Synth Site: Oberheim: Expander: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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Bulldogge a hobbyist user from USA writes:
Well, I've only had the Xpander for a couple of weeks, but I feel that I can give a decent review of this synth. Some people malign the interface for being menu-driven and not having one-knob per function (plus the six encoders are not the smoothest or best feeling). My opinion about this is that the interface is about as logical and easy to understand as can be. It is very easy to find out what is modulating what and edit everything quite quickly. With all the possibilities that this synth has modulation-wise, I was expecting editing to be somewhat tedious, it is not--in fact editing is a joy. Particularly nice is that every feature you are editing has an immediate numeric read-out, allowing for some very specific values.

Interface aside, the Xpander is a very smooth sounding synth. Not the most aggressive of analogs, but perfect for complex pads and weird sounds in general. The bass is not powerhouse and punchy, but the 2-pole and 3-pole low-pass filter modes allow for some deep if smooth sounds which can easily find use in a song. Which brings me to the filter, the absolute best part of this synth. It's amazing that with such a cheap chip they managed to get it to sounds so great(but not the self-resonance, best to avoid that, IMO). By playing with the modes you can manage to get sounds no other analog can produce (the phase+low pass is truly funkadelic). Simply one of the best analog filters ever made, and definitely the best multimode analog filter I've ever heard (with all due respect to SEMs).

So, the filter is the best part of the Xpander. But what about the much-vaunted matrix modulation? Well, that pretty much speaks for itself. True, recent analogs like the Andromeda and the Sunsyn offer matrices as complex as the Xpanders, but none have surpassed it. Especially because none have what makes the Xpander so unique--the shear number of modules which can be used in the matrix. 5 LFOs, 5 EGs, 4 Ramps, 3 Tracking Generators, Lag processor and more--no other non-modular analog synth possesses this many features, and outside of the Nord Modular and Kurzweil's VAST most digital synths still haven't reached this level of complexity. Imagine, you want each oscilator to have it's own PWM, each with it's own vibrato, and then both the filter and resonance being modulated by seperate LFOs, the Xpander can do this (I know that adds up to six LFOs--I haven't mentioned the hidden LFO which is permanently fixed to Vibrato). Name me one other non-modular analog which can do this--there just isn't one (AFAIK).

If you can't tell, I am a big fan of the Xpander. Easily one of the best polysynths ever made and it's built like a tank to boot. Well worth what it goes for on the market, if you are thinking about analog polysynths you can't do any better, so I would highly advise saving up and making the sacrifice to get one--you will not be dissapointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Jan-28-2001 at 16:15
Lonnie303 a hobbyist user from Germany writes:
I'm just trying to describe the sound of an Xpander: It is best for big fat analog pads( i often have to turn out the bass EQ cause the pads are too fat).Noises and very unusual sounds are also good because you can modulate what ever you want, but if you are looking for a bass-synth it isn't the right one. The bass sounds very deep but it has too less attack to produce a punchy fat one, maybe that's the reason why it makes wonderfull pads. I think it's a litle bit too expensive, but it's o.k. People who are intersted in an Xpander should also test a JP-8000 it also makes very good pads and noises(just my opinion).

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-23-2001 at 06:53
nubey a professional user from usa writes:
Contact marion systems, they still make sound card recording gadgets and hard drive recording stuff for PC's.. I think you might be able to get ahold of old Tom that way, especially if you're looking for ancient tech stuff regarding the xpander, not the expander which I think is a sequencer for the OB8..

Here is my strong assertion:

1> I'm out $1750 for an Xpander 2> It's my all time favorite synth, bar none. 3> It's the most expressive, hard, soft, ambient, biting, aural wallpaper, anything and then some.. 4> It's brilliant and worth every single cent I paid for it. 5> Also mine has an audio in, which is bad ass (sorry for the crummy adjective) for processing loops, or a mix.. Filters simply rule!

If you see one, buy it, charge it, indentured servitude, whatever it takes buy it...

6 marks, since I can only rate up to 5...

-Nubey a true oberheim maestro..

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Oct-10-2000 at 17:22
Mac Macreedy a professional user from USS Sulaco writes:
Not as powerful as a Supernova (the only virtual to outwelly last generation VCO machines like this) but far more capable in the weirdness dep`t than just about any poly short of a K2500. used from a Multitimbral Poly-VCS3 angle with the warmth of real analog, the power of developed MIDI and the best mod-matrix in the business the Xpander is the dogs bollox and more compact and cheaper than a Matrix-12. the individual outs and CV/Midi converter are standard and the latter useful for running MIDI gear as well as the X itslef from ARP sequencers, Korg SQ10`s etc , and quantized playing from a CV Ribbon controller. The user interface is sort of Waldorf pulseish, certainly not 1-knob per function but usable anyway.

Soundwise, as I implied earlier, it ain`t the most powerful VCO Analog (on a par with a T8, JP6 or a few other later VCO jobbies) and certainly lacks the waft of an OB-Xa but this ain`t what this machine is about. Buy one before they all dissapear, partner it with a Supernova if you want reliablity and a decent amount of powwer or with a Memorymoog is you want ultimate waft AND weirdness.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jul-23-1999 at 13:34
Johann H. Stoeten from Germany writes:
Excellent Sound, Excellent User-Interface, Excellent Possibilities. Xpander rules(!) - Never ask yourself if you should get one - just buy it! This REALLY is a Synthesizer.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Dec-09-1998 at 16:30
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