GForce Software has introduced OB-E v2 with Tom Oberheim’s personal endorsement and could be the best synth you’ve ever played.
Nothing ever sounds this good right off the bat. Those first 4 presets were like ambrosia pouring into my ears and it keeps getting better. Once you start to orientate yourself, figure out what’s going on it just gets more and more powerful. I can’t stop smiling – this is nuts!
Right, just to get this Windows sized chip off my shoulder: As a non-AppleMac user of computers, I was denied the pleasure of experiencing the original OB-E Oberheim 8-Voice emulation. With version 2 GForce Software has released a PC version and now the rest of us can enjoy the wonders of this machine. Did we miss much? I don’t really care because in about 5 minutes of playing with version 2 I knew that this was the finest software synthesizer I had ever played.
First, the facts. OB-E v2 is an authentic emulation of the Oberheim 8-Voice synthesizer. The 8-Voice was made up of 8 SEM (Synthesizer Expansion Modules) monosynths strung together to create a polyphonic monster. The interesting thing was that these SEMs were independent, so you tuned each voice separately, they all had their own filter and modulations which is a very different approach to how polysynths are made now. Each SEM would sound slightly different which would create a character of such analogue and organic nature that it sounds like nothing else.
Through the magic of software, GForce were able to make the playing and sound designing experience a bit less cumbersome. The main ones are being able to copy/paste module settings so you can quickly spread an idea across all SEMs and tie them together, and the ability to group them, zoom in on a single SEM and control them all from there. There are also different play modes, a third oscillator for modulation, velocity, polyphonic aftertouch and MPE support.
With version 2 things haven’t changed massively. The look and layout remain the same because it’s still based on the same hardware. What has been massaged is the delicate nature of the different character and inaccuracies found between SEMs. There’s a new Vintage knob and a Refined Detune parameter which, under the guidance of Tom Oberheim and Marcus Ryle (former Oberheim developer) lets you dial in more realistic musical inaccuracies.
The result prompted Tom to say:
“I was pretty amazed by OB-E, it was pretty damn close right out of the shoot. It was “wow!“. I like listening to that. With OB-E v2, it’s like you have the hardware with you.”
Marcus also has some nice things to say about it:
“The first time I heard OB-E I knew it was special. Its authentic tonal character and musicality makes it the closest thing to analog hardware that I’ve ever experienced. It’s been really gratifying to refine this powerful foundation with GForce Software in order to capture the few remaining nuances of component tolerances and calibration that add just a bit more magic into this very impressive piece of software.”
There are other improvements like the great sounding Matrix Reverb, a Drum Mode with 10 drum kits, more presets and a scalable and more flexible UI.
The GForce Software Oberheim OB-E v2 is a fantastic piece of work on a classic and unique sounding synthesizer that’s a joy to play. RRP is £179.99 but you can get it at an introductory price of £119.99 and it comes in standalone and VST, AU and AAX plugin versions for macOS and Windows. It’s a free update to all version 1 owners.