We chatted with Ryan on how he uses the Prophet-6 and Pro 3 in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet-6 and Pro 3?
I had an instant connection with the Prophet-6 from the moment I first played it. I initialized a patch, turned down the filter and made a punchy little chord stab with vibrato and it just sounded right. It was a subtle difference from the other synths in the room, but I think those little details make all the difference in the world, especially in sparse arrangements and solo synth performances, which I love.
I chose the Pro 3 because the sound demos on YouTube blew me away. The flexibility of having three different truly fantastic filters in one synth and modular-level routing capabilities makes it pair with other gear extremely well. Above all, for me a great mono needs to mix well, whether it’s with a Rhodes, random polys, crazy drum samples, a band, or whatever, and the Pro 3 does in every situation I’ve put it in. I use it more than any other piece of gear I own.
Also having built-in effects on both synths is really important to me. I feel like they are a big part of the fun of sound design, and a huge factor in the difference between something sounding finished or unfinished. The right chorus has defined synths in the past, and I make changes based on how a patch interacts with delay all the time.
How are you using them?
I use them both for solo synth performances and for psychedelic pop textures and leads with ‘59:
I also use them for film scoring, commercial music, and creating sample packs. The Prophet-6 gets more use on bread-and-butter patches, and I use the Pro 3 when I want to get weird or jam out on synth bass.
Recently I’ve been developing a piece of music specifically for the Prophet-6 called Dream Suite, which is a Debussy-inspired impression of slipping in and out of dreams and reality, which I will perform live on my YouTube channel in a few weeks when it’s complete. The Prophet-6 has been integral in the development of that piece because of its strong voice and natural tendency to slip into dreamy soundscapes, and of course my affinity for improvising with it, which makes up the middlemost dream portion of the piece. It is also heavily inspired by love, which is an emotion I find the Prophet-6 to excel at conveying.
What is one of your favorite things about each?
The Prophet-6 feels more like an instrument than a tool. It’s relatively simple, especially compared to what’s on the market these days. But once you’ve gotten to know it, it’s kind of hard to make a wrong move. That’s a really big deal to me because I love to improvise, and can’t help but twist knobs when a sequence is running.
My favorite thing about the Pro 3 has to be the filters. They all sound so good and so different, and the huge cutoff knob really encourages changing that part of the patch by hand as you play. It’s very different from how I play other synths, and I find it very inspiring. Just looking at it right now makes me want to put a hand on it! I think it’s kind of like playing a trumpet with a mute; it’s very musical and comfortable even though you’re getting some pretty wild sounds out of it.
What do they give you that other synths might not?
The Prophet-6 has an angelic character that is unique. Sure, it can get dark, but there’s always that positivity and sweetness to the tone that shines through. That’s why people are so obsessed with Prophet-6 pads! Or at least why I think they are. It really floats up in the clouds, whereas, say, my Juno-6 always wants to go underwater. I think of it as the Luke Skywalker of synths; the light side of the force.
And the Pro 3 is unlike any other piece of gear I own since it’s so modern-focused. Usually I’ll go vintage when buying something unless I’m convinced it will be a classic down the line; something with such a strong voice that it could be one of the defining sounds of the decade. It’s my opinion that the Pro 3 has exactly that kind of voice.
Any interesting Prophet-6/Pro 3 tricks or techniques you would like to share?
I have a whole YouTube channel full of Prophet-6 and Pro 3 tricks, geared towards everyone from total beginners through the most super-advanced users. I love the voice of the Prophet-6, but if you’re looking to switch things up you can make some really cool vintage video game-style patches with it by circumventing almost the entire sound source. Try turning up one of the reverbs to maximum wet/dry, turning down the size of the reverb to 0, and playing with the third parameter. This works especially well on a very quickly decaying patch. It’s also a great way of getting a deeper understanding of the character of the different reverbs, because that’s basically all you’re hearing.
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