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
January 18, 2013 @ 8:12 am
Hi can anyone please help me? What are the differences between the Matrix 6 and the Matrix 1000? (besides being able to program directly on the Matrix 6 - and it obviously having a keyboard). Are they the same besides these two factors? Do they sound exactly the same? Same filters etc? Do the same patches work on both? I read that the Matrix 1000 is mono. Looking at the back I take it the Matrix 6 is stereo?
January 17, 2013 @ 4:40 am
The entire Matrix series is unbelieveable. You can push the limits with this is one more far than you think or can with other analog synths at the same range. Get one and keep it, The original sounds on the 6 are so warm and fat enough to get you addicted in a moment. I have been recording many lead sounds on it and it never fails to deliver. Also used by MJ along with the 12.
November 5, 2012 @ 10:50 am
I have owned at least 20 analog synths over the years, and, in this price range, it kicks all the others into touch. Seriously, it is so good at so many different sounds that I have gradually sold all my other synths. Pure 80's analog heaven!!

There are several software editors out there which make programmimg a breeze. But, if you're not a programmer there are 1000's of sounds you can download for free.

Getting rare these days, so don't miss an oportunity if one comes up :-)
Dave Cornutt
November 3, 2012 @ 11:41 pm
@pete: The "Remote" jack was intended for a programmer that was never released.
September 17, 2012 @ 11:23 pm
@tom It should be possible. I own M1000 but I bet M6 also must have guitar mode. Simply switch into it and you will have MIDI ch1-6 dedicated to respective voices. Use the same melody on several channels - except slightly detune pitch on every channel to bring it closer to the drift of VCOs. And you will have a really FAT sound. This however requires the usage of DAW. Even more - you can even have 2 or 3 voice unison that way for polyphony. Like you play note1 on 1-2 ch, note2 on 3-4 ch, note 3 on 5-6, note4 on 1-2, note 5 on 3-4 and so on. Requires some time setting it up but totally worth it
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Rated 4.55 (1021 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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