Synth Site: Oberheim: OB-12: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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jussi a part-time user from Finland writes:
I got this unit today for 790 Euros + shipping

I have played it now for um 4 hours and find new aspects of it all the time (not just the presets). Much deeper machine than it seems.

Though there are knobs knobs and sliders there is also a manual worth reading and many parameters that dont change through knobs.

It sounds really good, and the ability to tweak almost every parameter in real time is great.

I think they still got some left at .. ;)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-28-2002 at 16:48
kday a hobbyist user from USA writes:
Just got the OB-12 synth for $750 brand new from Guitar Center a few days ago one of the last 3 left across the country I hustled my butt off to get them to ship my synth from across the country to a GC in CA where I live I had checked all the Guitar centers and none had any in calif I saw the Musician friend AD a few months ago for $599 and after reading the Keyboard Mag review a few years ago I thought I would never ever want to buy that machine but then GC sent me a catalog advertising for $699 and that did it for me my desire to find out more about this synth burned in me like a torch at the olympics I started calling around to local GC to hear this unit to see for myself it what I heard from magazines were indeed true about this unit, I said if I didn't like it I could always take it back so I wanted one and the chase was on bad reputation and all so finally a guy ordered the unit for me paid the cash and reading all the reviews hear I said what the magazine said about the unit must be true but still I had to find out for myself now I did already own a Yamaha AN1x analog synth so i know what a great sounding synth id supposed to sound like my AN1x was sooo fat I thought I would never ever sell that unit because you had immense sound development potential in a AN1x board which will blow away a nord lead and Roland JP 8000 and even a Korg Z1 for analog realism so after all the bad reviews here and elsewhere and system problems reported by users I opened up my box and pulled out the keyboard and boy was it beautiful pretty blue and full of knobs and sliders and a ribbon controller which I love and the FXs I heard OK things about them but now time for the test from an R&B and Hip Hop and Funk and POP keyboard player and producer working with different genres I needed true Funk quality fat sound and fat bass especially and piercing leads was a must so I turned on the machine and the first thing I noticed was the pleasant blue florescent display of the interface even right there I gave the machine one significant reason to keep the machine after all my AN1x had excellent sound but a near garbage quality interface very small and complicated so it was a relief so far to a great interface on an analog synth that cost just $750 and then the very first thing I searched for even before comparing the sound was the operating system, I had heard folks complain about having OS 1.47 and even 1.50 so I said if this unit has 1.47 OS it's definetly going back period because I didn't think I would be able to get the latest OS because I couldn't download it off their website I had emailed them and no answer but just today they said they were on summer vacation and someone could get the latest OS , so I checked for the OS on the unit and surprise it was even later then the one listed on their website! my unit has OS 1.52 and only 1.50 is on their website? so I thought what's up with that? they even responded back to me and didn't even acknowledge that they didn't have the latest OS posted on their website, but noooo problem I became much happier believing that they even went farther to fix all the problems and bugs associated with 1.47 and 1.50 OS so evrything looked promising and now the sound quality I touched the first key of the sound called OB strings hummm sounds fat to me, and then I went down the bank testing each new sound one after the other and then I got to the bass one of the most important I heard it and then realized that what the keyboard review said about the bass being midrangy was right but wait! wrong! the stock presets are set that way but if you twist that knob boy O boy does super bass kicks out of that box damn, that keyboard has some of the funkiest bass I ever heard come from a analog synth fat