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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42 Visitor comments
February 8, 2009 @ 6:10 pm
Usually when synths are over-designed the end result is disapointing.
The M12 is a prime example of a huge, overpriced instrument that doesn't cut the musterd when it comes to good sounds.
Any VA synth will sound better. People are mostly blinded by its specs and looks. The fact that it was made in 1984 and had wooden side panels also unjustly gives it its overrated status. Realistically this machine sounds thin, too digital and has lazy envelopes. One has to asked themselves, do I want to spend that sort of money and become best friends with the only synth repair guy in the country that can service it, who will probably advice you to refrain from purchasing it in the first place.
January 15, 2009 @ 7:02 pm
Correction. The Matrix 12 and Xpander has VCO, they were quite stable like the OB-8's. These messages are from memory. Only the Matrix 6 and Matrix 6r and Matrix 1000 had DCO's. The sounds are pretty much the same for all Matrix series. The more expensive the louder and larger the headroom if I recall.
January 15, 2009 @ 6:46 pm
To me, the Matrix-12 sounds better than the OB-8. I could work with the Matrix-12. The OB-8 has made me dance. The OB-XA and OB-X OB-.... is much more what I like and need for rock sound. Matrix needs time to program for best results. Matrix-12 is readily easy for New age synth texture type sounds. Trust me, it sounds better than digital synths for FX if you know how to program. For full frequency range, an older OB SEM based is better. Wish I had one, it sounds nice and looks even better. I think over the years it would come back as "this is what I want to play today" by a lot of keyboardist ,like a fine rare violin, but it it may not be what you would want to record with all the time for certain types of music. You cannot play anything that sounds wrong on Matrix-12. Does anyone have any class to build something like this anymore?
January 15, 2009 @ 6:41 pm
This is one of the last of the best of analogue and that was in the 80's and then again in the 1990's. It is very powerful reigner, rainer, etc...
It has a lot of flexibility and portability that Moog modulars did not have. I thinks this is one of the best looking analogues at least in top 5. Never seen this used live by rock groups. Sounds are spectacular, but If I remember correctly I made a mental note to myself. If I need to make what I wanted with this I would have to overdub two passes.
January 15, 2009 @ 6:39 pm
It is a SYNTH! I don't know if this is the king of analogues since there are Moog modulars, the Yamaha GX-1, Yamaha CS-80, maybe Jupiter 8 because of loudness. Last, but not least and not a king but the Prophet P5 at times to me, esp with SYNC function can sizzle a mix much stronger than the Matrix-12. To be the king of analogue the signal path must be 100% analogue from in to out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think it was advertised as a killer synth which it is in some ways. I think this had DCO's like all other OB Matrix series. I would rather have VCOs. The sounds are top notch, however I don't recall some things like Ring mod, X-Mod, I think Matrix-12 has SYNC and FM at least but not sounding as loud as a Prophet P5 or even other synths with SYNC or FM.
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Rated 4.15 (393 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 - 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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