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Oberheim OB-8 portamento and Unison mode behaviour

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:45 am
by Pulse Emitter
i've had my OB-8 for a few years now and i love it, it sounds incredible, i use it on everything. but it has a few quirks that i always assumed was just the way it was designed, but i thought i'd ask, see if anyone else with experience on this keyboard has noticed these traits.

1. Unison mode. when i hold down a key and sustain it and then play some lower keys it acts as expected, i hear the new note when played and when released i hear the one that i'm still holding down. but when holding down a note and playing keys that are HIGHER in pitch, they don't sound at all. is it really supposed to be this way? seems crazy if so.

2. Portamento. it acts very unpredictably. just playing single notes with no overlap, going from a high note to a low note for example, the sound glides down as it should sometimes, other times it might glide UP from some imaginary low note, and sometimes it won't glide at all. this synth has polyphonic portamento, meaning playing one chord to another all notes will glide, and this seems to work but also exhibits some of the random gliding that seems to come from nowhere.

so, thanks in advance to anyone with experience on this board (or similar Oberheim boards) who feels like chiming in. i know a good technician i visited with this synth once, if you folks think these things are issues and not "just the way it is", i'll give him a call.

best,
Daryl

Re: Oberheim OB-8 portamento and Unison mode behaviour

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:33 am
by pflosi
1. It's normal. They call it low note priority. No idea whether you can change it to high or last note priority on the OB8.

2. That's normal with poly porta too. Each voice will slide from the note it played last, so it only perfectly glides from the first chord to the second you play if you use all voices. Some polys have different poly porta settings, again don't know about the OB8...

Hope that helps a bit, sorry that I cannot comment specifically on the OB8, only general thoughts...

Re: Oberheim OB-8 portamento and Unison mode behaviour

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:07 pm
by Bitexion
Polyphonic portamento is always quirky. You never quite know how it's going to work when you go from a chord to another and back again. Pretty common on any synth other than the DSP controlled VA synths.

Re: Oberheim OB-8 portamento and Unison mode behaviour

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:28 am
by Pulse Emitter
really great info, thanks to you both.

i've just done a little research in the form of opening the manual--which i obviously should have done to begin with! sorry... and here's what it says:

on portamento: "Note that the portamento on the OB-8 is polyphonic, so each voice will glide from note to note independently of all other notes." so each voice is gliding based on when it was last played, no wonder it sounds so random. i've actually liked the unpredictable gliding when i've used it in the past. at least i know it's doing what it's supposed to do.

on unison: "The OB-8 keyboard operates with low note rule, which means that the lowest note played on the keyboard will always have priority." can't say i like that feature, guess i have to live with it.

i think i need to just get a Moog if i want to do the traditional monophonic with portamento type of playing!

thanks again.

Re: Oberheim OB-8 portamento and Unison mode behaviour

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:54 am
by Carey M
Vintage Moogs all have low note priority AFAIK.

- CM

Re: Oberheim OB-8 portamento and Unison mode behaviour

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:43 pm
by Pulse Emitter
it seems low note priority is more common than i realized. just so used to last note priority, will take some getting used to.