Oberheim vs. Oberheim

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRist
135 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:44 am

Hi!

I don't get the differences between the different Oberheim emulations.
I would like to buy the one by sonicprojects or Synapse Audio since the one by Arturia seems to be not that promising compared to those two. But as I understand correctly, there are different models that are emulated. Which one would you personally pick?

Cheers! :phones:

- Juljan

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KVRAF
15508 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:48 am

If I were you I'd try all the demos and pick the one you like best. The preference of others is irrelevant. :wink:
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

KVRAF
28834 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:52 am

OB-X (Sonic Projects) vs. OB-Xa (Synapse). Check some Youtube videos for some sound demos of either of the original synths.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

KVRist
345 posts since 9 Apr, 2005 from Japan

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:07 pm

Oberheim made lots of different synths. This isn't an exhaustive list, but these are probably the most famous ones.

OB Series

The three famous classic OB synths look similar but sound different. The OB-8 and OB-Xa use the Curtis 3320 filter, while the OB-X uses a discrete SEM filter. The filter alone makes the OB-X quite different from the other two, but even the OB-8 and OB-Xa don't sound the same.

Arturia OB-Xa V and Synapse Obsession are emulations of the OB-Xa. They're both great, with different pros and cons, so you should check both of those out. Don't know why people assume the Arturia one is bad…sounds fantastic to me. If I had to pick one or the other, I'd probably go with Obsession. It's more CPU efficient and it's a bit easier to get it to sound great. That said, Arturia's stereo spread feature makes it way easier and faster to get interesting variations in the voices, whereas in Obsession you have to edit the voices one by one, or randomize them and hope you like the result. The only downside of the Arturia stereo spread is it works by creating additional copies of the voices, which uses tons of extra CPU.

OP-X Pro II (Sonic Projects) and (supposedly) OB-Xd are emulations of the OB-X. This is the one with the SEM filter. OP-X Pro II sounds good, but has a really terrible UI that's not just ugly and hard to understand, but actually difficult to use (even when you know how to use it). OB-Xd doesn't sound all that great to me, but some people seem to like it.

Finally, there is the new OB-6 (analog hardware), which is basically a new and different OB synth, and not a recreation of any of the classic models. It has a SEM filter and two oscillators with continuously variable wave shapes, but as it's a collaboration with Sequential, it also inherits a bunch of the architecture and features of the Prophet-6. The filter does make it sound very "Oberheim" though. There is no emulation of the OB-6.

SEM

The SEM is totally different from the OB series. It's sometimes better known as the "4 Voice" or "8 Voice" (a combination of 4 or 8 SEM modules with a keyboard and a master control section). SEM V (Arturia) and bx_oberhausen (Brainworx) are both SEM emulations. I think bx_oberhausen sounds a bit better, but it doesn't let you edit the individual voices, which kinda misses the point of emulating a synth made of independent modules. Arturia SEM V does let you edit the voices, and still sounds pretty decent. But honestly, neither one of them has the incredible character of a real 4 Voice or 8 Voice.

Matrix

These use totally integrated Curtis chips that combine the filter and amp (and in the case of the Matrix-6 and 1000, the oscillators too) into a single chip. They have a very different look and feel, with an emphasis on flexible modulation. Very cool. Nothing like the other Oberheim synths. As far as I know, the only Matrix emulation is Arturia Matrix V. I think it's underrated and really like it.
Stormchild

KVRist
345 posts since 9 Apr, 2005 from Japan

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:12 pm

Teksonik wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:48 am
If I were you I'd try all the demos and pick the one you like best. The preference of others is irrelevant. :wink:
Totally agree. There's no way to find out which one you like that doesn't involve using your own ears. Preferably your own hands too.
Stormchild

KVRist
345 posts since 9 Apr, 2005 from Japan

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:20 pm

Oh yeah, there's also the OB-12, which was made by an Italian company that licensed the Oberheim name. Since Tom Oberheim was not involved, many people don't consider it to be a "real" Oberheim. I think it actually sounds pretty good though. There are no emulations of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh04f1bAy-A
Stormchild

KVRian
749 posts since 25 Jul, 2009

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:39 pm

The OB-12 is pretty cool, but it's a VA.

