Poly Analog Perfection!!
I purchased one of the first Prophet 12's, and you can see my glowing review of that axe on that page. I still love the '12 - it sounds fantastic, it's impressively deep, and has an extremely wide sonic palette. You can make huge analog sounds with it, for sure - that's mostly what I use it for. I didn't hesitate in ordering the '6, but in the back of my mind wondered if it would be redundant with the '12. What an idiot I was. While the '12 can make great analog sound, the '6 *is* analog sound. It just sounds right - and, due to the differences in architecture, it sounds different than the '12, even when creating the same sounds. The point I'm making: you need both the '12 and the '6, without a doubt. Sorry, bank account.
I'm old enough to remember when the Prophet 5 appeared in stores, but not quite old enough to have been able to afford to buy one new - I was 14 when the P5 debuted, and buying my first car was ultimately a higher priority. Now, many years later, it's a thrill just to be able to plunk down the ol' credit card and buy a Prophet 6 brandy-new. Old guys rule!
But I digress. IMHO, the Prophet 6 sounds very much like a Rev 2 Prophet 5, but better, with velocity and aftertouch, and with dual digital effects that are extremely useful sound crafting tools. Considering the original P5 was $5500 (in 1978 dollars!) and the new-and-improved P6 is $2800, what on earth are you waiting for?
I feel somewhat sorry for anyone with a vintage analog synth, as the market value of your vintage axe just went down. Until now, vintage gear was really the only way to get That Sound - I myself owned several vintage synths, but got tired of taking them to be repaired; it was always a crap shoot to see how many voices of my beloved OB-8 would turn on, on any given day. The Prophet 6 has the vintage sound, plus improvements, with the reliability of a brand new piece of gear. (Imagine depending on a computer from 1978!!)
* true analog organic goodness - I'd put it up against *any* vintage synth for tone quality and expressive power. It just sounds awesome, warm, organic, phat, whatever adjective you can come up with. It sounds like an analog polysynth is supposed to sound. And that's a very good thing, indeed.
* very high-grade keyboard - This keyboard is deliciously solid and velvety. Best synth keyboard ever, IMHO
* great, classic old-school UI hides nothing behind menus, hidden parameters, etc., making it very fast and easy to dial in anything you want and perform with the knobs and buttons.
* The old-school UI is a little clunky for patch selection. Overall, it's vintage cool, but not having names for patches makes it difficult to remember them. Also, the old-school UI makes it difficul to dissect patches, as you can't see what is set in the pots. The Prophet 12 does a fantastic job with this, btw, enabling parameter comparison and value readout. Hopefully SoundTower will soon have a Prophet 6 editor for managing patches and reverse-engineering other people's patches.
* No 12db low-pass filter. Hard to complain about this too much, as it already has gorgeous sounding LP and HP filters, the latter of which was not found in the P5. A 2-pole LP would have been a great addition, perhaps taking it into Oberheim territory, but it's probably unfair to wenge too much over its absence.
* Six voices and four octaves is a little truncated compared to others, e.g., 12 voices and five octaves of the Prophet 12. And yet, it really isn't a problem; the Prophet 6 is so huge sounding, you don't need to stack layers or add more than two oscillators (the P12 has four oscillators per voice).
Bottom line: if I could only afford one professional synth, this would be it. Fortunately, I don't have to choose: my current arsenal includes the Prophet 6, Prophet 12, Moog Voyager, ARP Odyssey, and, hopefully soon, Oberheim Two-Voice. Each offers its own palette of sonic color, and each is awesome in their own way. But, gun to my head, I'd pick the Prophet 6, as it can truly cover the mono lead and poly territory in such a deliciously musical way. It's not as deep and flexible as the Prophet 12, isn't as liquid & rubbery as the Moog, and it doesn't have the in-your-face aggressiveness of the ARP, but it just friggin' sounds fantastic and musical and, to sum up, it sounds exactly how an analog polysynth *should* sound like.
Thanks, Dave Smith & Company - you've done it (again) !!!