The Oberheim Matrix-12

The Oberheim Matrix-12 is a vintage synth from 1985 that represents the “the culmination of Oberheim’s search for the ‘perfect analog synthesizer’.”

The Matrix 12 was a hybrid analogue/digital modular synth with a massive complement of audio generators, audio processors, controllers and control processors with extensive patching options. Each voice had two analog oscillators, a multi-mode and multi-pole (1 – 4-pole) filter, fifteen VCAs, five envelope generators, five multi-wave LFOs (each of which offered no less that 64 control waveforms), plus tracking generators, ramp generators and lag processors.

The Oberheim Matrix-12 is considered by many to be one of the finest and most programmable keyboard synthesizers ever created.

If you’ve used the Oberheim Matrix-12, leave a comment and let us know what you think!


Audio Sources

  • 12 Independent Velocity, Release Velocity and Pressure (After Touch) responsive analog Voices.
  • Voice Control Assignment can be per MIDI Input Channel (12 maximum) or per polyphonic grouping in up to six Zones.

On-Board (“Local”) Controllers

  • 61-Note (C0 to C5) five-Octave Velocity, Release Velocity and Pressure (After-Touch) sensitive Keyboard, non-weighted.
  • 2 Non-dedicated Modulation Levers.
  • 2 Non-dedicated Pedal Inputs.

Voice Architecture

  • 2 Voltage Controlled Oscillators (“VCOs”)
  • 1 15-Mode Voltage Controlled Filter (“VCF”)
  • 15 Voltage Controlled Amplifiers (“VCA”)
  • 1 FM Modulation Generator
  • 1 Lag Processor
  • 3 Tracking Generators
  • 5 Digital Envelopes
  • 5 Digital Low Frequency Oscillators (“LFOs”)
  • 1 Noise Generator


  • Matrix Modulation™ System utilizing 27 possible Sources routed to 47 possible Destinations in up to 20 “Modulation Pages” per Voice.
  • 12 Permanent (“hardwired”) modulation per Voice.

MIDI Implementation

  • Transmit and Receive Channel select independent per Voice (MIDI MONO Mode) or per polyphonic Zone.
  • Modes –
  • Mode 1: OMNI On, Poly
  • Mode 3: OMNI Off, Poly
  • Mode 4: OMNI Off, Mono
  • Controllers –
  • Indendent Controller Number select
  • Controllers ON/OFF select
  • Patch Change Commands ON/OFF select
  • Miscellaneous MIDI Features –
  • System Exclusive ON/OFF select
  • MIDI Echo ON/OFF select


  • Three 40-Character Fluorescent Displays
  • 100 SINGLE Patch Memory Locations
  • 100 MULTI Patch Memory Locations
  • “Chain” Programming Mode
  • Cassette Interface – FROM (input) and TO (output) ports
  • Trigger Input Requirements (selectable): +5V DC signal minimum, 1ms Pulse Width
  • Power Requirements (selectable):
  • North America and Japan: 95 – 120 V A.C., 50 – 60Hz
  • Europe: 200 – 230 V A.C., 50 – 60 Hz


  • Length: 38-7/16 in. (97.63 cm)
  • Width: 20-5/16 in. (51.59 cm)
  • Height (maximum, Including feet): 5-15/16 in. (15.08 cm)


  • Net: 33 lbs. (14.97 kg.)
  • Shipping: 40 lbs. (18.60 kg.)

Optional Accessories

  • FS-7 Sustain Footswitch
  • POB-X Volume Pedal
  • Individual Voice Outputs Update Kit


2 thoughts on “The Oberheim Matrix-12

  1. The Matrix12 is an amazing sounding synth. I’ve owned 2. The first was no9 off the production line, the second was 427 I think. Both sounded slightly different, the earlier was slightly softer sounding. I still have no9. I’ve been playing for 20yrs or so and owned OBXa’s, Prophet, Matrix6, DX7, SY77/99, Motif 7,8,xs7, Nord etc. All the digital stuff was just for reliability and their diverse range of sounds. The OBXa and prophet were boring enough, the matrix 6 is just a toy but every time I hear the Matrix12 it just makes me smile. It’s so fat sounding and with all the voices sounding slightly different it’s like 12 different instruments at once. It’s sounds won’t be for everyone but if you find the right job for it there’s nothing better. You could use any of the thousands of sounds from your array of soft synths and sample banks and they’ll be fine but you probably won’t remember them next week. If you use the Matrix12 on a track it’s tone will instantly recognisable and never forgotten. It doesn’t feel like a machine, It’s got soul!

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