Prophet 600 and Matrix 6

Well I really don’t need more gear but, well, I just WANT more! But I do use it all so it’s not just sitting around collecting dust. Last week I got one I’d wanted for a long time and it turns out it was a very good purchase: The Sequential Circuits Prophet 600!

SCI Prophet 600

I have a Six-Trak but wanted that with a second oscillator and a few other features and the 600 is perfect! Big fat sound, very rich buzzy oscillators, and a fat juicy filter! Awesome sound! It needs a bit of work though. As usual, don’t believe what ebay sellers tell you! He said it was perfect but right away I found that one voice will not stay in tune until it warms up for about an hour, so it probably needs new capacitors. Also the battery is dead so it won’t save patches. So after I recap and fix the CS-40m this one will be on the bench.

But I couldn’t stop there! I was browsing ebay again and found an Oberheim Matrix 6 going fairly cheap because it wasn’t working. From the description I thought it was a power supply issue that I could fix so I bought it. Unfortunately I got a message soon after saying “Sorry, that one is not in stock any more”. But he said he had another one that also was making no sound that I could have for the same price. I didn’t have enough information to even guess at what was wrong but figured if there was no sound at all it was either power supply or output op-amps so I reluctantly agreed.

It arrived and sure enough, although the screen displayed all the right information, it was silent. After a few searches I found someone who had a similar problem with a unique cure. So I went over to the instrument and chose a patch I didn’t think I would want and initialized it. TA DA! Sound! Fixed!

But it wasn’t quite that easy. It turned out it only worked a bit. The highest and lowest octaves didn’t sound right and were sometimes silent.Well, long story short…. I had ignored the fact that it was a Japanese 100 volt model because I had done that before with the synths I had bought from that country. I also read that plugging it into 120v shouldn’t be a problem for the electronics to handle so I figured it would be fine until I got things working.

Nope. Big mistake. The next night I plugged it into the transformer the seller had sent me and suddenly it was working perfectly! Mostly. There is still a bit of wonkiness to it but it might just need a bit of calibrating, or this one might also need some new capacitors. I did clean all the keyboard contacts and that seemed to cure a couple of small problems as well.

So over all, not too bad. And I can probably chain it with my Matrix 1000 to have a 12 voice synth. This thing is VERY fat sounding and a tiny bit sterile somehow. I can’t really put it into words but the oscillators are a bit too powerful. They are too “full on” and don’t seem to breathe as much as a fully analog oscillator. Still a very nice sounding synth though and I’m sure I will put it to good use… if I can find a place to put it!

Oberheim Matrix 6

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