How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

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How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby autechre » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:36 pm

I bought the Oberheim Matrix-6 recently and was honestly shocked by the sound. Having owned several analog polysynth, this is definitely the best one i ever played.
The pads are godly, the bass is massive (when you program it right), the strings are string-machine-like with that organic analog vibe, the brass is also powerful and it's extremely versatile and can create an infinite amount of sounds and effects. There's something deep and truly magnificent about it which makes all the sounds and timbres sound good. The DCOs sound really good too and I got used to the crappy interface really quickly, but I'm going to try the iPad app Patch Touch to see if it works better.
Comparing it with my Juno-60 (which I've always held as my favorite) I can't believe how much better it is. Even with simple sounds that the Juno excels at, the Matrix wins. Unfortunately there's no chorus and no arpeggiator, but that's easily solved anyway (I know Juno's chorus is the best though).
Anyway, how is such a massive 2DCO-synth with infinite modulation options still cheap? How is the Juno-60 twice as expensive? I honestly don't get it. The sounds must be more important than the interface right?
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:08 pm

I think the Matrix-6 is something where a lot of people don't much care for its sonic character, but a few are completely in love with. When I owned mine, I was impressed by the modulation options, but I never really gelled with its sound; no matter how I tried, I never really got anything out of it that made me love it the way I thought I would. It always just seemed a little bit too thin and a little bit too muffled to really feel right to me.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby autechre » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:27 pm

commodorejohn wrote:I think the Matrix-6 is something where a lot of people don't much care for its sonic character, but a few are completely in love with. When I owned mine, I was impressed by the modulation options, but I never really gelled with its sound; no matter how I tried, I never really got anything out of it that made me love it the way I thought I would. It always just seemed a little bit too thin and a little bit too muffled to really feel right to me.


I don't understand where you hear thinness. It sounds extremely fat to me. Comparing with other 2DCO synths such as JX3P (that sounds really cold and thin to me) and Korg Poly-61 it's like night and day. Even the patches on the Matrix sound fat, JX3P's patches are ridiculously thin and bland. And when you start creating your own patches it gets even deeper.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:33 pm

The Poly-61 isn't exactly a killer example of a dual-DCO synth, though. Compare it against, say, the JX-8P or JX-10, instead. Those are far more limited in terms of modulation options, to be sure, but in terms of raw sound they blow it right out of the water even before engagin the chorus.

Again, not to slag on it too much - it definitely has an impressive selection of features, and if the sound is up your alley, it's a great deal considering what they go for. But it just doesn't do much for me sonically, and based on the low secondhand prices, I don't think I'm the only one.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby gs » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:53 am

Sonic character aside, the Matrix-6's low 2nd hand value, I think, is mostly due to the single-slider/LCD interface. Like trying to paint the inside of a stadium through a mailbox slot in the front entrance. As with the DX7, most peeps just couldn't get into programming it.

But this IS an Oberheim, and it's analog. It can't sound that bad. I had the JX10 for a while, and while it sounds "Roland", and lots of people like that sound (and I did too), the Matrix-6 should give Oberheim fans a similarly-classed DCO poly analog that they can enjoy.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby ItsMeOnly » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:55 am

gs wrote:Sonic character aside, the Matrix-6's low 2nd hand value, I think, is mostly due to the single-slider/LCD interface. Like trying to paint the inside of a stadium through a mailbox slot in the front entrance..

It has a name: "keyhole programming".
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby madtheory » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:04 am

The problem with all of these synths is that they're DCO. You might need to re-evaluate your idea of "fat". That is primarily a characteristic of VCO synths, with the odd exception such as the Elka Synthex. Other DCO synths can only aspire to "serious fatness" that you hear on records.

JX3P and 8P are identical in terms of "fatness" because the oscillators are the same.

I think it's best to accept DCO synths for what they are. Don't try to get a subtle characteristic on the cheap. Ain't gonna happen. If you want a "fat" polysynth, it's simple. Spend more money on a VCO polysynth.

