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
markus
July 19, 2010 @ 8:57 am
Heavily used on a album from 1989 of Wally Badarou (particulary producer of Level 42 but worked a lot with other artists, like Grace jones or the french singer Allain chamfort) called "Words of a Mountain" that can not be called a pop album, very moody and filled with fine textures, particulary with the Oberheim OB8, a must that deserved really to be heard for the people who wants to here more of the sound of this Synth. His previous album somehow successful in Africa "Echoes" is more featuring the prophet 5. Nice sound experiences full of musical jobs he left us as always. Don't miss it if you can.
RetroGirl
May 21, 2010 @ 8:26 pm
I fell love with the glorious sonic character of the OB-8 in the early 80s. I secured one in the early 90s and have been enjoying it ever since. It's my favorite of all.

Forget presets, must program! The OB-8 can be dirty/sweet Wet/Lush Transparent/up-front. Its sophisticated & classy, more so especially so if you modify its output stage. Its filters produce sizzling smooth highs. Consider early Prince (the grittier OB-Xa but close) – thje ethereal qualities of early Simple Minds – the funky elements of Chaka Khan (OK I'm showing my age). OB8 is all over today's dance tracks - interesting as only a finite number of them were made! Remember too that MIDI was conceived by Oberheim, Sequential and Korg!

Only an OB-8 sounds like an OB-8 and regardless & this is a good thing.
Matan Bodies
April 22, 2010 @ 8:05 am
huge machine, sweet filters, booming tone...
its like a space ship, an army tank with keys very solid build, marvelous wood side panels (true wood)... flexible and
strange... at the same time, i just bought one mint with native midi, just new in oberheim world and i need more time for discover the tottaly power it haves, but i like it different than the others american synths. dark and romantic tunes, 80s new wave character... instant analog affair, be loved... used by and queen, berlin too.
buy one its one of the best analog ever
Mcfly
April 21, 2010 @ 4:28 pm
"I think the early designs - the SEM, the OB-1, the OB-X, and the OB-Xa - have somewhat better sound than the OB-8 and the instruments that followed it. I think that's because the sound of the earlier designs is dirtier in subtle ways, and therefore seems to have more guts. The OB-8 is a more perfect design. The autotune routine tunes the oscillaters more perfectly. But the sound is clean...too clean."

(Tom Oberheim on the Oberheim sound)
tim Burton
April 5, 2010 @ 1:26 am
OB8 is instant love for people who admire classic analogue.
Small mods remove filtering on the low subharmonic sounds and machine gets closer to earlier designs.
It is way better and smarter choice that OBXa, as although bit less aggressive it is 100% Oberheim, no compromise and realiability is improved.
MIDI works very good I didn't have any problems for decades.
I still don't understand why people pay more for Prophet 5 or Memorymoogs, OB8 IMO is same top league offer.
Grab it while you can and buy some spare chips for future-proof operation.
 
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  • 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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