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.

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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-Xa? 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
Daniel
February 8, 2014 @ 7:42 am
Sounds better than the Memorymoog in my ears, less crass and warmer. Check out early Simple Minds for OB-Xa galore.
gridsleep
November 22, 2013 @ 9:33 pm
Philip Glass's Oberheim is on eBay right now.
Klaas
November 22, 2013 @ 1:16 pm
I bought my OB-xa in the 80's after hearing David Sancious playing on it. Mine is a 8 voice wonderful machine with an excelent sound. Bought a missing midi interface in Paris. And still works like it should be. The best synth ever made.
Jacob Hunt
October 7, 2013 @ 10:30 pm
This is one amazing machine. Aside from the obvious functions (and the amazing sound), it is capable of waaay more. A lot of it's hidden power lies in the voice toggle switches. Use them to turn it into a monosynth, then use the double function to turn it into a 3-4 VCO monosynth with two fully editable layers. Then, split the keyboard and have a bass synth and lead synth. I only recently found out that split and double programs can be saved (including split point and layer balance), and have been having a lot of fun with that. I have found this to be one of the most versatile synths around!
Todd
April 11, 2013 @ 6:56 am
I bought mine used for 1800$ Its a great investment definitely very rich and organic sounding in comparison to newer digital synths. I'm happy with the price I paid, the only other 1 I found was online on ebay for 4500$ and wasn't functioning. Mine seems to be working fine aside for some slight cosmetic scratches on top.

My favorite piece in my amateur home studio by far...
 
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  • 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 - 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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