Dave Smith Instruments Intros Prophet-6 Desktop Synthesizer Module

dave-smith-prophet-6-module

Dave Smith Instruments has officially announced the Prophet-6 Desktop synth module.

According to the company, the Prophet-6 Desktop puts vintage analog sound into a package small enough to fit in a backpack.

Here’s the official video intro:

The Prophet-6 Desktop module has all of the same controls as the keyboard version and provides the same immediacy and easy of use. As with the Prophet-6 Keyboard, all parameters are at your fingertips, with full-sized knobs and switches and an intuitive layout.

Here are the official audio demos:

The Prophet-6 Desktop also offers a poly chain option, so that any two Prophet-6s can be paired for twelve-voice polyphony.

Vintage with a Modern Twist

Both the Prophet-6 desktop module and keyboard are Dave Smith’s tribute to the poly synth that started it all—the Sequential Prophet-5.

But it’s not simply a reissue of a classic. Rather, as Dave puts it, “It’s the result of our effort to build the most awesome-sounding, modern analog poly synth possible.”

The Prophet-6 takes the best qualities of the original Prophet-5—true voltage-controlled oscillators, filters, and amplifiers—and adds enhancements such as studio-quality effects, a polyphonic step sequencer, an arpeggiator and more.

Central to the warm, punchy sound of the Prophet-6 are its two newly-designed, discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) per voice. Continuously variable waveshapes provide the tonal palette with triangle, sawtooth, and variable-width pulse waves.

There are two discrete filters per voice—a four-pole, resonant, low-pass inspired by the original Prophet-5 filter, and a two-pole, resonant, high-pass filter. Voltage-controlled amplifiers complete the all-analog signal path.

Dual Effects

The dual effects section provides studio-quality reverbs, delays (standard and BBD), chorus and phase shifter. While the effects themselves are digital, with 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution, a true bypass maintains a full analog signal path. There’s also an independent stereo distortion effect, which is 100% analog.

Poly Mod and Poly Step Sequencing

Also present from its predecessor is a Poly Mod section, with enhancements. True to the original, modulation sources are filter envelope and oscillator 2 (both with bi-polar control). Destinations include oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, and high-pass filter cutoff.

It also offers a Unison mode, which features configurable voice count (1-6 voices) and key modes. The polyphonic step sequencer allows up to 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step. You can create sequences polyphonically, with rests, and sync to an external MIDI clock. The full-featured arpeggiator can be synced to external MIDI clock as well.

Easy to Program

The knob-per-function front panel offers instant access to virtually all Prophet-6 functions. Included are 500 permanent factory programs in 10 banks of 100 programs. In addition to these, you can create and save up to 500 user programs of your own. Toggling off the Preset button enables live panel mode, in which the sound of the Prophet-6 switches to the current settings of its knobs and switches. In this state, what you see is what you hear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Prophet-6 Desktop Specifications:

OSCILLATORS

  • Two newly designed, discrete VCOs per voice
  • Continuously variable wave shape (triangle, sawtooth, pulse, square) per oscillator
  • Pulse width per oscillator
  • Hard sync: oscillator 1 syncs to oscillator 2
  • Triangle sub-octave generator (oscillator 1) per voice
  • Low frequency mode (oscillator 2)
  • Keyboard tracking on/off (oscillator 2)
  • Oscillator slop amount for increased tuning instability, from subtle to extreme

MIXER

  • Oscillator 1 amount
  • Oscillator 1 sub-octave amount
  • Oscillator 2 amount
  • White noise amount

HIGH-PASS FILTER

  • Two-pole, resonant, high-pass filter per voice
  • Bi-polar filter envelope amount
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount
  • Keyboard tracking: off, half, full

LOW-PASS FILTER

  • Four-pole, resonant, low-pass filter per voice, inspired by the original Prophet 5 filter
  • Filter can be driven into self-oscillation with the Resonance control
  • Bi-polar filter envelope amount
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount
  • Keyboard tracking: off, half, full

FILTER ENVELOPE

  • Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator

AMPLIFIER ENVELOPE

  • Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount

LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR

  • Five wave shapes: triangle, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, and random (sample and hold)
  • Clock sync (internal or external MIDI clock)
  • Initial amount
  • Mod destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, oscillator 1 and 2 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, high-pass filter cutoff

POLY MOD

  • Sources: filter envelope (bi-polar) and oscillator 2 (bi-polar)
  • Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, high-pass filter cutoff

AFTERTOUCH

  • Source: channel (mono) aftertouch with bi-polar amount
  • Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, LFO amount, amplifier envelope amount, low-pass filter envelope amount, high-pass filter envelope amount

CLOCK

  • Master clock with tap tempo
  • BPM control and display
  • MIDI clock sync

ARPEGGIATOR

  • Selectable note value: 16th note, 8th note triplet, 8th note, dotted 8th note, quarter note
  • One, two, or three octave range
  • Up, down, up/down, random, and assign modes

SEQUENCER

  • Polyphonic step sequencer with up to 64 steps and rests

EFFECTS

  • Stereo analog distortion
  • Dual, 24-bit, 48 kHz digital effects, including: reverb (room, hall, plate, spring), delay (full bandwidth digital delay and emulated bucket brigade and tape delays), chorus, and phase shifter
  • Delay sync
  • True bypass maintains fully analog signal path when digital effects are off

PERFORMANCE CONTROLS

  • Polyphonic glide (portamento)
  • Hold switch latches held notes on
  • Unison (monophonic) mode with configurable voice count, from one to all six voices, and key modes
  • Preset switch: when off, the front panel is live; what you see is what you hear

PATCH MEMORY

  • 500 user and 500 factory programs in 10 banks of 100 programs each
  • Direct program access, including Prophet 5-style single-button access to the current set of 10 programs

IN/OUT

  • Left and right audio outputs (2 x 1/4” phone jack)
  • Headphone output (stereo, 1/4” phone jack)
  • MIDI in, out, and thru ports
  • USB for bidirectional MIDI communication
  • Low-pass filter cutoff expression pedal input
  • Volume expression pedal input
  • Sustain footswitch input
  • Sequencer start/stop footswitch input

POWER

  • IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
  • Operates worldwide on voltages between 100 and 240 volts at 50 to 60 Hz; 30 watts maximum power consumption

PHYSICAL SPECS

  • 21.25” L x 7.43” W x 4.4? H (54.0 cm x 18.9 cm x 11.2 cm)
  • 13.0 lbs (5.9 kg)
  • Walnut end panels and trim

Projected MAP for the Prophet-6 desktop module is $2,199. See the DSI site for more info.

