Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
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mao
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Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by mao » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:21 pm

Well... I would like to buy one of them... despite the 6 vs 8 voice (not a problem for me) which sounds better ?

wait... I know "never use the better word in a synth comparison" but here we have two synths with similar architecture, DCO and filter so we can compare them...

imho... I think that

matrix 6R costs 1/3 of a Prophet 08 desktop (yes I'm looking for a rack/desktop unit)
matrix 6R sounds very similar to the P08 (or vicecersa)
Prophet 08 has tons of knob for real time editing (useful for me)
Prophet 08 has arpeggiator and step sequencer
Prophet 08 is new and has no problem for servicing.

so... throw your suggestion...

thanks in advance

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Re: Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by Z » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:41 pm

The Matrix 6 / 6R / 1000 are notorius for voice chip failure. Fortunately, the chips are currently still available, but maybe not for much longer.

The Oberheims also have a "Wave Shape" feature which allows you to choose a shape between Saw & Tri much like a vaiable pulse wave. I don't think the wave shape can be modulated.

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Re: Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by rockmanrock » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:39 am

I don't think the chip failures are that common really, nowhere near as bad as say the Juno 106 ones.

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Re: Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by Christopher Winkels » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:36 pm

I'm of the (minority) opinion that dislikes the Matrix-6. I had a -6R about a decade ago and found it burdensome to program and largely incapable of sounds that interested me. I understand that the -6/-6R use chips not unrelated to the P'08, but to me the Prophet sounds so much better. I don't care whether it's swept hard sync patches or PWM strings, the Matrix always sounded lifeless and clinical to me.

I know people who rave about them, but I just can't see the attraction.

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Re: Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by otto » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:21 pm

It has been widely speculated that the curtis chips DSI use are reproductions of the CEM3396 or are a variation on that chip. The 3396 is the chip used in the Matrix 6/6r/1000 and Cheetah synths. It has 2 oscillators or voices + Filter + VCA on the same chip (synth on a chip). The implementation and design of the synth such as the digital envelopes, etc. on each synth will ultimately effect how they sound but I'd be willing to bet they both exhibit very similar sonic qualities and capabilites. The both get similar praise and complaints.

If you take cost out of the equation. I'd go with the P'08. The sequencers on the DSI instruments are one of their best features. It gives you modular synthesizer capabilites, the steps can be routed to all sorts of paramters, not just "note on/off" stuff, it's really special if you can take the time to experiment and wrap your head around its capabilities. Having all those knobs make programming simple and straightforward yet the P'08, like the Matrix 6 is deep and has a lot of capabilites as far as analog polysynths go: lots of modulation, routings and destinations.

The other side of the picture is that the 6/6r/1000 can be had super cheap, are similarly powerful but you will probably want to program them via software to get the most out of them.
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Re: Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by drsynth » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:24 pm

M6R is so cheap that it is worth buying if you have a cost factor to consider. It is a great sounding synth but has less capabilities than the P08. You can stack sounds like the P08 so there is plenty of depth to the M6, but (for instance) 4 LFO's verses 2 LFO's on the M6 gives the advantage to the P08 there.

On the M6 there are ramps and track points for the filter. Not something that is a show stopper. The modulation matrix is pretty heavy too, but I wouldn't say it is any deeper than the P08. Both are a bit of work to get to but the P08 is more accessible. The Prophet has as nice overdrive on the amplifier so it can sound thicker in some instances. Both suffer from bit resolution when editing to some extent, but it isn't gonna be a big problem for most.

Some say that the interface on the M6 is the problem, and I'd agree if you don't have an editor. I've memorized most of the parameters so it isn't terribly difficult to edit the more important things. I do keep a printout handy. The real trouble I have with the M6 is the CC mapping. I found it to be a good research project to figure out all the mapping and assign my controller for them. Naturally, the P08 has the distinct advantage there. The Matrix6 is such an old technology that the manual even explains what a "microprocessor" is for the user. The data storage has a cassette port. Of course a sysex can do all this now but you will have to do some heavy lifting to do this without a good editor.

The P08 is a far more modern and forgiving instrument. The little used but convenient software editor is sketchy. I found it to be a wonderful way to invent patches with it's patch morphing tools, but the graphic sequencer is bunk. I have never got it to work dependably and that is a real shame. The sequencer on the P08 is killer in the same vein as the Evolver but since I have the older, flakey encoder version of the P08, it is tedious to dial in on the keyboard itself. I was excited to see an editor but it just doesn't work well enough to use. Rather disappointing for me.

The sound issue is harder to do a comparison. The P08 is huge and awesome in Unison mode. It is a "sandblast your eyebrows" thick bass monster. The typical brass and synth pads are pretty good too but I think the Evolver has it beat there hands down. Some have given the P08 a bad rap for it's relatively harsh and digital sound even though it is a purely analog instrument. I guess it is the DCO's and the filter. If you like the Prophet sound then you will love the P08. Of course comparing the P08 to the Prophet 5 is unfair too but then again so is comparing the M6 to the Matrix 12. Just because it is an Oberheim doesn't give it that special character. Same with the P08.

If your just looking to get a good DCO driven analog then either will do. If you need a full-on sequencer to go with it, then the P08 wins hands down. I have both and I ain't giving them up anytime soon.

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Re: Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by rockmanrock » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:54 pm

I'm happy with my Matrix 1000. I'm willing to wait a few years and pick up a P08 rack when everyone's bored with them and onto the next new toy.

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Re: Matrix 6 vs Prophet 08

Post by mao » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:57 pm

Thanks for your kind suggestions. I'll wait for a 2nd hand P08 rack. I have a friend who want to sell it in the next 2 month so I said to him "Ok it's sold... when you want to let it go". So let's wait...

thanks.

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