and innovative plus editable if you tweak the filter cutoff the filter is everything you ever wanted in fat deep deep bass very boomy and that midrange osc 1 is perfect combo with deep bass filter cutoff just the way we bass hogs loves it and more, those folks who relies on factory presets totally misjudged the bass potential to almost idiotic proportions good grief, and then the piercing lead test I had heard that it didn't do piercing leads so I proceeded to hear the leads now that's what I mostly needed even more then bass so I went through the presets one after another and all of them were great all of them I turned a few knobs and again boy did that machine sing! cutting leads to almost ear blowing highs and all the rest were just as great the organs sounded totally realistic not one thing I found to be lacking and then effects the effects were great maybe not the best but just as great as the other VA keyboards I heard and had much better then Korgs Fx on the Z1 and equal to the AN1x effects very editable like on any FX box so were all these great things added with the latest OS? I don't know but everything I ever heard about the OB-12 wasn't true other then midrange osc which really didn't make a difference if you tweak the other perimeters on the synth, the interface A1 quality even better then almost all the rest the display shows you the waveform graphics and perimeters when you edit a particular sound very cool, build quality is also A1 outputs I believes outputs Fxs too I think I read if that is true this synth is the greatest synth ever for under $1000 the multi timbral potential excellent 4 parts throw your nords and AN1x and JP 8000 and Z1s and most of your true analogs synths away and buy the future of satisfied analog the OB-12 oh I forgot they don't sell them anymore so I guess you just have to keep them after all , these things went fast and boy was I lucky to find one I tell you that this synth is totally useful forget the comparisons to other synth that means nothing doo doo squat the real deal is are you able to use what you can create with this maching and I say of course we can, there is a saying in the bible from King Solomon that says lazy hands make poverty which means that lazy folks who can't use their hands to get what they want usually ends up being falling behind and unable to inspire someone to hire them for creativity and productivity and then falls behinds if you can't program what you need in the computer world then most likely you will end up going into poverty, because you out there spending thousands of dollars for someone to program your future for you and many times on inferior equiptment that becomes obsolete every machine I buy know is top notch quality at reduced priced after the world refuses to buy due to heavy competition or bad reviews the world rather have the programmers to demo and tweak the machines for them and sometimes the reviewers doesn't say what they need to hear about synths in magazines articles, I don't know if it was the newest OS 1.52 or just bad reviews but this synth kicks A** and is not what I read in keyboard or SOS magazines and as I twist these 28 knobs and nearly a hundred sliders and buttons I feel I just got the deal of the century in both price, sound, performance, design and technology and of course interface intuitivety. it may not be the total best synth but it is definetly the greatest analog synth for under $2,000 dollars Hallelujah! I'm the King of the World!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-27-2002 at 03:24
miek a hobbyist user writes:
I was lucky enough to get this beast for $549 on Musicians Friend platinum membership, so I went for it. I was originally saving for a Nord Lead 2 or Korg MS2000, but I just went with my whim and got it, and that’s a good thing, cuz the next day they were all sold out. :) I got the last one in stock... ... shame on me. However, I do not regret my purchase, and I do believe that it is worth over twice I paid for it, and wouldn't have hesitated to pay $1100 as it was previously listed before, but reading all these reviews made me think twice... DAMN reviews never getting things accurately. But here’s my review... I'm not asking you to buy the OB12 or to love or hate it, as this is my personal experience with the OB-12, but I would rather ask that you take my review into consideration. Although I now love the OB-12 to death, my review will be unbiased, so that you can decide if it's for you or not.

