Sequential has applied to trademark the characters OB-X in terms of synthesizers. Is there a new synth on the way or are they just gazumping Behringer?
Sequential filed the application in the USA on the 5th January. “OB-X™ trademark registration is intended to cover the categories of
Behringer recently (August 18, 2020) applied for the trading name “Oberheim” which it is allowed to do so because it’s been out of use for many years. It was owned by Gibson since 1988 who recently (August 12, 2019)gave the name back to the original founder Tom Oberheim as a gesture of goodwill. It all gets a bit complicated but suffice to say that Behringer has been working on an OB-Xa clone for quite some time and presumably wanted to put the Oberheim name on it.
With Sequential jumping on the trademark OB-X it could indicate that they are planning to release their own Oberheim inspired synthesizer. Or it may be just to secure the trademark of their old friend Tom Oberheim with the added bonus of annoying Behringer.
The original OB-X was an analogue polyphonic synthesizer first made in 1979 and intended to compete with the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. It could go up to 8 voices with 2 VCOs per voice and has a 12dB per octave resonant low pass filter. The “X” stood for the number of voices because you could install 2, 4 or 8 voice cards. Instead of the pitch and modulation wheels of the Prophet-5 it used paddle levers but these never seemed to catch on. In 1981 is was replaced by the more successful OB-Xa which is the model Behringer are attempting to clone.
So, all eyes on Dave Smith and Sequential to see if they mention anything about it or tease a new synthesizer. NAMM is fast approaching and there’s always the possibility of an announcement even at this year’s virtual and confused show.