Oberheim OB-MX

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redchapterjubilee
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Oberheim OB-MX

Post by redchapterjubilee » Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:59 pm

My local little dingy music store has a minty fresh Oberheim OB-MX on consignment. $1200. I am curious to play it, but this is a guitar shop and there's no MIDI to be found whatsoever. I hope to take one of my smaller MIDI boards down there this week and try it out. After seeing it I started looking around online to find out more about it and quickly discovered that there are no sound samples and very little comments about it online. Has anyone on her owned one or spent any time with one that could give me any sort of opinion about this synth?
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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by Z » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:11 pm

Every time I see one pop up on eBay, I have to talk myself out of bidding. There seems to be no support for it online. When you call Gibson, they tell to you call Viscount and vice versa. The additional 2 voice cards usually sell for nearly as much as the synth. The batteries seem to be an issue with these synths as well.

Sorry, I have no fisrt hand experience with the synth. I've been tempted many times to buy one, but it just doesn't seen to be a worthwhile investment. Surely someone here owns one and can give some input.

I'm aquainted with Mark Glinsky (Manual Manor) who purchased one last year. He said I could check it out any time, but I always forget about it. He may not even have it any more...

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by redchapterjubilee » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:08 pm

I figure it's certainly worth making the effort to play it and I doubt that anyone will buy it at that price in a College Station guitar shop. It's rare that anything like that is seen around this town. But I was surprised that so little info is available about that synth other than what's on VSE.
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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by Z » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:51 pm

Oh, definately worth checking out. h**l, I've never seen one in Dallas to mess with. Somewhere, I've got the product sheet from '92 or so. I was trying to locate it to scan and post.

Definately let us know what you think of it. I've been intrigued by it since its inception, but the original price tag was too much for me back then and the issues & lack of support has deterred me from buing one today.

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by xpander » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:18 pm

i had an 8-voice OBMx briefly, it sounded awesome & i loved the interface. it is my kind of synth other than the fact that it was riddled with problems... i had to send it back, too much of a lemon. if you find one that works well & doesn't drain it's internal battery, you have struck gold.

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by Joey » Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:48 am

I know trent reznor used it alot on the downward spiral and broken... he said its one of his favorite synths and he used it to replace his minimoog bcause he was getting bored of it

(read this in an interview somewhere)
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so you just stay home and play synthesizers.

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by xpander » Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:35 am

Joey wrote:I know trent reznor used it alot on the downward spiral and broken... he said its one of his favorite synths and he used it to replace his minimoog bcause he was getting bored of it

(read this in an interview somewhere)
he talks about it in his Keyboard interview (april 1994?) it's the monster bass in The Becoming on the downward spiral although i'm not sure he used it anywhere else. i swear i've read that interview dozens of times, really interesting. to this day the Prophet VS, Xpander and Minimoog are favorites of mine...

EDIT: thank you, googlage...
KEYBOARD: The bass sound on "The Becoming" was impressive.

TRENT REZNOR: That was the "Ober-Moog," or whatever it was going to be called. I got it from Richard Bugg, my repair guy out here who was one of the guys designing it. I asked him, "Have you heard about this Oberheim-Moog thing?" And he says, "Yeah, I've got one out at the house. Wanna borrow it for a while?" "Bring it over!" that thing is the f**k' greatest-sounding keyboard in the world, because it sounds like a Minimoog and an Oberheim, and you can run each one through each other. It doesn't quite work right, and unfortunately the project was scrapped, but that's what I used.

[Editor's note: The OB-Mx was officially released the same month as this article. An ad for it actually appears on the next page after the article. It comes with full midi, and two voices, and is currently about $2000. Extra two voice cards are about $800 a peice, and I think you can have up to 16 voices on the unit. It is fully programmable old-analog style knobs and buttons, as well as a modern menu-driven interface. It stores patches in memory, a good amount, and it is a rack-mount unit taking up I believe six slots.]

