March 7, 2018
Analog Synthesizers / Cheetah / Desktop / Featured / From £500-£1000 / Rack Mount / Vintage

Cheetah MS6/MS-6 Rackmount Analog Synthesizer

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The very to find in working order Cheetah MS6 or sometimes spelt ‘Cheetah MS-6’. To me this rackmount synth is extremely underrated, on the second hand market I have seen them go for up to £500-£600 UK sterling, even broken they can fetch a fair price, I picked mine up for £280 plus shipping on

Apparently the previous owner could not turn it on I manager to fix the unit very easily, which I have to say was extremely fortunate! You can view the repair of the Cheetah MS6 here complete with photos.

The unit houses a 6 voice polyphonic analog synthesizer unit with no onboard effects, it’s multitimbral and to my ears is a rich, warm and deep sounding rack mount module, yes that’s right in a 1U 19” mountable that utilzes standard sized cage nuts.

The unit is compared to the Oberheim Matrix 1000 and the Matrix 6R as it has the same voice processing chips, the part number if you are looking for spares is the CEM3396.

Suprisingly it has 2 DCO’s per voice. These digitally controlled oscillators totalling 12 were implemented to provide better stability. It also has 6 analog filters at 24/db which sound good.

Programming without some sort of external control to program patches it’s a nightmare to program. There are multiple options to get into greater sound design with a ROM upgrade from

With the Cheetah MS6 firmware upgrade you can add a lot more features to the device as follows:

“Based on the V9.0 Cheetah ROM, has the following extra features:

  • MIDI bank select (CC #0), globally and per-part.
  • Program change per-part.
  • Remote control of all tone edit parameters using CC messages, both in tone and performance mode.
  • No more partial drop-outs at bottom C (130.8Hz).
  • Three more DCO shape settings, both for DCO A and B: off, pulse + triangle and pulse + sawtooth. The new pulse shapes can use PWM as well.
  • Extended SysEx support: single patch and edit buffer dumps + requests, full dump and status requests.
  • Mono mode, per-part, with a choice of always retriggering the envelopes or to not retrigger when playing legato (i.e. pressing a new key before releasing the current one).
  • Portamento, per-part, constant-time (0.015 – 18.3 s) or constant-rate (400 – 0.44 semitones/s). Full-time or fingered (i.e., only in mono mode when playing legato).
  • Support for bank 7 tones in performances. “

Once you get midi CC you can do as you please with most controllers. Dedicated controllers are available by Kiwi technics, Unisyn and one called Knobby.




Year Produced


Keyboard/Number of keys


Sound Generation

Analog synthesis

Maximum Polyphony

6 voices



A whopping 12 DCO’s that’s 2 per voice with pwm, noise, sync

Voice Modes

6 NOTES polyphony


Cutoff, Resonance,








Hardwired plug Power switch on front

Dimensions (W x D x H)


Common Faults

None known as yet.






Download Cheetah MS6/MS-6 User Manual PDF format

Download Cheetah MS6/MS-6 Schematics PDF format



66Khz studios.


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