Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 6 synthesiser

Sequential Prophet-6

$2,799.00

When Dave Smith announced the Prophet-6 back at last year’s NAMM show, it was notable for two obvious reasons. Firstly, it was a return to the old-school analogue approaches with which he made his name in the 70s; a spiritual successor to the much-celebrated Prophet-5, released in 1978. Secondly, it marked the return of his iconic brand, Sequential Circuits. The company name had been acquired by Yamaha when Sequential ceased trading back in 1987, but was generously passed back to Smith by Yamaha Corporation president Takuya Nakata, with encouragement from Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi.

Smith describes the Prophet-6 as “vintage with a modern twist”, employing old-school voltage-controlled oscillators, fully analogue filters and VCAs for a contemporary take on his classic 70s sound. The result is a beautiful synth, with its walnut-trimmed case just oozing vintage appeal. The knob-per-function layout of the front panel makes the synth intuitive and easy to use. The sound is just as pleasing, packed full of vintage character but with the accuracy and reliability of a modern synth. The oscillators are so stable, in fact, that Smith added his excellent ‘slop’ control, allowing you to dial in the kind of tuning inaccuracies that contributed so much to the sound of vintage analogue synths.

For a forward-thinking synth designer like Dave Smith, harking back to the past isn’t easy. The Prophet 6 works because it’s not a throwback, but a modern synth with a classic attitude.

18th January, 2016

Comments

  • Wow, 2 oscillators, 4 waveforms, filter, lfo to modulate it. It’s no wonder electronic music hasn’t really advanced in the last decade as people are still getting boners for things we’ve all seen/heard before. New synths are just tools for muso-posers to show off with, posh handbags for guys/gals who don’t leave their bedrooms. All you really need if you want hardware to make music is a £100, 20 year old Roland W-30 and a good idea.
    This ain’t a dig at Attack.

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  • wow, the original really is a lot better sounding. Much richer and thicker sounding. The update is somehow ‘skimmed’.

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  • @Duncan

    Ridiculous isn’t it. I went into a music shop the other day and all the guitars still only had six strings! Retrograde madness

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  • @Nathan

    Not a fair comparison at all. Synths are based on technology that is constantly changing. And due to Moore’s Law, the technology is constantly getting cheaper. These two things dictate that synths should be evolving a lot more than they seem to be. What is new and unique here?

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  • @ Duncan

    Plenty of unique synth design out there. That’s mostly what the eurorack format is about. Also, what would you consider “unique”? 99.999999% of soft synths are based on hardware. The only truly novel synthesis in software comes from stuff like MAX/MSP, PD, Kyma, etc.. Do you think the Roland W-30 was some sort of revolutionary design at the time? I’m old enough to remember and it wasn’t. I say the more synths the merrier.

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