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!

27 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.

      1. Actually, the OB6 oscillators are architecturally different than those in the P6. The analog voice in the OB6 is unique from the P6.

        1. I love this… Looking at the GS thread on the new P5/P10, the cbmd user you just said is wrong *is* Dave Smith 🙂

          Ah, sorry… you were replying to smidi not cbmd. My mistake!

    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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