My fair comparisons will be pinned against the Roland JP-8000/JP-8080 (I don’t own it, but have use it exclusively as my DJ friend has one.), Korg MS2000 (again I do not own, but my friend also has a MS2000, but I haven’t the opportunity to learn it fully), Korg EA-1 (I do own, and I can show some contrast), Korg ER-1 (I also own, as I might be able to illustrate programmability) and a MINIMOOG, (witch my friend also has, as I have had the pleasure to play with it A LOT).

I also use Roland JX305, MC505, boss SP505, lots of effects processors, along side my DJ stuff (For live PA's) and also lots of studio recording hardware, but that will be irrelevant. I’ve messed around with Waldorf Micro Q and Novation bass station 1 keyboard but I haven’t ban able to learn how to use them yet (My friend has those too) Oh enough of this bullshit....

Let's look at the oscillators. When you turn off the filter and effects, and mess with the oscillators alone you are able to go from a dull square wave to more exotic waveforms. Both oscillators offer you the basic cooking material, Triangle, Square/Pulse, and Sawtooth. Psudo oscillators also include white noise and the sum and difference of osc 1/2 (Ring Mod Level) and that’s about it... Limiting your naked waveforms to 5.

Yes other synths offer you more waveforms liek the JP8000 (7 waves), MS2000 (3basic+50 Digitized waves), or Micro Q (Hundreds of waveform tables/templates. But what you don’t know is this.... Every single waveform on the other synths or variants of the standard waveforms!

For instance, the Supersaw Waveform on the JP is '7' stacked detuned saw tooth waveforms at different levels. The OB-12 can create the super saw by three or more ways. 1) Osc 1 Saw allows you to "Spread" the sawtooth waveform; meaning detuned Saws are mixed with the original. I found that the OB-12 saw spread is more 'natural' to the ear, as compared to the JP, in that the OB-12 sounds warmer *i.e. not as digitized as the JP. The Saw Spread is very excellent for both Pad's and Strong and Powerful and convincing string sounds. I say convincing because as I played with and listened to some Stings on Korg Triton rack (My professor has one...), the OB contends very very well! (Well after tweaking filter amp lfo's and all the good stuff.

I have read reviews on synths that have the same or similar feature, but I'd imagine that they would have a hard time getting the very very pleasing sound! As I was saying, another way to fake stacked saws is to detune osc 2 Saw about -3 to -9 fine-tune and then applying a slow triangle LFO onto osc 2 pitch. But this way is more applicable for Lead Sounds... (And an awesome lead it is!) As a last resort, you can engage that unison button... and set unison to -5 0 +5 fine-tune or so, then you'd stack six detuned sawtooths together. Come to think of it, you may engage Sawtooth Spread to about 75%, detune osc 2, and then engage unison and you might come up with uhh... I’m trying it right now... WOW! Playin the bass note range... lets do the math (3Saw in spread osc1 + 1 detune (osc2)) X (3 unison) = 12 Sawtooth waveforms per voice! I haven’t even engaged the Chorus Switch Yet... Lets see... Well Chorus creates another multiple of the sum of the waveforms... so, you can create a MAXIMUM of 24+ Detuned Sawtooth Waveforms Per Voice! Yes its possible folks 24+ sawtooth waveforms, most pleasing sound, and the filter is OFF, THINK of the possibilities. Another possibility is to add a touch of Ring level witch is a new waveform in itself... Well - That would raise the total to 30+ sawtooth waveforms, Nice Nice Nice. The JP 8000 has a similar unison feature as well as a chorus, however I haven’t tried stacking on it, but surely it cant reach 30 detuned sawtooth waveforms per voice... The cost of Using Unison has cut the polyphony for the patch to 4. I would recommend MONO- Legato keyboard/oscillator settings if you use Unison, so that you can still use 8 voices for other 3 parts. I'm very very glad I’m writing this review, cuss I’m definitely going to use that sound in my next song! Very Very NICE! SHIT it’s so nice I was playing that sound for more than 30 minutes in the middle of writing review! I haven’t even turned on the filter yet....

OH SORRY... Lets go back on track where were we? Oh ya, were still on the oscillators, well the OB 12 has Triangle Modulation witch just multiplies the triangle waveform into itself creating what they call 'WRAP' very similar sounding to JP Triangle Mod. You can also get the Wrap Modulation by having two Triangle Waveforms on Osc 1 and 2 and send FM amount about 50% to osc 1.

Yes The OB-12 sports FM synthesis. Same concept conceived by Yamaha, cept you only have a 1 OP process, but who cares. At this time I don’t know that much about creating sounds VIA FM, but keep playing with it... You get some very interesting results at the most unexpected times... Just remember the Pitch Of Oscillator 2 should be and even integer ratio over osc1 liek 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5, also 5:1, 4:1, 3:1, 2:1, They each ratio of frequencies create a very distinct (sometimes erotic) waveforms that I recon would be very very difficult of achieving with any synth, even FM synths. If you us the FM knob, just make sure you set Osc 2 Frequency at one of those ratios relative to osc 1, or else you’ll get a very very ugly sound... Has to be exact ratio for awesome timbres for FM.