44 thoughts on “Dave Smith Instruments Intros Prophet-6 Desktop Synthesizer Module

      1. $2200 is more than reasonable for a beast like that, what I don’t have is the space in studio for another full-sized keyboard.

        Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
    1. The filters sound totally different for a start and the Prophet 6 has pretty cool effects and polymod features. The discrete VCOs are probably the most important factor though. Plenty of demos online for each of the synths, I advise that you listen and compare for yourself.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 4
    2. On paper the Prophet-6 offers little compelling advantage over the Prophet-08, but sometimes you really need to look beyond the specs to get the complete picture.

      I think the Prophet-08 sounds nice. But every time I’ve played the Prophet-6 I’ve found that I can’t tear myself away from it, and I can’t wipe the stupid smile off my face. And when I’m not playing it, I think about it. To me it just sounds really, really good.

      The only faults I found with it are the price and the short 4-octave keyboard, which this instrument more than makes up for with its sound.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  1. The SOUND. it sounds so warm and full all across the board. Sooo sweet. What a range too. Def an instant classic.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  2. Whilst I really like the form factor, I shall have to wait for the Modal desktop synth coming next year during NAMM. I just cannot ‘warm’ up to DS brittle and airy sound. His synths all sound too bright to me.

    Thumb up 11
    1. I wonder if sounding bright is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to fitting into a mix. Depending on what actually causes the perceived brightness, this might give you more options for tweaking the sound using an Eq because there is more spectrum available that you can filter. Like a block of marble that might not look very pretty until you chip and carve away at it. With some of the darker sounding synths I sometimes whish for a little more top end frequency content although they do sound pretty to my ears when played (mostly) solo.

      Thumb up 7
  3. Sweet!
    Love that they were up for a reshuffle, holding out for the Pro2 module, that would be such an epic little bit of compact kit, almost an instant buy.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 3
  4. Ok that’s nearly almost, I can kid myself, affordable. Except I’d rather sell all my OTHER keyboards and have this one full size!

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  5. i wonder if there is a 4 voice, 4 knob, matrix editing style desktop module for Pro-6 on the way?? that would be cool… im thinking in the 600-800 range here

    or maybe DSI is moving away from those kinds of units

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  6. Also I love how racks/desktop synths are making a comeback. How about someone make matrix6r like box or Tx81z? (And this is from someone who was in diapers in the 80s).

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
    1. that would be impossible for variety of reasons, techical and legal.
      instead you can get a controller from stereoping for junos, matrix, tx81z and many other rack synths.

      they seem to be a great tactile solution.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  7. Two thoughts –

    1) Considering that I’m seeing the key version going for $2,300 in some places, this isn’t that big a discount. Considering that, how is the keybed on the Prophet 6? I haven’t heard many comments on that. I know it has poly AT, which is pretty awesome. How is it as a MIDI controller? It sounds like it could be worth the (small) upcharge to get this synth with a nice keyboard.

    2) What are the limits of DSI poly-chaining? With two of these chained together, you already have 24 VCO’s (badass!). Can you chain three of them for 36? Four? How insane can this get?

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
    1. You’re not looking at MAP though. MAP on the P6 keyboard is $2,799 US. Some places will sell for less.
      MAP on the P6 desktop is $2199.

      So those retailers who choose to sell a keyboard version for $2,300 will likely sell the desktop for under $1999

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  8. This looks totally awesome, and is exactly what I want in a desktop version (no compromises on interface). But the Mother 32 has me wanting to see what Dave could come up with in a similar vein.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  9. saw this coming and glad DS is to be relied upon to release desktop format.
    prices in europe are way to high tho.
    i can get two vermona perfourmers for the money.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  10. In other news, get a Mopho SE for $540 new at ProAudioStar, which is $5 cheaper than the small mopho, for some reason. Pro 6 (keyboard) for $2149. Tetra for $549. Evolver for $409. Get the Mopho SE plus the Tetra for 5-voice multitimbral Mopho at $1199.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 3
  11. Owning a prophet 08 – I can hear some differences, and yet I don’t know that the pro-6 is an obvious choice over the two. Having some delay and verb in the unit is nice, but (at least in the sound demos) I don’t hear a major difference, if any, in the “fatness” of the analog osc on the prophet 6 vs the dco’s on the prophet 08. Any other prophet 08 owners agree? Maybe i’m jealous… but I think i’d prefer a prophet 12 over the 6.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 4
  12. Haven’t heard anything out of this thing so far that’s made me go wow, discrete VCOs or not it just doesn’t have that much character or identity to the sound. Its like was designed to please everyone with a generic middle road type of sound, its a shame really but buzzwords like discrete all-analog are sure to make people pay up though.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
    1. Neither, one might be analog and the other digital but they both have the same thing in common, the pedestrian gutless bread and butter sound. Virus is a crap synth tied to a great effects section, P6 is pretty much the same philosophy. Get a good synth instead and blow the rest of the money on some nice vst/rack effects.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *