Oberheim OB-X

Oberheim OB-X Image

The first of the OB series Oberheim synths, this is a classic analog synthesizer available in 4, 6 or 8 voice configurations. It featured a 2 pole VCF lowpass filter with its own ADSR, a VCA with ADSR, a flexible LFO section, polyphonic sample and hold, polyphonic portamento and 32 patches of memory. Although it has been over-shadowed by the bigger and more popular OB-Xa and OB-8 synths which offer more flexible programming, the OB-X still holds its own. Capable of lush analog synth sounds comparable to the Sequential Prophet 5 but at a reasonable price. The OB-X also gives you Polymod functionality, something that the OB-Xa and OB-8 do not have.

Oberheim OB-X Image

This synth is definitely worth checking out. It has been used by Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Cirrus, Depeche Mode, Queen, Supertramp, Kenny Kirkland, Jean-Michel Jarre, Japan, Tangerine Dream, Rush, Simple Minds, Chicago, Styx, Ultravox and dozens more!

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36 Visitor comments
June 11, 2009 @ 9:52 pm
one of my favorite polyanalogs of all time. smooth n creamy discrete-based classic. the filter is a variant of S.E.M. design, limited to lowpass operation - sounds very similar to FVS @LP. resonance is smooth , liquid and can get extremely powerful, nearing self-oscillation when turned to the max.

comparably, its succesor OB-XA aint smooth, but one raw, angry beast (which i love too), thanks to Curtis chips. also, X output is like 10 dB hotter than XA. OBX only uses CEM3310 envelopes.

most notable albums, heavily based on OBX

Tangerine Dream "Tangram" and "Exit"
Jarre "Magnetic Fields"
Queen "Play The Game" & "Flash Gordon"
Japan "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" etc

if u get one: replace all capacitors with quality, voiceboards and PSU. replace VCO tune trimmers with hq multi-turns like bournes.
May 4, 2009 @ 10:28 am
Also used for the intro on Christopher Cross' 1980 #1 smash & universal yacht rock anthem 'Sailing'.
Won grammy awards for best song & best arrangement of the year with that one...

Spotted it being played in the *intro* of this live tv performance:

http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/music/watch/v6552457HsS6f 7Bd
Seth C Triggs
November 9, 2008 @ 8:20 pm
Don Grusin was known for using this model too (especially on Dave Grusin's "Out of the Shadows", listen to the first three tracks especially. The pad on Crystal Morning is great. He plays the same OBX on the "NY-LA Dream Band" album and has a nice part in "Mountain Dance." Dave Grusin's band on the Mountain Dance album also features this rig. It gave a nice and fat sound for various things.
October 3, 2008 @ 8:21 am
This synth was definitely used for more than the bass on Madonna's Holiday. The liner notes mention the bass was played on a Moog, and that the OB-X was used on the song. Just listening to the song, there are plenty of synth sounds and string sounds, all of which had to be done by the OB-X. What a synth!
September 11, 2008 @ 12:40 pm
(To the best of my knowledge) the OBX was used on Madonna's "Holiday" (bassline), Nena's "99 Red Balloons" (bassline), Rush's "Tom Sawyer" (glides), Styx's "Too Much Time..." (intro), much of Missing Person's popular songs ("Words, Destination Unknown, Walking in LA"), and Van Halen's "Jump" (even though the OBXa is in the video, I believe the OBX was used for the studio track). So, the sound of this synth is more common than many people think. The bassline for "Holiday" is a woofer killer! I have the four voice with extra cards if someday I want to tackle expanding it. I replaced the fake wood sides (laminate) with real walnut. Looks OBXa class with this simple mod.
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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 - 4, 6 or 8 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 VCO's per voice (sawtooth or pulse)
  • LFO - 1 LFO
  • Filter - 2 Pole lowpass with ADSR envelope
  • VCA - 1 ADSR VCA envelope
  • Keyboard - 61 note
  • Memory - 32 patches
  • Control - CV / Gate on voice 1 only
  • Date Produced - 1979
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