The Oberheim OB-X8 has arrived and it combines the voice architecture of the OB-X, OB-Xa and OB-8 into one classic looking synthesizer. Is it everything we hoped for?
Update: we have video, see below.
It may have leaked a bit but none of that takes away from the impression this synthesizer makes. It is assuredly an instant classic. It’s so thoroughly Oberheim that it feels like it’s always existed. It doesn’t seem to be trying to be anything particularly new. Rather, it’s drawing on its legacy of classic and desirable sound machines. Apparently, it’s more than “just replicating vintage oscillators, filters and envelopes” it’s about analysing and replicating every gooey detail. That sounds like the same thing to me but in any case, the result is a stunningly authentic renewal of a classic that’s filled with the “warmth, subtlety, and presence of the originals.”
So, it sounds like the OB-X, OB-Xa and OB-8 in a modern and beautifully made synthesizer – got it!
In terms of the hardware, it’s an 8-voice pure analogue synthesizer with sawtooth, square/pulse, triangle, and noise waveforms. You get two VCOs per voice based on those from the SEM/OB-X, and discrete filters from the same place. In addition, there are Curtis chip-based filters like those in the OB-Xa and OB-8. There are envelopes that match those found in all the synths.
It comes with a Fatar 61 note keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch. The OB-X8 is bi-timbral and so can run two sounds at the same time either layered or split across the keyboard. Inside you’ll discover over 400 presets including all the factory sounds from the original synths. To the side of the keyboard, you’ll find classic Oberheim Pitch and Mod levers that allow for expressive note bending, vibrato, and access to arpeggiator functions.
Enhancements that weren’t found on the originals include additional SEM filter modes, a vintage knob to dial in a bit of instability, enhanced unison, variable triangle wave cross-modulation, programmable per-program pan and variable oscillator and noise levels.
There’s not a whole lot going on in the connections department. Mono and stereo outputs, a filter input, sustain pedal ports, clock and MIDI seems to be the lot. No exciting CV or modular possibilities.
Oberheim at Superbooth
The whole event is very exciting. Just getting the chance to play a genuine Oberheim synthesizer would be a thrill and being able to play a new one just blows my mind. The video demo is a bit mixed and sounds a little bit too snazzy for my tastes but I think Oberheim know their target audience better than me.
Oberheim is on booth 0301 – go and check it out.