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
August 8, 2009 @ 3:42 pm
One thing you might want to know is that all the modulation on this synth (and the matrix 12) is digital. This means all the envelopes and LFOs are generated by the onboard CPU and put out through a DAC. This doesn't mean the synth itself is digital. However: because of the available technology at the time the synth was built, the digital modulation is very slow. This means the LFO's wont reach audio rate, it also means that the envelopes won't be very snappy. This makes the Xpander good for slow sounds, ambiences, pads etc, but not for stabs, basses, transients, or any of those trippy sounds that use high-freq LFOs.
Dave S
June 1, 2009 @ 11:19 am
I have to respectfully disagree with you GV...I have worked with many VA synths and love 'em. The matrix 12 is extremely fat and doesn't sound digital or thin to my ears....It's kind of hard for a machine with VCO's and VCA's to sound "digital".... If you spent a good deal of time on it, I think you would feel a lot differently.
May 31, 2009 @ 3:12 pm
To planetplayer: yes, the M12 has unisono mode.
To GV: Tend to agree, especially when you compare the M12 to the old SEM based synths. Nevertheless, from a modulation point of view, it is amazing.
Julian Colbeck
March 6, 2009 @ 7:48 am
The Matrix-12 wasn't released until 1985.
February 15, 2009 @ 10:56 pm
GV, I am with you. What make a sound fat is the arregment basically. I have hearded the M12 many times and is always the same generic sound. If you listen to Technotronic (made only with the M12) is fat ok, but it cdan be done by any thynth today and yesterday. Still a fun device for a collector.
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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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