Easy to program Oberheim

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Easy to program Oberheim

Post by DJ Axon » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:11 pm

I've decided to have a massive clear out and have just a few top-end synths - one has to be an Oberheim but i've never used one and don't know anyone who has one to have a go on.

I really hate convoluted programming interfaces and like everything to be there in front of me with a knob-per-parameter so i can explore more than program, so I wondered if anyone could tell me which are the more 'hands-on' or accessible Obi's?

I really fancied an xpander but i reckon that interface would knacker my head - unless its more straightforward than it appears...
I ideally wanted all rack units as i'm pushed for space but reckon this has to be a keyboard, although i did see someone on youtube had a doepfer drehbank or similar controlling his matrix6.

Any advice appreciated - really don't want to buy ANOTHER unsuitable synth to then have to sell it and start all over again! Pretty sure I need that Oberheim filter sound though as my other main synth is going to be my MKS80.

cheers

Dan

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by Bitexion » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:20 pm

All the older Obies have one knob per function interfaces..Except for the OB-8, where almost every knob have two functions, switched with a "shift" button. Still nothing mind blowing, and no menus. They can be really hard to find nowadays in working order though..these are early 80's synths.

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by hfinn » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:13 pm

not to be a j**k, but I'm selling my OB-8 right now. (I only say a j**k for spamming). The ob8 is easy to program. All the extra features are sort of there if you need them but all the main features are clearly labeled. Sounds awesome

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by clusterchord » Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:30 pm

real easy to use polyphonic Oberheims, in order of preference:

OB-X - fattest, warmest
OB-XA - most agressive, raw and punchy
OB-8 - most versatile, most stable. Page 2 additional parameters - easy to reach.

pick your poison. :wink:
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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by Z » Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:58 pm

Yes, the "OB" series as mentioned above are very easy to program. I owned an OB-8 in the mid 90's and regrettably had to sell it. Mine did not have the 2nd page silkscreen which tells you which knobs give some extra cabibilites. Non-silkscreened page 2 OB-8's still have the added functions, you just have to remember which knobs do which jobs.

I saw Heath's OB-8 on eBay. It is very nice and good price. If I already didn't have an OB-Xa, I'd get it myself (plus I've got some other vintage synths at the shop which I will need to pay for soon).

The Xpander & Matrix 12 have the most advanced programmability of all Oberheim synths, but is menu driven. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but after a while you learn the layout. I am a menu-phobe, and usually fire up my Xpander only when I'm thinking of a certain type of sound. The M-12 & XP-1 are "thinner" than thier predessors, but have multi-mode filters and advanced programibility.

Best of luck!

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by xpander » Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:28 pm

the Xpander is easy & logical to program once you figure it out- it's really, really well designed. it's paged & has a map right on the synth to show you where everything is. it's massive, massive under that skin- like a giant modular. it can do any sound, the thin talk is pure rubbish as far as i'm concerned. 15-mode filter, massive modulation, polyphonic, multitimbral, etc...
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the OB-series interfaces are pretty straight-forward but a fraction as flexible. still fun but my ob-8 is almost always sidelined while the Xpander is a permanent fixture. one thing to note about the OB-8: it doesn't have VCO mixing more than Osc B- zero volume, half volume or full volume. that's the quirkiest thing about it. still, a solid classic.
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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by 0000 » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:35 pm

how about a 4 voice/

really does have a 1 knob per function

and the mostest sweetest sound

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by Bitexion » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:00 pm

Sure, if it was 1979 that would easily be recommended. But how often do you see one of those for sale these days?
And at what prices? $5000 and up.

4-voice isn't really easy to use either, since you have to set each voice manually and duplicate all the settings on each voice.

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by DJ Axon » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:47 pm

Thats a very good point about the price and also factory MIDI would be a big plus.

My scaling down exercise (already upgraded JP6 to MKS80/MPG80) leads me to buy an xpander but I'm getting the fear looking at that interface and also the 'not for the faint hearted' comment on its VSE description! Having said that, I'm really trying to get shut of any big keyboards so an OB wouldn't quite be the ticket.

I guess a Matrix6R would be an even bigger headache than an xpander, and the Matrix1000 uneditable (or is there an effective software programmer for these?) That would certainly be a cheap solution! If i'm going to scale right down to just a couple of synths, then I suppose I would be able to focus more on learning their interfaces.

What i'm after is that certain rich, crunchy sound that only seems to come from an Obi. I reckon if i add an Oberheim to my arsenal (MKS50, MKS80, CS5, DSI MEK) then i have all the synths i need (apart from a CS30, Korg Mono/poly, SH2 etc etc etc ;-)


cheers
d

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by xpander » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:40 pm

DJ Axon wrote:I guess a Matrix6R would be an even bigger headache than an xpander, and the Matrix1000 uneditable (or is there an effective software programmer for these?) That would certainly be a cheap solution! If i'm going to scale right down to just a couple of synths, then I suppose I would be able to focus more on learning their interfaces.
the xpander is *really* simple & logical once you figure it out- it's the sort of thing you will look at for a minute and then you'll say- that's a really clever UI! you never hafta relearn it.

the Matrix-1000 is an outstanding synthesizer as well, although it doesn't have the insane modulation or multitimbral power of the Xpander. several editors are around, my favorite was always the old Galaxy editor although i've recently switched to the modern MidiQuest 10 XL.

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by DJ Axon » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:14 pm

a question on the xpander - can you set it to receive on 6 different MIDI channels like you can on a sequential multitrak etc?

that's a point scorer for me as i could partly justify it as 'work gear' as that would be useful for an intallation i'm doing......

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by Z » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:39 pm

DJ Axon wrote:a question on the xpander - can you set it to receive on 6 different MIDI channels like you can on a sequential multitrak etc?

that's a point scorer for me as i could partly justify it as 'work gear' as that would be useful for an intallation i'm doing......
Yes, the Xpander can be set to up to 6 part multi-timbral. Editing the XP-1 (with its layout, encoders and panel graphics) is much easier than a Matrix 6 (numeric keypad, mode select and up/down buttons). Not to mention the XP-1 blows away the M-6 in sound and capabilities. Hence the 6x price difference.

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by xpander » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:03 am

yeah, each voice of the Xpander can be set any way you want- so you can have a couple voices in unisyn, a couple set up polyphonically, another set up monophonic, and another set for CV control- all at the same time. and you can do zone splitting/layering as well.

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by Bitexion » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:51 pm

A little side question here, is the xpander exactly the same as a Matrix-12 only without the keyboard? Same sound and circuitry and operation?

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Re: Easy to program Oberheim

Post by DJ Axon » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:25 pm

it's half a matrix12 as far as i know....

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