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Dave Smith OB6 Desktop Module

Description
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Written by

Ollie Mason

The Powerful OB6 synth is now available in a module format. The same fantastic sound and functionality in a compact smart little box that you can connect to your favourite keyboard, or plug into your modular setup.

The OB-6 features two discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) per voice, with continuously variable waveshapes (sawtooth and variable-width pulse, with triangle on oscillator 2). There is a classic SEMinspired state-variable filter (low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch) per voice. Voltage-controlled amplifiers complete the all-analog signal path. “The classic, bold SEM sound is all there,” said Oberheim.

Present also is X-Mod, with filter envelope and oscillator 2 as modulation sources (with bi-polar control). Destinations include oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, filter cutoff, and filter mode.

The knob-per-function front panel puts virtually all parameters at a user’s fingertips. Toggling on the Manual switch enables live panel mode, in which the OB-6 switches to the current settings of its knobs and switches. A dual effects section provides studio-quality reverbs, delays (including standard and BBD), chorus, and faithful recreations of Tom Oberheim’s acclaimed phase shifter and ring modulator.

The effects are digital, with 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution, but a true bypass maintains a full analog signal path. Additionally, the OB-6 features a multimode arpeggiator and a polyphonic step sequencer with up to 64 steps (and up to 6 notes per step) plus rests. It allows polyphonic keyboard input and can sync to external MIDI clock.

Here's what DSI say about the OB6

Classic Oberheim Sound — Made Portable
The OB-6 desktop module is just as powerful and easy to use as its counterpart, the OB-6 Keyboard. The module has all of the same controls as the keyboard version and provides the same immediacy and ease of use. As with the OB-6 Keyboard, all parameters are at your fingertips, with full-sized knobs and switches and a comfortable, intuitive layout.

How does it sound? Massive — just like the keyboard, because on the inside, it’s exactly the same. The same analog signal path with discrete VCOs and VCFs. The same high-quality digital effects. The same classic Oberheim sound that has been earning raves from musicians around the world.

We’ve also added a poly chain feature so that any two OB-6s can be paired for twelve-voice polyphony!

Two Legends. One Instrument
Both the OB-6 desktop module and OB-6 keyboard are a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between the two most influential designers in poly synth history, Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim. The OB-6 takes the classic bold Tom Oberheim sound — with its true voltage-controlled oscillators, 2-pole filter, and amplifiers — and adds modern enhancements such as studio-quality effects, a polyphonic step sequencer, an arpeggiator, and more. No other modern analog poly synth can boast such a pedigree or such a massive, in-your-face sonic signature.

Vintage SEM Tone
The OB-6 sound engine is inspired by Tom’s original SEM, the core of his acclaimed 4-voice and 8- voice synthesizers. It features two discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) per voice with continuously variable waveshapes (sawtooth and variable-width pulse, plus a triangle wave on oscillator 2). The classic Oberheim-inspired 2-pole, state-variable, resonant filter provides low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch functionality. Voltage-controlled amplifiers complete the all-analog signal path.

Dual Effects
The dual effects section provides studio-quality reverbs, delays (standard and BBD), chorus, flangers, and faithful recreations of Tom’s original phase shifter and ring modulator. While the effects themselves are digital, with 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution, a true bypass maintains a full analog signal path.

X-Mod and Poly Step Sequencing
Also present is X-Mod, which expands the tonal palette and makes it easy to create dramatic and unconventional sounds. Modulation sources are filter envelope and oscillator 2, both with bi-polar control. Destinations include oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, filter cutoff, and filter mode. The polyphonic step sequencer allows up to 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step. You can create sequences polyphonically, with rests, and sync to an external MIDI clock. The full-featured arpeggiator can be synced to external MIDI clock as well. Unison mode features configurable voice count (1-6 voices), chord memory, and key modes.

Easy to Program
The knob-per-function front panel puts virtually all OB-6 functions at your fingertips. Included are 500 permanent factory programs and 500 rewritable user programs. Turning on the Manual button enables live panel mode, in which the sound of the OB-6 switches to its current front panel settings. In this state, what you see is what you hear.

