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
December 23, 2010 @ 10:33 am
Amazing Synth! It can be warm and beautiful or fat and beastly! Great flexibility too!

Can anyone give help me out with importing / exporting sysex via the factory OB-8 midi? I have SysEx Librarian on OSX and am not sure how to transfer patches to my mac or patches to my OB?
Rafael Rodrigues
December 11, 2010 @ 12:24 pm
Impossible not to love sound of OB8.
With small stock of spare parts I hope it will last forever, no chance to sell it.
OBX is different beast, very raw and total classic polyanalogue, but for most of needs OB8 is probably better choice.
December 10, 2010 @ 6:37 pm
Also used by The Beach Boys on their 1985 album.
October 19, 2010 @ 8:45 am
Heavily used on a album from 1989 of Wally Badarou "Words of a Mountain"

Can anyone recomend any other CD's that feature Oberheims?
October 19, 2010 @ 8:38 am
I finally own an OB-8. All I can say is AWESOME! I've never had so much fun and inspiration. I've even been neglecting practice on the piano. It is my axe. What a sound. I'm like a little kid on x-mas. I can't wait to fire it up when I get home from work and create. From Bach to orginals to Rush. It is a muscians synth. I can't agree with other reviews. It is not too clean. I can do anyhting an OBX or OBXA can and it's stone reliable. The key action is fine. It's fast. My old Moog Rouge had terrible key action. This is very good. The midi is a bit of a pain to work with but, all early synths with midi were. I dreamed of owning and Oberheim in High School. Huge, Fat, Warm, Moving, Beautiful, Powerful, Sound. I;m a very happy keyboardists. Get one if you can. The prices on any Oberheim continually goes up. Can someone recommend a reliable tech who can perform modifications?
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User Rating

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
  • Resources & Credits
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