NAMM 2015: Dave Smith

Photo by Natefrogg
The Father of MIDI brings us a gorgeous new six voice analog poly synth with the Prophet 6.
Voltage control takes command of the analog oscillators, amplifiers, and filters. The signal path is fully analog if you'd like, though it is also fun to go the hybrid approach and engage the onboard 24bit, 48khz digital effects. The effects section consists of a stereo distortion (this effect is analog), bbd and standard style delays, phase shifter, chorus, and reverbs to spice it up a bit, or a lot if you prefer. The digital love doesn't end here; the Prophet 6 has an awesome polyphonic step sequencer that can do 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step, including rests, the sequencer and the arpeggiator can be synced to a midi clock for even more digitally controlled action. While not deep in the modulation department, there is enough to sink your teeth into with the second oscillator and the filter envelope as modulation sources. These sources can be set bi polar and can be routed to the frequency, pulse width or shape of oscillator 1, as well as low and hi pass filter cutoff. Modulation destinations can also be controlled through aftertouch on the keyed. Each voice has two continuously variable oscillators and a sub oscillator. The oscillators can move from triangle to sawtooth to pulse wave with variable width. Once you get your sounds dialed in just right you can save it as a user preset where there is memory space for 500 user presets. The Prophet 6 ships with an additional 500 built in presets as well. The four octave keys are a joy to play. They are semi-weighted and sensitive to aftertouch and velocity. Playing chords with the aftertouch linked to the filter was quite meditative - great pads and ambient sounds come to life and sound huge as they move, maybe too alive if you crank the aptly named slop knob all the way up - this can introduce more slop to the VCOs. In my opinion it is best to leave the slop set quite low so it is barely discernible. Don't be fooled by the Sequential logo on the back. The Prophet 6 is not meant to be a reissue of the Prophet 5 that Dave Smith worked on so long ago. The Prophet 6 marries proven old school technology with modern digitally controlled precision in a perfect balance of harmony. You can get yours this spring for around $2800.

Dave Smith explains his latest work in synthesis, the Prophet 6:

Written by Natefrogg

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