Oberheim OB-8

Oberheim OB-8 Image

The OB-8 was the last of the classic OB series that included the OB-1, OB-Xa and OB-X. The OB-8 is a very warm and rich sounding eight voice polyphonic synthesizer with that classic Oberheim sound. Because it was released just before MIDI debuted, the OB-8 had no MIDI implementation originally, but some models were retrofitted with 9-channel MIDI implementation. The OB-8 did use Oberheim's very own digital buss system making the OB-8 the center-piece of your OB-studio, allowing it to connect to the DSX polyphonic sequencer, DMX drum machine and other OB-synths. In a time before MIDI, this type of instrument connectivity was truly awesome!

The OB-8 is totally programmable and loaded with powerful analog sounds and style. Dedicated knobs, sliders and a traditional layout make programming a snap and very hands-on. Each individual voice can be de-tuned for a very thick (or weird) sound. Syncable VCOs and a nice 8-note arpeggiator are also on-board on this cool analog synth. It has the OB-Xa's switchable 2 or 4-pole VCF (filter) with ADSR. Tons of LFO modulation controls and effects are possible. The OB-8 also introduced a second layer of programming functions - hit the "Page 2" button and all front panel controls were assigned to an entire second set of parameters! The earliest models did not label these hidden "Page 2" functions on the front panel, but that was rectified on later models.

Oberheim OB-8 Image

Up to 120 patches of memory storage were also available to keep your amazing sounds around. And 24 additional patches are available for doubled/layer presets. A full 61-note keyboard with Oberheim's unique pitch/modulation benders only sweetens this synth's deal. It is used by Depeche Mode, Prince (the Artist), The Police, Trent Reznor (NIN), Thompson Twins, Rush, Simple Minds, Jimmy Edgar, Jimmy Jam, KLF, Van Halen, Stevie Nicks, Styx, Future Sound of London, Space, REO Speedwagon Paul McCartney, and The Time.

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40 Visitor comments
Loren Nerell
August 8, 2014 @ 9:09 pm
Another date change, you could still special order an OB-8 as late as 1986, we shipped a few that year.
August 5, 2014 @ 11:19 am
I recently got an OB-8. Everything works and it's super clean, except for one issue.
Most of the banks save their patches transposed a full step up, and if I create a new patch and save it to any of those banks, it saves transposed up a full step.
The original owner never noticed this, and I believe him. He did perform a tape dump to restore it's original patches right before I bought. He used a WAV found online.
Anyone else experience anything like this?
January 28, 2014 @ 4:53 pm
@wahid, herbie was not using an OB-8 in the video. He was actually playing a Rhodes Chroma.
Pulse Emitter
April 17, 2013 @ 2:51 am
what can i say, it sounds absolutely magnificent. so lush and musical. puts you in the lap of luxury. a very high-end machine indeed. www.synthnoise.com
February 13, 2013 @ 8:59 pm
Warm and lush are the words that comes to mind. The OBXa may have a little more low end and fullness, but the OB-8 is smoother. I have both and love them equally. Lots of interesting things to do on page 2, and a good arpeggiator. Some says that the OB-8 is more reliable but I have had quite a few problems with both mine over the years (dead cem chips etc). Anyway, a truly great instrument that still is a bargain.
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Rated 4.29 (526 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 - 8 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 vco's per voice: saw, pulse, triangle
  • Memory - 120 patch programs, 12 split programs, and 12 double programs; external cassette storage; MIDI SysEx data dump
  • Filter - Switchable 2-pole or 4-pole VCF w/ ADSR
  • LFO - Triangle, Square, Ramp, Samp+Hold
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (can be split or doubled); no velocity or aftertouch
  • Arpeg/Seq - 8-note arpeggiator with external sync source
  • Control - MIDI (Channels 1-9) added as a retrofit
  • Date Produced - 1983 - 1985
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