Oberheim Eight Voice

Oberheim Eight Voice Image

The immensely fat and analog Eight Voice from Oberheim is truly a Vintage Synth. It is essentially eight classic Oberheim SEM modules stacked together alongside the Polyphonic Synthesizer Programmer for memory, a simple analog mixer, and a 49-note keyboard. This gives you an eight voice polyphonic/polytonal synthesizer with 16 VCO's, 8 VCFs, 16 ADR envelope generators and more. In the late '70s a really cool 2-tier keyboard version was released with a larger 61 note keyboard added below the standard 49 note keyboard.

Because the Eight Voice derives its polyphony from having eight mono-synth modules hard-wired together, it has some 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. Fortunately the Polyphonic Synthesizer Programmer stores 16 patches per voice (all of which can be different) so you can save all that hard work spent programming sounds.

The Eight Voice was the pinnacle of Oberheim's first synth system, completely based around the simple little SEM. But a need for truly polyphonic circuit designs would soon lead to Oberheim's legendary OB-series, leaving the SEM based poly-synths behind in the 1970's... It has been used by Herbie Hancock, Styx, and Rush.

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11 Visitor comments
January 15, 2009 @ 4:11 pm
I tried this in the early 1980's. It looked like an overgrown old refrigerator so I was afraid to touch it. Maybe it was a trade-in?... At the time I thought that it was ancient and in fact it was fairly new and untouched. I was the first to play it besides the hookup people. I played it and wow. The keyboard was fresh and almost like touching a new waterfall organ keyboard. I remember. Which by the way after writing this it looks like a waterfall. Coincidence? I would love to have one now, but I like the OB-Xa and Xpander module better and maybe this OB 8 voice with aged swiss cheese on top for a snack. To me it's a beauty.
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Rated 3.83 (183 Votes)

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  • 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 - 8 voices
  • Oscillators - 16 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
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1977-1980

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