed the first software synth and worked with Tom Oberheim to develop SEM technology allowing live playing over sequences.
Sequential’s Prophet 6 polysynth is a digital-analogue hybrid and is part of the line of instruments which started with the Prophet 5, which was the first musical instrument of any kind to have an embedded microprocessor, as well as the first fully programmable polysynth. The Prophet 5 can be considered the forerunner or evolutionary common ancestor of the vast majority of polysynths on the market today and the Prophet 6 was a development on it’s groundbreaking technology.
The Prophet 6’s signal path involves two VCOs, two filter, a mixer, a modulator, the digital effects, and an arpeggiator and sequencer. Unlike on it’s forerunner the Prophet 5, the Prophet 6 does not have the choice of multiple waveforms per voice, instead it works with variable waveforms where the knob can be turned to create variations from a triangle wave through to a sawtooth or square wave and anything in between.
Where Can I Buy A Prophet 6?
The Prophet’s filters are high pass and low pass respectively and allow for resonance as well as contour and keyboard tracking controls. It also has an ADSR contour generator which controls the VCA and has velocity control capabilities which were not available in the Prophet 5. These additions to the Prophet 5’s popular and well received design have resulted in the Prophet 6 becoming the most widely distributed and famous of the Prophet line of synths.
The Prophet synth family was also pioneering in that they had highly advanced modulation capabilities for their time period. These have become more commonplace nowadays amongst the huge variety of high quality synths on the market, but the Prophet 6 has managed to cut through by using them judiciously and with the musician’s convenience in mind. The Prophet’s Poly Mod technology uses the filter and second oscillator as modulation sources and can apply to them changes of shape, frequency, and pulse width via oscillator 1 as well as using the high pass and low pass filters. Meanwhile, the Prophet’s Poly Step technology allows up to six notes per step with a grand total of 64 steps. Built with inspiration from the Prophet 5, which had fantastically flexible and powerful modulation and sequencing tech for it’s time, the Prophet 6 takes this to the 21st century.
The Prophet 6’s digital-analogue hybridisation is achieved with a fully analogue signal path onto which digital effects are added later in the signal chain. Both the Prophet’s arpeggiator and sequencer can be linked to external MIDI and it is a compact, efficient and easy to use instrument with a four octave keyboard. Although not all users enjoy small keyboards, the Prophet’s other capabilities and ease of use make up for this and its semi weighted keys and sophisticated black and wooden design make it as pleasing to play as it is to programme. It quickly gained a reputation for intuitive programming, with one knob per function and a neat round 1000 programmes in total- 500 factory programs and 5000 blank, rewritable ones.
One factor which made the Prophet 6 a success was the fact that it built on the strengths of the Prophet 5 but didn’t seek to pay homage to it, instead taking the risk of innovation. Neither it’s sequencer nor arpeggiator were part of the Prophet 5, in fact, it was building mostly on the basic components as opposed to the overall design. The plus of releasing a synth with such pedigree in the 2st century is technological progression can achieve the most beloved features but crisper, brighter, more powerful, and more stable. The Prophet 6’s VCOs are so stable, in fact, that Dave Smith has added a ‘slop’ feature, which introduces natural analogue drift to notes to recreate a more authentically vintage sound. Other small touches include a four mode glide function and a unison mode which can stack up to six voices. Overall, the Prophet 6 was a much anticipated synth which surpassed its fans expectations as it drew on the best bits of the Prophet 5 without being a carbon copy or even too much of an homage – thinking both forwards and backwards at the same time.
How Much Does A Prophet 6 Cost?
Sequential’s Prophet 6 is one of the most expensive synths on the market, though those who are loyal to it would stand by the high price tag and assert its value for money. On eBay, the Prophet is priced at a staggering £4163.39, whereas prices for new synths are actually cheaper, with Thomann.de stocking the Prophet 6 for a relatively less hefty £2385.00. As with the OB6, Sequential’s website has a convenient and informative guide to their dealers all over the world, so finding the one nearest you could cut down on some of the shipping costs. As the Prophet is still in production, second hand deals will naturally be easier to find, but as these sometimes end up more expensive and less convenient, meaning Sequential’s dealers are the most efficient way to go.
*prices generally seen on auction sites. If you see them cheaper, you may be on to a bargain.
Who Uses Or Used The Prophet 6?
The Prophet 6 is one of Sequential’s most famous and popular products, with a significant number of musicians on their artists’ page being Prophet users, including acts as diverse as Miley Cyrus, Death Cab for Cutie, Dark Tranquillity, The Crystal Method, and composer and director JJ Abrams, showing the Prophet’s versatility. The Prophet 6 has been a winner throughout the film and music industries and continues to be a part of many home studios and independent recording studios, being found both in top albums and the collections of independent musicians and enthuasiasts.
Alternatives To The Prophet 6?
There are many different alternatives to the 909 whether as hardware, software, analog or digital. These are as follows: Oberheim OB6, REV2, Prophet 8, Tetra, Nord Lead 2, Minilogue, Deepmind 12, and other emulators and VST’s.
However, when we compare it to the real thing it’s noticeable that the alternatives don’t quite stack up. They are a great option though for people with a lower budget.
Classic Prophet 6 Videos, Tutorials & Demos
A playlist of videos showing you an introduction of how it sounds, the oscillators, how to make classic house chords, the patches, modulation tricks and other features . Some great tips in here so be sure to check them out!
Other Classic Synth or Drum Machine Products?
The famous Roland synths, drum machines and effects include: SH 101, MC 202, TB 303, TR 606, TR 707, TR 808, TR 909, Juno 60, RE-201 Space Echo. Behringer Deepmind 12, Behringer K2, Behringer Model D, Elektron Machinedrum, Korg MS-20, Moog Model D, Moog Grandmother, Nord Modular G1, Oberheim OB-6, Yamaha DX7.
Where Can I Find A Prophet 6 For Sale?