Sequential Prophet-6 | 150 custom sounds
(patches compatible with desktop / rack & keyboard)
Via Instant Buy & Download:
Click your preferred currency: $26.90 (USD) / €25.90 (EUR) / £24.90 (GBP) – This platform works with credit & debit cards and / or PayPal. You will receive a download link to your e-mail after the purchase (check your spam folder too).
Via PayPal or Bank Card manually:
Please write to me [wcologarb at gmail.com] and let me know that you would like to get the Prophet-6 soundset. I will create a payment request and manually send the files to you.
How many patches?:
You will receive all the sounds from my Youtube & Soundcloud demos plus extra sounds that are not included in the demos. This is 150 patches in total. You will also get all the sequences that I play.
What format / import method?:
My soundpack comes in two sets (A&B) saved as sysex files exported directly from my P-6. You will have the option to choose the destination banks (you will be able to import my presets into banks 000-099 or 100-199 or 200-299 or 300-399 or 400-499).
What genre / style?:
There is no one style, because it is you who decides what style these patches will be played in. It’s a wide variety of sounds that are meant to inspire, make you look at the synth in a different light and give you a great choice of directions. Some patches are bread & butter, some offbeat; they’re the result of me trying to find the limits of the instrument. The patches are ready-to-use in music or can serve as starting points; you can find the textures or the dynamics that you like and tweak them to suit your exact taste or purpose.
Any external stuff?:
I did not use any external FX in the demo; all the delays, reverbs, noises and other effects are part of the Prophet-6 engine. However, I was using a limiter, so some of the sounds in my demo may sound a bit more beefy.
Notes on grades lower than 3/3:
modern: sounds modern vs. 1970’s synths, but for truly original sounds buy sth else
vintage: a little bit tame and harsh, the VCOs sound as if they were DCOs
engine: classic architecture, no mod matrix, inflexible control for LFO & Poly-Mod, etc.
low end: great, but not as dense as the champions (like Rev-2 or Pro-3)
timbre plasticity: more than just a “prophet”, but far away from chameleons like Modwave
versatility: covers a lot of ground but rather in the “classic analog polysynth” area
I don’t think this is going to be a lengthy write-up. The Prophet 6 had the misfortune of coming to me after the OB-6, the Rev-2, the Pro-3 and the Take-5. What’s more, it’s the most limited synth out of that bunch, so I feel like pretty much everything I had to say about Sequential synths had been said in these write-ups. However, the Prophet-6 does seem special in some degree and form, so apart from giving you random thoughts and throwing in some comparisons, I’ll try to nail down the quality that makes it special.
First thing that struck me with the Prophet 6 was how clean & stable it sounded – and this exactly mirrored my first feelings with my OB-6. Back in the day I used to believe that Sequential had returned with a mission to revive the “real analogs” and that their new products would be “the vintage analogs born again”. But when I actually had the chance to play these “modern vintage analogs”, all I got was the familiar impression that I had heard that “pro” sound before and I knew it all too well – from my time with the Nord Leads or Novation Nova synths in the past, or from stock music database sites of today.
Now that I’ve explored the Prophet-6 and the OB-6 and many more modern models, I can confidently say that my definition of “real vinatge analogs born again” is met not by Sequential synths, but by synths like Korg Prologue or Arturia Matrixbrute. If you want that extra piece of dirt, that genuine gritty-ness and instability, in my opinion Korg and Arturia are unsurpassable. The Prophet-6 does have a couple of engine features to spice up the sound, but it’s always a “hi-fi” dirt & drift, if you know what I mean. In this respect this polite & stable synth is somewhat underwhelming.
The second thing that not so much struck me as shocked me was how fast I ignored that first impression and how fast it got completely irrelevant. In a matter of 4 or 5 hours I transformed into a bulldozer rolling over subsequent patch banks and filling them with my own creations. I’ve never clicked with a synth so fast and it’s never been easier to build a patch that sounds “right”. The solid lows, the lucid mids, the bright highs, the visceral sizzle – it’s hard to be indifferent toward these qualities. I guess the Prophet-6 has what the Prophet-REV-2 lacks… or should I rather say: the Prophet-6 does not have the irritating quality of the REV-2: namely, it does not sound so “tight” or “stiff”. The sound is softer and flows more graciously across the timespace continuum. You don’t have to dress it up with mod-matrix shenanigans. You can just relax and play.
