Even thought this website is called hammond.no it will not be limited to Hammond organs. Some people might dislike anything synth, in which case you can be safe by browsing on the Hammond organ tab. :) For the rest of you, enjoy the articles about analog synths!
Ok having that settled, I’ll start the synth article series with the Oberheim OBX from 1979. The OBX is besides the ARP 2600 one of my absolutely favorite synths! There are lots of other synths that I appreciate and use a lot, but these two are in a category where I consider buying another one of them just to have spare in case it would break down or get stolen sometime. To put it short, I love it! The Oberheim is special among polyphonic synthesizers that it doesn’t have any IC’s for sound generation, everything is discrete electronics meaning the oscillators are build up of resistors and other parts. This makes the sound very alive and I always get a feeling it’s an acoustic instrument, in the same sense that I think an older B3’s percussion sounds accustic. The OBX is also really big and thick sounding, comparable to a B3.
The OBX was a very expensive synth at it’s time. It has some special features like both stereo and a dedicated mono output. You can pan each of the 8 voices separately making a big stereo effect. The presets/saving patches doesn’t work on my OBX so I adjust the sounds manually all the time. I use it mostly for quite standard sounds, similar to an organ sound in many ways.
The OBX can do strange sounds, but where I think it shines is with its “normal” sounds. Many synths can do strange complex sounds, but not many (in my opinion) can do simple sounds good. I mean just pick a waveform, adjust the filter and resonanse and you’re there already. The OBX sounds so amazing with this kind of sounds (listen to the track called “Condensator” below).
I use the OBX exclusively on the “Corrupted Mirror album” and a lot on the “Monkeybar” album. The cover photo on Corrupted Mirror is a picture from inside my OBX :). (the IC’s are VCA I think)
On This track “Condensator” (nice tune written by Karl Strømme) you hear the soft and airy quality of the OBX (headphones recommended):
Similar soft characther here on “diode”
“Smooth” is what I would say about this sound
Don’t know how to describe this sound.. Maybe “personality” … :)
Also the OBX is the bearing element on the onkeybar album. Playing the main riff in the song “Dear You” for example:
And the first riff on on the monkeybar tune. The arp2600 is in the background