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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38 Visitor comments
February 23, 2009 @ 3:24 am
definatly the weakest of all oberheims (except matrix 6 is worse), gone is
the classic timbre of the 4 voice or obx, what you gain on the ob8 is a fiddly page2 with extra software functions (like a scaleable lfo ramp , portamento modes and extra lfo) but it still has no ringmod and most of its parameter resolution is way to low (stepped modulations since the lfos are software) it uses the same curtiss chips as a prophet600 but sounds weaker except when in double or uni mode, if you want oberheim go for the sem , obx range, if you want modulations go for the xpander (although that sounds a bit weedy too)
February 21, 2009 @ 12:41 am
OB8 is awesome and great sounding synth.
I added it to arsenal after OBXa was stolen and expected to sound different, but actually not. It has more stability and this artifact that is more present in OBXa might produce consistent sound that some describe as less raw.
The beast has all the depth, wideness and fundamental analogue quality of earlier model with way more advance operating system and synth alone is just more refined.
I would never put OBXa as 'better choice', they have same chips and basic architecture.
Big thumb up for classic Oberheim.
January 15, 2009 @ 5:06 pm
What I did not like was the overall sound for my money. It did sound expensive, but not enough. It was sort off feeble to me. It is bright and loud but the filter and resonance was weak to me. These were used on several hits. Every instrument is different and has its own persona. Was there anything really wrong with the OB-8. I would say NO, not really. It is professional and looks great, it sounds great on certain songs, but not for my personal music. It made me dance around to my own music that I have created in my head and not pumping sounds and music I wanted to do. Who would like to drive a 1000horse power car on every road and track and all weathers? I think no one. Sometimes it's better to take reduction in power for a better drive and for what fits. I remember playing the OB-8. This is when it first came out and it wasn't on records I knew yet. I would be proud to own one, it is great engineering work, but I like the thicker stuff personally.
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.
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  • 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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