Does The Dave Smith Instruments OB-6 Have The Classic Oberheim Sound?


Can the Dave Smith Instruments OB-6 do classical Oberheim sounds?

That’s the question that synthesist Peter M Mahr explores with a series of audio demos of the new synth:

The first demo, above, is DSI OB-6 only, dry or using internal effects.

The following demo consists of six patches he programmed for the OB-6. At the beginning you hear four chords playing a pad without any EFX (OB-6 „dry“), followed by the same chords, plus a bit of the internal bbd delay and a little chorus on it. No external EFX have been used.

Individual OB-6 Sound Demos:

Check out the OB-6 audio demos and then share your thoughts on them in the comments!

26 thoughts on “Does The Dave Smith Instruments OB-6 Have The Classic Oberheim Sound?

  1. It sounds amazing and has the Oberheim signature sound, especially the filters. I know as I’ve owned an OB8, 4 voice, Xpander, Matrix 12, 6 and 6R and currently a Tom Oberheim TVS-Pro
    Unfortunately, according to Tom, it’s not an OB8 in a six voice version. He told me, it’s basically a prophet 6 with SEM filters. Given that, it’s more of a hybrid (sequential with Oberheim).
    Still sounds lush and beautiful but I think I’m gonna go with the sequential prophet 6 instead.

    1. From interviews with Tom and Dave, I understood its actually more like 6 SEM voices with a prophet 6 clothing, with some Oberheim vintage effects sprinkled on top.

    2. That’s interesting. I don’t really like the sound of DSI stuff, but I like this a lot. Funny how big of a difference some changes can make.

      1. That’s because it’s not really “DSI stuff”. It’s 6 SEMS as a poly. Much closer to the hallowed OBX than the OB8 according to Tom Oberheim.

    3. I know Tom, had one of 10 prototype TVS Pro’s and spoke with him recently about the OB-6. The OB-6 actually has 6 SEM voice cards which include both VCOs & Filters from the SEM. I played with one the other day for the first time and having used the Matrix 6 and 12, OBXa, SEM and Two Voice this thing sounds very much like an Oberheim. It reminds me most of the OBXa but obviously with a more modern and versatile design. It’s a huge thumbs up for me and a perfect meeting of the minds. I can’t wait to get one. Here’s tom at my home studio walking us through the TVS-Pro. Mikael Johnston

  2. If I didn’t already have a Prophet 12 I would be all over this. Actually I probably would’ve sprung for the Prophet 6 if I didn’t already have the 12. DSI/Sequential are on a roll.

  3. It sounds not like a OB-Xa or OB-8 or OB-X but the OB-6 have Oberheim character.
    The sound is a bit like the Xpander/Matrix series. Really nice synth.

  4. The main differences told to me from DSI compared to the Prophet-6 are:
    – Oberheim VCO’s
    – single Oberheim SEM filter instead of a seperate low and hi-pass SSM-ish filters in the P6.
    – added ring modulator, 2 flangers, and a 3rd Masetro-esque phaser to the effects section.
    – Sub octave is a square wave instead of a triangle (as on the P6)

  5. one of the main designers at Sequential was asked if you can just take a VCO voice board out of the P6 and swap it with an OB6 voice board inside and vice versa, as the motherboards are the same. The answer was a categoric “NO” as they are different voice boards with different voltages and different architecture and control lines. This tells me clearly that the OB6 is not “just a P6 with a different filter”. The OB6 oscillators are “Oberheim” also. Which honestly its quite obvious. I didnt need someone to tell me this it is obvious that this is the case from the amazing demos.

    For a post that asks if the OB6 has the “classic OB sound” i would have liked to have found some demos of some classic OB8 sounds or something to compare directly with, but thats just me…

    1. Hi,

      I did not have an OB-8 in my studio and actually that was not the goal. My job was to create OB-6 patches.

      Additional to that _I_ was interested if the OB-6 has that certain “Oberheim” sound. I did neither ask if it has the OB-8 or OB-Xa sound, nor the OB-X, nor the Matrix-12, nor the 4v/8v sound etc. Maybe it would have been more appropriate to ask whether the OB-6 has the typical “Oberheim” sound. But then we would probably end up in a discussion what exactly is the “typical” Oberheim sound.

      Bottom line for me is, the OB-6 is a great sounding and inspiring synthesizer. If I had to choose between an OB-8 and an OB-6 I would definitely go for the latter. I owned and used an OB-8 for many years, and I had the Matrix-12 when it was released. But frankly I never liked the M12 much. My favorite Oberheim was the OB-Xa. But it is not one of the most reliable instruments, right?

      But I am not the defender of the OB-6. ,) It is just an amazing and inspiring instrument which I hope to get any time soon back into my studio.


  6. To be honest you’ll either want it or not. Having had an excrutiatingly unreliable OB-8 i dont approach the matter with nostalgia.

    There are differences between this and the Prophet 6, Prophet 5, OB8, OBXa anyway.

    I have the Prophet 6 and it is completely different to anything else I have inc a Pro-2.. I suspect this would overlap it in some areas and not in others. Each to their own. Im pleased with mine. I believe OB-6 owners will be as well.

  7. Beautiful FAT and ethereal pads…..this baby is a true monster….kudos to the programmer/player!! So many YouTube “Dr Who” clangorous/dissonant demos really made me doubt the OB6. Only via THIS demo do I know with metaphysical certitude that I absolutely MUST acquire this machine AT ALL COSTS!!!! OMFG—this is a dream come true. Fabulous….hope they include YOUR sounds in the factory banks….just brilliant!!!

  8. This would be a hands-down purchase for me if it had Page 2, like the OB8. Putting the front panel into Page 2 gives a shit ton of more programming on the OB8.

    I’m surprised that no one has brought this up. I have been spending a lot of time on my OB8 trying to decide if I should buy the OB6. A lot of enjoyment and finesse comes from Page 2.

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