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
April 16, 2012 @ 11:02 am
Onwed the OB8, DSX and DMX combo. It was the only setup at the time that allowed a combination of sequencer, drum machine and synth package. The OB was a love/hate relationship in that what it did do (strings, pads, brassy-ish sounds) it did very well while what it did poorly (basses) it always did poorly. It had the wimpiest of bottom end and an Arp 2600 or any modular of the era would run circles around the OB-8's ability to crank out the low freqs. It was like a polyphonic arp Oddessey without the character. If I had to do it over again, I'd go for an OB-X or Xa midi retrofitted
November 9, 2011 @ 6:19 pm
In post from "den solarys" he talks about mod to remove the HPF that cuts the low freqs so it can sound mor like OBXa. Does anyone now how to do this?
October 30, 2011 @ 10:56 am
@FED34FIRE - Try 'The Jets' - their original album sports the OB-8 on almost every video. Look up 'Crush on You' on Youtube. Kathi (keyboardist) uses OB-8, DX7, Emulator II+ and another I can't figure out (yet).
April 22, 2011 @ 8:58 pm
got one in a really nice shape, midi retrofitted. sounds very warm but quite soft and smooth. also i discovered its very good to create some weird poly effects , classic 80's brass on this machine is heaven
March 14, 2011 @ 4:43 pm
ob8 is a superb machine, I own a lot of vintage synths and the ob8 is a diamond in my collection! one of the things I really love is the possibility to exclude oscillators
in the "page 2" so you can use the ob8 as a mono-1osc-5 octave synth! sometimes
the unison 16 osc lead is too fat, so you can choose how many voices you want in it! nice! the sound is absolutely wonderful and pads are THE pads with this machine. this synth is not inferior to any other poly-synths, especially to obxa. Explore "page 2" and play in double or split mode with the arpegg in one of the two parts...enjoy!
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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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