Oberheim Four Voice

Oberheim 4 Voice Image

A big step forward after the initial Oberheim SEM and Two Voice synthesizers came from the bigger and better Four Voice. Four dual-oscillator SEM modules each with its own filters and envelopes are joined together along with a simple analog mixer and 49-note keyboard to give you a polyphonic/polytonal Obie-beast!

This combination gives you eight oscillators and four voices of polyphony because there are basically four discrete mono-synths all connected together. This has its pros and cons. What is cool is that this was a lot of simultaneous voices for the mid-seventies. And the ability to craft a different sound on each voice led to some diverse and complex sounds. However, it also meant you have to program each voice independently. Each voice also has its own independent audio output.

The Polyphonic Synthesizer Programmer, released in 1976 and added to the Four Voice stores 16 patches per voice (all of which can be different). The Four Voice could accommodate an additional four SEMs, making it just like the Eight Voice model which officially appeared in 1977.

Unfortunately the Four Voice was blown out of the competition by the release of the polyphonic Sequential Prophet-5, which offered true polyphony with a single set of sound shaping controls and comprehensive patch memory. The Four Voice has been used by 808 State, Depeche Mode, Styx, Pink Floyd, The Shamen, Gary Wright, Joe Zawinul and John Carpenter.

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14 Visitor comments
Patrick P.
September 13, 2013 @ 12:50 am
It's been used for the synth strings by Supertramp on Logical Song and probably other songs from their masterpiece Breakfast in America.
August 23, 2013 @ 2:59 pm
Just found an answer to my question:

Number of Four Voices made: 800 (According to synthmuseum.com).
August 23, 2013 @ 2:54 pm
How many were produced?

I'm looking for a Four Voice, or Eight Voice (expander). Preferably located in Europe, but worldwide offers are welcome too..

Contact me at Ed_Kroket59 (at) hotmail.com. Remove the spaces and insert the "@".
Phil Severence
March 10, 2012 @ 5:58 am
Ed - The Son of Four Voice has been delayed to the end of the year. Instead, Tom Oberheim will be releasing a Two Voice model in June.
January 27, 2012 @ 2:23 am
On tomoberheim.com, Mr. Oberheim is unveiling a rebirth of the 4 voice known as "Son of 4 Voice". It's scheduled for release some time in 2012. Go to Tom's website for more information on specs and preordering.
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Rated 4.25 (269 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 4 voices
  • Oscillators - 8 VCO's (2 per voice) with sawtooth or variable-pulse waveforms
  • LFO - LFO with triangle wave only
  • Filter - Low, band, high, notch filter w/ resonance
  • VCA - 2 ADR envelopes
  • Keyboard - 49 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Memory - 16 patches via programmer module
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1975-1979
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Thanks to Bonnie Goodwin for this information.

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