Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

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Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by otto » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:20 pm

So, knowing I was going to sell my P5 due to a need for some extra cash and having difficult justifying its value with my needs (i.e. I could get a lot of stuff for the value of this one synth), I bought an OB-8 as a compromise synth. I expected it to be a decent synth but I also expected to find some flaws that justified its lower value (I picked up the OB-8 for half the price I sold the P5 for). Well I haven’t found them, what are they? The capabilities of this synth runs circles around the capabilities of the P5. It has more voices, split/layer, switchable from 2/4 pole filters, stereo (w/individual voice panning), midi, etc. etc. Now I don’t get hung up on specs alone, I bought this synth for the thick vintage sound and it delivers. The OB-8 can easily go into P5 territory (and it should considering it contains the same VCO, VCF, VCA and EG chips as a rev 3 P5) but it is also capable of timbres that the P5 can’t touch particularly with the 2 pole filter. To be honest, to my ears the OB-8 is slightly more musical than the P5 and is a bit more of a sweet-spot synth (subjective, I know). Obviously I’m still in honeymoon mode with the OB-8 but I’m quite surprised overall. The only thing I could complain about this synth in a “OB-8 vs P5” context is that it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the Prophet.

To summarize, the OB-8 seems to be better or equal to the Prophet in almost every way except for the way it looks and it is half the cost. So what am I missing?
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by OriginalJambo » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:37 pm

Man, I'd take any Obie I could get. Good score!

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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by Clavier » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:38 pm

It probably has to do, in large part with aesthetics and the fact the P5 came first.
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by otto » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:59 pm

OriginalJambo wrote:Man, I'd take any Obie I could get. Good score!
Well it’s not that I got a particularly good deal or anything, I bid on it and paid what I assume is the current going rate on ebay. That’s my point though, it is a very affordable synth when compared to the P5, with more features and the same basic analog chipset. Rather than being a “poor man’s P5rev3” it is quite the opposite it is almost like a more fully featured rev3 in an uglier case… and the ugly statement is an exaggeration, it’s not a bad looking synth, just not as nice as the P5.
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by otto » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:04 pm

Clavier wrote:It probably has to do, in large part with aesthetics and the fact the P5 came first.
I’m thinking the P5 popularity is based on its heavy use on records because it was the first affordable, stable, portable polysynth. I just like to hope that there is a more logical, reasonable explanation than that. Of course I usually find there is a lot of snake oil used in the manufacture of certain vintage music gear and that people are willing to spend excessive amounts for any additional magical snake oil. I just try to hold onto the hope that people aren’t really that shallow… of course it usually turns out they are.

The buyer of the P5 is having a flight case made and shipped to me for me to ship the synth. So in the meantime I am able to A/B them and like I said, the OB has no problem entering the aural territory of the P5 but there is a lot the OB can do that the P5 cant. Now I’m sure there are a few areas the P5 is better at but really, I think they are few and relatively minor.
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by OriginalJambo » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:09 pm

otto wrote:Well it’s not that I got a particularly good deal or anything, I bid on it and paid what I assume is the current going rate on ebay. That’s my point though, it is a very affordable synth when compared to the P5, with more features and the same basic analog chipset.
Not to mention it also has 3 more voices of polyphony.
Rather than being a “poor man’s P5rev3” it is quite the opposite it is almost like a more fully featured rev3 in an uglier case… and the ugly statement is an exaggeration, it’s not a bad looking synth, just not as nice as the P5.
I've had a very brief experience with a Prophet 5 (Rev 3) and thought it sounded damn good. Still, the OB-8 may be even better - I certainly would take either in a heartbeat! Oh and how are you finding the dreaded page 2 stuff?
Last edited by OriginalJambo on Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by plikestechno » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:23 pm

I think it gets ignored because people seem to prefer and lust after the OBX, OBXa, Matrix 12 and Xpander more and the OB-8 just ends up getting left behind eventually.
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by otto » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:25 pm

It has the page 2 screen print so I know where everything is. It's no more difficult than hitting the shift key on a calculator to get additional functions. I could see where not having the screen print or overlay would be a pain. If that were the case you could just put sticky labels under the buttons with page 2 functionality or hang up the sheet from the manual that tells you.
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by Non-Digital Tom » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:26 pm

Where's WhinyLittleRunt? He's got an OB-8 and he loves it...

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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by madtheory » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:28 pm

Does the OB have oscillator sync, and noise mod of the filter?

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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by matia » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:35 pm

good score on the oberheim. I personally hated the Prophet 5. Really lame brittle sound. The Pro One on the other hand is gorgeous ...

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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by Clavier » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:38 pm

otto wrote:I just like to hope that there is a more logical, reasonable explanation than that.
Of course there isn't! Think about the Hammond B-3: The C-3 model is identical to the B-3 in every way except appearance, yet the C-3 is sell for less than half of a B-3 every time. The funny part is that the C-3 isn't even unattractive! Never mind the A-100, which sell for roughly half the price a C-3 does. There are a lot of things like this in the history of music. Things like the ad below are a main reason that they sold more than many similarly spec'd contemporaries in the first place.

Image

Talk about an endorsement. :)
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by otto » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:45 pm

plikestechno wrote:I think it gets ignored because people seem to prefer and lust after the OBX, OBXa, Matrix 12 and Xpander more and the OB-8 just ends up getting left behind eventually.
Actually all Oberheim polys are relatively cheap at the moment. If I recall correctly a 4 voice OBX recently sold for about $1500. The last few Xpanders haven’t sold at their asking price, etc. Actually since we’re doing the hearsay thing, as much as the Matrix 12/Xpander are hyped for their capabilities I’ve heard many complaints about them always having this certain glossy quality that makes it always sound like an Xpander.

I think comparing the OB-8 to an OBX it a moot point because they don’t compare. The OBX is a discrete synth and the OB-8 is chip based. The OBX has very limited capabilities but a supposedly lovely discrete sound. By the same token I’ve heard/read the same thing about the OB-8 & Xa compared to the Xpander. The Xpander rocks spec wise but people seem to prefer the sounds of the OB-8 &Xa in general. I think the only synth you mentioned that is really a direct comparison to the OB-8 is the OB-Xa. I have heard that people do prefer the sound of the OB-Xa vs the OB-8 in much the same way that people prefer a P5 rev2 to a rev3. It sounds like the sonic differences are relatively minor but extant.

This was my main point in comparing it to the P5, it is a comparison that makes sense ;)
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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by nathanscribe » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:57 pm

otto wrote:Actually all Oberheim polys are relatively cheap at the moment.
Not round here they're not.

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Re: Why doesn’t the OB-8 get more love?

Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:20 am

nathanscribe wrote:Not round here they're not.
Ain't that the truth!

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