Oberheim Matrix 12

Oberheim Matrix-12 Image

Oberheim's Matrix 12 is a legendary analog synthesizer from the mid-eighties that is still the king of analog sounds. One of the fattest, roundest, pleasantly analog synthesizers around! It's long been known for creating some of the thickest and best analog pads, sweeps, buzzes, basses and textures. It features Matrix Modulation for extremely wild virtual patching for almost unlimited range of sounds and modulation capabilities!

Oberheim Matrix-12 Image

The Matrix 12 is similar to the Xpander and the lighter Matrix 6. But the Matrix 12 is much fatter and more programmable than either. Every control can have an effect on some other parameter thanks to Oberheim's flexible design. For example, there are 15 types of LFOs and VCAs per voice! And there's plenty of diagrams drawn out on the front panel of the synth to help you figure out some signal routing. This is not a synth for the beginner. It is used by The Orb, Gravity Kills, Vangelis, Technotronic, and Depeche Mode.

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43 Visitor comments
Loren Nerell
August 8, 2014 @ 9:05 pm
Your dates are wrong for the Matrix 12 and Xpander. After Gibson bought out Oberheim they continue to make them from surplus parts for a year or two.
March 7, 2013 @ 5:55 pm
I disagree with the notion that this is a hard synth to program. It's probably overkill if you want to make simple sounds, etc, for which a simpler, possibly earlier analog, with 1 knob per function, would obviously be easier. But where this interface is brilliant is in the construction of complex patches with lots of modulations, especially in multimode. After a point, you simply can't have 1 knob per function, if there are way more functions than can be accomodated.
William Belote
March 3, 2013 @ 11:02 pm
Yes, an analog synth from 85 won't have the same sizzle on first hearing that you can get from the Virus crowd (I love them) and such. No on board effects. Put some sauce on the sounds and you are there. And yes, it is not a 'cover all the bases machine.' What it is - is a laboratory for the adventurous. If you concentrate on what it has, as opposed to what it doesn't have, you can have endless creative fun. It is really a modular synth with the patch cords in software. No wait, it's 12 modular synths. For me, it is a keeper - since 85.
March 3, 2013 @ 10:07 am
Cont. Soundwise the Matrix 12 does have a kind of muddy quality. A bit like the JX synths from Roland. Where I feel the Matrix scores is in the feeling that the sound is always slightly evolving and keeping the ear interested. The flexibility is amazing on this synth... 20 modulation options happening at once with 5 LFOs, as well as multiple ENVs, RAMPs,etc make this a really deep synth. However, in many respects the basic sonic character is somewhat limited. ATM I can't imagine getting good bass, or even Mini leads... but the pads are simply amazing. For 1985 its simply outstanding!
March 3, 2013 @ 10:00 am
I have owned my Matrix 12 for a few years (got it for a really cheap price) and not really ever got around to rolling my own sounds as I could never understand how the mod matrix worked. So i only ever really used 1 or 2 sounds before now. Over the last days I got the Xplorer editor and it all makes so much more sense now.. turned out half the buttons on my Matrix aren't working.... ;-)
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User Rating

Rated 4.15 (396 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 - 12 voices
  • Oscillators - 24 (2 per voice)
  • Layers - Single / split / multitimbral
  • Memory - 100 patches
  • LFO - 15 types
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (w/ velocity & aftertouch
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1985 - 1988
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