Sounds Of The Oberheim OB-X8, “The Creative Sound Design Synth of Dreams”

Composer & sound designer Jim Daneker shared this 18 minute exploration of the sound of the new Oberheim OB-X8, featuring a series of extended demos.

The demos feature the sound of the OB-X8, with reverb added from the GFI Specular Tempus. No other processing was used.

Here’s what Daneker has to say about the demo:

“My first real spin on the new Oberheim OB-X8. I wanted to just twist knobs and see where it took me, and as a huge Oberheim fan, I have to say I was incredibly impressed.

Any of my skepticism about resurrecting the OB series was happily unfounded. This thing is TOTALLY worthy of the name, and every bit a real OB.”

The Oberheim OB-X8 combines the three different voice architectures of the classic OB-X, OB-Xa, and OB-8 synths into a single instrument. The individual filter types and other unique characteristics of each model have been faithfully reproduced, along with a 100% analog signal path.

Check out the sound demo and share your thoughts on the Oberheim OB-X8 in the comments!

Video timings:

00:00 – Fifth Swell
03:15 – Seismic Bass
05:30 – String Masheen – playing with various filters
08:08 -Tangerine State – arpeggiator, filter resonance
10:35 – Rippler – LFO experiments
12:09 – Notta Delay – more arpeggiator goodness
14:07 – Rossum8or – haunted Wurlitzer vibes?
15:50 – StrawBent – an analog benediction of sorts

34 thoughts on “Sounds Of The Oberheim OB-X8, “The Creative Sound Design Synth of Dreams”

  1. Amazing. It sounds just like an Oberheim! If you needed more proof that this super duper synth can make all of those favorite Oberheim sounds you heard again and again, you’re certainly in for a treat, and it will only cost you $5k to own one for yourself.

    1. It boggles my mind that every single time Synthtopia posts anything about the OB-X8, you leave a comment that either dumps on the OB-X8 or the people that might be interested in it.

      It’s strikingly weird behavior, given that you are presumably into synths, to level so much hate and disrespect for Tom Oberheim, and what many would consider the best synth he’s ever designed.

      I’ll trust the takes of guys like Daneker – who demonstrate on video that they have chops and understand synthesis – over someone that seems to be offended by the fact that the OB-X8 exists and to be intent on sucking the joy out of the life work of an 86 year old synth pioneer.

    2. Your fixation on the price is odd, especially in a world where people think nothing of throwing $8000 worth of eurorack modules into a case to make a gigantic monosynth.

  2. I, too, have a hard time understanding people who post things like this, instead of celebrating an excellent machine built by a legend and able to carry the OB legacy on for more generations. 5k is nothing for an instrument of this quality. What boggles my mind is they probably have not played or touched the synth. I have, and the build quality is amazing. Ultimately there is perhaps some type of self-esteem issue. Somehow they need to feel important, and tearing down anything threatening them or their gear is a threat that must be destroyed? I want to hug them and let them know it’s ok if the other gear is good. Just because they can’t afford this piece of gear does not make them any less of….well, anything. And just because you can afford this gear doesn’t make you any better. Do what you do with the tools you want to use.

    1. build quality isn’t something you ‘touch’ on the outside; it’s born out over years of reliable, trouble-free use. to claim to be able to ‘detect this by playing’ is just plain hubris eddyboy.

      whether this is worthy of that acclaim, we’ll really know in 20-30 years.

      1. Build quality most certainly is something that can be determined from the outside — the fit and finish of the case, the materials used, the feel of the keyboard, the quality and feel of the switches and knobs.

        Internally, the instrument is a Sequential design with multiple PCBs and name-brand components. You’re going to find Texas Instruments power chips, not cheap SCT copies, Panasonic electrolytic caps instead of Honor Electric, SSI synth chips instead of CoolAudio copies, and so on. It’s possible for an experienced hardware to determine overall design quality simply by reviewing the layout and components used.

        As for chip failures over time, we won’t know until we’re several decades in. That said, manufacturing has improved dramatically over the past 40 years and modern chips should be more reliable than their vintage counterparts. The big gotcha here is that processor and memory complexity has increased dramatically.

        1. yeah I get it, but come on, you’re pulling most of that from the source vendor not ‘handling the merchandise’.

