Oberheim Xpander

Oberheim Xpander Image

The Xpander is a six-voice desktop version of the Matrix 12 with which it shares an identical voice architecture. In many ways they are the most flexible non-modular analog synths ever built. Each voice has five LFOs, each with about five different wave shapes, plus the ability to sample most other modulators; five envelopes that can repeat themselves, sync to an LFO, and so on; a lag processor (like portamento, but more general); three tracking generators (that apply a series of linear functions to a value over its range); some ramp generators (the attack portion of an envelope); a 15-mode filter and a user interface to make all of this accessible.

Oberheim Xpander Image

Another very useful feature is its CV/gate to MIDI conversion capabilities for communication with older synths. There are six CV and Gate inputs which use standard 1V/8va CV and positive gating. So you can connect up to 6 external sources delivering CV/Gate and convert that into MIDI. Ample output options offer stereo and mono outputs as well as six additional individual audio outputs (1 for each voice) allowing you to use the Xpander as a stereo polyphonic 6-voice synth, as six individual monosynths or any combination in between. There's even a 3rd party Mod (Oddernmart mod) that allows for an external audio input that can be routed through the filter. And like The Matrix synths, the Xpander sounds wonderful, capable of thick analog basses, pads and textures. It is used by Cirrus, Josh Wink, Astral Projection, Vince Clarke, DJ Sasha, Chemical Brothers, Meat Beat Manifesto and Nine Inch Nails.

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31 Visitor comments
May 7, 2012 @ 9:50 pm
I own an xpander, IMO this is one of greatest synth ever made if you know how to use it, I recommend not to care about factory sounds bank or youtube demo but learn it carefully and you will do whatever you want: vintage, modern, pure analog, digital style, smooth, aggressive, fx, noises, endless loop,.. fantastic sounds for every kind of music..
May 6, 2012 @ 4:12 am
@Red light hand.
no disrespect but the only people who can make such comments about this synth are ones who dont know how to program it as its range huge.
As for it not being great on bass try telling Nitzer Ebb that!
i cant get enough of mine
December 21, 2011 @ 9:39 am
I have an Xpander and I love it.
Most people make it sound too synthy if you know what I mean
I always try to make it sound like an actual instrument that I can express myself with.
I bought it in 1989 and I can tell you that all other synths especially the japanese feel just like toys compared to the Xpander
It reminds me of the people that never hear the difference between electric guitars played unplugged
You either get it or you don't
For the doubters, I recommend Allan Holdsworths two albums Atavachron and Sand or Spokes on Secrets
That's what I call good sound programming.
November 27, 2011 @ 8:35 pm
Are you guys serious?
Red Right Hand
November 8, 2011 @ 9:15 am
It's... OK. Didn't sound particularly 'vintage' to my ears - more like one of the new Dave Smith's. Bit too sharp, bit too sterile, quite honestly a bit dull, even before you take the price into consideration. Not great for bass, not great for pads - bit average, really.

In its day, I'm sure the amount of filters and mod options got it some serious brownie points, but not today - not for me anyway. If you can, try before you buy and consider a cheaper Curtis based synth first or even an Ion or Blofeld if you want loads of filter and mod options.
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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 - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 12 VCOs (2 per voice), Linear FM
  • LFO - 5 LFO's
  • Filter - 1, 2, 3, 4 pole low pass; 1, 2, 3 pole hi pass, bandpass, notch, phase shift
  • VCA - 15 per voice, 5 ADSR envelope gens per voice
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 100 single / 100 multi
  • Control - MIDI In/Out/Thru, 6 CV/Gate Inputs, Trigger, 2 pedal inputs
  • Date Produced - 1984-88
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from
    and Tone Tweakers.

    Thanks to Jimmy and DAC Crowell for providing this information.

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