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  OB-X At a Glance
Picture needed arrowReleased: 1979  Specifications
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AdamT writes:
The OBX.. Oberheim`s best kept secret?. the Successor to the SEM based n-Voice range and predecessor to the classic OB-Xa. This machine was only in production about 12-months `79 until late `80 when the full Curtis based Xa appeared. The OBX Offers a lot, a real lot as it is based on the old SEM design complete with Temco regulated VCOS and largely discrete filters, unfortunately they didn`t go down the full route of offering the Full multimode design of the SEM (probably down to memory space as the OB1 also has only LPF) but the 12DB LPF sounds excellent in my book and very close to the SEM of old..

there are gains and losses when comparing to the Xa, the Lever panel has less functions but the ones it does have are selected by slide switches rather than button/LED`s so they remain where you leave them (the Xa`s most annoying habit is the default settings are opposite to what you want :(...) there is CV/Gate ins AND outs that operate on Voice-1 so you can use a voice as a Virtual OB1 over a MIDI/CV converter and jam along to it, it also will drive a monosynth on the highest note played like the Memorymoog, the Xa has none of this. also on the `X` there are two noise generator levels and the autotune is as quick as it takes to press the button like a JP6, The X has markers around the knobs for reference which is easier than guessing which pinstripe the thing was nearest too. Downers are lack of split/layer, the second LFO on the lever panel, no 24db mode, no computer interface (not much of a loss that one), most of all, you have to press an edit button to tweak presets rather than just twiddle. the X has Cross mod, the Xa has filter envelope sweeping of VCO2 (more musical, less experimental)..

Sound.. Comparing the X with the Xa in 12Db mode the X sounds less transistory and closed in with better bottom end warmth and sweeter resonance. Knocking the Xa into 24db mode gives that famous Xa Punch no doubt helped by it`s faster EG`s but still gives that "Curtis 3320 VCF " pinched effect despite OB doing an excellent job of making the best use to date of a mediocre chip. For big lush pads and Sweeps IMO the OBX trashes the OB-Xa every time... for punchy brass and chunky basses The Xa kicks the old banger straight in the bin. At the prices both these OB`s are going for, you could afford to have both fro less than a JP8000!.

SO...Don`t expect an Xa in 12Db mode to give you an OBX (although I`ve being trying to do just that for ages) though it certainly gives you a taster of what the OBX is about in a practical, relatively reliable and flexible package. OBX`s are Notoriously unreliable especially when moved around a lot, Xa`s CAN be Iffy and OB8`s tend to be fine but as you move newer up the list the sound gets thinner, facilities get piled on, the tuning gets better and more and more ends up under software control. Its down to preference, I`ve wanted an OBX for a long long time, more than a 4-voice in fact!! and it`s been worth the wait and for less money than a Pro-One!.

Comments About the Sounds:
Lushest of pads due to quasi-SEM voice card component similarity

(Thanks to AdamT for this info.)

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