          I used to do fault tolerant computer design. even Intel doesn’t put parity on internal CPU buses, and that’s easy stuff; you can’t entirely trust any component vendor to be ‘reliable’ without detailed inspection. besides, bathtub failures are on the infant side for low voltage applications – caps aside.

    2. There are a few folks around here who unfortunately feel like the only way they can appear knowledgable and/or relevent is to take a dump on folks who actually do creative work. They do it with 90% of their posts here. It is unfortunate. I’m holding out hope for them.

      That is great that you actually got a chance to play the synth. It looks and sounds like a great one for sure. I would have loved to see a few more controls on the front panel, but I’m sure they had their reasons for the UI design. It certainly does look clean and inviting.

  3. a Steinway & Sons Flügel O-180 costs 30.000-135.000 € and it only has 1 sound….so where is the problem with the 5K pricetag, which some users need to point out? 🙂

  4. John Rossi has a good point; if you have 5 grand to blow on analog nostalgia – go for it.

    personally, I would rather get a C-15 for the money; much more value there for me.

    Andreas – imho a good Piano blows every synth away.. I like synths, I would love a Steinway.

    1. Both of you make ignorant and offensive points, backed with feeble arguments.

      You’re both continually suggesting that anybody that buys this is an idiot, with money to blow on nostalgia.

      This ignores reality – there is a healthy market for high-end synths, and they’re being bought by musicians like Daneker that can make these instruments sing.

      You also seem to think that musicians can’t make new sounds and new music with classic instruments – which ignores the entire history of classical music.

      It’s depressing to see musicians that are more concerned about what other people buy than the idea of actually having fun making music with great instruments.

  5. Best demo yet. Synth sounds so fat, moist, juicy, saucy, and incredibly delicious.

    I’m so glad that I didn’t buy the Moog One; that’s not my kind of sound; and I do own a Sub37 though…for that bass and monophonic garnish.

    I’m so glad that I didn’t buy the Prophet-5, because I knew that I’ll own Take5 for much less dollars, sounding similar to P5 plus more features.

    However, I am so happy to have waited decades for the OBX8. My kind of sound. Made my down payment. The unit will be in my hands sometime this October. I’m an Oberheim man. My first Oberheim is an Xpander which I bought secondhand in 2016. Loved its whole architecture and voice assignments. Sounds sweet. It led me closer to wanting that ‘GIANT’ OBX sound. I’m glad I didn’t buy OB6. Somehow, I knew that one day Tom Oberheim will release a magnificent giant beast of a synth true to the old OBX variants. And here it is…so voluptuous, rotund, fatty bumbum, sweaty, hot and juicy OBX8.

    1. Hehe, all these three (Moog One, Sequential Prophet-5 and this one) are pure beasts 🙂
      And yes, all these three are high-end, professional instruments that have their price!
      I would be happy to own one of these three.
      Maybe I’m getting a Prophet-5 one day, as it is the cheapest.

  6. I absolutely love it when a manufacturer makes the risky decision to issue a new synthesizer with a very high price tag but is the absolute top of the line in sound quality and is a true joy to play. I’ll never be able to afford a synth like this but, so what? They are not aiming this at guys like me, they are aiming it at the top end of the professional market and that is their choice. The demo above suggests that it is an amazing synthesizer and that it is worth every penny of the $5,000 asking price.

  7. Good LORD this sounds amazing.

    Worth the money. It’s built up to a quality, not down to a price.

    Tone is important.

    I almost wish I hadn’t seen this. Better start saving.

    Yeah.

  8. This has come damn close to changing my mind about getting a Prophet 10 (and I’m still months away so it still might). If I didn’t already have an OB-6 this thing would’ve been a no brainer.

  9. JR; if you have that special itch and the money, okay, but IMO, if you have an OB-6, the smart move would be to beef it up with a software OB. The place is crawling with them and I have yet to hear a bad one. GForce and Cherry Audio offer 8-Voices for small change. Synapse Audio’s Obsession is a dual-engine OB for $99. DiscoDSP offers a free OB-X. Blend your OB-6 with one of those and you can blow out a wall.

    1. Yeah I think that’s the smart move. I like Arturia’s OB entry. I think that’s why I’m sticking with my decision to get the Prophet. Got to play one and it’s got all the feels esp with that fantastic keybed. I’m sure the OB has it as well but as you said I can put my OB-6 on roids with a VI.

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