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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The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Oberheim OB-8? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

40 Visitor comments
January 15, 2009 @ 5:01 pm
I tried it in th 80s when it first came out. Did not see to many of these. This came out after the OB-XA which I loved. This sounds OK and is an excellent vintage synth. In my opinion it would only be good for pop tunes, purpose dance music and easy listening. I knew this at first instance when I was playing and programing. I did not know which artists used what and what for and why until the mid 1990's. The sounds are too clean for rock and everything heavier on the OB-8- unless it's for effects or you pump it through FX. The change from OB-Xa to OB-8 I believe was the filter. This made the OB-8 sound like a very clean clean sounding synth and hard to program something that sounds pushy and heavy. I remember playing the OB-8. What I liked about it is the beauty of the physical design. The levers, knobs, wood, blue finish, the Oberheim name, 8 voices, it stayed in tune with no long warm up time and MIDI.
December 15, 2008 @ 5:23 pm
Also used by the french singer and composer Daniel BALAVOINE.
Thomas kenny
November 26, 2008 @ 3:36 am
The Oberheim OB-8 synth is one of my favourite oberheim it has a black & blue finish so I used to suggest one of those machines were used by The Thompson twins 80's hit single "Love on your side" & Billy ocean's "When the going get's tough & the tough get's going" the only OB8 synth I used to imagine watching it on "Top of the pops."
September 24, 2008 @ 10:52 am
I agree with Bob I got one of these for $2,000.00 this year. I enjoy playing and programming it everyday, I don't know why I chose to wait this long to get one. I was a D-50, DX-7 fanatic in the 80's and a Triton, Yamaha ES user now. I just started adding vintage gear to my live set up...what a great difference analog makes. Love this site, lots of useful information.
Robert Fales
August 30, 2008 @ 2:54 pm
Long time viewer, Like your info. I've bought alot of these old analog beasts and am very happy. I always check VSE when wanting info on a synth. Keep up the great work. One thing though as these synths get older they go up in price. I'm buying an OB8 w/midi. I wish I could have gotten it for a thou but I'm paying 2 thou. And it's in great condition. I think it's worth it though. You might want to increase the resale price of these though. Thanks Bob Fales
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Rated 4.29 (527 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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