Oberheim OB-Xa

Oberheim OB-Xa Image

The OB-Xa is a massive analog synthesizer with a very familiar and classic Oberheim sound. Its sound, size and power are very similar to the Prophet 5 from Sequential. However this one has up to 8 voices which can be split, layered and stored!

The OB-Xa was available in four, six or eight voice polyphonic models. They all featured patch memories, also in varying degrees. A minimum of 32 patches were available on early models (4 banks of 8). The maximum amount of patch memory storage found on many OB-Xa's is 120 patch memories. All models of OB-Xa, however, featured the new Curtis chips which offered great stability for an analog synth and they are attributed to its great filters and sounds.

The OB-X was very similar to the OB-Xa except that its voices could not be split or layered and, more significantly, the OB-X had a lowpass-only discrete SEM 12dB/oct state variable filter, which had a great and classic Oberheim sound. The OB-Xa changed that in an attempt to economize manufacturing and increase stability by switching to CEM3320 Curtis chips for its filters. The Xa offered two switchable filter modes: 12 dB/oct (2-pole) or 24 dB/oct (4-pole). This hardware change resulted in a more agressive sound, not quite as creamy as the OBX original, but what still became a "bread and butter" sound of the Oberheim line.

Splitting the keyboard mode separates the OB-Xa into two 4-voice synths with two available patches. The Layer mode plays the two patches simultaneously. There are also some added effect sources, perfect for any analog polysynth, including portamento, unison, sample & hold, chord memory and three LFO's!

Oberheim OB-Xa Image

However none of the original OB-Xa's have MIDI, unless otherwise having been modified. The OB-Xa is a classic and fat analog machine. It will give you thick analog pads and drones, punchy bass and cyclic analog effects. It's been used in the past by Depeche Mode, Van Halen (Jump!), Gary Numan, Jean Michel Jarre, New Order, Paul Sheafer, Prince, Queen, Jethro Tull, Stevie Nicks, Sneaker Pimps, Rush, Mike Oldfield, Richard Barbieri, the Thompson Twins and Bon Jovi.

Check Oberheim OB-Xa Prices on eBay

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40 Visitor comments
Orion
February 25, 2013 @ 1:59 pm
@Tom...I don't know about cheap, my friend. I saw them on eBay for about $7k...is that cheap?
Tom
February 13, 2013 @ 6:44 pm
A great classic! A tad thicker and bass heavy than the OB8, but that is also an excellent synth with it's own strengths (page 2 functions etc). Strange that it isn't more expensive at this time. Personally, I find it more sonically pleasing than my Memorymoog ( also CEM based), where it is brassy and and thick, but never harsh. Buy it before the prices rocket up!
Wahid
January 3, 2013 @ 12:06 am
It was also use by Billy Griffin in the "Respect" Album in 1983, with powerful brass and string pads ;)
Johannes
December 21, 2012 @ 10:56 pm
Strawberry Swichblade! They also used an Oberheim DX on their classic 1985 release.
"Since Yesterday" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7QPBzAJ_io
mcfly
January 30, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Owner's manual, Service manual, factory patches and other stuff here: http://www.lazyblueoctopus.com/html/oberheim.html
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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 - pulse or sawtooth
  • Effects - Portamento, sample & hold, chord memory
  • Filter - 4-pole filter with ADSR envelope and switchable 12dB/oct or 24dB/oct slope
  • VCA - ADSR envelope gen
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Memory - 32 patches (4 banks of 8) to 120 memories
  • Control - Oberheim's 'system'
  • Date Produced - 1981

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