Oberheim OB-Xk

Oberheim OB-Xk Image

The Oberheim OB-Xk is a MIDI keyboard controller from the mid-eighties. Originally designed to control the Matrix and Xpander modules, it uses MIDI and works fine as a controller for any MIDI gear. It's got 61 keys that respond to velocity and aftertouch, two OB-style Pitch/Mod controllers, and one assignable continuous control slider. From the front panel you can directly access the first 100 single patches and/or 100 multi patches of your MIDI module. Any additional patches must be selected by another MIDI controller.

Other features include the ability to transpose up or down by up to 2 octaves or by half steps. The keyboard can be split into 3 zones. There are basic Hold and Chord memory functions and an Arpeggiator section with pretty decent features (it can use internal or external clock). The OB-Xk can also send a sequencer Song Select, Start and Stop commands. It's built with Oberheim's classic & vintage look: solid black metal case with wood end-cheeks. Definitely a unique controller to have around, although severely limited by today's standards.

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18 Visitor comments
October 26, 2011 @ 11:07 am
Craig Who? That's not Craig Anderton, is it?
August 28, 2011 @ 2:42 pm
I remember my dad decided to get into MIDI music somewhere around 1987. (Making me ~6 years old at the time) After briefly toying with Bank Street Music Writer, he sold off the Apple IIe and bought an Atari 1040ST, a Roland MT-32, and an OB-Xk. Over the years he expanded his home studio to include a TG-55, a TX-81Z, an Akai S-612 sampler, and even got the MT-32 upgraded with the Robin Whittle de-crapification mods.

He used all that up until ~1998. Sold it all off in favor of a generic PC, a Montego II card and a DLS patch editor.

... Except for the OB-Xk. He's still using it to this day.
January 29, 2011 @ 1:55 pm
I bought my Xk in 1998 and used it as part of an ersatz Hammond organ setup. I gave oak side panels like a B-3, integrated the power supply and a new paint job - but masked the decals. It looks great but tooling was minimal so it may have been costly to build. I like the shape and feel of it and the arpeggiator is a treat but I wish it had better pushbuttons. The ICs are a bit stressed - sometimes it seems to lose it's mind or won't turn on. Such is the fate of old electronics. Capacitors dry up, contacts corrode, ESD/EMT damages chips and batteries go dead. It's kind of a museum piece now.
December 22, 2010 @ 1:49 pm
It is a Oberheim Dual Manual 8 voice - it is the only one in Black. There are (4) others in white. Only (5) of the Dual Manual exsist.
October 1, 2010 @ 2:28 pm
Thank you for the information, Craig, much appreciated!

But what is/was that keyboard?!? Was that for Oberheim? Is that related to the XK? It sure has a whole lot more knobs. ;-)

Also, if convenient, I'd wager that others would also find the schematics of interest.

Again, thank you for your insights...it's phenomenally cool to hear from someone who actually designed and built the gear!
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User Rating

Rated 3.38 (94 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 - n/a
  • Oscillators - n/a
  • Effects - n/a
  • Filter - n/a
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator with internal/external clock sources
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (velocity, after-touch)
  • Memory - 100 single patches, 100 multi patches, 3 zones
  • Control - MIDI Out (1 channel at a time)
  • Date Produced - 1986
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Synth Site

    Thanks to Scott Marcotte for providing information.

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