Ok, this a feature I really like on the OB12... You can Activate 3 Waveforms Per Oscillator, Simultaneously, Meaning you can have a Saw Spread, Triangle Wrap, and PWM going on at the same time in Osc1 alone. On top of that, you can Add Noise to the Resultant waveform, and also Activate w More Waveforms simultaneously on Osc 2 (Saw, Tri, Plc/Sqr), ring mod level is also implemented so the max number of Oscillators or psudo-oscillators total 8 In the oscillator section without Voice Reduction... You can Assign Velocity/Aftertouch/Mod Wheel/Magic Ribbon/Foot Controllers (2x)/ Envelope Generator/Keyboard Range/Osc1 FM/Osc2 FM - to Osc 1 Pitch/ Osc 2 Pitch Osc 1 PWM OSC 2 PWM. Imagine the Modulation possibilities! I strongly feel the oscillator section on the OB-12 is what separates it from the rest of the crew. Here are some nice oscillator tricks that all synth programmers must utilize. One of my favorites is what I call SAW WIDTH MODULATION. One example I’m about to give gives some creative possibilities using SYNC Waveform. You should Select DRY TRIANGLE Wave for OSC1, and Saw for OSC 2. Turn on the Sync OSC1 --> OSC2 Switch and apply LFO Depth to change OSC2 Pitch by about +2 Octaves. You want the triangle wave for a super strong fundamental while sawtooth slowly morphs from BUZZZZZ to ZZZZPPPPPPP to TCCHHHHH to WAHZZZZ... back to BUZZZ - Effect is best when filter if off or close to open, because your creating strong super harmonics that sounds almost like a HPF but has a lot more attitude. Try it, your synth will love you for it. If you use a Pulse wave, it will have exact same effect as PWM but on SAW its almost like SWM - if you ever wondered what Saw Width Modulation would sound like this is your Chance.... (Works best in the Mid Bass Range)

This is another oscillator trick that I like, as you create a Thumping Kick and also a Reverse Kick, and Toms and Bass Drops. Solo oscillator 1 with TRIANGLE WAVE. Set your oscillator Attack to 0 and Decay anywhere Between -8-25 (Lower # is faster thump Higher # will create longer Drop) and increase EG DEPTH to from +10 to +50, play with only the EG DEPTH and ED Decay knobs. You’ll eventually find the Drop/Thump your looking for. You can try alternate Waveforms for all sorts of kicks and thumps. The possibilities are endless. Customize your thump and put it in your Sampler... Chances are your Kick will sound better than preset kicks on your drum machine/ sampler. I have adapted this from the Korg ER1 witch uses FM to create Drum/weird sounds... You can also try using the LFO Triangle/Sawtooth or Soft Square to make a altered thump, instead of the EG. I have attempted making thumps n drops using the JP8000 and MS2000, and they can do it, however due to a much limited range via e.g. depth/ I wasn’t able to get the variety on the OB12. However, The OB-12 Oscillator EG is not that 'SNAPPY' as the JP or MS2000 EG. The MS-2000 and Korg ER-1 gave me the best Kick Thumps and Bass Drop results, but the OB-12 has its own unique thump. - The OB-12 has a more customizable thump however... as you can make a Square wave at the -ATTCK phase of the DECAY (not attack phase of EG) then it will morph to a TRIANGLE or SAW if you wish it too.

You can also achieve a kick by setting Resonance to near or to max, and setting up imalar EG settings.

To get the Reverse Kick or Thump to whawP Just add to the ATTCK to the same value as your decay, or with the LFO, Reverse your LFO Depth the same range in the opposite direction.

The filter section if crafted rather well. You can have your choice of any 2 LFP BPF HPF APF modes that can be set in serial, parallel, and split modes. I am aware that the micro Q has a most elaborate filter scheme, but I haven’t explored that that much. This is what I like about the OB-12 filter setup... You can assign OSC1 and OSC 2 to separate filters, or better yet, you can assign noise and ring modulated signal to either or both filters! This means that you can BPF Noise with KB tracking (To create pitched noise) while filtering out OSC1/2 with a LPF. Unfortunately there is only one Cut-off knob for both filters. You may disconnect Filter2 from CUTOFF setting and keep Filter 2 at fixed value, or you can Track Filter Two relative to a ratio to Filter 1. I'm not aware of any synths (cept Waldorf) that are capable of this. You can combine LPF1 to LPF2 to create a Steep Cutoff 24Db/o or more even (It sounds like it) While Single LPF sounds like 12Db/O it is not specified in the manual.