KVRAF
1725 posts since 11 Jan, 2009 from Portland, OR, USA

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:45 pm

Many people here will tell you the Arturia OB-Xa is wildly inferior to the other one or ones. And yet I'd lay big money down that if they actually did a blind test, they wouldn't be able to tell them apart with any consistency whatsoever. I think people fall for 'brand mojo' and it becomes impossible for them to dispel their own bias; Arturia is 'bad', Synapse is 'good', so and so is such and such, etc.

OP-X pro has a difficult UI in some ways, so that's a less subjective point against it (less than arguing 'sound quality', analog-ness, etc). Obsession also made some UI choices that I strongly dislike -- e.g. programming different pan levels for each voice takes way more mouse movement (the pan knob is on the opposite end of the UI from the voice buttons) and clicking than any of the other emulations, which generally allow very rapid pan programming (panning per voice is kind of a big deal with Oberheims, and a big part of 'that Oberheim sound'). Obsession took the route of providing more control, but at the expense of a fast and fluid workflow, IMHO. I also find the scaling of the envelope knobs to be totally jank, a with most Synapse synths: the first 40 percent of the knob is so fast it hardly matters where you leave it within that range. I guess this is to allow 'snappiness' but for me it just makes it much harder to find the 'sweet spot' than any of the others.

Oberhausen is a brilliant SEM emulation. The presets are terrible, the FX section is terrible, but the core synth sounds totally convincing, the TMT voice variation (or whatever it's called) actually does add something and sound convincingly 'analog', and the oscillator spread controls provide some of the best fast-width spread I've heard in a soft-synth. The thing is gold -- for the SEM flavor.

OB-Xd never sounded very good to me, but I haven't given it much time.

I rather like the Arturia, especially when using either the pan pots or the 'stereo' mode which allows some smooth, dynamic modulation for achieving a sort of Unison-esque fatness. It can sound very, very rich.

My 2 cents, fwiw.

-M
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KVRist
345 posts since 9 Apr, 2005 from Japan

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:59 pm

mholloway wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:45 pm
Many people here will tell you the Arturia OB-Xa is wildly inferior to the other one or ones. And yet I'd lay big money down that if they actually did a blind test, they wouldn't be able to tell them apart with any consistency whatsoever. I think people fall for 'brand mojo' and it becomes impossible for them to dispel their own bias; Arturia is 'bad', Synapse is 'good', so and so is such and such, etc.

OP-X pro has a difficult UI in some ways, so that's a less subjective point against it (less than arguing 'sound quality', analog-ness, etc). Obsession also made some UI choices that I strongly dislike -- e.g. programming different pan levels for each voice takes way more mouse movement (the pan knob is on the opposite end of the UI from the voice buttons) and clicking than any of the other emulations, which generally allow very rapid pan programming (panning per voice is kind of a big deal with Oberheims, and a big part of 'that Oberheim sound'). Obsession took the route of providing more control, but at the expense of a fast and fluid workflow, IMHO. I also find the scaling of the envelope knobs to be totally jank, a with most Synapse synths: the first 40 percent of the knob is so fast it hardly matters where you leave it within that range. I guess this is to allow 'snappiness' but for me it just makes it much harder to find the 'sweet spot' than any of the others.

Oberhausen is a brilliant SEM emulation. The presets are terrible, the FX section is terrible, but the core synth sounds totally convincing, the TMT voice variation (or whatever it's called) actually does add something and sound convincingly 'analog', and the oscillator spread controls provide some of the best fast-width spread I've heard in a soft-synth. The thing is gold -- for the SEM flavor.

OB-Xd never sounded very good to me, but I haven't given it much time.

I rather like the Arturia, especially when using either the pan pots or the 'stereo' mode which allows some smooth, dynamic modulation for achieving a sort of Unison-esque fatness. It can sound very, very rich.
I'm with you on all of that. I really do like bx_oberhausen (with the effects off). Definitely has a better core sound than the Arturia SEM V…but I can't get either one of them to sound anything like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNQfzF2LvSs
Stormchild

Banned
87 posts since 7 Jul, 2020

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:45 pm

What about obxd?