Easy to Play
This analog powerhouse is packed into a desktop module that’s small enough to fit in a backpack. It’s an ideal combination of portability and power for the project studio or the gigging musician.

Specifications

OSCILLATORS

  • Two discrete VCOs per voice
  • Continuously variable wave shape (sawtooth and variable-width pulse, plus triangle on oscillator 2) per oscillator
  • Pulse width per oscillator
  • Hard sync: oscillator 1 syncs to oscillator 2
  • Square wave sub-octave generator (oscillator 1) per voice
  • Low frequency mode (oscillator 2)
  • Keyboard tracking on/off (oscillator 2)
  • Oscillator detune amount for increased tuning instability, from subtle to extreme

MIXER

  • Oscillator 1 amount
  • Oscillator 1 sub-octave amount
  • Oscillator 2 amount
  • White noise amount

STATE-VARIABLE FILTER

  • Two-pole, resonant, filter per voice with low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch functionality inspired by the original Oberheim SEM filter
  • Bi-polar filter envelope amount
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount
  • Keyboard tracking: off, half, full

FILTER ENVELOPE

  • Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount

AMPLIFIER ENVELOPE

  • Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator
  • Velocity modulation of envelope amount

LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR

  • Five wave shapes: sine, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, and random (sample and hold)
  • Clock sync (internal or external MIDI clock)
  • Initial amount
  • Mod destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, oscillator 1 and 2 pulse width, filter cutoff, filter mode, amp

X-MOD

  • Sources: filter envelope (bi-polar) and oscillator 2 (bi-polar)
  • Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, filter cutoff, filter mode, normal to bandpass filter

AFTERTOUCH

  • Source: channel (mono) aftertouch with bi-polar amount
  • Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, LFO amount, amplifier envelope amount, filter envelope amount, filter mode

CLOCK

  • Master clock with tap tempo
  • BPM control and display
  • MIDI clock sync

ARPEGGIATOR

  • Selectable note value: 16th note, 8th note triplet, 8th note, dotted 8th note, quarter note
  • One, two, or three octave range
  • Up, down, up/down, random, and assign modes

SEQUENCER

  • Polyphonic step sequencer with up to 64 steps and rests

EFFECTS

  • Stereo analog distortion
  • Dual, 24-bit, 48 kHz digital effects, including: reverb (room, hall, plate, spring), delay (full bandwidth digital delay and emulated bucket brigade), chorus, flanger, phase shifters, and ring modulator
  • Delay sync
  • True bypass maintains fully analog signal path when digital effects are off

PERFORMANCE CONTROLS

  • Full-sized, semi-weighted, 4-octave keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
  • Backlit pitch and mod wheels
  • Spring-loaded pitch wheel with selectable range per program (1 to 12 semitones up and down)
  • Transpose controls for an 8-octave range
  • Hold switch latches held notes on
  • Polyphonic portamento
  • Unison (monophonic) mode with configurable voice count, from one to all six voices, chord memory, and key modes
  • Manual switch: when on, the front panel is live; what you see is what you hear

PATCH MEMORY

  • 500 user and 500 factory programs in 10 banks of 100 programs each
  • Direct program access, including single-button access to the current set of 10 programs

IN/OUT

  • Left/mono and right audio outputs (2 x 1/4” phone jack)
  • Headphone output (stereo, 1/4” phone jack)
  • MIDI in, out, and thru ports
  • USB for bidirectional MIDI communication
  • Filter cutoff expression pedal input
  • Volume expression pedal input
  • Sustain footswitch input
  • Sequencer start/stop footswitch input

POWER

  • IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
  • Operates worldwide on voltages between 100 and 240 volts at 50 to 60 Hz; 30 watts maximum power consumption

PHYSICAL SPECS

  • 20.75” L x 7.8” W x 4.4 H (52.0 cm x 19.8 cm x 11.2 cm)
  • 13.0 lbs (5.9 kg)
  • Walnut end panels
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