Oberheim Matrix 12 Synthesizer Demo

This video, via Classic Vintage, explores the sonic capabilities of the classic Oberheim Matrix 12 synthesizer.

The Matrix 12 was introduced in 1985, and is massive physically and sonically, offering 12 polyphonic voices, splits and multi-timbral operation, 15 types of LFOs, deep matrix patching and velocity and aftertouch.

Here’s another video, via SynthMania, which pairs the Matrix 12 with an Eventide H3000:

If you’ve used the Matrix-12, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!

14 thoughts on “Oberheim Matrix 12 Synthesizer Demo

  1. Had an Oberheim Xpander (half of the Matrix 12 sans keyboard) back in the early 90s. Loved the filters and matrix modulation, but the envelopes were slow (pretty impossible to get punchy sounds). (Anyone ever wonder why string sounds are always ubiquitous in Xpander/Matrix 12 demos?) Over midi (especially multitimbral setups), there would often be significant latency issues. (The CPU in this thing is way overtaxed.)

    1. Xpander for me too
      Sums it up pretty well.
      I would add underwhelming, weak and anemic.
      A huge modulation matrix but it felt like one was modulating fairies breath.

    2. Owned a Xpander back in the early 90’s. It was a great synth. At the time, there was not a poly synth that had the modulation options of the Xpander/Matrix 12. It was more like a modular in a box that was a poly synth. It was a big step forward in technology because of it’s extensive “Modulation Matrix” and it was a “Multi-Timbral, Analog” machine. It was the apex of the analog line even though it was not as thick sounding as the other “Big Boy” synths like the OBs, the Prophet 5, the Memory Moog. It really had it’s place in the industry and was ground breaking at the time. I see a lot of posts that state that the Matrix 6R was comparable to the Xpander or Matrix 12, but it was not. They were two different synths. The 6r was a scaled down version that sounded thinner and different. Still, all of them were very good.

  2. Feature wise, this is my dream synth. Would love a modern day equivalent of this.

    DSI OBmatrix 12 please.

    Oberheim Matrix 6R is a good substitute though.

    1. Sure a Matrix-12 modern style synthesizer will make me shake my pocket.

      For sure a Matrix-1000 or 6 will be a cheaper alternative and will make some of those classic Matrix sounds imitations.
      Like comment Nº1 says Matrix 12 series have a problem with those slow envelopes and so all Matrix series.
      Instead can make a lot of interesting sounds if you get deep into modulation matrix. A common error with those type of demos comes by lack of modern programming works. Most users don´t understand how to get big timbres on these machines and carry of preset memories (quite obsolete for todays standards) which it is an absolute waste of machine.

      Without question a big machine and a massive surface for recreate views but.. some problems in basic things like envelopes and too few units working around the world. Cheaper Matrix series will do the job but unfortunately Tom Oberheim it seems to be forgotten Matrix concept to the detriment of bored sem.

  3. The Matrix 1000 and 6R are actually quite different in terms of sound, especially because they don’t have the multi-mode filters of the Xpander/Matrix 12 or VCOs. The 1000 and 6r have a std. 24 db/octave low-pass filter with resonance and DCOs. Having had all of these synths (except the Matrix 12), I much prefer the raw oscillator sound of the Xpander/Matrix 12, but the envelopes are definitely better on the 1000/6r. The latter can get some really punchy sounds, but the oscillators are really harsh sounding to my ears.

  4. These days the only hardware that tops the Matrix-12 are things like the one by Don Solaris, or the Schmidt Synthesizer or the Modal flagship (name?) !

    1. Don Solaris and John Bowen’s Solaris are two different people / things.

      Don’s posts though are great. Convinced me to get a TS10.

  5. Sold my Matrix 12 recently (sigh). Miss it. Went to good home. Also sold my Matrix 1000s. For those on a budget, if you want a really kick ass Matrix sound, buy (2) M1000s, then chain them, but detune one against other just slightly, pan one full left, one full right. Really powerful powerful sound. I had black one and white one, but they are the same regardless of synth nerd posts on the interwebs.

    And if on super tight budget, I must admit — grudgingly — that the new Arturia virtual version is not bad at all, and I have some comments about that here:

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