Oberheim Matrix 6

Oberheim Matrix-6 Image

The Matrix 6 was one of the last few synthesizers from Oberheim to come out during the mid-eighties following the classic OB-series. The Matrix 6 utilized high-tech but less expensive digital and midi features and still retained a totally analog sound. It did this by using DCOs (digitally controlled oscillators) to provide stability, programmability and more. All the Matrix synthesizers featured Matrix Modulation which allows for extremely wild virtual patching for almost unlimited range of sounds and modulation capabilities!

The Matrix 6 is a very popular synthesizer today because it offers access to the legendary sounds and power of the Matrix 12, though not as meaty but at a fraction of the cost. The Matrix 6 is also like the Xpander, but with only 6 voices of polyphony and slimmer programming. Each of its 6 voices has a pair of DCOs, a low pass filter, 2 VCA's, 3 envelope generators, 2 LFO's, and 2 ramp gens for a variety of complex analog pads, basses and sounds.

The programmability is vast, but it can be very tedious. As was the growing trend in synthesizers during this time, knobs and sliders were replaced by just a few membrane buttons and a simple data slider. This is accompanied by gobs of programming and patch data written across the face of the unit. Fortunately Midi SysEx is fully supported so you can get patches on-line and transmit them into the Matrix. Access, makers of the Virus, used to make the Matrix Programmer which gives you much more user friendly hands-on controls too. And software editors such as Unisyn make graphic editing possible for much easier programming.

Oberheim Matrix-6R Image

The Matrix 6R (pictured above) is the Matrix 6 without a keyboard, retaining its membrane programming interface. Oberheim later produced the Matrix 1000, which is essentially 1000 patches from the Matrix 6 in a 1-unit rack-module, preset and editable only through SysEx. For professional studio work or live on stage, both the Matrix 6 keyboard and rack-mount are excellent and versatile synths that make a great source of bright and punchy sounds, vintage analog pads, textures and ambient sounds. It is used by Orbital Apollo 440, Jimmy Edgar, Philip Glass, The Grid, Future Sound of London, Astral Projection, The Shamen, Mouse on Mars, Tangerine Dream and Cirrus.

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52 Visitor comments
May 2, 2014 @ 9:42 pm
very impressive machine.
vast programming possibilities based on a capable and sonically beautiful synth are a good start and this is no exception. the interface is alright and logically laid out, no knobs and sliders, but, given the possibilities, this thing would have to be an entire tennis court of knobs to access all areas…plus 10m of patch cables ;)

think 'modular in a 1986 box'.
April 11, 2014 @ 12:41 pm
Finally got a chance to play a Matrix-6 by a friend of mine and loved it so much that now I'm on the hunt for one myself. Obviously it sounds good and fat because, after all, it is an Oberheim. So tired of all these crazy eBay prices. Holler at me if anyone has one to offer.
Email: tylervifrey@gmail.com. Thanks everyone.
December 13, 2013 @ 5:34 pm
In response to alexis_nembrode Com Truise's main synth for a while now has been the DSI MoPho, and it is what he tours with. Although as it's name implies it is mono, so I'm guessing he might go to this for chords.
July 19, 2013 @ 7:20 pm
Com Truise uses this synth heavily on his music. It was his signature sound for the "Galactic Melt" album, and im sure "In Decay" had a lot of it too. I always thought that his singature synth was the Juno 106 (because it appears a lot with the dsi mopho) but no. Its the matrix 6.
May 27, 2013 @ 12:35 am
@chrisallan: The Matrix-6 does have spillover capability, so it should be as simple as setting up identical patches, enabling spillover, and playing...
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Rated 4.55 (1017 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 - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 12 DCO's at 2 per voice
  • Layers - Single / Split / 2-part Multitimbral
  • Memory - 100 patches, 50 splits
  • Filter - 1 lowpass resonant filter
  • VCA - 2 VCA + 3 Multimode Envelopes
  • LFO - 2 (plus 1 for vibrato effect)
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (w/ velocity and aftertouch)
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - MIDI In/OUT/THRU
  • Date Produced - 1986 - 1988
  • Resources & Credits
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