I like splitting the filters and making a very slow LFO modulate CUTOFF with LPF and HPF at Parallel, you end up having the most exotic movement in your sounds! (Try with Auto Pan) I must admit, the MS2000 filter has a stronger punch to it, sounds fuller than the OB-12 (Maybe its me)... the EG filter is Faster and Snappier. Whilst the OB-12 attack setting from 0 to 1 is from TIK TIK TIK turns to WhAW WhAW WhAW. *Not as snappy. However kudos to Viscount for the OS-12 has the least noticeable STEP filter sound while slowly turning the knob!

The amp section is like any amp section, if you don’t know what this does, don’t buy this keyboard, it will be too hard for you to use, then you'll be like the other guys before on the list "THIS SYNTH SUCKS ASS CUZ PRESETS SUCK, EVERYONE ELCE SEZ IT SUCKS, AND I ONLY PLAYED WITH IT FOR ABOUT AN HOUR OR TWO" fucking closed minded fuck. Oh sorry uhh...

Well everything else is self explanatory, I am getting lil bit tired now, so now its time for my closing argument. I’m sorry, I was about to go into the MINIMOOG comparison, witch the OB-12 Can contend very well too, just ask your MINIMOOG:), But I cant tell you right now, perhaps later.

OH, and don’t waste your money buying preset patches from companies liek NID NEPRO and stuff, sure he makes badass patches for the TRITON (I listened and played them) but you don’t learn anything about making sounds.

Don’t sit on your ass all day and try to make music with someone elces patch/preset. That’s very evil and sacrilegious... Damn all to hell that do that! Ok me go Beddie time BIEBIE - Dont worry, The Arp is really standard and uhh, there a nifty RPS feature simatlar to JP8000 RSP, but more Customizable.

-- Miek

Don’t listen to my MUSIC on my page till OCTOBER, my CD and Demos will be finished then. You'll Hear lots of OB-12 Stuff...

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-22-2002 at 06:32
emunity a professional user from US writes:
I have been reading all the PRO's and CON's. Well I can tell you this much. I own most of the vintage synth's and still have them. Prophet5 Rev1 and Rev2. Minimoog and Moog source. Oberheim 2 voice. Same synth as the one Neil Pert uses in Rush but his was a 12 voice. Oberheim's OBXa and OBX. THe OBX I own is the one Dennis Deyoung from Styx had modified to have the extra memory banks near the MOD wheel. It has a toggle switch. Have any of you ever heard an OBX or OBXa live. Or a Prophet 5? Well any VA synth today cannot replace the sound of these Vintage analogs. I have spent a lot of time at GC listening to the newer generation of VA synths, I am not impressed in the least. THe virus sounds thin flat and tinie. Nord lead again another flat or weak sounding synth to me. Novastation is ok. THe JP8000 was nice but I liked the rack JP8080 a bit more. When I heard the OB12 I was not impressed at first. I played around with it for 2 hours. I have to say for $599 US who wouldn't want to own this beast. THe OB strings were almost exactly that. THey sounded like the original OBXa stings. FAT. I tried to create strings on the virus C and Nord and just lauphed when I could see that it just coudl nto be done. THose Nords and Access's are for leads only and even then I am not impressed. I think the OB12 is well worth $599 or $699 but not $2000 as I has seen on some posts. I own one and will keep mine. I am happy with it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Aug-10-2002 at 17:54
KorgBoy from U.S.A. writes:
'My best personal point of reference is to my (former) Z1. The OB-12 is soooo much richer, fluid and glitch-free than the Z1 would ever imagine. This sound and ride is like a 512BB next to the Z1's Impala...' bp

You are a joker 'bp'...

posted Wednesday-Aug-07-2002 at 14:23
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