Now there is one more record that I broke – I’ve never reached a wall so quickly. The abyss between a synth’s versatility and its price has never been wider. Of course I am writing here about “patchmaker’s block”, not “artist’s / writer’s block”. It’s true that you can make 200 and 300 and 500 custom sounds for the Prophet-6, but I’m pretty sure these sounds will include every classic patch and every variation of it (PWM pad, Sync lead, etc). I, on the other hand, tend to stop and move on once I reach a certain flavor, timbre or dynamic and try to find a completely new one. In other words: there are deeper synths for “uncharted territory” sound design.
Just like the OB-6, the Prophet-6 looks exciting & interesting when it’s on a magazine cover or behind a shop window. But if you look closer, you start to realize how peculiar this architecture actually is. Let’s focus on the LFO (=Mod-Wheel), the Poly-Mod and the Aftertouch. These controllers (or modulation sources) can modulate various things: oscillator pitch, oscillator shape, filter frequency, amplifier level, and so on. But here’s the thing: all those destinations share the “amount knob”. You cannot set a controller to modulate the pitch by 10% and the filter by 25%. You have to decide on one value and it will be applied to all the destinations that you activate. If you set the “amount knob” to 25% for example, this will be your “global” modulation that will be applied to ALL the destinations of your choice. It’s impossible to apply a soft modulation to the filter but a strong one to the pitch. It will either be soft-for-all or strong-for-all.
Also, I want to mention one more thing: the effects. I’m not sure if they gel well with the synth’s intrinsic tone. Is this because of the effects themselves (and the process of digital-to-analog conversion) or is this because of the “cleanliness” of the synth’s core sound – I don’t know. The delay is mono. The chorus and phasers are very modern-sounding. You might say there is a workaround – and I think I know what it is. I’ve seen a lot of people bypassing the FX altogether during their process of sound creation, but the kind of situation when someone is paying $3500 for an instrument only to throw a part of it into the trash can is disturbing & puzzling to me, to say the least. If this is an example of rational behavior of the end user, then I have to conclude the synth manufacturer’s behavior is irrational. The effects do prove useful, but my “workaround” is to use the them to a degree no greater than 10-15% mix.
Some time ago Sequential released a new firmware with an “upgrade” for the Prophet-6, namely the “Vintage Mode”. However, the “Vintage Mode” should not be understood as an “addition” to the synth. It should be understood as a “replacement” – it replaces the original function of the “SLOP” knob. When your “Vintage Mode” is OFF, the SLOP knob detunes the oscillators randomly. However, when your Vintage Mode is ON, the SLOP knob has a new function – it introduces fluctuations into the pitch, the filter and the envelopes. That’s why the patches that utilize the SLOP knob will sound different with Vinage Mode ON and OFF. All of this is somewhat irritating, for two reasons.
One is the obviously obvious – old patches that were designed with the standard “slop” effect in mind sound different when the new “Vintage Mode” is activated. I have to switch the V.M. on and off when I play back my sounds and it drives me mad.
Two: I thought this “Vintage Mode” was a true randomization process. But it rather sounds like a step-LFO that repeats a cycle of fixed values. I’m hearing a constant pattern when I’m striking a key: 20-35-99-10-50-40, 20-35-99-10-50-40, 20-35-99-10-50-40, 20-35-99-10-50-40, over and over again… The filter and the pitch fluctuations sound like a pre-programmed sequence that is being played back in a loop. If this was designed to mimic the differences between voices of vintage synths – that’s fine. If you expect that turning the vintage knob up will turn your Prophet-6 into a gooey 1970s synth – it won’t. Sequential manuals say about the vintage knob effect that “this type of behavior was a big part of why vintage synths sounded so warm, organic, and alive.” Well, you won’t get that effect, even if you crank the vintage knob all the way up. This is not a bad thing; I mean it’s better to have this feature in this shape than not have it at all. It’s usable. But the various influencers’ statements that with the new vintage mode the Prophet-6 becomes twice the synth it was are just clickbait to make you excited.