It shows up in a couple of places mainly because I was getting bored using the Minimoog, which I've used for almost every bass sound I've ever done. So now I use the Minimoog a lot more for running stuff through it's external input and through the filter. Aside from that, I still use the Oberheim Xpander, but it's roll has decreased a little bit; I'm just kind of bored with that. And the Prophet-VS, I still use that. I had a PPG when they were out, and I have a Waldorf MicroWave now. If I go about trying to program that thing in a logical way, it comes out sounding like mid-1980s synth pop--kind of dated, digital-sounding. But just through randomly generating stuff with Opcode's Galaxy, and I did this a lot on the Xpander and the VS, I'd generate thousands and thousands of programs. Then I'd hear an element of one that was cool, and fine-tune it. That may be a cop-out way of programming, but it was pretty interesting to find out, "What the f**k did it do to make it sound like that?" Then you go in and look and see what it did randomly. Every patch I have in the Waldorf is from that origin.

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by Sir Ruff » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:49 am

I always got the impression these never sounded as good as they should have (based only on other's opinions I've read)-not as fat as moog, not as um, Obie as oberheim. Buchla was involved too wasn't he? didn't he basically disowned the project? But if it had at least 4 voices, that seems like a good deal. If it had 6 or 8, bargain.

Question for Xpander about that trent interview-he talks about creating random patches on the Xpander through software-can that be done today on some similar software? It was something I was thinking just the other day would be incredibly useful.
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by redchapterjubilee » Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:08 pm

Well, I sat down and played with it for the better part of an hour at lunch today. I can say that it really doesn't sound like my Moog, but it's still pretty burly. This one only had two voices so I really couldn't say how it does pad-wise. Lots of stepping on the knobs, but all in all I was impressed with it. Not $1200 impressed (that's how much the guy wants for it) but I'd pay half that for it. Reminds me somewhat of a slightly larger version of the BassStation I used to have.
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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by Joey » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:21 am

I'm surprised there havent been more records of this synth in action, or even synth demos...

this synth interests me quite a bit... seems like a precursor to the andromeda in a way (due to the filter design)

though lacking a lot of the modulation

seems like kind of an 'odd man out' in the oberheim family
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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by xpander » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:00 am

first of all, this is required reading for anyone about to plunge into an OBMx. it's not gospel but it gives you a picture of the mess that the OBMx is pieced from. i actually ran across this link when my OBMx arrived broken- only 1 or 2 of the 8 voices were working. i wanted to make sure there wasn't some easy fix because it does sound completely awesome. instead, i googled into this:

http://web.archive.org/web/200104232341 ... ick01.html
Sir Ruff wrote:Question for Xpander about that trent interview-he talks about creating random patches on the Xpander through software-can that be done today on some similar software? It was something I was thinking just the other day would be incredibly useful.
i only phased out Opcode's Galaxy (which Gibson also killed) this past summer- this is the program reznor was talking about (in fact, Opcode was local so i bought it right from their place in palo alto- they had an autographed nine inch nails "broken" in their hallway).

now i use MidiQuest XL 10 (macintosh) which has 4 different types of patch randomizers- morph, blend, blend all, and a 4-patch vector-style blend if i remember. so it is not totally random. i also use (much less) MOTU's ugly Unisyn, which has similar randomizers, again based on you feeding it a patch. i think Unisyn offers control over which parameters are randomized and to what extent. it's been a while, thank you monosynths...

screenshot i took of Opcode's Galaxy Plus Editors, brilliantly concise editors:
Image

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by Sir Ruff » Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:53 pm

thanks Xpander... Is it only ver. 10 that supports the Xpander? looks like it...
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by cornutt » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:37 am

Sir Ruff wrote:Buchla was involved too wasn't he? didn't he basically disowned the project?
There was a lack of configuration control. The Gibson production people messed with the board routing and made a bunch of parts substitutions that Buchla had not approved, causing various things to not work the way Buchla had designed them. And then, after all that, Gibson tried to sue him.
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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by fierywater » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:13 am

xpander wrote:instead, i googled into this:

http://web.archive.org/web/200104232341 ... ick01.html
That's a depressing story. Worth the read, but damn. It's sad how much wasted potential there was.

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Re: Oberheim OB-MX

Post by Bitexion » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:45 pm

Very difficult story behind that machine..years of arguing and lawsuits and whatnot around this instrument that has lots of features still commented out in its code because they couldn't make them work. I'd stay miles away from that thing.

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