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Aly James Lab releases "OB-Xtreme" - OB-X based synthesizer emulation VST instrument with VA saturation stages for Windows

Aly James Lab

Aly James Lab has released OB-Xtreme, a stripped down OB-X 8 Voices synthesizer VST emulation with extended functions for Windows. It's Donationware, with a minimum donation of 15.00 €.

OB-Xtreme is based on the character and internal circuitry of the legendary Oberheim Polyphonic Synthesizer - the OB-X. It adds among other things, two controllable virtual analog saturation stages before and after the filter.

Here's what Aly James say:

What happens when you take 8 separate monophonic synths and use them together? Huge analog sound. Mainly caused by the slight imperfections between each voice card fine tuning. The OB-X synth has been used by Herbie Hancock, Prince, Chick Corea, Cirrus, Depeche Mode, Queen, Supertramp, Kenny Kirkland, Jean-Michel Jarre, Van Halen, Tangerine Dream, Rush, Simple Minds, Chicago, Styx, Ultravox and dozens more. It is an 80s classic. OB-Xtreme started out as a simple go-to VST plugin for that classic OB Brass sound stripped down to the minimum, then I thought about how I could bring more "warm" into a digital VA synth and what features I could add to the original design. Based on an original OB-X architecture, I have crafted some controllable diode clipping stage before and after the filter, which really bring some body and harmonics for a more "analog" result, especially in conjunction with the VCF... It can be soft and warm or scream in a good way.


Contrary to all my others VST instruments, OB-Xtreme is not an exact recreation of an OB-X, it is rather a "closely inspired by" approach, stripped down to the minimum for easy sound design of OB Brass, Pads, Leads, FX and Percussions, trying to approach a real "analog warm". However some extended features like an optional FAT mode and Multiple DAW outputs per voice opens up to experimentation like different FX treatments per voice...

OB-Xtreme uses a custom C++ core and 3r party licensed code where nothing fancy was needed. It runs on Windows 32/64-bit Systems and is multi-core compatible with 32-bit DAW/Host (works on x64 DAW via bridging). OS X will be available next year.

Video preview playlist

SoundCloud demos

OB-Xtreme Features:

  1. Analog modeled saturation: This is the main feature here, Analog warm...One of those real world analog technique is for example a Diode Clipping that will generate mostly third harmonic with a smaller amount of fifth, and lesser amounts of each additional higher odd-order harmonic. If a sound containing rich harmonic content like a digital saw oscillator is feeding a filter with a slightly saturated content it really gives the bass a nastier pleasant sound. Basically the Xtreme knob will turn a sawtooth into an almost square wave at middle setting and goes crazy at full. A second stage is also present AFTER the filter stage so the filter resonance can really overload at higher settings. The second stage can be disabled for more headroom and cleaner sounding filter if needed.
  2. Classic OB-X functions & design: Each voices slight detuning is controlled by the SPREAD knob, this really gives the characteristic OB sound, with phase masking around the stereo field and panning, when used in conjunction with the FAT mode it can almost sound like a "supersaw" at max detuning...The iconic SYNC oscillators sound can be activated and by only modulating the OSC 2 pitch with the LFO you are in cutting lead solo territory. Although OB-Xtreme do not feature a noise source nor the pulse OSC (which might be added later) some square sounding harmonics can be achieved with the Xtreme saturation.You can trigger the 8 voices in polyphony or in mono (8 voices unison), the FAT mode is basically a huge polyphonic unison which gives the digital VSTi an even warmer analog feel.
  3. SEM Filters: A classic resonant 12Db/Oct State Variable filter is used with its own ADSR, the low-end is absolutely not filtered which means that it is up to you to decide if you want the huge bottom or not. The sound of an overdriven filter is really different than a clean digital sounding one, OB-Xtreme gives you the choice.
  4. LFO Vibrato and FX modulation: The LFO is rather simple in its routing, it modulate OSC2 or OSC2 + OSC1 pitch. However it features a SYNC option and many shapes including NOISE which opens up to some interesting sounds, some presets like analog claps or gunshots are possible..
  5. Separate outputs: The OB-Xtreme have separate outputs for every voices before the filter stage.You can choose from ALL to 1 Stereo Channel or Separate Channels for each voice in your DAW.
  6. Velocity: Even if the design is simple and stripped down, velocity can also be assigned to the VCF cutoff frequency..
  7. GUI & automation: The GUI features all the OB-Xtreme controls, most of the parameters can be MIDI learned and controlled by an external MIDI hardware or automation which gives you far more control and expression.


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