Introduced by a cinematic video (you’ll find it at the bottom of this post), the OB-6 is a collaboration between the two most influential designers in poly synth history, Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim.
The OB-6 takes the classic bold Tom Oberheim sound — with its true voltage-controlled oscillators, 2-pole filter, and amplifiers — and adds modern enhancements such as studio-quality effects, a polyphonic step sequencer, an arpeggiator, and more. No other modern analog poly synth can boast such a pedigree or such a massive, in-your-face sonic signature.
The OB-6 features at a glance:
*Vintage SEM Tone
The OB-6 sound engine is inspired by Tom’s original SEM. It features two discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) per voice with continuously variable waveshapes (sawtooth and variable-width pulse, plus a triangle wave on oscillator 2). The classic Oberheim-inspired 2-pole, state-variable, resonant filter provides low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch functionality. Voltage-controlled amplifiers complete the all-analog signal path.
*Dual Digital Effects, True Bypass
The dual effects section provides studio-quality reverbs, delays (standard and BBD), chorus, flangers, and faithful recreations of Tom’s original phase shifter and ring modulator. While the effects themselves are digital, with 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution, a true bypass maintains a full analog signal path.
*X-Mod and Poly Step Sequencing
The X-Mod expands the tonal palette and makes it easy to create dramatic and unconventional sounds. Modulation sources are filter envelope and oscillator 2, both with bi-polar control. Destinations include oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, filter cutoff, and filter mode. The polyphonic step sequencer allows up to 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step.
You can create sequences polyphonically, with rests, and sync to an external MIDI clock.
The full-featured arpeggiator can be synced to external MIDI clock as well. Unison mode features configurable voice count (1-6 voices), chord memory, and key modes.
*Knob per function panel and presets
The knob-per-function front panel puts virtually all OB-6 functions at your fingertips. Included are 500 permanent factory programs and 500 rewritable user programs. Turning on the Manual button enables live panel mode, in which the sound of the OB-6 switches to its current front panel settings. In this state, what you see is what you hear.
This analog powerhouse is packed into a four-octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch.
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About The Author
Founder & main editor here at ANR, 'non-musician' and music-tinkerer. His first keyboard was a cheesy Yamaha PSS-270. He still loves it.