Cheetah MS-6

Cheetah MS-6 Image

Towards the end of the eighties, the British company Cheetah released their finest, the MS6. It's a 6-voice polyphonic/multitimbral analog synthesizer in a single-unit rack module. It has two digitally controlled oscillators per voice (12 DCOs) to provide better stability, and they sound surprisingly warm and musical. It's got the same sound chips (CEM 3396) as the Oberheim Matrix 6/6R and Matrix 1000 but the MS6 is multitimbral! Get creative with layering patches for ensembles or Trance heaven! Hidden within this little unit are some wonderful string, bass, lead, voice and percussion sounds!

The MS6 is a full-featured analog synth with 12 oscillators with PWM, noise and sync. There are 6 analog 24dB/oct filters which are warm and resonant! Programming from the front panel is possible but quite a bit tedious, so use of an editor is definitely recommended, such as Unisyn or the Knobby. The MS6 has been used by OMD and Rick Wakeman.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Cheetah MS-6? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

20 Visitor comments
Rick Brady
June 3, 2014 @ 2:40 pm
@Paul Smith. This is interesting as I have a faulty voice chip how do you assign the failed voice to a midi channel? This would really help me out!
February 6, 2014 @ 6:45 am
I've just seen a Cheetah MS6 sell for £460 on eBay, how times have changed!!
If this synth had knobs or sliders it would be really sought after as it sounds just like a vintage Oberheim to my ears. Very powerful synth especially when stacking up the 6 voices and detuning them. If you buy one put it into diagnostics mode and it will check all the voices are working.
Paul Smith
October 23, 2013 @ 7:16 pm
Don't be afraid of picking up one of these which has a failed voice or 2, the replacement chips are easily found, I would just assign different numbers of voices to different midi channels. It is actually possible to assign the failed voices to a specific midi channel with careful thought. I have one with the last two voices failed, I have a full set of replacement chips but, for the moment, I am totally happy running it as a 4 voice poly or as 4 mono synths layered (for an awesome bass or lead). I find this far more useful & diverse than my M1000 & that's before the OS upgrade
Paul Smith
October 23, 2013 @ 7:08 pm
@andy - the Juno 106 has a typically "Roland" analogue sound and though I prefer the Juno 60 the 106 can get some decent sounds. Unfortunately it only has one oscillator and relies upon the analog chorus to beef the sound up a bit. The MS6 has 2 oscillators and can, therefore create a huge range of sounds which would be impossible to create on the 106. The Roland filters are as different as they could be compared to the MS6 and, to be truthful, any comparison between these two synths is a bit silly and fruitless (as others say it's like comparing apples with oranges).
June 3, 2013 @ 8:36 am
Am interested in one of these- how does the sound compare to the Juno 106, particularly the noise and LFOs?
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 12 DCOs (2 per voice) with pwm, noise, sync
  • LFO - Yes
  • Filter - six 24 dB/octave resonant low-pass
  • VCA - 12 velocity and pressure sensitive envelopes
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 320 ROM sounds, 96 RAM sounds, 64 user
  • Control - MIDI (6-parts)
  • Date Produced - 1988
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Thanks to Alessandro for supplying this information.

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