KVRian
907 posts since 30 Jun, 2014 from Pacific NW

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:53 pm

mholloway wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:45 pm
Many people here will tell you the Arturia OB-Xa is wildly inferior to the other one or ones. And yet I'd lay big money down that if they actually did a blind test, they wouldn't be able to tell them apart with any consistency whatsoever. I think people fall for 'brand mojo' and it becomes impossible for them to dispel their own bias; Arturia is 'bad', Synapse is 'good', so and so is such and such, etc.

OP-X pro has a difficult UI in some ways, so that's a less subjective point against it (less than arguing 'sound quality', analog-ness, etc). Obsession also made some UI choices that I strongly dislike -- e.g. programming different pan levels for each voice takes way more mouse movement (the pan knob is on the opposite end of the UI from the voice buttons) and clicking than any of the other emulations, which generally allow very rapid pan programming (panning per voice is kind of a big deal with Oberheims, and a big part of 'that Oberheim sound'). Obsession took the route of providing more control, but at the expense of a fast and fluid workflow, IMHO. I also find the scaling of the envelope knobs to be totally jank, a with most Synapse synths: the first 40 percent of the knob is so fast it hardly matters where you leave it within that range. I guess this is to allow 'snappiness' but for me it just makes it much harder to find the 'sweet spot' than any of the others.

Oberhausen is a brilliant SEM emulation. The presets are terrible, the FX section is terrible, but the core synth sounds totally convincing, the TMT voice variation (or whatever it's called) actually does add something and sound convincingly 'analog', and the oscillator spread controls provide some of the best fast-width spread I've heard in a soft-synth. The thing is gold -- for the SEM flavor.

OB-Xd never sounded very good to me, but I haven't given it much time.

I rather like the Arturia, especially when using either the pan pots or the 'stereo' mode which allows some smooth, dynamic modulation for achieving a sort of Unison-esque fatness. It can sound very, very rich.

My 2 cents, fwiw.

-M
I bet I’d end up picking the Arturia at times for sure! I do still think the core sound of Obsession is better listening in isolation as I find it a little more lively and lovely, but layer on some effects (preferably not those that come with Obsession), and... ??? It’d really depend. Synapse definitely did some self-inflicted usability damage as you pointed out, sticking with the Reason rack format. I think if I’d have had the $50 price on the Arturia and picked it up (my price would’ve been $149), I’d still feel good about that choice. If I had both I’d probably have a hard time deciding which to use - I like hearing Obsession, but the Arturia was definitely easier to use.

While oberhausen isn’t worth the silly $250 list price, it’s also worth more than the $25-$30 it was selling for recently! Anyone who doesn’t have it should try it out and be ready to buy in the next sale if it’s something you like. My one wish on that (other than better effects and presets) is that they strayed from the original sort of design and gave it ADSR envelopes. But that’s a minor quibble.

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KVRAF
12478 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:18 pm

The current value of OB-Xa's is really wild. They were cheap 20 years ago, nobody put them on the level of the SEM's, Minimoog's, Jupiter-8's, or Prophet 5's. I bought my OB-Xa for $350 and ended up giving it away.

Sound-wise, OB-Xa's are edgy and bright. The best example is The Final Countdown. Conversely, SEM's are warm and smooth, with no rough edges at all.

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GRRRRRRR!
11968 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:27 pm

... until you start to modulate the cutoff with the filter closed and the resonance turned up, at which point it will attempt to destroy your speakers. And that's why I'd be going for bx_oberhausen every time.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10, UR44C | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Viper, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

AnX
KVRAF
9618 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:37 pm


I don't get the differences between the different Oberheim emulations
doesn't matter which one you get then
I would like to buy the one by sonicprojects or Synapse Audio since the one by Arturia seems to be not that promising compared to those two.
in what way?
But as I understand correctly, there are different models that are emulated.
yes, someone has gone into detail about that above
Which one would you personally pick?
irrelevant, you're the person using it

AnX
KVRAF
9618 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Post Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:39 pm

Uncle E wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:18 pm
The best example is The Final Countdown.
thats not the best example of anything :hihi:

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