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL?
So what makes the Prophet-6 special and worthy of attention? Like I said, the synth sounds great, bold & pretty; it’s extremely easy to use and gives you instant results. No shift buttons, no swipers, no touchscreens. We can say the magic lies in the fact that it balances on the thin line between relative simplicity & positive “characterlessness”, and the significant & appreciable second layer (or level) of potential possibilities and “wow factor-ness”. I guess it’s a good definition of “usability”. There aren’t too many features that would derail the process of usable patch-making, yet there is a number of exciting surprises to be found if you tweak the rich filter, the ultra-fast LFO, the Poly Mod or the “bad” effects that let you take the default “prophety” sound into a new direction (many of these features are not available on the Prophet-5, for example). The most interesting outcome is achieved when you mix all of these assets together and the patch starts “dancing” between the various sweet spots. The other approach is to keep things simple, stick to basic sounds and then, step-by-step, spice them up with a subtle touch of something unexpected or out-of-the-ordinary, like using double envelope on the LP/HP filters or transforming the second oscillator into another LFO in order to modulate the waveshape of the first oscillator. By doing so I’ve created as many vintage-sounding patches on it as modern-sounding ones, and they all satisfy me to equal degree. Of course I’m speaking about the timbre. If you want a good synth for modern sounds, where the word “modern” is understood as “innovative” / “original”, Prophet-6 is not the synth of choice.
OUTRO / WHAT TO BUY?
Like I’ve said – this write-up has been short. Let the video demo be my definitive statement;) I would really like to say more and give the Prophet 6 more credit, but I don’t want to force myself into being super-positive when I’m just neutral. To tell you the truth, at the end of the day, for this kind of money I would have to think really hard if I should stay with the Prophet-6 or pick any other Sequential synth that I’ve had over the years, and I’ve had these: OB-6, Pro-3, Rev-2 and Take-5 (I’m not counting in my older stuff like the Evolver or the Prophet-600).
The OB-6 has a bit more more interesting engine features (Filter and X-Mod section) and sounds dirtier, more nuanced than the Prophet-6. The PRO-3 is mono, so it’s somewhat silly to compare, plus it sounds not as appealing as the P-6, but it’s the most versatile and fun Sequential synth. The REV-2 boasts more polyphony and has a ton of engine features that turn it into a workhorse for any genre, but it can be pretty un-inspiring with its start-up tone which needs “tricks to make it shine”. The TAKE-5 has more grit & personality in its tone, plus more potential thanks to the mod matrix. Maybe the “Prophet 5 lineage filter” inside the Take-5 makes a difference. Many people who own both the P-6 and the P-5 Rev 4 say their P-5 sounds “better”, more “emotive”, more “alive” & “record-ready” than their P-6 which sounds tame and static in comparison. Is the Take-5 more usable in a mix? That is a different question. I will take a wild guess the Take-5 will be more liked by adventurous synth nerds while the Prophet-6 will be better liked by down-to-earth producers. The P-6 is a chameleon not by the measure of how quick it can change colors, but how well it can become integrated / invisible among other patterns that surround it.
For a personal endnote, I’ll confess that I’ve always had a problem with synths that cost a lot but their versatility or timbre plasticity does not live up to the price. Oftentimes these synths sound fantastic and are extremely easy to use, so if you feel inspired, a one-time expense should not become an obstacle to your art or your job. The Prophet-6 is worth its price if we look at it this way. Maybe I’m just the kind of guy who would rather spend all his money on various trips to all of the world’s shitholes than build a super-comfy mansion with a pool and stay in it till the end of my days. I just want the simple fact to sink in: the P-6 costs 10 times as much as the Microfreak, 6 times as much as the Minifreak or Opsix, 3 times as much as Hydrasynth or Peak. Few (if any) of these products will give you that exact Prophet pads, bass & beauty, but if your budget is limited, you should ask yourself the question of what kind of person you are (minimalist vs maximalist) and think if you’d be better off with a Prophet-SIX or… six other synths / synthesis types at your disposal.
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