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The Oberheim

Weapon of Choice: Oberheim

Oberheim Electronics is a company, founded in 1973 by Tom Oberheim (a former design engineer at Maestro), which manufactured audio synthesizers and a variety of other electronic musical instruments. Originally a manufacturer of electronic effects devices, and briefly an ARP Instruments dealer, Oberheim went on to create several ground-breaking products in the early days of synthesizers and electronic music including the DS-2 (one of the first analogue music sequencers) and the Synthesizer Expansion Module (SEM). The first commercially available polyphonic synthesizers, the FVS-1 two-, FVS-4 four-, and FVS-8 eight-voice configurations were based on these modules.

The two voice FVS-1 included a two channel volatge controlled Sequencer, and the FVS-4 and FVS-8 machines included a rudimentury Programmer, capable of recalling sound settings.

Oberheim's later synths like the OB-X and OB-Xa abandoned the relatively bulky SEMs in favor of individual voice cards, and common cabinetry and power supplies. Oberheim continued to make synthesizers until the late 1980s. Other notable Oberheim synthesizers include the OB-1 (monophonic), the OB-8, the Matrix-6, the Matrix-12, and the Matrix 1000.

Some famous players include Joe Zawinul, Jan Hammer, Geddy Lee of Rush, and Rick Wright of Pink Floyd.

Oberheim closed its doors in 1986, when it was acquired by Gibson Guitar Corporation, a larger musical instrument manufacturer.

The trade mark was later licensed to Viscount International SpA, an Italian digital-organ producer, by Gibson. Viscount developed in a few years various instruments that were very innovative for the time and are still requested: the digital synth Oberheim OB12, the guitar DSP GM-1000 with lot of effects, the MC series of master keyboards, and the OB32, a portable and inexpensive imitation of the popular Hammond series of organs.
-- courtesy of wikipedia

The Oberheim in Action

Listen Further/Buy
Joe Zawinul from Weather Report playing an Oberheim 4-voice on "Black Market"
Van halen "Jump"

My college owned an OB-Xa so I had an opportunity to play it quite often. I have to say that I couldn't stand the feel of the keyboard, and even the sounds didn't impress me. The Prophet 5 was a much better synth in my opinion. The earlier 4 voice SEM versions did sound amazing on record, however. They seemed to have a lot more character and warmth. At least from what I heard from Joe Zaminul of Weather Report, and Lyle Mays from The Pat Metheny Group.
Oberheim Emulations

Here are the most popular software emulations.
Product Name Manufacture Comments
OP-X Sonic Projects I have not checked this one out.
Links to Oberheim Parts, Maintenance and more

Here are a few links to some great Oberheim Sites provides lots of links to Oberhiem resources ( manuals and repair )
bluesynths great over all synth site analog synth repair guy in arizona

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