As for the price- it's already been pointed out. The user interface is the biggest determining factor. The Korg Polysix is a VCO but with only one oscillator, so you can't get that typical beating of two detuned VCOs. But it has a dial or switch for every parameter, so making sounds on it is intuitive and fun. "Keyhole Synthesis" (LOL) is not as fun :)

That said, the Roland and OB DCO synths do have the family sound that we love from their VCO sisters. Just not as much of it, if that makes sense. But they have enough character that artists can make their identity with them. For example, Com Truise uses the Matrix-1000/ 6 extensively. And a ton of bands use the Roland Junos.

DCO can work well in a mix, VCO can be too thick and dominant.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby Jabberwalky » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:55 pm

autechre wrote: It sounds extremely fat to me. Comparing with other 2DCO synths such as JX3P (that sounds really cold and thin to me) and Korg Poly-61 it's like night and day.


Poor Poly61, always getting picked on. I think it sounds excellent personally.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby meatballfulton » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:12 pm

Why so cheap:

1. keyhole programming
2. not an Xpander
3. not a Juno
4. not a Polysix
5. not a 303
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby autechre » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:46 pm

madtheory wrote:The problem with all of these synths is that they're DCO. You might need to re-evaluate your idea of "fat". That is primarily a characteristic of VCO synths, with the odd exception such as the Elka Synthex. Other DCO synths can only aspire to "serious fatness" that you hear on records.


I don't get this tbh. Of all the analog polyphonic synths I've played, the Matrix-6 and Juno-60 sound the best. And I've played various VCO synths; Akai AX-73, Prophet-600, Six-Trak, Chroma Polaris, Polysix. Several of these have rather thin/cold timbres. For example, comparing the Polaris with the Matrix shows a big difference. So how is it that the fatter and warmer sound comes from a DCO synth? And some 1VCO synths such as the Six-Trak sound really thin without effects, the Juno's don't.
I don't think it's as easy as you make it seem.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby Jabberwalky » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:43 pm

Better start a VCO vs DCO thread to get to the bottom of it. ;)
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby Sensory » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:50 pm

Jabberwalky wrote:
autechre wrote: It sounds extremely fat to me. Comparing with other 2DCO synths such as JX3P (that sounds really cold and thin to me) and Korg Poly-61 it's like night and day.


Poor Poly61, always getting picked on. I think it sounds excellent personally.


I think many amazing synths get a bad rep on-line (although almost all of the 70's and 80's synths seem to be gradually increasing in price and desirability).

I guess that's the nature of supply and demand, & collecting things.

I definitely love my matrix six and will never sell it. Ymmv.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby autechre » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:00 pm

Sensory wrote:
Jabberwalky wrote:
autechre wrote: It sounds extremely fat to me. Comparing with other 2DCO synths such as JX3P (that sounds really cold and thin to me) and Korg Poly-61 it's like night and day.


Poor Poly61, always getting picked on. I think it sounds excellent personally.


I think many amazing synths get a bad rep on-line (although almost all of the 70's and 80's synths seem to be gradually increasing in price and desirability).

I guess that's the nature of supply and demand, & collecting things.

I definitely love my matrix six and will never sell it. Ymmv.


I love all old analog synths pretty much. Even the Poly-61 and JX3P are really cool, even though I have a hard time finding sounds that I really love on those synths. Of course they're amazing!
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby madtheory » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:09 pm

autechre wrote:Of all the analog polyphonic synths I've played

I was thinking OB-8, Korg Trident, MiniMoog, Prophet 5. Or the new Prophet or OB. Or Roland System 100m. Fattest oscillator I ever heard. And that was just one! :) Our experience is different :) Of yours, I've only played the M-1000 and the Juno-60.

OB-8 is my fave, although I didn't really "get" the P5 when I tried it- was young and foolish lol.
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Re: How is Oberheim Matrix-6 still so cheap?

Postby nuketifromorbit » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:18 am

Jabberwalky wrote:Better start a VCO vs DCO thread to get to the bottom of it. ;)


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