MATRIXSYNTH: Synth Stuff Ep. 63 - Dave Smith Instruments OB-6

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Synth Stuff Ep. 63 - Dave Smith Instruments OB-6

Published on Dec 15, 2019 tritonrecordings

"Boy did I ruffle some feathers when I mentioned this synth on my Matrix 6 video... Let's clear the air - this is an excellent synth. Sounds good, flexible, built well, and it's Oberheim-ish. My problem with it is that it doesn't sound as close to an actual OB series Oberheim as the name and blue-lines paint job would suggest. It's more like a polyphonic SEM, maybe? If I give my Matrix 6 a little chorus, I can get it to sound pretty close to an old OB8. The OB6, however, still sounds like a Dave Smith synth but with some Oberheim flavor added. In short, it didn't live up to the name.'s still a great synth. I always say I like the Prophet 6 better, but always reconsider when I spend time with one of these."

Update: That would be because the OB-6's filter is based on the multi-mode SEM filter, while the OB-Xa and OB-8 are the CEM3320 VCF. See this post for a good sonic comparison between the OB-6 and OB-Xa. They are pretty close, but definitely different. The OB-6 isn't supposed to be an OB-Xa or OB-8. The OB-6 has a 2-pole SEM multimode filter, while the Xa & OB-8 have a switchable 4-pole and 2-Pole filter. It's the 4-pole that "mellows out" the Xa and OB-8. You have to turn the mix levels down on the OB-6 to approximate that.  Because the Xa and 8 lack the multimode SEM filters so they are not capable of of what the OB-6 and SEMs can do. The OB-6 is likely closest to the OB-X which was closer to the SEM for its voice boards. So... they are all different, but overlap in some ways. After checking out the comparison video, check out this video. It's worth noting later renditions of Oberheim synths become more and more mellow sounding compared to the SEM, OB-X, and even OB-Xa. The OB-8 is considered more polite and the Matrix-6 and 1000 were considered budget versions with the same general character but lacking the heft that made the early Oberheims classics. The Matrix-12 is said to be somewhat lacking in girth as well, but it makes up for it with its nearly modular modulation matrix and VCOs compared to DCOs in the 6/6R and 10000. I've owned the Xa, Matrix-6 (hence the matrix alias), the Martrix-12, the OB-6, and a TVS Pro. They all sound fantastic. The OB-6 sizzles compared to the others.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with you entirely, every time I've played one, I been failed to be convinced that the OB-6 sounded like an original OB-8, certainly not sufficiently for it to top my synth wish-list!



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