BUYING AND LOADING MY SOUNDS / PATCHES:
Please transfer 25 Euro to this paypal address: [wcologarb
at tlen.pl] writing "ob-6 sounds" in the title. You will receive all the sounds
from both my videos (demo part 1 & demo part 2) plus extra sounds that are not
included in the demos (125 sounds + their variations = 139 sounds in total). My
library will come to you in two formats: sysex format and OB-6 Sound Tower
I did not use additional FX in the demo, no layers, etc. All the
delays and reverbs are part of the OB-6 engine.
At the beginning
the OB-6 sounded thin &
glossy & metallic,
and the limited modulation options seemed illogical and surprising for me.
I went to Youtube but all the videos only confirmed my first impressions: it
costs $3000 and sounds like crap! Holy cow! Call the police.
when you have an interface like that, you can't
just walk away and not give a second thought to the synth. All the
knobs convinced me to keep the faith and carry on.
Finally I came up with a set of over 120 original sounds, and again, I was
surprised - this time by their variety. Even though the modulation of the
synth is in some aspects severely limited, thare are some neat little alleys you
can go to add spice to your sauce. When you finish having your usual fun, don't
forget to tamper with the Detune knob, the Pan Sprad knob to give the sound that extra space / spaciousness, and
most importantly the X-Mod VCO2
knob, which will introduce some unpredictability / wonkiness. Just remember that
since the OB-6 is a little bit wonky in itself, all the more so when you start
using the Detune knob, the X-Mod section will create a challenge. Because if the
VCO2 pitch changes each time you hit a note, the modulations "inflicted" by this
VCO will vary, so sometimes it's impossible to have consistency (for example
when you mod a pitch destination and pitch stability is needed).
Don't underestimate the FX section. On paper
it looks pretty standard: delay, reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser. But the fact that you
can combine 3 of them at the same time (any 2 of the above + hidden distortion)
let's you double the sonic palette of the OB-6. And they are very good, because,
they sound good, and two: because they can go to solid extremes and mangle the timbre
noticeably. This transforms the FX unit into another sound sculpting module,
which can't be said about the FX design of other synths, say, Korg Minilogue XD,
whose FX section is rather a decorative element. Pay attention to the ring
modulator too: in its non-usual mode, it tracks the pitch of the lowest note
that you play on the keyboard. Combine it with the seqeuncer and you can go
I don't know why that is, but the only DSI/Sequential
synth that seemed "100% right" to me was the Evolver. I played the Prophet X and
asked about Prophet 12. Those synths are unable to launch the LFO and fill its
phase independently of key strikes (note on/off). Here, the OB-6 cannot properly
latch the Arpeggiator (I don't think there even is a button for that). So in the
aforementioned synths it's impossible to keep consistent LFO modulation across
the sequence, it sounds different with each key strike (or restarts in an ugly
way with each key strike). And since I am a human and not a robot with quantized
motions, in OB-6 the lack of Arp Latch option makes the Arpeggiator useless for me, and it's
better for me to program an arpeggio pattern into the sequencer, but of course
that has its drawbacks (I'm a slave to the rhythm, to quote a classic).
It's pretty obvious for everyone that has eyes, but
it needs to be mentioned: the interface should win an award. I know, I know -
there are numbers instead of patch names, no possibility to edit the sequence
without relying on software, etc. But let's be honest. If you can afford this
kind of synth, you probably are so successful that you have no time to play it,
let alone dive deep into the sequences or come up with fancy patch names. So why
care about its quirks? You don't experience them anyway. It's great that
Sequential decided to use a "no force necessary" buttons, because it's not so
obvious, even in 2020. Guys at Moog have yet to figure that out, because on the
SUB-37 they decided, for whatever reason, to use buttons which require a bit of
muscle strain to click them.
When I got the OB-6, I asked my friend
why this synth sits on the bestseller list while it costs so much.
I mean, there's the Deepminds and the Odyssey clones and the Microfreaks and the
OB-6 among them looks like a macaw in a field of cabbage. "It's the sound",
he said, "people pay for the
Oberheim sound". I think I've managed to "get" this sound and in some patches it
sounds really cool (LP/BP filter morphs, x-moded basses, synthetic
brass-like tones, etc). Also, the envelopes are
so snappy and punchy that I would swear the sounds are running thru a compressor if I
hadn't made them myself. Opposite of the SUB-37. To get that sound from the Moog
you HAVE to run it thru a compressor.
Generally speaking, the OB-6 reminds me heavily of
the Nord Leads. One: it sounds as if it was already
mastered in a studio. Two: the sound is kind of "thin" but lucid, so that's the
good kind of "thin" (it never gets muddy). Three: the interface is hands-on, you
get what you see, no menu diving, etc. Four: the build quality is top of the tops
(although it's much better/more sturdy than Nord Leads). Five: made in the
country of design (USA for OB-6, Sweden for NL). Of course in the end it's much
more than the Nord Lead thanks to its FX, filter morphing and modulation
routings. But the first three characteristics alone ("pro" sound, clarity, UI)
are a recipe for success among the synth crowd that rarely fails.
I'm not a nerd with an oscilloscope in my garage and I
don't spend 4 hours each day splitting hairs on a forum, so I'm not sure, but
probably the synth uses some analog components that have their significant cost.
Still, I think
the OB-6 sounds too
sterile / tame / hi-fi compared to "real" analogs, so I'm not sure I would feel justified
spending that much money on it. On the other hand, the "real" analogs have such
absurd prices today, that I don't think I would feel ok spending that much on a
ticking time bomb. Go figure.